At the start of the year I took a little hiatus from shooting photography.  It wasn’t scheduled or planned.  It was a spontaneous break.  I had a moment of realization that I needed to do it.  I needed to turn away from the online photography forums, and on a whim, I removed myself from my favorite online forum and also a few Facebook photography groups.  I shut down Photoshop and Lightroom and a breathed a happy sigh of relief.  However, hours after quickly severing those ties on that sunny January afternoon, I found myself sobbing in my car, feeling broken hearted.  I was already missing my friends, an online group of ladies who share this passion of mine, and already feeling like I was saying goodbye to a part of my past.  But I knew I needed something different for myself.  I knew that I HAD to step away.  In doing so, I also vowed to step away from critiquing other photographer’s work (because photographers are a tight knit community and we are often asking each other for critique of our work and always willing to help each other out).  I was finding that I was seeing negative first, noticing the little things that should be different in a photo, in order for a photo to be perfect.  And I was realizing that perfection is overrated.  In trying to be perfect, I found I was losing site of myself as an artist, seeing the negative first, and finding that my style was becoming lost in this sea of photos that are constantly flowing through the internet.  I knew that I needed change.

Just before I shut down the photography forums, and stepped away, I chanced upon a wonderful blog post written by the extra-ordinary Diana Palmer of Yan Photography.  Her blog post went viral.  It was called “Sick of It” (you should read it if you haven’t already).  Her predicament struck a cord with me and I fell in love with her attitude and her confident voice.  I dove deep into reading her heart-felt blog.  What I didn’t realize then, is that this one blog post would lay the foundation of my journey for the next 5 months.  I learned that Yan was shooting film and was part of a growing number of photographers who were still shooting film, and joining them were other photographers also turning back to film.  I was intrigued.  I loved film photography as a kid.  I loved winding to the next frame and waiting for the roll to be developed.  I was more than intrigued, I was beginning to find my direction again!  This was the start of a new path of self discovery.  I picked up a film camera at a local camera shop.  I began reading book after book on the subject, falling more in love each day with the unique beauty of portraits on film.  I started to buy film and I broke my ‘no internet’ pact and found a group of film photographers dedicated to helping others starting out.  I was hooked!  I was happy to slow down and enjoy photography again.  Shooting film forces you to slow down, there is no LCD on the back of the camera and each frame costs money.  And then you have to wait patiently to see the fruit of your labors.

It’s this wonderful and patient process of learning about film, shooting film and waiting for film to be developed where this blog post picks up.  In April, I was excited to meet up with Becky, an Arlington photographer, also shooting film.  I drove down to meet her and spend the afternoon talking about photography, film, metering and shooting.  I brought my digital camera along too (because I haven’t yet gained enough confidence in this new journey to shoot film exclusively and I wanted to be able to fall back on my digital images, just in case) and had a great afternoon shooting Becky’s adorable family.  Those scans FINALLY arrived last night and it’s an understatement to say that my heart was racing with anticipation as I opened my e-mail and began downloading the image files.

For me, embracing film is embracing a more organic side of photography where grain is beautiful and skin isn’t souped into model perfection and pores actually exist on skin.  While embracing film I have found that I am also embracing the imperfect photo, where motion blur shows life and the photography is about the moment.  A real moment without a head swapped in Photoshop to create the perfect combination.  I feel alive again.

Here it is, my first kind-sorta-portrait session mostly on film, and I am absolutely wearing my heart on my sleeve by sharing these here.  Details | Nikon F5 with Kodak Portra 160 and Fuji 400H | Nikon Digital.

hello film

Bellingham Washington Family Photographer Bellingham Children Portrait Photographer Fun Children's Photographer Bellingham Children Baby and Family Portraits Washington State Children's Photographer Fuji 400H Film Portraits Bellingham Washington Greater Seattle Family Portraits Whatcom County Photographer Images by Kristin Bellingham Family Photographer Whatcom County Film Photographer Bellingham Children's Portraits Bellingham Film Photographer Images by Kristin Children's Portraits Natural Family Portraits Bellingham Family Portrait Photographer Images by Kristin Bellingham Family Photographer

P.S.  Doesn’t Becky have the absolutely COOLEST camera?

