My first roll of film was an exciting one. I had an old 1990s Canon film camera, the Elan II, for years and I had done absolutely nothing with it. I found myself bored with digital photography. It had become uninspiring to me, however, I still wanted to practice my photography. So I had to give myself a new challenge, something to keep me on my feet and in photography. I decided to finally break out the old film camera and practice film photography. I went to one of my local camera stores, picked up a nifty-fifty and a few rolls of black and white ILFORD film.

That same night, I went to my good friends’ place to hang out during band practice. It was there that I decided to shoot my first roll of film, ILFORD Delta 3200 Professional. The man in the camera store told me that I could get some good grungy photos with this film and that is exactly what I wanted. I loaded up my camera and started snapping shots of the band, The Future Misters.

I love rock n roll, live music, and my friends’ band. So this was the perfect setting to christen my journey into the world of film photography. I knew that no matter what happened, this roll was going to be special, even if it came out not looking so great! It was going to be the start of a new path in film photography.

The basement where they play was very dimly lit. This was going to be a challenge for my first roll. I went with my aperture wide open at f/1.8 with shutter speeds of 1/125 and 1/60. I had to let enough light into the frame, while also shooting a fast enough shutter speed to get a crisp image of the band. I rocked out, shot the whole roll, and that was that. I had exposed my first roll of film with a camera that had been sitting in a box for about three years since I got it.

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A couple of days after exposing the roll, I took it back to the camera store to have them develop and scan it. I do not know why, but that whole process took the better half of a week. I checked my email constantly, waiting impatiently for my pictures. I felt like a kid waiting for Christmas morning, except I didn’t know when it was coming! Sure enough, though, the pictures came through. And considering the lighting conditions, I could not have been happier with my first roll of film.

It was a learning experience for me and I continue to learn with every frame and every roll of film I shoot. There will always be new things to learn, new techniques to master, and I am excited for every single bit of it. Not every shot is perfect, but I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do. These pictures will always have a special little place in my heart.

~ Zak

Want to share your first roll or sheet of film?

Poorly exposed, badly framed and blurry photos? No-one is perfect, especially when shooting their first roll of film...but that's ok and I'd like to spread that message. Submit as many frames from your first roll as you're able to with an accompanying text of at least 500 words using this Google form. If you would prefer to submit another way, please use the contact link at the top of the page.

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About the author

Avatar - Zak DenHartigh

Zak DenHartigh

I'm just trying to find my way by taking the most indirect route possible. I'll share the views from the trip with the trusty film camera. Hopefully, I get lost.


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  1. I’d be pretty pleased with those. Shot quite a few band photos when I was younger. Been a while since I’ve shot low light and you’ve encouraged at least one person to try some Delta.