Just because we lomographers are carefree snapshooters doesn't mean we don't need some essential tools and supplies when we're out in the field. Let me share with you some of the basic stuff you can easily find and put together to create a Survival Kit!
We’ve all had some bad days while we’re out and about on a snap-shooting spree; I know I have. Wound a roll of film all the way in when it’s intended for a film swap? Check. Accidentally loaded a used film and ended up with a surprise doubles with yourself? Check. Forgotten which film was used with what camera? Check. Forgotten to bring some masking tape or electrical tape to protect your camera from unwanted light leaks? Check. Opened a camera only to find that there’s still a roll of film inside? Check, check, check.
But, through the years of shooting film, I’ve learned a trick or two from my fellow lomographers on how to avoid certain unwanted “accidents” and have a bit more control over my cameras and the photos they yield. All of them just involve some common household and stationery items. Then, I had an idea—why not put everything together to create a basic Lomographer’s Survival Kit!
We all know that permanent markers are useful to us lomographers for many different things, from the most basic to the most experimental! This tip is a basic one, but I make sure to bring a permanent marker with me when I’m out on a photowalk, primarily for labeling my film rolls, and later on, for labeling the film sleeves with the camera and film I used once I got the negatives.
However, the permanent marker is also handy when preparing a film for doubles, as you can use it to mark the film before shooting!
When I started shooting film with a Holga, one of the fundamental things I learned is to always bring a roll of electrical tape with me. The Holga is a bit notorious (but also loved) for letting in some light, but if you don’t want the light leaks, electrical tape is the tool for you. Use it to seal the seams of your Holga camera before advancing your frames!
Sometimes, when I don’t have a permanent marker with me during a photowalk, I label my films with a piece of masking tape and write on it using a regular pen instead. Also, since my Holga CFN is the brilliant CMYK edition, I use a matching bright blue masking tape instead of electrical tape for aesthetics. I came across a black-colored masking tape too, so if you’re shooting with the usual black Holga, consider it as an option as well!
TIP: Since rolls of masking tape and electrical tape are quite bulky, why not put the marker and tapes together to create a handy 3-in-one tool! Simply wind and spool the tapes over the permanent marker with as much as you want or need for your photowalk. No need to fumble inside your bag for either tapes!
Colored Sticker Dots
A while back, I came across the simple yet brilliant idea by lomographer miss_maha on marking your films using colored sticker dots. It’s a quick and effective way to mark which films have already been used, so you don’t accidentally load them again. For our Survival Kit, cut the sticker into a more manageable size or even individual squares so you can slip them inside your camera bags and just pull out a piece whenever you need to mark a roll of film, or even your camera, so you know that it’s still loaded.
Makeshift Film Picker
Most of us have experienced winding film all the way into the canister when it’s supposed to be for a film swap. Luckily, bongofury has shared with us a tip on how to get a film out of the canister without a film puller, using a strip of negative and a piece of double-sided tape. However, I also figured out that wetting the negative before inserting it into the canister also works! So, don’t throw those blank negative strips away! Keep some for your survival kit in case you unintentionally wind your film all the way in.
Film Canister Diffuser
If you own and use a Colorsplash Flash for your cameras, and have a few plastic film canisters to spare, then a DIY film canister diffuser is a must-have for your survival kit. No more overexposed subjects becase of too strong a flash! Refer to the quick and easy tipster Lomographer nicx came up with should you decide to make one for yourself!
Well, that should cover a basic Lomographer’s Survival Kit for you! I may have missed out some important and nifty additions to the list, so feel free to share with me your own version! I hope you guys find this useful!