Favorite Film Cameras For Beginners

You’ve been eyeballing all those pretty pastel-y shots and want to take your creativity to a new level. You don’t know if you’ll do it for work or fun, but something about the nostalgia of shooting film appeals to you, the need to slow down and soak it all in. You’ve scoured forums, read books and now know nothing is better than learning through practice. It’s time to take a leap and purchase a film camera. Just do it already, shesh! But…what to buy? I have two suggestions for finding + purchasing your first film camera:

1. Start Simple: If you’re itching to be shooting and learning the ropes but aren’t sure of the ‘look’ you’re most drawn to, pick up a modestly priced camera, or heck, dig one out of your closet! I am willing to bet a family member or friend has an old Canon Rebel or Nikkor they’d be happy to let you borrow. Then grab some 35mm film and start practicing! I’d absolutely say start with a 35mm camera paired with 35mm film as it’s slightly more accessible than 120 film (and their medium format camera counterparts), more affordable, and offers more frames on a roll (36 frames vs. 16 on a roll of 120).

2. Do research: If the the idea of more complex or interesting cameras intrigue you (like the Yashica Mat G–it shoots frames in 6×6 squares!), do a bit of googling. Find what you think may be a great deal on Ebay but not sure if the camera style is up your alley? Search the model on Flickr and see what types of photos turn up! This will give you an idea of the images each camera is capable of producing.


//35mm:  easily accessible, affordable, and fun! Typically the most similar to current digital set-ups. 

Canon EOS-1N ($150 via Ebay): Has 5 focusing points which can be selected manually (similar to your current digital camera). It also allows for 1/2 and 1/2 exposure increments, which means you can be more precise with your settings (my Contax only allows full stops in shutter speed!). I personally use this camera during weddings for wider shots + fast moving candids.

Canon EOS-1V ($300-$500 via Ebay) Boasts 45 focus points, which is helpful when trying to nail a shot in film!

I am a fan of each of these Canon cameras because they both are compatible with current Canon lenses and have a very similar set-up to their digital counterparts which makes the transition to shooting film a lot easier, less intimidating, and financial do-able! They also imprint (not like the werewolves) camera data onto your film, kinda like “metadata”, so when you get your negatives back you can see what the settings were for each frame. This is exceptionally helpful when learning. (I’d also encourage you to take notes as you shoot instead of waiting for the negatives to see your settings–those can sometimes take a while to receive from your developer). Paired with a 50mm 1.2 these babies are gorgeous! They do, however, introduce more grain into photos than medium format cameras.

[Canon 1n with Canon 50mm 1.4 + Fuji 400h film]

//Medium Format: if the look of 35mm (which has the same framing and look as a ‘full frame’ digital camera) just won’t do and you love the shorter + fatter frame and less grain look, go with one of these:

Mamiya 645 AF (the AF stands for “Auto Focus”)($800-ish via ebay). A super awesome and affordable medium format set-up. Similar to the Contax645, this baby isn’t nearly as hard to find and is a whole lot more affordable! It shoots wider frames with the required 120 or 220 film.

Pentax 645N: ($600-ish) I have never personally used this camera, however it’s getting a lot of love lately! And honestly, I’ve seen some beautiful images come from it. Again, similar but more affordable than the Contax 645. I hear it’s heavy and loud as heck, though!





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Ff | How to carry film during a shoot

This morning I slept in late, gently and slowly rolled out and bed, stiffly walked downstairs, feet groaning in pain and am in taking copious amounts of dark roasted coffee to nurse my mini wedding photographer hangover. I had a Thursday wedding at the Halekulani (yayyyy for weekdays!) and would be lying if I said I didn’t consider just skipping blogging in lieu of lounging. But #FilmFridays are my favorite, and yesterday I tried out a new style that pretty much may be a lifesaver so I’d be straight up selfish not to share. Always on the lookout for handy items to make life easier (I’m the queen of trying to find the perfectly functioning bag for every occasion) I stumbled upon a conversation thread on Facebook that sparked my curiosity: talks about using an apron on a wedding day. Yes…you’re probably thinking what I’m thinking, “an APRON?!??!”, I know. I like to keep things stylish and chic, my hair is already enough of a mess at the end of the day the rest of my body needs to be as polished as it can be. But when I remembered I had a thin, simple black one from my serving days hidden away, I figured “what the heck…I’ll take it along…” And now, my life may never be the same. Tied tightly around my waist against my black dress, the apron was practically camouflaged. I had planned to use it for only the quick moving parts of the day but when I put that baby on it was too good to take off. There is a pocket for film, a place for exposed film, and a pocket for my light meter/tissues/bride’s lipgloss, etc. I could even stash a lens in there if I wanted! (Which helped during the ceremony but didn’t stay all day). B humorously noted out I can’t call it ‘my apron’, and I suppose I agree, it needs a more stylish mention, but when I pointed it out to guests they laughed and said they hadn’t even noticed it (maybe they were just being nice? Yeah…probably). Towards the end of the night I did think “I should take a photo of me wearing this” but my hair was already long gone–absolutely not a good moment for photos of Ashley Goodwin.

