The Analog Process - Part 3



If you shoot film, it doesn't take very long for you to realize that this is an expensive hobby. 10-ish bucks per roll, 10-20-ish per dev & scan, and that's for an average 36 shots on each roll. So depending on what film you're shooting and where you're getting your film developed, that's 20 bucks for every 36 pictures you take, $1.80 per shot, on the low end. It adds up fast. Over the next few posts, we'll go over some of the ways I've cut down cost (while taking more control of the images I make) so I could shoot more film.

My first step in this process was to start scanning my own film. Scans are expensive, so having the lab develop my film and doing the scans at home saved me a ton of money over time. I'm going to keep this lightweight, scanners are a beast of a topic, and one I've only scratched the surface. Here are a few things I've learned:

1. It Takes Forever 

Scanning takes sooooooo long. Well, at least longer than it takes to have the lab do it for you. So have some snacks and a good playlist ready. (My current album of choice is Anchovies (link)).

2. Go Used

I found an old Canoscan 9000 for 50 bucks on IG. It's not the best scanner, but it was cheap and gave me a good platform to learn the basics. I didn't stick with it forever, bit got some solid scans and some good direction for when I wanted to upgrade.

3. Know Your Options 

There are multiple ways that you can scan your negatives. Flatbed scanners are probably the most popular, especially if you're shooting formats other than 35mm (most have the ability to scan at least 35mm and medium format) but drum scanners are cool too, and typically faster. My current method is more experimental, using a DSLR and a 3D printed rig to hold the negatives.

4. Online Learning

This one goes without saying, but online courses are your friend. From reviews to tutorials, online learning is essential to, well... everything! The more you learn to do on your own, the more control you have of your art, and over enough time, the more money you'll save. A little experimentation and some elbow grease will unlock a world of potential. Let's dive a bit deeper down the rabbit hole!