How To Organize Film On A Shoot

The transition from shooting digital to mainly film has been one that has come with it's own set of challenges. How many rolls of film should I bring? How do I keep it safe? And how in the world do I carry all of this around? With constant trial and error I am always on the lookout to devise efficient systems that get the job down while keeping my things neat and organized (with a touch of Ashley you know). When shooting film it's important to have spare rolls handy to change out in the blink of an eye and also to keep the exposed rolls safe--and separate. This way you don't misplace one or accidentally open a shot roll. I keep everything organized with the use of a strategic system throughout the day (okay, mainly because of a fabulous assistant) and try to wear dresses with handy pockets. If not, for ladies a short waist apron will do (it may not be the most stylish, but man is it awesome!). Men, you always have pockets. You're cool. Better yet having lots of spare camera backs with inserts (and an extra hand to keep them all loaded) is the perfect scenario.

My Film Shooting + Storage Set-up:

1. The night before I "shuck" (or unwrap) all the rolls of film I think I am going to use for the day (about 30).

2. I place all of the unwrapped rolls into an unmarked RUME quart size bag that's attached to my camera bag via a gold chain. I have a second RUME bag also attached to the string, this one marked with a tassel designated for exposed rolls. I instruct my assistant to guard these bags with their life.

3. The day of I load up my dress pockets (or apron) with a few extra rolls of film for when I need them. I also load up any spare inserts.

4. I take some awesome pictures. When one roll is complete I hand it off to my assistant. They label it 1- (whatever) in the order the rolls are shot. (I later ask the lab to scan the rolls of film sequentially. This keeps photos in order of time taken and saves energy with organization later in lightroom).

5. Once a roll is numbered it goes into the RUME bag with the tassel, the "SHOT" bag.

6. If the "UNSHOT" bag gets low we open up some more boxes of film and fill it back up! Knowing how many rolls I have left helps me manage and keep track with shooting costs.

7. At the end of the night we count all of the rolls to make sure they are accounted for, high-five and head home.

Tah dah! Simple but effective. I'd love to hear how you keep track of all of your film!