If you’re looking for something helpful to keep film on you during shoots, manage your little bits of gear, or just give extra pocket space without the expense of sore shoulders the next morning, a task apron is seriously a great option (opposed to those lens waist belts that look like bongo drums. Have you seen those?!?) Wedding vendors have the never-ending struggle balancing the sacrifice of style for comfort and function but it doesn’t have to be that way — I’m determined! You can look polished while still easily getting the job done. I doubt I will be wearing my apron with dresses that aren’t black (I will keep my small studded + snake skin shoulder bag that I carry for those days), but these things are the bomb–kinda like a shoot-sac but lighter, easier to access, and without the painful always in your way strap that comes from a bag! And luckily fairly easy to find in tons of different looks. Here are some stylish photography options: (sorry gentlemen, if you don’t wanna sport the apron guess you gotta stick to the bongos…)

Anthropologie Task Apron  |  Custom Aprons  | Cafe Apron | Simple black apron 


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My 50 Fav O’ahu Go-Tos

It’s no surprise, from the cool ocean breezes to rice with every meal, living on O’ahu has truly grown to become our home. I get excited to introduce visitors to the place we love, and am thrilled myself to always explore, try out and wander new places. There’s lots to do while visiting–and here are my favorite “off the beaten path” recommendations for people headed to the islands:


because that’s what you came here for, right?

Lanikai + Kailua Beach Park: by far one of the prettiest coasts on island. White sand, calm, turquoise waters. It’s picture perfect Hawai’i in the middle of a quaint residential neighborhood. A “must see”, especially for a stunning sunrise.

Bellows Beach Park: A long, gorgeous strand of open and calm beach (sometimes with miniature waves, fun for body boarding). Military personnel have access all week, the public beach is open on the weekends. Beware of Man of War jellyfish!

Shark’s Cove: Don’t worry, there aren’t sharks…well, in the COVE! ;) Shallow, rocky waters (bring water shoes!) perfect for relaxed snorkeling. Head to the right  just outside of the cove for deeper waters and even bigger fish! A fav snorkel spot on the North Shore.

Ko’Olina Lagoons: Want to feel the resort vibe without staying in a fancy hotel? Head out to the west side of the island and park it at one of Ko’Olina’s man-made lagoons. Stay for some of the best sunset views and get THE best (and deadliest) mai-tais on island at Longboard’s.

Yokohama Bay: While you’re out on the west side, keep going until you can’t go any further. Yokohama Bay is beautiful, with incredible views of layered mountain ranges + sometimes dolphin spotting (especially in the early morning!). Stay late into the night and get THE clearest views of the stars, sometimes even the milky way, bright as day!

Kaimana Beach: Okay, so you MUST stay in Waikiki, but hate the crowds? Head down to Kaimana beach, close to the end of Kapiolani beach park (and in front of the oceanside condos). It’s less crowded, plus there are a few shops within walking distance which makes grabbing snacks and booze a breeze. Sometimes you can catch bands jamming out at Kapiolani park, too, which is a plus. Sunset out there is pretty gorgeous as well.


My favorite part of O’ahu. Please remember to be kind and pack out what you took in and be thoughtful in where you park to get to these hikes!

Lanikai Pillboxes: Awesome for sunrise and views of Kailua–during the winter you can see whales breaching, too! A relatively short and easy hike with killer views, absolutely worth the effort. Just pleaseeeee be considerate of where you park within the neighborhood, and be quiet and respectful especially in the morning time.

Maunawili Falls: A fun, adventurous and downright muddy hike through the thick jungle to a waterfall + freezing cold swimming hole. Bring your bug spray and go-pro, you’re gonna need it, and a swim suit, because you’re definitely going to want to get in after the trek!

Diamond Head: This is definitely a ‘touristy’ thing to do, however heading up the mountain in a line of people is totally worth it for the gorgeous views of Waikiki!

Makapu’u Lighthouse (+/or tide pools): The trail up to the Makapu’u lighthouse is a steep one, but paved with rewarding ocean vistas. If you’re looking for more, brought solid shoes and are brave enough, you can hit up the tide pools on your way down (or skip the lighthouse all together). I’m not the best with directions, but you take a right at the first whale watching sign on the lighthouse trail, then follow the white arrows spray painted on the rocks all the way down the mountain to the ocean. Yes, ALL THE WAY DOWN THAT STEEP CLIFF. It’s slippery, and you don’t want to die, so beware, but with tide pools (that are strong currents, watch out!) and blow holes called “dragon nostrils”, it’s super cool down there. Not for the novice, so do your research and please, for crying out loud, don’t get swept out to sea.

