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Film Is Not Dead review

Every once in a while I stumble upon a resource that changes some aspect of my business. I’ve read blog entries from Jasmine Star that have encouraged me to try new settings, or tutorials from Justin & Mary that push me to expand my knowledge of exterior lighting, or entries from Katelyn James that put some much-needed pep back into my step. So when I started to yearn for film again, I knew I needed a kick in the pants. I was honestly a bit scared to start back into film- I began my photographic journey in a dark room, but that was with black and white Kodak T-MAX, a pretty simple film to understand. This time around, I knew I wanted to play with COLOR film, and to be honest? I was pretty darn intimidated. I had NO idea what I was doing.

I was at Barnes & Noble a couple of months ago, perusing the photography section for Elizabeth’s Messina’s new book (more on that at a later time), when I came across a title that stuck out to me: “Film Is Not Dead.” I racked my brain trying to remember where I’d heard that title because it definitely sounded familiar when I finally remembered Terra mentioning it in passing well over a year ago. So I grabbed the simplistic gray and white fabric cover, took a seat and started reading.

It was one of those moments when I realized I’d struck an absolute goldmine of information, a wealth of education, just waiting for me to read it and take it all in. I read hungrily for the hour I was there until it was time to go at which time I painstakingly put the book back on the shelf. “I’ll be back, don’t worry” I whipsered to the book. And back I was- I returned a week later to finish speed reading through FIND, only to wish I owned the book for myself so that I could read it again and again. Unfortunately I’d already spent my education budget for the time and couldn’t justify the $60 price tag, so I told myself I’d have to keep coming back until I could afford to own a copy myself. I HAD to have this book.

And then God’s sovereignty struck in the form of a FIND giveaway, sponsored by Jonathan Canlas himself, the author of my new source of yearning. I never win anything (I don’t!), but I figured it was worth a shot so I submitted my name. A week or so later, after I’d thoroughly forgotten about the contest, I received an email congratulating me on winning an autographed copy! SO EFFIN STOKED! The book arrived a couple of weeks later and I tore into the packaging like a kid on Christmas. Here it was! All mine! Never again to return to the B&N shelf!

Jonathan Canlas Film Is Not DeadJonathan Canlas Film Is Not Dead

If you’re at all interested in diving into the world of film photography, you MUST have this book. Jonathan has a gift for breaking down film into understandable steps and options so that what used to feel painfully overwhelming now feels completely digestable. I was so intimidated by all the different types of film available, plus the various formats, different cameras, and the necessity of using a light meter. Jonathan explains them all in different chapters, giving easy to understand examples of each and steps to understanding how to use them. He even breaks down how to use a light meter according to which film you’re using- talk about detailed!

Jonathan Canlas Film Is Not Dead

When I was taking the dark room class at Radford that began my love affair with photography, I was shooting on 35mm. I’d heard people mention different formats of film but I really had no idea what the difference was, other than the fact that someone told me “medium format” negatives were larger than 35mm negs. Not understanding the difference made me really afraid to try anything other than my precious 35mm film. Well, Jonathan Canlas breaks it ALL down in this book- 35mm, medium format, slide film, even toy cameras. Literally- EVERYTHING.

Jonathan Canlas Film Is Not Dead

The chapter on the various types of film was my favorite- it thoroughly explained the differences between Kodak Portra and Fuji 400H, the two films I’ve been going back and forth between. He also explains in-depth about overexposure and how you various lighting circumstances affect your metering, and the differences between metering for C-41 (color film) vs. black and white. I shot my first few rolls of medium format film at this past weekend’s styled shoot and the only reason I had the courage to try was because of this book. I carried it around like a security blanket in the days leading up to the shoot, reading whenever I had a free minute, because I wanted to be as absolutely prepared as possible.

Jonathan Canlas Film Is Not DeadJonathan Canlas Film Is Not Dead

Go buy this book. Really- go do it. Even though the book is a guide for understanding and shooting film, it’s already manifested itself in my digital work, making me a better photographer all around. I think more before I click my shutter, I’m paying more attention to my in-camera settings, and I’m beginning to understand light in a more thorough capacity- I LOVE IT. I just sent off my rolls of 120 from this past weekend to Indie Film Lab and I’m already doing the impatient dance- I cannot WAIT to see how they turned out!

Also, I realize the irony of me shooting these images with my 5dmkii, very-much-so digital camera. Give me a break- I only decided what I was going to blog when I was washing my hair this morning. (being in the middle of leaving a corporate job and transitioning to full-time photography is KIND of stressful)

Happy Wednesday!

[...] exposures and ruin this absolutely perfect morning with such a lovely couple. But thanks to a) my FIND book, 2) extensive research on exposing Fuji and III) my new light meter (oh, and the grace of God), [...]

Rachel - May 24, 2012 - 7:35 am

I love your pink pillow with the buttons! It’s so cute! :)

Karen Field - May 23, 2012 - 10:42 pm

I love your enthusiasm! I’m glad that this book fits that niche you are currently in. I’m also glad that it has encouraged you in your digital work, too. Yippee!

