April: One Roll, One Kid | Minneapolis Family and Senior Photographer

I admit that my children are growing impatient with my taking photos for this project; I think I’d have to buy a new backdrop to get them excited ;) So for April many aspects of this project are different than other months.

1. I couldn’t convince all my boys to get an entire roll. In fact, I couldn’t even get one of my kids to cooperate for an entire roll in one sitting so the roll is more of a survey of the month. Some are in “studio”, others around the house, and the last ones at a playground.

2. This month only features my littlest because he’s the most cooperative and he’s home with me all day so there are more opportunities.

3. This set is in black and white, which I realized none of my others have been! I absolutely love black and white but for whatever reason haven’t been using it for this project.

This set was shot on my Nikon FE and self-developed in HC-110b (If you want to learn how to develop your own black and white, click here!). I’ve been trying to force myself to pick up my FE more often because I realize my muscle memory for manual focus has gone down the drain and I’m wanting to force myself to recover that. I only had a 50mm and 85mm that worked with this camera, so after Christmas I went out and got a new-to-me 24mm 2.8 for those moments I needed a wider view and so far I am loving this little $70 lens! These were shot on Kodak TMax 400 at 1250 and pushed 2 stops in development.

There’s a whole crew of us tackling this One Kid, One Roll project in 2019! Be sure to check out Jennifer Stamp’s April results here!


March: One Roll, One Kid | Minneapolis Family, Senior, and Newborn Photographer

It’s the end of March and finally the sun is giving off its warm, spring light and copious amounts of snow are in the process of melting. After a pretty brutal winter, 45 degrees is feeling more like 70 and the children of Minneapolis are hopping on their bikes for the first time in months in spite of the lingering remnants of winter.

Fingers crossed April’s project will be shot more outside (not because I don’t love my studio set up but because my kids - and possibly you - are getting sick of it.). But for now, enjoy a BRAND NEW BACKDROP that actually has color!

Once again I totally “cheated” on the One Roll, One Kid parameters of the project. This time I photographed all three of my children on 1.5 rolls of film. AND when I was photographing my eldest, the littlest walked into the frame and they had some moments together. I included those because they’re too cute.

I also know when to pick my battles and with how reluctant my kiddos were, I allowed them to wear their pajamas for the shots. This means there’s ALL THE COLORS in these shots, which is a little shocking to the eyes, so beware.

The films I used were Kodak ColorPlus 200 (rated at 200) and Portra 160 (rated at 160). The ColorPlus turned out way more saturated than I expected and I’m not in love with it, while the Portra 160 is just exactly as I hoped it would be. Portra 160 is one of my FAVES and I’m loving experimenting with it outdoors, with strobes, and pushing it. It’s versatile and skin tones always turn out sooo pretty!

I also self-developed these in extremely old chemicals and the Portra 160 handled it beautifully while the ColorPlus seemed to have issues, so if you see some weird coloring and water spots, I apologize but also ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I’ve had some people ask about my studio set up lately so I am including a link to everything I used:

+ Savage Seamless Paper in Turquoise

+ Backdrop Stand

+ AlienBee 800 Strobe Light (I found mine used on Facebook but you can find them here too.)

+ Diffuser Umbrella

+ Yongnuo Triggers

There’s a whole, amazing crew participating in this challenge in 2019, so be sure to check out Charlene Hardy‘s March contribution!






















January: One Roll, One Kid | Minneapolis Senior and Family Photographer

About a month ago a friend of mine brought up the idea of doing one roll of film each month, focusing on one kid in front of the lens. I loved this idea because it’s hard to get the motivation to force one of my unwilling children to get in front of my camera but I always LOVE the results. It’s a time that lets their personalities shine without the distraction of someone else next to them harassing them.

January can be sort of a depressing month but I got excited about setting up my portrait “studio” in my basement and going to town. (Don’t get me wrong, winter light is 🔥 but asking my kids to get in front of my camera AND do it out in the cold is mighty ambitious.).

For my portable studio set-up I use:

+ Savage Seamless Paper (I used Studio Gray but am trying to acquire ALL the colors)

+ Backdrop Stand

+ AlienBee 800 Strobe Light (I found mine used on Facebook but you can find them here too.)

+ Diffuser Umbrella

+ Yongnuo Triggers

I also use the strobe/umbrella set-up for in-home sessions when I don’t have enough natural light. I will say that strobe and film were made for each other. I used this same basement studio set-up once with digital to test it out and it was crap. I asked one of my strobe guru friends and she said that for digital and strobe to shine you need as much ambient light as possible. Well the shots in this post had ZERO ambient light. They were taken when it was dark outside, in a basement, with only my strobe illuminating the shot.

For this first month of the project I over-achieved and did portraits of all of my boys. I can tell you right now this won’t happen (m)any other month(s). But I’ll take it when I can, and somehow I was able to convince them all to sit solo and get their photos taken.