Pele’s chair (a.k.a. Allen Davis): people who live here are gonna kill me for this, but I don’t care. Nothing is a secret, folks! If you don’t feel like much of a hike and would prefer a walk, park at the Makapu’u lighthouse trail and instead of taking the paved route head through the valley (staying on the trail), toward the ocean. Sticking to the left of the little cove you will find yourself up on a mini-ocean cliff where someone repurposed an old 2×4 into a shiesty diving board. The cove is somewhat protected from strong waves via the reef, so it seems safe (enough) for jumping. Just beware, you gotta climb back up! Fun to take inter tubes to float around after you take the leap. But again…please don’t get swept out to sea…

Manoa Falls: A stop on tourist trips, this is actually a beautiful waterfall that is worth the walk! A hike (that can get muddy) ends you at a gorgeous + rather tall waterfall worth getting stuck behind slow-pokes for.


the best part of the island! Okay fine, just my personal favorite

Uncle Bo’s: hands down DA BOMB. Everything is incredible, truly.

Real a Gastropub: get the chicken + waffles, deep fried deviled egg + cover your french fries in their homemade ketchup OMG.

Duke’s Waikiki: sit outside (not inside) for a delicious bar menu, descent drinks, a “hawaii beachside” atmosphere + sunset. The hula pie is pretty incredible, too.

Doraku Sushi: interesting + fancy sushi in Waikiki. They have a surf + turf roll that is steak + fish that’s delish!

Shokudo : in an odd part of town if you’re staying in Waikiki, but their sushi is FABULOUS. The honey toast can’t be missed, either. Nom nom nom.

Leonard’s bakery: just go there + get a box of malasadas. Haupia is my favorite. Don’t even mess with the ones without filling.  Trust me.

Yogur Story: yummy breakfast close to Waikiki! They have these waffles that are KILLER!

Dat Cajun Guy: food truck in Haleiwa on the North Shore. His New Orleans style meals are phenomenal. Seriously. I actually want some now.

Opal Thai: Thai food in Haleiwa, this place is ALWAYS poppin’.

Monkeypod Kitchen: Kinda ‘fancy’ but delicious food on the west side out by Ko’Olina. Good, interesting drinks and incredible live music.

Ted’s Bakery: Close to sunset beach on the North Shore, this place has it ALL! AMAZING local food (chicken katsu with mac salad OMG I’m drooling) and, of course, the famous Ted’s pie selection! Everyone goes crazy over the chocolate haupia but I absolutely say pick lilikoi cheesecake.

Coffee Gallery: Well, duh. ;) Coffee + baked goods on the North Shore in Haleiwa town.

Lucky Belly: Swanky asian fusion in chinatown. MAN OH MAN is their ramen soooo good.

Royal Hawaiian Sunday Brunch: All you can eat buffet. Everything you can imagine and more, all by the ocean. Just don’t hope to get into a swimsuit after all that.

Crepes No Ka ‘Oi: Crepes in Kailua that will have you ordering everything on the menu. Need I say more?

Cinnamon’s restaurant: the wait is killer in Kailua, but it’s worth it for the guava pancakes (or the island staple, loco moco!)


Tuesday +/or Friday night: get drinks by the pool at the Modern Hotel in Waikiki + watch the Hilton’s firework show (it starts around 7:45pm)

Rent kayaks and paddle out to the mokes (the two islands across from Lanikai beach)

Hit up Eat the Street on a Friday night

Wander the fashionable Honolulu Night Market

Go to the Kailua Farmer’s Market, or my personal favorite, the KCC by Kapiolani Community College on Sunday Mornings

Shop for souvenirs at the Aloha Stadium swap meet

Bring a blanket + a bottle of wine and watch sunset from the rocks at the Ko’Olina lagoon

See the show at the Polynesian Cultural Center (really really fun!)

Walk around downtown Honolulu, maybe even stop by Iolani Palace!

Rent beach chairs and am umbrella and park it on a beach in Waikiki

Spend a Saturday at the Hale Koa pool (military only)

Sneak into a hotel hot tub (but play it cool, duh)

Watch sunset from the top of Kailua Pillbox Hike (gotta start early, though!)

Ride all around the island on your first day! It’s a must!

Rent stand-up paddle boards and try not to fall off

Jam out to local live music at Mai Tai’s bar at Ala Moana shopping center

Weave through the industrial streets of Kakaako + take photos in front of the insane graffiti

Hit up a luau (of course!). Paradise Cove is my favorite.

Catch a poolside movie at the Modern Hotel (select nights)

Enjoy cocktails and sunset at Rumfire

Watch sunset + take scenic photos from atop Mount Tantalus

Catch a sunset and waikiki views on a catamaran booze cruise

Visit Doris Duke’s estate Shangri La. I  haven’t yet but am simply DYING to. DYING.

