UPDATE: Registration for EMULSIVE Santa 2019 has closed.

There is a little over one week to go before registration for EMULSIVE Secret Santa 2019 closes, so it seems to be an appropriate time to remind those of you dragging your feet to sign up before it’s too late! While you’re here, there’s also a bit in the way of an announcement (SPONSORS!) and a few shopping/gifting hints and tips to those of you playing for the first time.

Let’s begin with a gentle reminder in three parts:

The mention of removal from the event may seem harsh but historically speaking, players who do not set profile pictures or create wish lists are “high risk” and over 90% of no-shows fall into this bracket. Last year’s event had 1,160+ players and although it was 40% larger than 2018, it had fewer no-shows than previous years. This would not have been possible without enforcing these requirements.

On a personal note, there are only two of us manually matching everyone this year. The process typically takes a couple of days and a little delay on one end means a longer delay on the other. It’s a requirement based on making the event safer for everyone and to protect the sanity of myself and Aislinn.

How to register

Visit the announcement page. After reading about the event and associated rules, use the form there and complete part one of the two-step registration.

Why two steps? Part one is to collect information about players that will be used to provide a sign-up link for Elfster. If there are any issues with matching, we’ll use those details to get in touch and fix them.

Once you’re signed up to the event, this is what you’ll see:

Welcome to EMULSIVE Santa 2019
Welcome to EMULSIVE Santa 2019

Let’s move to the next step: creating your wish list. Tap the green button on the screen above to proceed.

Create or add to a wish list

Your wish list can contain anything you’d like to ask for and you can also use it to describe yourself in a bit more detail. It is NOT a shopping list and your match has no obligation to buy you what you add here. Don’t let that stop you from adding a Hasselblad or a Leica but don’t expect one to magically appear if you do.

There are three ways to add items to your wish list:

Search and add an item

Here’s the quickest way to add an item to your wishlist: search.


Adding a wish list item using search
Adding a wish list item using search

Elfster uses a network of online stores as part of their search but it might not always find the item you’re looking for. If you have something in mind and have a link, just…

Paste a link from another website

If you can find the item you’d like to add on any other website, copy it, then go ahead and tap the “more options” link:

Paste the link into the top box, then click “Add” before finalising the details and saving it. Don’t have a link or just want to add some free text? In that case, you just…

Add free text

If you can’t find the item online OR you just want to add something that’ll tell your match about you, use the “Just Text” option to add something. You can also use this option to write something about you and what it is you shoot/read/like.

Don’t stop at just one item. Keep adding. The more you have there, the more your match (your Santa) will know about you and the easier it will be for them to get something you’ll be able to use. The most successful players are those who tell they Santa what they shoot and the kind of things they want.

There’s one more step: you need to set a custom profile picture.

Setting a custom profile picture

Once you’re registered and you’ve set up your wish list, your final step is to add a custom profile picture. It doesn’t have to be a photo of you if you don’t want it to be. The important thing is to make sure you change it to something other than the default.

Here’s how:

Click on the default profile picture icon at the top right of the page and from the menu that appears, select “My settings”. You can click on the default profile picture on the next page and upload an image to use.

2019’s sponsors!

I’ll admit to a bit of backpedalling. It was my plan not to have any sponsors for this year’s event. What changed? I don’t want sponsors to turn into a “grab” for people’s attention and decided to would pause them this year for reasons stated in the 2019 announcement article. It’s about the community first and the businesses supporting it second (sorry guys).

That said, having sponsors involved with EMULSIVE Secret Santa has always been a part of the event and on reflection, to keep them out seemed a bit of a disservice to the community.

With that in mind, I started making calls shortly after the event was announced and I can tell you that at the time of writing — and following the very lightest of arm-twisting — EMULSIVE Secret Santa 2019 has 27 wonderful sponsors who will be sending out everything from cameras and film, to bags, merchandise and goodies.

Here they are in all their glory:

EMULSIVE Secret Santa 2019 Sponsors
EMULSIVE Secret Santa 2019 Sponsors

Or another way: ADOX, Analogue Wonderland, Billingham Bags, Carmencita Lab, Cinestill, Chroma Camera, Cool Film Club, CPC London, Eastman Kodak Company, Film Folk, Film Washi, Foma Bohemia, ILFORD, Intrepid, Kodak Professional, Kosmo Foto, Let’s Explore Magazine, Lomography, Mixam Print, Official Exclusive, Parallax Photographic Coop, PhotoKlassik International, pixl-latr, Print File, Shoot Film Co, Solarcan, Tap & Dye

…and more are coming.

