Darkroom in use
Updated: Jun 21
Shooting film in general is rewarding in itself because of the constant waiting. I cannot see every photo I take right away, and therefore, film photography gives me that sense of excitement of wanting to go straight to the camera lab to get the films developed. And once I see the photos after they have been scanned, there is always this feeling of a "wow" factor that films give that digital cameras never could.
My advice for anyone starting out in photography, is to first look for inspirations. Instagram is the biggest place to do it and there are a lot of photographers on there that can inspire you. The reason why I say this is because inspirations are what drives a photographer to keep shooting. Try different things; try shooting on different lenses, try shooting on a film camera, try doing portraits, try landscapes - eventually something will stick to you and that will become your style that people may know you for.
I've had this admiration for tropical, beachy, warm locations (which is something that Toronto lacks) as well as vintage/retro aesthetic, which is why my style of photography embraces the summer look. My biggest photography idol is Sam Dameshek who is a film photographer based in L.A and his style of photos heavily influence my work style. He is the reason why I switched from shooting DSLR to shooting on a film camera." I initially bought an entry-level camera for my travels because I wanted a camera that is better than a phone's. I then had an idea to start a portrait photography account on instagram and I remember the very first photo shoot I have done, which was with a friend, and it is still up on my Instagram if you scroll all the way down. I then decided to go full throttle with portrait photography in hopes that I could get some paid shoots.
Along the way I was losing inspiration until I stumbled upon film photography and found Sam Dameshek through instagram, which helped me get to where I am now. I'm expanding my photography through youtube and I am also looking to start reaching out to brands and companies this year.
There is this huge stigma in the photography industry about sexual predators using cameras as an excuse to get with women, and I am very well aware of that. To make models know that they are safe with me and that they can trust me, is that I would always ask them before doing something that I think might make them feel uncomfortable - whether it would be during the photo shoot or when I'm about to post their photo on instagram, and respect them always.
On top of that, I see them as friends and treat them like so because I want to create a fun and exciting shooting environment where we can all just vibe together.
Once I received my developed films, I would scan them as soon as I got home and put them up on Lightroom to do any retouches and color corrections. I might even have to open up photoshop to remove any unwanted objects, but that barely happens because most of the work is done during the photoshoot. Shooting films will make you picky with how you want to take your shot, so I pay attention to any little details I see when I look through the viewfinder. Furthermore, a photo is ready to be shared to the world as soon as I finish editing, unless there are contracts where I can only start sharing the images after a certain date. Lastly, I usually listen to comedy podcasts on youtube while I edit photos because I like to laugh! If you are curious to know which podcasts I listen to on youtube, they are BadFriends (by Bobby Lee and Andrew Santino), Tigerbelly (by Bobby Lee), TheBasementYard (by Joe Santagato), Views (by David Dobrik but only exists on podcast apps and not on youtube), and Impaulsive (by Logan Paul).
Whenever I'm scrolling through instagram and come across an awesome looking photo captured by some of the film photographers that I've been following (or even from the explore page), I would save that photo into the 'Saved' feature that Instagram has so that in the future when I plan my shoots, I would scroll down my Saved photos and see if I can gather up some inspirations or ideas for a shoot that I want to pull off. I would then share those photos to the model (and to the make up artist and hairstylist if they are going to be involved), before the shoot, so that she or he can see the vision that I'm trying to get.
I usually shoot on my Nikon F5 with the 24-70mm f2.8 and the 70-200mm f2.8 lens and I use Kodak film stocks to load my film camera with. I would usually go for the afternoons and evenings because that is when the lighting is the best (especially during golden hour) because film colours look amazing when shot before or during sunsets. But any time of the day is great as well, even in the mornings during sunrise. Same thing applies when I shoot indoors, I look for windows and use that to my advantage, but other than that, a studio lighting kit will do the job.
Throughout my time as a photographer, all my influences have always been from other photographers and they have changed throughout the time. Back before I was doing film photography and I was using an entry level Nikon DSLR camera, my inspirations came from Brandon Woelfel (@brandonwoelfel) and Canyon (who is now a couples page @lincandcanyon). And when Sam Dameshek (@samdameshek) influenced me to start film photography, I have found other talented film photographers from South Africa to Europe, who continue to inspire me to keep shooting film - Aubrey Ndiweni (@apetownshenanigans), Rosa Scipion (@rosa.scipion), Wezlew (@wezlew), and Guillaume Gaubert (@guillaumegbrt)
I went to University of Toronto with a goal to become a software engineer in hopes of working for big tech companies like Google, Facebook, Sony, etc. It was really difficult and mentally draining until I picked up my first camera at the end of my second year. I thought to myself, would I want to spend the rest of my life typing hundreds of lines of codes everyday? From there I dropped out of Computer Science and enrolled into the Studio Art program and I've been happy ever since. I have always been a visual artist since I was a kid, I loved to draw and design, and now that artistic passion that has always been inside me is expressed through photography."
Location: Toronto, ON
Interview with Patrick De Ala