Shooting More Now, Enjoying it Less?

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

One of the most interesting aspects of digital image capture is that we—at least its seems for me—appear to shoot more images for a typical photo session than we did when shooting film for a similar project. For a typical model test shoot, I used to expose two to three rolls of 35mm film through my SLRs. Sometimes these were even 24 exposure rolls, so a model test shoot might normally consist of 72 to 108 photographs, some of which would be scanned (remember Kodak Photo CD?) and portfolio prints made.

Now I’m shooting these same kind of sessions with mirrorless cameras and am making a more shots than normal. How many? A typical shoot now consists of 200-300 photographs, quadruple my normal film-based sessions. The actual number of frames captured at session with the model show  was 274. Are my photographs better than when I was shooting film? I am positive that not worrying about film or processing costs lets me produce more images faster. At least that’s my theory so I asked a few friends.

One of Shutterbug’s former editors told me that it “could be true. I did a shoot with a model last week. I shot three rolls of 120 film, two rolls of 35mm but 600 digital shots with my digital SLR! I tend to shoot a lot faster when working with digital and go ahead and take shots I would have passed on with film.”

A wedding photographer told me, “Just thinking about the film and processing cost savings eases the resistance to pressing the shutter.” But it’s here where that the law of unintended consequences begins to peek its head out of the water. He then told me “at a wedding I did Sunday I found myself holding back toward the end—I was about out of storage cards! I went back through images, deleting a few that wouldn’t make the first edit.”


It’s not just on assignments that we shoot more digital frames than we would have shot with film in the past. Another part of any kind of photo shoot is making tests to check exposure, much as we would use Polaroid film in the past.

So maybe a better question might be: Is making all these additional exposures adding premature wear and tear on digital cameras, especially their shutters, than their film counterparts might have experienced? But to answer the question, I do think my images are better because it allows me the freedom to explore other variations, such as shooting  with the Skink Pinhole lens.