5 Lessons I Learned About Life From Film Photography
Start writing a post

5 Lessons I Learned About Life From Film Photography

Film is complex, involves innumerable processes, dark rooms, and seemingly endless amounts of time spent waiting, but I wouldn't trade the lessons that I learned from taking a film class for the world.

5 Lessons I Learned About Life From Film Photography
Madison Zoey Vettorino

When you think of 'photography' today, images of fancy DSLR cameras, Adobe Photoshop, and hours of on-screen photo editing probably pop into your mind. It's so tempting, in today's technologically-savvy world, to forget that film photography still exists.

When I first declared a minor in photography last fall, I naturally assumed that all of my required classes would be digital photography. Surprisingly, 'Basic Photo,' the introduction class at my college, is entirely film-based. Film photography, though intimidating at first glance, is an incredibly under-appreciated art. It's complex, involves innumerable processes, dark rooms, and seemingly endless amounts of time spent waiting, but I wouldn't trade the lessons that I learned from taking a film class for the world.

1. Your thoughts create your reality.

Developing rolls of film is tricky! From ensuring that the film doesn't accidentally 'catch light,' to ensuring that you mix the correct chemicals to make the photos actually appear on the film strip, there are many opportunities for a mishap or two. I've realized, if you talk it into yourself that you're going to miss a step or mess up, you will. If you start the process in a more optimistic way and try your very best to develop your film correctly, you most likely will. It all begins with what you tell yourself, and your thoughts are incredibly powerful (the law of attraction is definitely real!). Your thoughts become your reality.

So, if you think that no matter how hard you try, you're going to mess up because it's not necessarily an easy process, you definitely will because you won't be as careful. If you think in a more positive manner, you're going to get some beautiful pictures. This is just like anything else in life. It is entirely a case of mind over matter. The mind is so, so powerful. Don't take that fact for granted.

2. The importance of being patient.

The process of developing just one roll of film can be totally daunting. It takes upwards of forty minutes to complete the developing process from start to finish, but it is totally worth it when you see the negative all dried and ready to be printed. Your pictures are then finally almost coming to life. The best things in life may take a while to manifest, but that means they mean so much more when they finally happen. Patience is essential!

3. If something takes a while, you appreciate it more when it finally works out.

On that note, the longer something takes, the more you appreciate it when it's finally done. It does take a while to successfully develop a roll of film, and a while to print a "perfect" photograph (I'm talking hours in the dark room spent with contrast filters, contact sheets, and aperture lenses!), it is totally worth the finished product: an incredible photograph that captures the beauty of a fleeting moment that would otherwise be lost to time. This is the same with life; if something takes a while to manifest, the importance of it will not be lost on you when whatever it is you've been waiting for finally arrives.

4. The importance of getting out of your comfort zone.

Film photography often asks you to take yourself out of your comfort zone; whether that be photographing a stranger or sneaking down to the river at night to take some pictures with friends (not that I would know first hand...wink!). It is intimidating to try new things, but if you never tried something new and bid your comfort zone goodbye, you would never truly discover yourself. To me, that's more frightening.

5. How to go with the flow.

Some of the pictures you would think would be your best will be underwhelming. Some pictures that you just snapped to fill the roll of film will end up being some of your favorites and end up framed on your wall for years to come. Respect your artistic process. Let the story your photographs tell unfold itself. Art asks you to surrender your sense of control; life does the same. Life does what life will do, and your photographs will do what they will do. Life and photos will never steer you wrong. You will be pleasantly surprised if you simply allow things to be what they are going to be.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

8 Valentine's Day Gift Ideas For Your Long-Distance Partner

Looking for a gift idea for your long-distance Valentine's date this year? Here are some creative, thoughtful gifts for you!

Photo by Ben Collins on Unsplash

As Valentine's Day approaches, I realized that it's the first Valentine's Day I have had with my boyfriend that we're more than 6,000 miles apart. Despite the distance though, my mind has been reeling over what to get him, as one of my main love languages is gift-giving. So here are some ideas that I've seen that I think would be perfect for any relationship, whether you're together or apart.

Keep Reading... Show less
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

To be perfectly honest, I wasn't sure how to write this article.

In the past, I've written about the lies we tell ourselves. I've written about how thoughts can be destructive, how they can have power over who we are.

Keep Reading... Show less

Put Down Your Phone And Read These 8 Statistics About Texting And Driving You Wish Didn't Exist

We text all the time, so it's no surprise you may find yourself wanting to pick up your phone even when you're driving.


You're driving to the grocery store when your phone buzzes in your pocket. You instinctively reach to check it, but it can wait until you park. These are eight statistics to read before you text and drive because they'll change how you view your time on the road.

Everyone's made the mistake of looking at their phone while in the driver's seat, but not everyone gets home safely afterward. Learn why it's better to avoid distracted driving so you don't become one of these statistics this year:

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Have An Eating Disorder And I Refuse To Let It Kill Me

Even at my lowest, the number on the scale never seemed low enough... but was it ever worth the risk of losing my life?

Trigger warning: This article discusses topics that may be triggering for some readers.

I looked down at my thumb today. I know haven't been eating enough. I told everyone I would get all my vitamins and calories in. I totally wanted to eat more of the guacamole I bought the other day, but I counted what I had eaten and those numbers seemed a little too high. I decided I didn't need the extra helping, so I went to bed and the guacamole went bad.

Keep Reading... Show less

When pursuing a degree that most deem 'useless' or a 'waste of time' there happens to be a lot of self-doubt and fear, especially with the pending doom of graduation around the corner. I remember when I was about to graduate from college with a Bachelor's in Acting, I was absolutely terrified.

Keep Reading... Show less

TikTok Made Me Buy It: Flawless's Skincare Fridge

I bought and tested one of TikTok's popular products so you don't have to.


I spend a lot of time on TikTok and I never know whether the products I see are worth it or not, especially when I'm looking at the price. For Christmas, my aunt got me a gift card to Ulta. I didn't know what to buy. I have way too many palettes and lipsticks. I have my essentials. What else could I need? Then it hit me that I saw a lot of people these past few months showing off their skincare fridges. So, the second I thought of it I went on the Ulta app and bought it. So, here are my thoughts.

Keep Reading... Show less

37 Cute And Unique Pinterest Board Titles

Let's be real, the hardest part about Pinterest is thinking of a cute title for your board.


I don't know about anyone else but I have recently become re-obsessed with Pinterest. Like, I am spending a stupid amount of time on Pinterest daily now. While I have been binging Pinterest I have found that I love making cute and aesthetic boards but it is SO hard to come up with a name to match it. So, I scoured the internet and my brain for you. Happy pinning!

Keep Reading... Show less

This Is What Type Of Person You Are Based On Your Favorite Cereal

Your cereal preference reveals more than you think.

Photo by Nyana Stoica on Unsplash

Whether you eat cereal for breakfast or a late-night snack, you probably have a favorite. Little did you know that what you prefer says a lot about your personality.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments