Professional photographer John Enman. (Enman photo)

Making Pictures With Professional Photographer John Enman

Remembering those days of “click and pray”

I have written about how photography is changing in past articles, but today there were several photographers in my shop talking about film cameras and I thought I would again add a few of my thoughts. Another year of photography has been passing fast and it is fun to talk about and remember how this compelling medium has changed.

I find the revival of interest in film and film equipment that some of the younger photographers have that visit my shop enjoyable. Mostly I listen to their thoughts and am happy they are having a good time with what to me is a past that I am not missing all that much.

I do remember those days, and I am glad technology has changed what my friend and photographer Alex Neidbala once called, “The days of click and pray”.

The process of making photographs for clients was very different then. Modern photographers will take many extra images and even give their client ten or twenty examples of the same grouping to select from without worrying about the cost of processing worthless prints or the time consuming process of getting those prints made, organizing them and then delivering them. I know sitting behind a computer screen is time consuming also, but when the images are done they can now easily and instantly be sent computer-to-computer.

A photographer using a medium format camera was limited to changing film every twelve or sixteen exposures at important events like weddings. Every shot had to count. Even 35mm cameras could hold only 36 shots so photographers had to be prepared for every shot. Sadly there wasn’t as much freedom to creatively work through an image like there is today.

Wedding albums contained 4×6, 5×7, and sometimes 8×10 inch prints. The total number of prints shot was usually much less than 100 pictures, and enlargements were always printed at costly custom labs and retouching was time consuming (and expensively done by hand).

Gosh, I can now do all that in my own home while enjoying a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.

One might get the impression that I don’t miss film.

We are now able to take major risks with our photography; look at our camera’s LCD and see is some creative shot worked and delete it if it didn’t and try again. Instead of being limited to 12 permanent exposures for clients we are able to make multiple exposures, select the best photo with everyone’s eyes open and smiling, and then delete the rest. Retouching is no longer a long, expensive and laborious task. With the computer software we have available today, and the thought of giving less than 100 photographs to a wedding couple is laughable.

I could add another page just writing about how exciting the advances in cameras and lenses are.

In spite of my lack of enthusiasm for those days of film I will say that I probably am almost as excited as the owner is when he or she shows me and talks about their film camera. After all, it is about photography, and photography excites me, and will for the rest of my life. I don’t care about the brand one uses, or if they shoot with film or use digital cameras.

If someone is excited about his or her photography I am excited too.

Stay safe and be creative. These are my thoughts for this week. Contact me at or