  • Oh Kristin, I LOVE these!!!! You have captured all of their personalities perfectly! You are so incredibly talented and you totally rock film!! I’m glad that you have rediscovered film and are loving it, I know it was such a refreshing turn for me. Thank you thank you dear friend for capturing these beautiful images! xoxo

    • kristin_hemenway

      Becky, you made my day!! Taking a new path has put me in a vulnerable, emotional state – how will my film work compare and be received?! I am so happy that you love these shots. I just adore your family and had such a great time. Your kiddos are so sweet! I can’t wait to meet up again!

  • Oh my goodness! These are just crazy beautiful!! These gorgeous children and your amazing work….Perfect!

  • Whitley

    Ohhh Kristin! I loved this blog post. Thank you for sharing and your film images are fantastic. I think you and film are gonna be bff’s. :)

  • The way you have described film is perfect and you have captured all of these things! Life (by motion), imperfect perfection, raw emotion :). I adore this family and you have captured each of their personalities admirably. These are fabulous, especially for your first film session Kristin!

  • These are just fabulous! Love how you captured just the kids being kids and the interactions of mom with her little’s. It was like you weren’t even there!

  • These are wonderful! I’m so happy you were able to find fun in your passion againn! :)

  • THese are gorgeous and so is Becky and her family! I am happy for your journey to film Kristin! I wish you much luck in whatever you do. You have so much talent!!

  • ShellyS

    Beautiful work, as always, Kristin! Gorgeous family shots!

  • Kristin, these are absolutely beautiful! Film seems to like you! :)

  • The only thing I didn’t like about this post was thinking of you sobbing in your car. These are just wonderful. There’s just something about you, Kristin, and the way you think, and the way you shoot, that I am just completely enamoured by. You are a gem.

  • Goodness me! Beautiful images and a beautiful journey which is only just beginning by the sounds of it!

  • Kerri

    How is it that the “imperfections” that you speak of end up looking perfect to me? You. Perfectly imperfect.

  • WOW Kristen!!! I just got goosebumps! I love seeing you vulnerable, but yet truly kicking film’s behind – b/c girl these are WONDERFUL!!! I love seeing you excited and I just LOVE YOU!

  • Kerri

    I just looked at these photos on my large screen computer. Looking at them on an iphone does NOT do them justice. They are amazing. I absolutely love how the baby looks like a little cherry blossom against the blooming tree. And how you captured what looks like a true fascination for photography in the youngest sister. Lovely family!

  • wow you did AWESOME!! you rocked film! great color and love how you captured so many wonderful moments!!

  • Kristin these are perfection! Becky’s kiddos couldn’t be any cuter. I am so glad you took a break and truly found your passion and art again. Good for you! I’m really excited to see more film from you.

  • Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. I am so glad that you are rediscovering your joy and passion with film. These images are really beautiful! I can’t wait to see where your journey leads next.

  • Rachel

    Kristin, you are reviving what photography is about. Instead of the super edited look, you’ve brought back the moments and emotions. Luv ya girl, beautiful work.

  • Love these Kristin. They are so fresh. You did a wonderful job capturing these moments.

  • Dori

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I love the grain in some of these images…perfect. The way you’ve captured this family with film renders a certain grittiness/beautiful reality to the photographs.
    I know that you are a very talented photographer, and an incredible artist. But you’re also a warm, charming, intelligent, and witty woman.
    Your journey is an inspiration to me. Please continue sharing!

  • Kristin, I LOVE this post. I had to go back and re-read it again…it really struck a chord with me. And your film shots? Stunning…just stunning. I have some old film cameras laying around here and I think I’d like to buy some film and give it a whirl. I’d love it if you could link me up with this group you’ve joined!

  • I love reading this Kristin! I love that you have found happiness on this journey. The shots are beautiful, and I love that they are still you. I’m such a big fan of your work, so I love that it’s still your unique talented eye just a new medium. I can’t wait to see more.

  • These are wonderful Kristin! I absolutely love them and I’m so glad shooting film has given you more inspiration. I can’t wait to see what you shoot next!

  • Kristin, I loved reading your story more than the beautiful images. You are inspiring, what you made yourself give up in order to gain. Welcome back, friend. I’m glad you’re back, better than ever.

  • Detra Dowling

    SO in love with these!!! My favorite is Becky with her blonde, oh so blonde daughter and the camera! The color is amazing, backlighting gorgeous…. Can’t wait to see more from you!!!

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