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Caitlin Sullivan is an Indianapolis-based wedding, portrait, and commercial photographer.

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@CAOSULLI

Hi there, I'M CAITLIN!

Hopeful joy-digger. Colorful photographer. Serving hearts rooted in celebrating the life and love around them — and within them.

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4 Reasons I Love Film Why I Infuse A Splash of Film Into My Workflow

I first learned to shoot on a film camera in my high school years. I was totally captivated by the dark room. I took a summer class at the Broad Ripple art center and couldn’t wait to learn the process of developing film.

I moved on to college at IU where I’d then concentrate on photography and take 6 photography classes. My freshman year, again, I was enthralled with the dark room. I still can remember the smells of the chemicals and the anticipation of watching your image develop. Spoiler alert- I *NEVER* would have thought in those moments that I’d someday make a living out of doing this photography thing. I digress.

Who knew that film would come back in style! I’m not sure if ever went out of style to be honest. Nowadays, when anyone sends me a Pinterest board of inspiration, half of the images are almost always film. It’s very much still relevant. As I continue to shoot weddings, families, brands and my personal work, I’ve loved diving back into shooting film as I incorporate a splash of film into my workflow.

Here are 4 reasons I’m drawn to shooting film:

1) The nostalgic feeling it gives me. You know that feeling when you hold a 3X5 photo from your childhood? I’m talking to people who lived before iPhones. How it makes your heart hurt in the best way as you yearn for the days of Super Mario Kart and stuffing your face with Papa John’s pizza on snow days. Any one else? When I shoot film, it brings me back to why I love to pick up a camera in the first place.

2) I’m not shooting for the the technically “perfect” photo. When I shoot digital, for the most part, I know I can go into the photo in post and fix what may be wrong as it relates to exposure and even small details. When I shoot film, I’m not using that ability as a crutch. It’s sort of like…a box of chocolates with film. You’re never quite sure what you will come back with when the scans come in. Technically I can still go in and tweak but 99% of the time I don’t. That release of full control and the added element of surprise is a welcomed breath of fresh air.

3) The way film handles mid-tones is a freaking dream. I personally am NEVER taking a landscape photo on my digital camera and thinking, “Wow, I can’t wait to edit this in post!” The reason for that is in my experience it’s very tricky to meter for the sky and the foreground as it relates to digital. Film handles those in between hues like a boss.

This photo that I took at Banff demonstrates film’s ability to capture mid-tones very well. This photo on digital, in my opinion, just wouldn’t pack the same punch. The mountains and trees wouldn’t have quite the same detail. Nerding out here but I love the hint of cloud in the top left. In short, film captures ALL the tones beautifully.

4) Film isn’t instant and that’s very good for the soul. I’ll by honest, in a world where we can do so much within seconds, it feels pretty great to shoot film and not know what I got. Does this make me sound crazy? It’s sort of romantic. It helps me slow down and be more intentional about what I shoot. That feels really good. That makes me feel like I’m growing and not being sloppy. It makes me feel like less is more and quality over quantity.