Have you ever photographed with a camera which required either a negative or positive film? How was that experience? Is this something which you think you could do once again easily and produce the same results you get right now with digital? With a film camera there is not the opportunity to check the histogram for exposure, adjust the white balance and look at your result. It all comes with instinct and knowledge of exposure and judging a scene when shooting with film.
Why do I ask these questions? Since it is a good check to make sure you understand the basics of photography and can produce a consistent result no matter what type of camera you are using. I was also reminded of this and how important it is to have this skill with the release of the new Sports Illustrated Slide Show book which looks at past covers and the corresponding slide. What you will notice is that cropping needs to take place to fit the need of the cover, but also you see how important it is to know the exposure and factors for making a proper image. Now just like with digital during the printing process some tweaks do have to be made, but think about how difficult lighting conditions can be at a sporting event plus throw in the limitation of 36 frames on a roll of film as well before having to change cameras or rolls on the fly. People say that with digital so wide spread now in the industry knowing the basics is not as important, however having the technical skills in place will always improve your image and let you concentrate on the many other factors which must be considered when creating an image.
A fun project which I do is to shoot film every so often for fun and see what result you get with your images. You may be surprised at the result, but it also makes sure you are sharp with the basics and remember everything which must be considered as there is no “cheating” or “chimping” using film. By keeping fresh on the basics, your photography will continue grow and the results will just become natural as is the case in the new SI Slide Show book.