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A Basic Guide: How to Make the Most of 120 Film.

120 film was one of the first Lomo products we came in contact with, and has always been among our favourites, often helping us to publish with magazines such as Vice, Kaltblut, and others. Limited frames shouldn't stop you. We hope to spread love for this format, so here are all the basics you need to enjoy it the most!

What you will need:

  • A 120 film roll you can easily get online or at a Lomography store.
  • A medium format camera, such as a Lubitel, a Holga, or a Diana.
  • Good planning and/or concentration.

What you basically need to do before you shoot is as important as the the actual photo taking. Determine the camera you will use. If you shoot in the dark, you better stay away from the Lubitel and go for one with a flash (we use a Holga CFN a lot). The film choice matters as well. As you will have guessed 100 iso is very good for average light conditions, but 400 or even 800 is better if the weather is particularly moody or if you are shooting indoors. Some of our favourites are Lomography 100 NC for the smooth grain and Lomography 400 NC for the amazing contrasts.

Then here is how we deal with the limited frames. This is Lomography so a little bit of cheating and overlapping of photos is totally OK. We do not aim for the 12 frames but for 16. Try to estimate or set your camera to 16. The pictures you get are overlapping on the sides but this actually looks cool. Now if this is a specific shoot, you have to take some paper and actually pre-sketch all your photos. Don’t be lazy. On the other hand if you want to be spontaneous with your roll, you must calm down and trust your eye and your camera. Remember to think in square format and don’t allow your subject to be in the corner of your view finder. Don’t snap whatever you see, if you are patient you will just know when there is something you must photograph.

If the results are unexpected, sometimes this is the best part, get used to it. 120 film is very fine so you might get different result each time depending on minor changes. Also remember that even if Lomo is often considered lo-fi, 120 film is one of the finest and best you can get. Don’t be afraid to try double exposures, and don’t forget to spool forward if you don’t want your pictures to be double exposed. Finally, don’t allow just any lab to mess with your film, we’ve had some unpleasant results. If you are familiar with developing at home do it. Otherwise bring it to a Lomostore, they are experienced with Lomography and you will be very satisfied.

Good luck!
Amanda and Emma.

written by amandamjansson

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Deutsch.