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The Definitive Trick...or How to Get Films FOR FREE!

To take pictures, we need our cameras but without films, we can't do anything. Nowadays, prices have soared and the same people who today, take all our money, in the past they gave us the option of getting free films or albums.

For those who still don’t know, I live in Solsona, a Catalonian pre-pyrenean village with 8000 inhabitants (one day I’ll locate it, I promise). After telling you this, you will get the trick better.

Photo by jandra

Well, it’s been some days since I got into the world of lomography, I bought my Diana in Barcelona, and soon I got to know how difficult it would be to find films at medium size. I bought a couple at the old shop and one day I went to one (of the many) photography shops in Solsona.

They were really amazed by my request of films in the middle of the digital era and when I asked for 120mm films, they didn’t start laughing for deference. I kept calm and finally, the father of the young shop assistant came, and gave me a couple of films that they did not want me to pay, because they were above the expiring date and he was not going to use. When I heard the word “expired”, I admit that a smile came to my mouth.

We agreed that I would come back to the shop when I had no more films, and he would have some more available for me, we would “make a deal” afterwards for the price.

Time went on and I appeared at the shop. This time the son was in the counter. He remembered the conversation, but the order was not ready. He went to the back room and came back with a plastic bag with 35mm and 120 mm films, slides, negatives…and all of them “perfectly” expired. Now not only a smile came to my mouth, I turned into a starving wolf! I left thinking that they should have a stock filed of films (if those were a trial, and they gave them out, they should have a lot).

Some months later, (they gave me a lot as you can see), I came back. This time the son told me that they would keep the remaining films because his mother still used analog and so….everything is ok. I appreciated what they had done enormously and I bought some films to thank them for their effort. I think that the line that divides good will and interest while sharing the same hobbies is really thin.

And so, I will explain the trick and not another anecdote.

Last summer I went with my family to spend some time in a great place that I also promise to locate some day.

We went to the Les Angles ski resort in France to a really amazing lake.

During the return journey we made a stop at Puigcerdà, a village near the Canalonian Cerdanya. There, while sightseeing, I found a shop with that special air of a village shop. I went inside and with the best smile I could display, I asked for 120mm films. The woman told me that she only had expired 35mm films from his husband. I again tried not to turn into a hungry wolf. I answered that was perfect for me, that I wanted it, and what should I pay. I made the woman uncomfortable. Probably her husband were going to throw away the films and she did not know what to say about the price. She told me that I had to pay nothing, I resisted, and so she did. So I only could accept and thank the favor.

To keep:

  • It will only work in villages, which are far from the big cities lights.
    *Be nice and don’t show too much enthusiasm.
  • Please, people aren’t stupid, don’t try to get them for free at first, sometimes we make them a favor because they were going to throw the product away, but pay for what they ask.
  • And, above all, don’t go to shops before I do! =)

P.S. All the pictures are from the films given.

written by jandra and translated by lapetitefille


  1. saintempire


    Lucky!!!!! nice story to read too!
    sadly impossible to do in big cities like here :(

    over 2 years ago · report as spam
  2. superlighter


    in Italian we say "hai più culo che anima, bambina mia!" :))

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  3. saviorjosh


    Interesting article!

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  4. paytenpurdy


    Great article! I get my expired film from a local photo store here in hawaii. They give me a huge bag load of expired film for a easy 20$ bill! :D So good!

    p.s.: you were GIVEN infrared film? that film is GOLD!

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  5. lamp


    Wow! How lucky are you? Lovely article with some gorgeous shots

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  6. jourdanlynch


    When I was in Estepona, Spain most of the slide films in the stores where expired... I didn't get them for free but the lady did offer to give me them at a discount price xD...
    I dont know, maybe with Lomography growing increasingly popular day by day, even expired film has a price!

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  7. awesomesther


    I agree with @jourdanlynch ... Now that Lomography is growing SO popular, even expired films have a good price now, and people will not give them away easily (unless they dont know it). HAHA. but this article is funny, a good read and YOU ARE REALLY LUCKY!!! :D

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  8. zatto


    @superlighter il tuo commento è ESATTAMENTE quello che ho pensato anch'io! XD

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  9. hongwei


    impossible to use here where I live, but will try it out when I go overseas.. xD
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  10. jandra


    thank you all for reading and nice comments and off course thanks to @lapetitefille for translation.
    @paytenpurdy I made a mistake in the original version, the IR pictures where no taken with FREE film....all the others are given film...=)

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  11. wolkers


    Oh, very sweet! I always give away self-made effect films to friends :)

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  12. screamverz


    lucky you, its kind a hard to get free film in my country.

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  13. antibiotyx


    the best things in life are free, indeed. :)

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  14. deedeet


    lucky you!. and those photos are beatiful

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  15. ihave2pillows


    lol excellent. I have a similar experience with my print shop. They'd sell me whatever expired films they have for a dollar. It's a good deal for them too, cos they know I'd come back and develop there :)

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  16. zekalinova


    lucky you.. :) by the way really nice pictures up there,really liked it

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  17. jeyku

    Nice work and great photos, you seem to have got super lucky, fingers crossed you keep getting film.

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  18. exquisitenat


    That's great! Wish I could do that by where I live.

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  19. 5rdura

    how lucky are you! congrats really inspiring story
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  20. karo_mini


    I have been thinking today about stocking up for next weeks/months cos i only had few rolls left but honestly, i might give a go to ur way. Maybe ill find some small shop that doesnt need expired films :)
    Thank you!!

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  21. roby


    great article. I have to try this some day :-)

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Read this article in another language

The original version of this article is written in: Spanish.