Creativity Exercise: Shoot a Roll of Film

One of the benefits of digital photography is that you have the freedom to take hundreds of images during a single session and delete them as you go. But with the ability to delete so readily, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of not giving each image the attention it needs. We get lazy, we overshoot, we rush things, we hope for the best out of a bunch. We shoot through the moment in case something else happens. We often end up with hundreds of not so great images. But remember the days of film when you only had 24 frames to shoot? When you didn’t see them until you had your film developed?


This week we’re going to shoot film (or at least pretend to!). You can use a film camera if you have one, or just pretend you only have one roll of film in your DSLR. Head out for the day, or stay in and shoot, but limit yourself to 24 images only!

Don’t chimp and delete! Don’t even chimp and scroll through to see how you’re going. Avoid looking at your preview screen at all! Don’t look at the images until you upload them to the computer at the end of the exercise (when you reach 24 frames).

It may be a bit of a challenge at first and you might be surprised by how quickly you get to 24, especially if you’re shooting a tricky scene or a fast moving child! Hopefully the end result will be stronger images, but less time spent clicking the shutter. Your hard drive will also thank you, and you’re editing time will be shortened with less images to cull and edit.


How did you go? Have you composed properly, focused properly, thought about the light, the moment for each image taken? How many did you love? How many did you delete? Did you take a wide variety of images and compositions, or are they all very similar to each other? Do you feel like you missed any moments because you didn’t want to use up all of your frames too quickly?


You can do this exercise on an outing, over the course of a day, or take the whole week. Do it as many times as you like. You’ll soon discover the merits of slowing down, thinking about each shot and taking your time!

We’d love to see how you did so please share your images on IG and tag us with #unscriptedmentoring.

- Jenny