27 amazing companies so far. Some new, some old, some very old, all coming together to celebrate their love of the community they support. It’s also likely that this is the only time you’ll see all these logos and brand marks in one place at the same time. It’s truly humbling to be able to bring them together, even if it is in a very small way.

Each of the 80+ individual sponsor gifts will be shipped out to randomly selected players in December once the main match takes place in early November.

Gifting, a quick how-to

Everyone knows how to receive a gift, sending one can be a little different. It’s not fair to assume everyone knows how to send a gift and with the holiday season and its other distractions, it can take a bit of effort to prepare and send a gift.

Here’s a quick three-point helping hand on research, preparation, sending and receiving.

Researching your gift

Here’s a simple mantra to follow: gift as you would like to receive. By this, I mean that a little effort goes a long way and for 2019’s event, you’re getting several weeks to prepare your gifts before sending them. Here are a few tips to help smooth the process.

As you know by now, each player has a wish list. Once you have been matched up, jump into their wishlist using the link you’ll be provided with and have a look around. It should provide you with everything you need to know about them.

If you need more information, you can contact them via direct message on Elfster. There’s a box you can check to send your message anonymously. All they’ll know is that their Santa is getting in touch to ask a question.

PROTIP: The most successful pairings in previous years have come from players who use Elfster’s anonymous messages to contact their matches.

Preparing your gift

Once you’ve figured out what you’re going to send, pop some local sweets in, add a card or note, maybe even a print or an instant photo before sending it off.

At this point, feel free to let them know who you are in your card. Share your social media or other contact details so that they can say thank you.

If you’re struggling to find film photography curios and nick-nacks, there’s a quick list of online stores a little further below.

Sending your gift

Make sure your gift is suitably wrapped and don’t forget to include that card/letter and some local sweets.

For your own safety and sanity, I would recommend you use a registered/tracked postal option when sending your gift. It’ll make life much easier in the event there’s a problem with the mail.

On receipt of your gift

If your Santa has been following these guidelines, you should be safe to open the parcel on receipt. Go ahead and take a few photos and post them on social media using the #EMULSIVESanta19 hashtag. You can also tag EMULSIVEfilm on Twitter and Instagram and EMULSIVEsanta on Twitter.

Important: Don’t open your gift until Christmas Day (or the 24th/26th depending on your cultural/family norms. When the time comes, go for it and please make sure you post a photo on social media using the accounts/hashtag above!

Places to buy gifts

Christmas time means that postal services will be busy and more prone to failure, so the earlier you send, the better. Remember to package responsibly and in the same manner you’d expect to receive something yourself.

There’s Amazon, B&H, eBay and a whole bunch of large online retailers you can buy film and other nick-nacks from but what about buying local and supporting smaller, independent stores? I’ve published an updated list from Aislinn’s 2017 buyer’s guide below.

If you end up using a larger company to get your gifts, please, please, please don’t use them to ship direct. If you absolutely have to, please let me know via Elfster first.

Analogue Wonderland – analoguewonderland.co.uk
Analogue Wonderland, run by Paul and Mary stocks over 200 film stocks and at a little over a year old is one of the youngest stores on this list. They are based in the UK and ship worldwide.

ars-imago – ars-imago.com
You may have heard of Ars-imago, who have 2 retail locations – Rome and Zurich. They carry a complete range of products for the analog junkie, including their own chemistry.

Brooklyn Film Camera
www.brooklynfilmcamera.com
While they have very limited selections on film and some cameras, their apparel line is awesome! I reckon they would be reinforcing their stocks with Christmas around the corner.

Camera Film Photo – camerafilmphoto.com
CFP is the most established (and complete) online analog film store at the heart of Asia – Hong Kong. They’ll ship worldwide and offer expedited services. I know a few players last year used them to help fill stockings!

Film Photography Project – filmphotographyproject.com
Michael Raso & his team have always stood for advocating film photography to the world in a friendly and engaging platform. But their website is also a one-stop-shop for all things analog, from film of many formats (including hard to find 620 and 110), to cameras.

Film Is Not Dead – filmsnotdead.com
Another UK based company, FilmisNotDead is a fun little stop for cameras and film. Browse their selection of point and shoot cameras.

Film Folk – film-folk.com
This is Aislinn’s own little film and film photography accessory store based in Manila.

Fotoimpex – fotoimpex.com
ADOX affiliate and keepers of one of the largest assortments of film and traditional photography products in Europe.

