Dear Young Shutterbugs, Ask Questions! - A Letter from @LizKoppert


Community member Liz Koppert (@LizKoppert) from New Zealand embodies what it means to be a photographer: embracing the lifetime affair of learning, discovering and enjoying different formats, inevitably making "mistakes" by trying something new and appreciating the process for what it is all the same.

Her experience in photography started at a young age and followed her throughout the digital era. Since 2016, she's been back to film photography and has been engaging with the Lomography community ever since. In this edition of Dear Young Shutterbugs, we got to know more about her and hear some of her advice to budding film photography enthusiasts, including this simple yet key piece of advice: ask questions!

Let's dive into it!

Credits: lizkoppert

I was given my first camera as a child in the mid-1980s before digital photography was even a thing. If I remember correctly, that camera came in handy for a couple of badges I earned for Brownies (which is part of Girl Guides in New Zealand).

That camera, although sadly I no longer have, went a lot of places with me while I was a child and as a teenager. Then about 20 years ago, seeking instant gratification and ditching the frustration of having to finish a film and pay for developing it, I turned to digital.

Credits: lizkoppert

In 2016, after replacing (and upgrading) my digital camera with one I could learn shutter speed and aperture on (I had become curious on how these things affected taking a photo), I realised I needed an old film camera that couldn't be left on automatic like my digital SLR was.

After a trip into a secondhand store and $15 poorer, I rocked into one of the local photolabs to ask the elder of the lab assistants how to go about setting the exposure on my newly-acquired rangefinder.

About the time I acquired and started using my $15 rangefinder, I stumbled across Lomography in my online travels. Liking what I saw, I joined up, and have made a few friends since then.

In that time, I have been lucky enough to do a LomoWalk with my LomoBuddy Des Brough (@lomodesbro), which I thoroughly enjoyed (and look back on in fondness). I have also been involved with LomoSwaps with Klaus Wendland (@klawe) and Gudrun Jaschke (@guja), which was also interesting.

Credits: lizkoppert

I have had a number of “worst” photos come out, invariably blurred, because I moved the camera when the shutter got pressed (yes, don't be afraid of stuffing up, young shutterbug–that's how you learn) or some such thing. After 30-odd years I still do silly things like that. I usually recycle those ones into greeting cards!

Two of my current favorites (and that may change) are these:

Credits: lizkoppert

Despite both the photos being taken on cameras older than I am, what draws me to them is that they're sharp enough where I focused them and the out-of-focus parts look (to my way of thinking) really nice.

The cameras at my disposal are across a diverse range of ages and formats (instax, 35 mm, 120/620, 110, thermal print paper–think EFTPOS tape, and I still shoot digital). In addition to that, I enjoy experimenting with different types of film (black and white, colour, E6 cross-processed and experimental films like LomoChrome Purple) and filters.

It's this experimental approach that I find is so much easier with film, and I now feel it's a little like Christmas when I finally get my photos back from the lab.

I have no idea if I've found my personal photography style (whatever that is!) yet, but quite enjoy shooting nature and scenery. I also have a couple of projects where I document an old folding Kodak camera travelling to different places and urban artworks.

Credits: lizkoppert

My suggestion, Young Shutterbug, start with a simple point-and-shoot camera, whether it be one from a secondhand store, something that a family member or other person you know no longer needs or wants, or whatever (as long as it works. There's nothing worse than it not working) be willing to experiment, and ask questions!

For example, remember, I had to ask someone how to set a camera up to take a photo. I also had to ask my Dad how to load 120 film into a different camera. Lomographers are really good at answering questions, but it's also good if you know where to go in your local community if you need to ask someone to show you how to do something with your camera.

Credits: lizkoppert

Analogue photography is expensive, but it's also so much fun. And the rewards–like when you get a really awesome photo back–are so worth it. Be prepared to experiment. Not only does that give you practice, but also shows you what works and what doesn't, and you will get better.

Start with a basic camera, and you can learn the more advanced stuff later if you find yourself wanting to go further.

Many thanks to Liz for being part of our community and sharing her photos and stories! Visit her LomoHome to keep in touch.

Through this series, we hope to inspire a new generation of film photographers to dip their toes into the craft and learn from the adventures and advice of some of our long-standing community members. You may view previous letters here.

Want to write your own letter? Connect with with the subject Dear Young Shutterbugs!

written by sylvann on 2023-02-25 #culture #people #dear-young-shutterbugs #beginners #lomography-community #lomochrome-purple #dear-young-shutterbugs #lizkoppert


  1. lomodesbro
    lomodesbro ·

    Liz spending a day with you walking round Blenheim was a highlight of my Lomography experience. You thoughtfully provided us each with a loaded 120 Diana/clone camera and away we went. The weather was beautiful and my daughters Petesa and Stephanie have very fond memories of that day. Your advice to Young Shutterbugs hits the nail on the head. Also Congrats on your photo selection. It is so diverse, I will be on the lookout for where the Kodak Folder ends up next.

  2. stereograph
    stereograph ·

    "I have no idea if I've found my personal photography style (whatever that is!) yet, ..."
    i guess you have, i recognize your fine and fresh lo-fi stuff quite well under the constantly growing flood of boring hi-brow.

  3. jolom
    jolom ·

    Great post!

  4. lizkoppert
    lizkoppert ·

    @klawe, you're welcome :) #lomographersprintexchange, oh well! @lomodesbro, I was hoping to use those Dianas myself, but I'd never have had time to use them all! So giving them to your daughters worked well :) I look back on that day with fondness too (and it would be great to catch up in your neck of the woods sometime). @stereograph, lol! I'm glad somebody recognises it! @jolom, thanks!

  5. fartstorm
    fartstorm ·

    "Lomographers are really good at answering questions..." We love to share what we know.

  6. lizkoppert
    lizkoppert ·

    @fartstorm, yup, for sure. Nothing like sharing what we know :)

More Interesting Articles