Robyn - May 23, 2012 - 7:55 pm

P.S. The book was at the library here in Williamsburg! I checked it out this afternoon, and I’m already halfway through it. Loving it!

Jean Hensley - May 23, 2012 - 3:44 pm

How lucky are you to win the very book you loved so much!! Glad you got it.

Spring - May 23, 2012 - 9:41 am

ohh i just might love that book. I wish I could shoot medium format film all the time but until I have a dark room of my own to develop and print not sure I can justify the cost… maybe next year after my own wedding is done draining my bank account :)

robyn - May 23, 2012 - 9:36 am

Perfect timing! I just ordered my first film SLR this morning, and I’m looking forward to experimenting with it. “FIND” is not in my budget at the moment, but I may be able to find it at the library. :)

Justin Ferry - May 23, 2012 - 8:35 am

Awesome. I may have to take a trip to B&N and give this a glance. I have been wanting to renew my love for photography in the film form. This may be just what I need to get started.

Stephen - May 23, 2012 - 8:17 am


Life updates!

There are a ton of really exciting things going on around our house right now and I’m just bursting to share them all! Buuuut I can’t. So I’m giving y’all a few teasers in hopes to jacking up your interest :). How’s that for honest intentions?

First, there’s the looming deadline that will mean the transition from a double life of corporate offices and shooting on weekends to a career of nothing but full-time photo biz. I’m counting down the days (10!) with excitement but I’m also incredibly nervous. I had a feeling that an episode of extreme anxiety is near on the horizon. But I’m sure that’s normal, right? RIGHT?!

Check out this screen shot sneak peek of my new website!!! Rachael and Kara of Earl & Layne have been working so diligently and have been so patient with me to make sure this site is absolutely perfect, and I couldn’t be more pleased. Working with a designer that really GETS you is so so important, and Kara, Rachael and I have definitely found my design sweet spot! I can’t wait for my new ShowIt site and blog update to go live!! On a related note, make sure y’all mark this blog (the one you’re reading right now) will be shifting its domain to make room on for my static website that hosts just my galleries and such. Two different URLs! Happy times!

 I know I shared a sneak preview of the styled shoot on yesterday’s Monday Mash-Up, but then I came across THIS beauty in LR and absolutely had to share. Get ready for a whole heap of awesome, my friends. Oh my GOSH I love golden hour! Also, how freaking awesome is that hair piece?!

Virginia horse farm wedding shoot

Happy Tuesday!

Jasika - May 30, 2012 - 9:59 am


Shauna Ploeger - May 22, 2012 - 2:01 pm

Love it Abby!

Mia Bjerring - May 22, 2012 - 1:44 pm

I love that light!! So beautiful! And you new site is looking awesome! I’m excited to see the final result!

Malia [Something Navy] - May 22, 2012 - 12:15 pm

Definitely can’t wait to see the new site! And the styled shoot … swooning!

Amanda Apple [Anthomanic] - May 22, 2012 - 11:55 am

agreed, more more more, now now now! :D hehehe :) Can’t wait to see the rest — since I wasn’t there I’m tempted by the details I know and can’t wait to see!!!!! :D

bree [capitolromance] - May 22, 2012 - 11:53 am

more more more…. now now now!!! LOVE that light!

Rici - May 22, 2012 - 9:48 am

Beautiful Bride!! And can´t wait for your new domain! WOW you are growing! Saluti.

Emilia Jane - May 22, 2012 - 8:52 am

New site!! I can’t wait to see :-D

molly - May 22, 2012 - 8:19 am

holy crap that sneak peek is amazing!!

Wendy {Weswen Design} - May 22, 2012 - 8:05 am

DYING over her hairpiece! It’s so adorable! :)

Katie Nesbitt - May 22, 2012 - 8:04 am

So excited for you to go full time!!! You have worked so hard, you deserve it!!!

Stephen - May 22, 2012 - 8:04 am


Rebekah Hoyt - May 22, 2012 - 7:57 am

OMG that sneak peek pic is GORGEOUS!!! That lighting is unreal – so golden and amazing!

Erin Schrad - May 22, 2012 - 7:51 am

Can’t wait to see the new site!

Monday Mash-Up

Good Monday morning everyone! I’ve been up since 5:30 and am already cracked out on coffee- how’s your morning shaping up? This’ll be aquick Monday Mash-Up, but here we go with a few lessons learned from this weekend:

  • Cotton candy shrivels and dissolves in sunlight
  • Don’t make a batch of meringues with the intention of not eating them for three days because you need them for a shoot- it’s torture.
  • Lily is now a kleptomaniac. She steals EVERYTHING and then darts underneath either the couch, table or bed, where she knows it takes both of us to reach her. Trouble is, sometimes there’s only ONE of us home.
  • 11 days left til I start the biggest/most terrifiying adventure of my life!

