Should Some Brands Capitalize on the Scarcity of Film Photography?

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Should Some Brands Capitalize on the Scarcity of Film Photography?

One basic way to categorize photography is by medium: photos can be shot on digital or film cameras.  In the past, all pictures were shot on film cameras, but digital cameras have quickly gained popularity as sensors have improved to offer higher quality at a lower price.  Digital photography is easy and offers immediate gratification as there is no film that needs to be replaced, and photos can be uploaded to a computer for easy viewing.  Film cameras, by contrast, require the loading and unloading of film whenever a roll expires, are not flexible in regard to sensitivity settings, and normally require a wait of at least a week for photos to be developed and scanned.

Still, film is not dead.  As a matter of fact, it’s thriving in its own niche within photography.  Despite losing its status as king photo medium, thousands of photographers strongly prefer film for a variety of reasons.  Whether it be for the challenge of creating a photo without the benefit of a second try or for the preference for film photos’ appearance, film photographers generally have an appreciation for film that can be capitalized on with a well-curated feed of images.

Obviously it depends on the product being sold, the influencer taking the photos, or simply the target viewer’s preference, but film photography has the potential to resonate with a select market.  Generally speaking, the organizations that use film photography on their social media pages are those that have some inherent connection to film.  Kodak, for instance, has an Instagram page decked-out with film photographs to promote various types of film rolls that they sell (@kodak).  Their Instagram page is emblematic of the brand-image as a whole: archaic but beautiful.  Other pages collect images to attract the film-enthusiasts that still exist.  Filmphotographic, for instance, has 136k followers simply because it curates eye-catching film photographs (@filmphotographic).

While there seems to be potential for some brands to gain traction with film lovers by incorporating film photos into their communications, organizations should conduct market analysis before deciding to make the switch.  A film feed could impress those interacting with a brand, but there is always the potential that it could be off-putting to others.  If market research sheds a positive light on the perception of film by an organization’s target market though, the changes to the brand’s online presence could help differentiate it from others.  It’s a method that could distinguish a brand as a trend setter since the medium has long ago been forgotten by organizations in the digital age.


Samantha Forbes

Samantha Forbes

January 22, 2018at 12:51 pm

I haven’t thought about the fact that people still use film cameras because pretty much every uses digital cameras now. I agree that it can be a great opportunity for a business to differentiate itself from the competition. They can definitely create a unique social media presence through using film photography.

    William Reilly Farrell

    William Farrell

    January 22, 2018at 5:07 pm

    You’re right. A lot of companies and civilians appropriate film-aesthetic by using a film-esque color palate too. It’s probably just as effective, although I don’t have the research to back that up.

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