Posted in TIPS & TRICKS, TOY CAMERAS by Nicole Gelinas on June 6, 2012

I have decided that I am not going to have a film photography blog and not pretend like I don’t have a digital camera, because I do and I LOVE to use it just as much as a film camera! Just know that equipment alone does not make a good photographer. Phototgraphy is an art and the shooter is the artist. You need to have a vision, or an idea of what you want to make your image look like. It should be a thoughtful process in your mind. Part of that process is deciding which tools you are going to use and making good choices based on your vision. Just like an artist who chooses which medium to use, which brushes to paint with, and how to apply the paint to the canvas, your choices about photo equipment are directly related. Choose your camera with your end result (vision) in mind. If you want a very sharp, exact photo of what you are looking at then digital is a good choice. If you want to be more free and allow for happy accidents and interesting shifts then a toy camera would be the better choice.

Both images are SOOC (straight out of camera) with no adjustments.


Shot with a toy camera using expired color film, has soft focus, and color shifts

Expect the unexpected when using toy cameras. You never know what to expect, so don’t try to guess. Half of the fun of toy cameras is being surprised by the results you get!

The film photo gives more of an emotional connection with the place. It seems more like a storybook place instead of an actual place.


Shot with Canon Rebel XTi, has sharp focus, bright vivid colors, extra detail in bright and shadow areas.

You know exactly what you will get by looking at the display on the back of your camera.

You get a very accurate depiction of what you are seeing in the real world.

I am not saying that you cannot be artistic with a digital camera because you really can, but I just want to show the difference in feeling between the two images. To me the analog image just brings so much more emotion and begins to tell a story without too much effort as opposed to the digital photo which is very exact, and while beautiful and exposures are “correct” and all that jargon, on its own seems to look like just another photo of another place. Does anyone else see this?

For these reasons I try to choose my camera wisely before I go out shooting, at least if I know what I am going to be shooting! I try to imagine what I want the photos to look like and then match my vision with the camera that will get the job done. Make sense?

Know the role of your camera (what it will produce and its functionality), what you want to capture and how you want to capture it, and finally how you want the end result to look. These decisions beforehand will lead to better photos in the end and make you a happy photographer!



Posted in 35MM CAMERAS, TIPS & TRICKS, TOY CAMERAS by Nicole Gelinas on March 13, 2012

The top image was taken while I was sitting in traffic on a bridge overlooking the water at sunset. This is why all of the frames look the same. The camera nor the subject were moving while I was exposing the film. The second shot (below) was taken while the car was moving. Notice how trusses of the bridge got into random shots. That is because each lens fires at a slightly different time giving you time to get new subjects in front of the frame! By doing this you will get eight mini images that are all slightly different (or very different depending on how quickly you can move your camera before all of the lenses fire!)

I also tried shooting right into the sunset with the Oktomat camera. I had no idea what to expect, but this actually turned out better the I though. The images were very red and orange. It does add quite a mood to the images though. It is almost like they were shot in some desert area as opposed to Seattle! You might also notice on the image on the right that there is only six mini shots instead of eight. This is because the film ran out on this shot, but I really liked the black and red strip at the bottom. It goes so nicely with the colors of the photo!

If you want to experiment more with sequencing your images, here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Click the shutter release button and then move the camera around while the lenses are firing!
  • Have your subject move while you hold the camera steady then click the shutter!
  • Get crazy and have your subject move while you move the camera! Whoa right.
  • Put your camera on something while it moves (like your dogs back, a tiny sailboat, window of your car, etc)
  • Click the shutter release button and toss your camera in the air


Posted in TIPS & TRICKS by Nicole Gelinas on February 15, 2012

One of the many things I love doing is shopping at second-hand stores and yard sales. You can find some amazing things for a very low cost. One of the things I am always on the lookout for is camera gear. When a camera catches my eye my heart starts pounding and I get crazy excited over what I just found!

But what do you look for when you spot a vintage/used camera that you want to take photos with?

Here are some of the things I consider before purchasing a used camera:


  • Hold, open, and inspect the camera to see if it functions properly.
  • Open the back of the camera and look through the lens as you press the shutter button. Did you see the shutter open and close? Did it seem to stick or have issues?
  • Check all of the aperture settings by repeating the steps above.
  • Does the camera’s rewind and advance knobs work properly?
  • Do all the parts seem to be there? I always check for spools in vintage medium format cameras! Check the surrounding area where you found the camera. People often move things and takes things out and leave it sitting. There could also be accessories for you camera nearby!
  • Does the camera seem to be “light tight” when it is closed?
  • Is the film size of the camera available and/or affordable for your budget?
  • Does the camera run on batteries? If so, are they standard size or will you need to purchase specialized ones, or can it be converted?


  • Take an overall assecment of the camera.
  • Is there battery corrosion?
  • Are there visible scratches or clouding on the lens? If so, this will affect your photographs.
  • As a general rule, at least for me, if a camera looks like it is in pretty rough shape with large scratches and dents, then chances are this camera was not well taken care of by its previous owner and it is more of a risky purchase. Use your best judgement.


  • How clean/dirty is the camera?
  • If it is dirty, sticky, and icky do you have the cleaner to take care of the problem without causing damage? ie lens cleaner, goo remover ect.
  • Is it a piece worth taking the time to clean?
  • Does the camera look easy enough for you to take apart and put back together again?


  • Is the price resonable for what you will be getting?
  • Is the price still reasonable if you have to put in some extra efforts with cleaning, or maybe going in search of a missing part?
  • Consider costs of film also. As mentioned above, is your film readily available, or will it need to be special ordered?


  • Don’t let your emotions take over and purchase something that may not be usable (unless you are just a collector and could care less if the camera actually takes a good photograph)! Take your time inspecting before you purchase the camera. The last thing you want is to use up a roll of film in a camera that did not work.
  • DO SOME RESEARCH! Learn about how cameras actually work and the realm of possibilities will be endless. The great thing about older film cameras are they function by basic mechanics, not digital technology. This makes the camera easier to clean, change, and alter yourself WITHOUT BATTERIES! Also learning about different film sizes and which are still on the market is helpful.
  • You can usually find manuals for many cameras on the internet, but if you know how cameras work, I doubt you will need one!

Some people may be skeptical about buying used photo equipment from a place that does not specialize in camera gear, but if you take your time and pay attention to the little things, you may find a great deal!