And because I love leaving you with something sweet, here’s a preview of the styled shoot that went down yesterday :). Enjoy!

Happy Monday!

Jean Hensley - May 21, 2012 - 7:53 pm

Great photo, Abby. Can’t wait to see the rest. You are so talented.

Jessica@TWB - May 21, 2012 - 10:56 am

Whoa can’t wait to see more from the shoot!

molly - May 21, 2012 - 9:56 am


bree [capitolromance] - May 21, 2012 - 9:18 am

this is just what i needed this morning – i am DRAGGING but this shot made it worth it :) cannot WAIT to see more!

Julie Flury - May 21, 2012 - 8:56 am

Coffee, coffee, coffee!! Had a blast yesterday, this image is amazing and I am flippin excited to see the rest!

Wendy {Weswen Design} - May 21, 2012 - 7:44 am

OMG they are TOO cute!! Dying to see/hear how it went!

Rebekah Hoyt - May 21, 2012 - 7:42 am

AMAZING! This picture is adorable! MORE MORE MORE!!!

Natalie Franke - May 21, 2012 - 7:30 am

This is so fun! Now, I wonder who that super cute couple is…? Hm? ;)

Amanda Apple [Anthomanic] - May 21, 2012 - 7:04 am

cracked out on coffee — you’re my kind of girl :D Glad I got to meet you Abby, hopefully lots more shoots in the future so I can see you more! Sorry I was so dull and lifeless the other day being sick :/ Hope the shoot rocked!

We’re finally married!

I know we’ve technically been married for 16 months now, but now it really feels official because we JUST hung our first wedding image! Last fall I made fun of myself for being a terrible excuse for a wedding photographer due to the lack of my own wedding images on display in our apartment, and I’m glad to say we’ve finally made the first step toward recovery.

In all seriousness, I am so freakin in love with this canvas!! It arrived yesterday from Simply Canvas (perks of being a photog!) and I squealed when I opened the box- it’s PERFECT! My wedding photographer Terra has an incredibly unique style- I’ve never seen anything like it, and I doubt I ever will. Her work is ART and this canvas proves it- look at those colors! I ordered our canvas in a 24×30 and I was slightly concerned that it was going to be too big, but I think I could have gone a  little bigger if I’d wanted it to. All part of my canvas theory that bigger is better! It just feels good to finally have something from our wedding on display. Next up: an album. I WILL get that done this summer.

PS- please excuse our badly-decorated home. I have no interior design skills. NONE.

Simply Canvas 24x30

Simply Canvas 24x30

This is Matt pretending he doesn’t like to have his photo taken. Don’t let him fool you- he really loves it.

Simply Canvas 24x30

Happy Friday!

Rhiannon - May 21, 2012 - 10:21 am

What a stunning photo, Abby! We just hung our first photo too. Feels kind of like an occassion for some bubbly, no? :)

Karen Field - May 18, 2012 - 7:09 pm

The canvas looks great!

Terra Dawn - May 18, 2012 - 1:51 pm

Yup…now when someone asks me “Terra! Is that a bad case of rosatia? I didn’t know you had skin problems!” I’ll say “No. This is just left over from a bout of blushing I had while reading a blog post from the always lovely, Abby Springmann.”

Thanks for the new skin condition, Abby.

Now…if you could just get FACEBOOK to recognize your marriage!! *sigh*

Kathy - May 18, 2012 - 1:42 pm

It’s so pretty! Awesome! :)

Sabrina - May 18, 2012 - 11:45 am

Abby – it’s beautiful! Gosh, that’s such a gorgeous image. We just ordered a canvas from our wedding and I went all out… it’s a 30×40!! Yes, it’s huge but I love it! Bigger is always better :-)

Lindsey - May 18, 2012 - 10:40 am

YOUNLOOK GORGEOUS! And I love that image :)

Mia Bjerring - May 18, 2012 - 9:58 am

I love it!! It is so beautiful! You two make such a beautiful couple and I must say I love your wedding dress!

Jean Hensley - May 18, 2012 - 9:19 am

It’s beautiful, Abby. It was a beautiful wedding and what a great way to remember it.

Laura Gordon - May 18, 2012 - 8:56 am

Lovely! It’s perfect :)

Hannah Rancourt - May 18, 2012 - 8:44 am

I want to have canvases on my walls!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE yours, it’s PERFECT! :-)

Matt - May 18, 2012 - 8:43 am

I don’t like my picture taken. I used to run away from the camera when I was younger. Ironic that I married a photographer :P

molly - May 18, 2012 - 8:38 am

YAY!!!! and that canvas is AMAZING!

Currie - May 18, 2012 - 8:28 am

Beautiful canvas of a beautiful couple :-)

Alicia Lacey - May 18, 2012 - 8:19 am

your wedding dress is to die for, so classic!!

Megan Roldan - May 18, 2012 - 8:04 am

LOVE this! that is probably one of my favorite of your wedding photos. and you definitely could’ve gone bigger ;) enjoy!