How to Take Colored Film Photos


Jennifer Lawrence is all about colorful mayhem. With signature Kodak Ektar film loaded and ready to go, this Chicago-based lifestyle photographer lives, breathes and sleeps in color, embracing experimentation along the way.

As the weather warms up and summer arrives, we chatted with Lawrence about her sources of inspiration, all the colorful props in her gear bag, how she got back to filmmaking after the digital revolution and how it helps photographers rekindle their own colorful creativity. .

“I love that more and more people are getting colorful and taking pictures, whether it’s film soup (immersing the film in liquid to change the emulsion) or double exposures,” says -she. “The more things I can do behind closed doors to create wonder, the better. I haven’t done any of that with digital.

Related: Go back to the cinema? Here’s what changed

A double exposure made in England during Lawrence’s “Hello Happy” retreat. Jennifer Lawrence

Return to cinema from digital

Like many, Lawrence had traded in his film camera for a sleek DSLR during the “digital revolution.” However, as much as she tried, it just didn’t reach her vision.

“I love the color in life,” she shares. “I’ve always tried to achieve this look with digital…I could never make it as bright and colorful as I wanted it to be, or as I saw it in my head. And then Ektar, it’s just magic for that.

She fell back into film after attending a workshop. Although she came as a digital photographer, the workshop was film-focused, and that’s when things started to click. Lawrence began to learn on her own, mostly through trial and error. At the time, there weren’t many workshops for photographers outside of the fine art and wedding fields.

jennifer lawrence photography
Lawrence likes to find ways to highlight popular photo locations, like this pier in San Clemente, California. Jennifer Lawrence

Early on, she shot a roll of what is now her signature film, Ektar, and one of those images with a pink inner tube remains her favorite and most iconic to this day. “It was the image that literally sparked my love for Ektar,” Lawrence recalled. “That was it. It was my very first Ektar roll.

Today, film is pretty much all she shoots – Lawrence is loath to break out a digital camera. His favorites for professional work are a Pentax 645N and a Canon EOS-1v. For personal work, she has a dedicated Canon 1v that has seen just about everything. Having been submerged in the ocean as well as the sand, she loves it but knows it won’t last long.

“It rusts,” she laughs. “I don’t know when it will die on me, but it will die on me one day.” Until then, however, you’ll find her with her at her favorite place: the beach.

Related: 5 Affordable Movies We Love and Why We Love Them

jennifer lawrence photography
Lawrence created this photo with a piece of fabric she brought to the shoot. Jennifer Lawrence

What’s in his gear bag – garlands included

“Targeting the Christmas bins? It’s a goldmine,” admits Lawrence. She pulls accessories out of her bag – sparkly pink garlands and prisms are just a few of the things to emerge. Here, experimentation is done without hesitation and the wacky results are greeted with enthusiasm. “It’s trial and error. There are so many cool things.

Target Christmas bins aren’t the only hot place to look for fun visual effects. On the shoots, Lawrence sometimes picks flowers. Once she carried a palm leaf to the beach. Even sheer fabric has come in handy.

“There’s a picture of a girl on the beach [I did] with polka dots on it,” Lawrence shares. “This is one of my favorite photos. She’s on the beach with little polka dot shadows all over her. It’s just really cool.

jennifer lawrence photography
Double exposure in Palm Springs. Jennifer Lawrence

Then there is the famous float. Anyone who follows Lawrence on Instagram is no stranger to the cheerful, summery photo of the shade of a pink inner tube on concrete.

“I’ll find specific tanks, because I want to see their shadows,” Lawrence explains. “Pink and blue, sometimes orange, or stripes. Anything the light will shine and you can see the color either in the ocean, or on the wall, or on the ground, or on the sand. I’ll wrap them up and I won’t let anyone take them. These are coming home with me.

Help other photographers dive into cinema

Drawing on his own learning experience when there wasn’t much catering for those who didn’t do weddings, Lawrence created two workshops: Film Camp and Hello Happy. The former serves as a boot camp for those who want hands-on training in their own foray into filmmaking, with access to instructors including photographers, labs and film makers like Kodak.

“I was learning myself, picking up the film and they were underexposed and muddy,” Lawrence recalled of his first foray. “Cinema is quite difficult. It’s a bit like a foreign language because it’s the exact opposite of digital shooting. It was a steep learning curve for me, or harder than I thought, and there was no education there unless you did fine art, beautiful weddings in Italian villas. And it wasn’t me. cinema camp [is] what I wanted to have when I first learned.

jennifer lawrence photography
Hello Happy is an experimental workshop where photographers can come and play and try new techniques. Jennifer Lawrence

Meanwhile, Hello Happy is more of a fun, relaxed workshop focused on spontaneous inspiration and experimentation.

“And if you just want to be creative and have fun with color and happiness and doubles [exposures] and just all the goodness? said Lawrence, explaining the concept. “It was just more of a creative escape, for those who already know how to make movies.”

Although price hikes and manufacturing delays sometimes make the film’s future fragile, the magic it creates is worth it, even in a digital world.

“Faster and digital aren’t always better,” Lawrence concludes. “We are witnessing the resurgence of reality [film] more albums. It looks better. And it’s just a cooler process.

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