Husband and Wife Shop – husbandandwifeshop.com
Based in Bangkok, Husband and Wife Shop was submitted by @gnarlykitty. She says: “Husband and Wife Shop is my go-to online store locally. They also ship internationally and accept PayPal. They have a lot of darkroom supplies as well as a well-stocked photography book section. One of its owners is also a known street photographer.”

Kosmo Foto – kosmofoto.com
Based in the UK, Kosmo Foto is both a long-running film photography blog and creator of Kosmo Foto Mono 100. There’s a bunch of film, apparel and other stuff in the store and they ship worldwide!

Japan Camera Hunter – japancamerahunter.com
Bellamy Hunt aka Japan Camera Hunter isn’t all about gorgeous and highly sought after cameras and lenses. He also has his own range of JCH Streetpan 400 film and of course, the now-ubiquitous JCH film case.

LABEAURATOIRE – labeauratoire.com
Lance Rothstein’s LA-BOW-RA-TWAR is a quirky underbelly of hand-rolled rare, obscure, and the “most intriguing films available in the planet” from ORWO, Perutz, old Gevaert, Ferrania etc, etc. Lance’s selection always encourages experimentation. And with his own fun labels, it’s like shopping in a film candy store.

LABO ARGENTIQUE – labo-argentique.com
Located in Vicq-sur-Breuilh France.

Nation Photo – nationphoto.com
Paris-based Nation Photo has a few lab/shops in the city (as well as an online store) with a healthy inventory of film. Their stores are at the center of town, friendly, and during my short visit there, I enjoyed the chat with the folks manning the front. It is really run by like-minded passionate analog shooters.

Parallax Photographic Coop – parallaxphotographic.coop
Based on London, Parallax provides a huge variety of film stocks AND darkroom supplies. Well worth checking out!


Photo Warehouse – photowarehouse.co.nz
In New Zealand, your best bet for fresh film is Photo Warehouse.

Shoot Film Co – shootfilmco.com
Mike Padua has created an online store that caters to every film nerd’s desire to accessorize his/her life with witty stickers, patches, pins, and buttons. From $1.99 per sticker to pins priced under $10, it won’t break the bank to shower your partner with colorful film-related sundries. Also, Mike is the creator of the PhotoMemo Journal that helps keep your film journey organized.

Walkens – walkens.com.au
Based in Melbourne Australia, Walkens stock film, cases and accessories, including some gear from Mike Paduas Shoot Film Co above. If you’re in Oz and are looking for fast delivery times, give them a shout!

Wrapping up

There’s not much more to say apart from to remind you to get those profile pictures and wish lists sorted and to have fun. Make it easy for your match to get back to you with their thanks, or tag you on social media and if you’ve got any questions, just drop me a line via the contact page here and I’ll do what I can to help.

Finally, here’s a checklist:

  • Register before October 31st 2019.
  • Create a wishlist with more than one item.
  • Set a custom profile picture.
  • Include a note/letter in your gift and send it tracked if possible.
  • Post photos of the gifts you’re sending on social media.
  • Post photos of what you’ve received on social media.
  • Don’t open your gifts until December 24th at the earliest!
  • Post photos of what you got on social media.
  • Spread the love of film and traditional photography to your fellow community members 🙂

Thanks for reading and here’s to an amazing 5th annual EMULSIVE Santa!

~ EM

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EMULSIVE is all about promoting knowledge transfer across the film photography community. You can help by contributing your thoughts, work and ideas to inspire others reading these pages: check out the submission guide.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. How do the sponsors fit in with this? Are they picking names out of a hat and sending stuff to random people? It wasn’t really clear to me in the post.
    I’m excited to see how this year goes – I’m still in contact with my elf from last year, sharing tips and photos

    • I’ve just updated the article – well caught. Each sponsor gift will be going to a randomly selected player after the main match takes place in november.

  2. I’m superexcited and already preparing @fotoimpex ❤️ thanks so much for this brilliant chance to bring people together & compliments for the great organization!

  3. I didnt select international when I set up – I feel like this is a shame. Can I go back and edit this? If I set international will that guarantee I will get someone international to send me my gift?

    • You can click “Change Reply” in the left bar of the event page on Elfster. That’ll open a panel on the right where you can change your preference for SENDING a gift. It won’t mean that you’ll get a gift from abroad but it will mean that there’s a very strong chance you’ll be matched to send to someone in another country. Right now, a little over half of all players have this option selected.

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