All of the photos were taken on my Nikon F100. The photos of Kyle were on Kodak Color Plus 200 and the photos of Peter and Gregory were on Fuji Superia XTRA 400. All self-developed and scanned on a Noritsu LS-600. Click here If you want to learn more about developing your own C-41!

There’s a whole crew of us taking on the One Roll, One Kid project! Be sure to check out Dena’s dreamy take on the January challenge!









Why I Still Shoot Film | Twin Cities Family and Senior Photographer

When people find out I shoot film, I often hear a response of shock and wonder (and sometimes confusion). Sometimes clients don’t even realize I shoot film until I’m reloading during a session. The people who think it’s cool love that it’s just so retro…so analog. (It’s maybe no surprise that in my house we also have a collection of records.) And to the people who are confused, I get it. Why, in a world of digital and all of its conveniences, would I CHOOSE (on purpose) to shoot film?

And you’d be right, digital is easier than film in so many ways, two of the biggies being that it’s more convenient and cheaper. Film shooters can’t chimp during a session and they have to buy film and pay costs associated with developing it and scanning it; why would anyone do this? It’s a totally fair question and I’d love to tell you why I still shoot film.

A film image taken of a film camera….very meta.

A film image taken of a film camera….very meta.

Dear film, you are amazing.

1. Let me clear the air of this right away: for me not being able to chimp is a feature, not a bug of film photography. When I shot digital I would leave sessions with hundreds (and I mean huuuun-dreds….sometimes over 1,000) shots taken in 1-2 hours. And it’s not because I was seeing 1,000 awesome moments to capture, it’s because I wasn’t taking the time to set up the shots I wanted to capture and then waiting for the magic to happen. This is not to say that I don’t have magical shots from my digital days, I do; I just know that if my face is behind the camera for 1,000 shots during a session, that means I’m less able to connect with my clients and that’s the opposite of my goal during sessions. Shooting film has just meant I’ve learned to become an artist with intention and that’s a win for everyone.

2. I think the real confusion sets in when I tell people that I scan my negatives so I can have digital files to edit and send to clients. Huh? Why in the world would you shoot film just to end up with a digital file? To the people who say this: you have good logic. To answer this (really good) question, let me first be briefly techie. When digital photographers shoot, most often they shoot in RAW and then take that RAW file into some sort of editing program to work with it. These RAW files are exactly how they sound; they’re like uncooked meat, they are meant to be edited before sending them to clients. This is when photographers spend money buying or time creating presets to get the look they want. I spent a lot of money on presets trying to get just the right look out of my digital files, and I was ultimately never satisfied with them; I still had to make plenty of edits after applying these presets and that meant a LOT of time in front of my computer.

With film, I scan the negatives to get a jpg file but the film emulsion does the work of a preset. I get a fully-cooked file when I digitize them. And when I edit, I’m often only tweaking the brightness, white balance, and maybe contrast. My husband loves that I barely spend any time editing and I’m HAPPIER with my final result.

Senior-Portraits-Amy-Berge-Girl-Twirling-Minneapolis-MN.jpg

3. Speaking of negatives, in this age of illusive files and things living on ephemeral technology, it is incredibly important to have something tangible. Obviously I encourage my clients to print their photos but unlike immaterial files living in a cloud, negatives are tangible and last a very, very long time. In 2011 my eldest son had his first Christmas and the digital images from that time are gone. I even had my computer backing up to an external drive, but due to the unpredictability of technology even those disappeared. If I had taken those photos on film, the images wouldn’t be lost forever because I could re-scan the negatives.

4. Film is nostalgic and imperfect and beautiful. It’s what the photos of our youth were taken on; having that connection to the past excites me. Taking photos of my children that they will cherish forever on a camera that was built before I was born and using a film that I used to buy at the local drug store when I was a teen links the past to the present to the future, and how beautiful is that? I also love that it isn’t as crisp and sharp as digital; the grain adds texture and dimension to images and makes them feel more like stolen moments and ultimately speaks to me as an artist.

5. Experimentation. Oh my word, I LOVE that film lends itself to so much experimentation. Light leaks! Fogging! Film Soup! I love it allllll! One of the signatures of my work has become light leaks (these are achieved by slightly opening up the back of the camera to get sweeps of color over an image). I love light leaks because they’re unpredictable and ramp up the emotion of any image they touch; they also add even more dimension to images (and clearly adding dimension is a fave of mine ;)

6. Ultimately it’s the medium with which I best connect. Some artists connect with watercolor, some with sculpture, some with words, some with digital cameras, and I with film. No artist should apologize for the medium they love!

This was about as concise as I could make my love of film. If you still have questions please drop them below! ,

I. Love. Light. Leaks.

I. Love. Light. Leaks.