Here during rainy season? Learn the history of Hawai’i at the Bishop Museum.



July 9, 2014 - 7:02 am

Stacee Lianna - This is amazing. I’ve decided to believe you wrote this just for me. ;]

July 9, 2014 - 2:08 pm

Sara - Shangri la is AMAZING! Like simply amazing. Such a little gem!

How to Get Photography Leads In A New Market

You’ve plastered all over the internet that you’ve recently moved. Updated your website, blog and marketing materials. Sat across the table, hands wrapped around countless Starbucks cups as you met local Creatives in your industry practically proclaiming “I’m HEREEEEE!”. You’ve exercised your generosity and worked on several free shoots. You’ve even slyly left stacks of business cards at every cafe/boutique/coffee shop you step foot in. My heavens cut your prices in HALF! And…so far…crickets. Just when you feel you’ve put every single marketing idea into motion and shed a virtual tear in ALL your Facebook groups, don’t quit. Hold out hope, keep making strides and be freaking patient. And in the meantime: second shoot.

[BTS sneaky photo by Kayleen T, a GENIUS photographer who so kindly second shot for me recently]

When I first moved to Hawai’i I did all of the above. I hustled, posted and blogged every minuscule thought in my brain, started up personal projects (that didn’t last long) and picked up film. I even (tearfully) got a job as a server for a few months. But nothing, and I mean nothing, paid off more than second shooting. Being a helping hand for another Photographer on a wedding day was almost like paying my dues, even though no photographer really ever has any dues to pay. I had never shot in Hawai’i before, I hardly knew a soul, and I certainly was unfamiliar with the market. Having the opportunity to be a little beam of bag-carrying light on a wedding day for another thriving creative was truly an honor which paved the way for tremendous working and life-long friendships. It was a win-win for both involved. I got to help out, be a team-mate and supportive shooter for someone else, alleviating stress wherever I could and in-turn learned the ‘local ropes’ (and some pidgin), shot at popular hotels, and encountered traditional hawaiian style ceremonies without the pressure of being a main shooter. And in the end, I walked away with a trusted friend in the industry. Lots of my sincere friendships on O’ahu have flourished from working alongside like-minded peers, and thankfully have blossomed into extraordinary business relationships as well. Plus, it helped me to stay creative and on my technical game even when I wasn’t booking weddings on my own just yet.

The bonus? Majority of my referrals come from other photographers. Second to that are local vendors who I consider dear friends, and third are a few online features. Google sometimes comes up in there, and when it does I hoot and holler and high-five, “You found me on GOOGLE?!?!?!”, but truthfully scoring via Google juice is rare, so when it happens we POP CHAMPAGNE (“oooooo, we pop champagne…” You know that song?!? ‘Cause I love you if you do).

Second shooting allows for creativity, an opportunity to spread the love to Photographers in your industry, can be humbling (those bags ain’t light), and adds to the experience of learning, something we all are always doing. Personally I want to see those around me that I love, appreciate and see ambition in succeed, so whenever there’s someone I connect with who is a hustler, works hard to help others and is sincerely grateful (and shows it!), I will HAPPILY pay it forward and send business their way whenever I can because someone, somewhere, once did it for me.

I second shot, I humbly toted bags and supplied water, and I am appreciative of every. single. minute. I have to give a giant shoutout to one photographer in particular, Malia Cano (who has excitingly ventured on to owning an events rental company Chair Cover Express!), who was so kind, loving and down-right freaking awesome to me when we moved. When I saw Malia’s personal style I knew she and I could be great friends and as our relationship grew she generously invited me along to some fabulous weddings to shoot. Soon after she began sending referrals my way, and I recognize that if it weren’t for her straight up LOVE and support that my business possibly wouldn’t have taken off as quickly as it did. Thank you, Malia, for treating me like ohana, sister! :) And to every single photographer both in Hawai’i + on the mainland who have sent clients or potentials my way–I know you, recognize you (have hopefully personally thanked you!), and really really appreciate you.

So help one another out. Make genuine friends, truly invest in one another’s businesses and blessings will surely come your way. And when it does, don’t forget to show gratitude, share the love, and keep passing kindness along! A thank you card never hurts, either. :)





July 8, 2014 - 6:43 pm

Malia Cano - Oh Ash! Thank you for all your sweetness & kindness! Those sure were some good days together :) And of course we knew you’d be successful not only because you have an amazing heart, but also because you’re crazy talented! LOVE YOU!!!

July 15, 2014 - 6:48 pm

Kayleen T. - Haha… I was like look at Ashley being all cute, bare feet and on her tippy toes! lol. Love your film shots above!! How did that one of the huge cabinet of coral turn on out on film?