365 Day Film Challenge

New to shooting film? 35mm film photography is one of the best ways to get your feet wet. Not only is it easily accessible, but it’s also affordable.

Good beginner 35mm cameras (like the Pentax K1000, Canon AE-1 and Nikon F series) are pretty affordable, as is 35mm film. What's more, 35mm film generally includes 36 shots per roll for you to practice with, while medium format film (120) only contains 15–16 frames per roll. And medium format cameras can be quite an investment for first-time film shooters. So, keep it simple—start with 35mm. You can always try medium format later, if you’d like.

So, you’ve shot your first roll of 35mm film. What do you do next? We have the perfect service for you as you learn 35mm film photography: Everyday 35mm. Everyday 35mm includes film processing (“developing” your film), scanning your film (so you get digital scans emailed to you to keep) as well as prints of every shot you take (we call these proof prints!) mailed to your door for $18/roll and $2 shipping (US only).

What should you take photos of as you learn? Everything and anything! But one of the best subjects to start with is your own life (after all, it’s the subject you know best). There is a great film challenge going on on Instagram to help you do just that. It was started by film photographer Valerie Callan Photography and is called the #365dayfilmchallenge:

“The challenge was simple—try to shoot a picture a day of your family doing normal everyday things, but do it on a film camera. I wanted to set the intention to take more images of our mundane and exciting lives on 35mm film. It took off and soon 50+ photographers had reached out to join in the challenge. We began to use the hashtag #365dayfilmchallenge and more and more joined daily. Throughout the year, the group has become a niche support system in all things film photography. We have shared our work, inspired each other and taken full advantage of PhotoVision's Everyday 35mm all-inclusive service.” — Valerie Vaughan of Valerie Callan Photography

We were so excited to talk with Valerie as well as two other film photographers who participated in the #365dayfilmchallenge, Danielle Daley and Nicole Becker, to learn about their experience documenting their lives on film and hear how our service, Everyday 35mm, helped them preserve their everyday memories on film and in print:

Valerie Vaughan of Valerie Callan Photography

@ValerieVaughan @ValerieCallanPhotography

How did the #365dayfilmchallenge begin?

“On December 28, 2020, I posted a photo of my daughter on film from our latest trip to the beach. The hashtag #365dayfilmchallenge was born and I think there were a lot of friends in the industry who saw it along with my goal to shoot my family on film in 2021. They wanted to do it, too. It was almost like after the exhausting year of 2020, we all needed something to inspire us—something to look forward to as we were spending so much more time at home.”

What made you create the challenge?

“I was feeling pretty defeated in 2020, as an artist who craves human interaction. I felt so isolated at home a lot of the time. I realized how much I loved spending all this extra time with my husband and daughter, with another daughter on the way. This light just came on and I wanted to put my phone away and pick up a 35mm film camera and start documenting life for my girls—starting with the birth of my second daughter.”

What did you learn from the challenge?

“I have learned so much. I am not afraid of crappy light anymore, or having to have the best gear with me at all times! I am so much more in-tune with my film cameras and how to embrace the moments we create just by living out our lives. I have enjoyed not ever having to cull through too many images and just snapping a few perfect ones as we go.”

What do you love about PhotoVision's Everyday 35mm service?

“It's amazing, I had no idea PhotoVision was working on the Everyday 35mm service at the time and when I heard it was so serendipitous. If you are a film shooter, you already know and embrace the process of shooting, mailing, waiting, processing, scanning and printing. It can be a long process, especially when you are trying to hone in on your style with your lab. BUT PhotoVision’s Everyday 35mm service took the daunting decision-making out of the professional shooting process and gave me a quick and easy way to send in my rolls and get an all-inclusive service back. I didn't want this challenge to feel like work, and the Everyday 35mm film service just makes it fun. I also love that it includes prints and sends back my precious negatives!”

Is the #365dayfilmchallenge happening again this year? How can people join and how do they participate?

“Yes, the #365dayfilmchallenge will continue into 2022! Participants can join by following along on Instagram, using the #365dayfilmchallenge hashtag and reaching out to my 365 project account, @ValerieVaughan, where I post about the challenge and participants share their challenge experiences. Most participants (not all) are professional portrait photographers, so we wanted to keep this little challenge both fun and inspiring. A way for us to dive back into creating for ourselves and capturing our everyday lives. We have a private group chat and participants are welcomed to contact me to join.”

Danielle Daley of The Daley Lens

@thedaleylens @thedaley.film.project

Why did you join the #365dayfilmchallenge?

“I had been trying to document my family more intentionally the year prior, using my digital camera, but honestly it was getting to be a lot of work. I would overshoot and then spend hours culling and editing. When I heard about the film challenge, I thought, ‘This is perfect! I can take the pictures, mail the film and then be done.’ As the months went by, I also challenged myself to shoot color film. Prior to this year, I mainly used black and white.”

What did you learn from the challenge?

“I learned a lot about color film! I leaned on the group heavily for advice on which stock to use for different scenarios and how best to rate them. I think we all learned a lot when Fuji400H was discontinued. There was a lot of discussion on how best to use the many Portra choices after that blow. I also learned that I can be lazy about holding my camera straight (after lots of crooked pictures!).”

What do you love about PhotoVision's Everyday 35mm service?

“It is so easy, especially for photographers like me who don't shoot film professionally. I also love getting prints! I firmly believe that there is a magic in holding a printed photograph that you don't get to experience when a picture is in digital form. I also love giving the prints to my friends and neighbors. One sweet moment from this project was when I shot a roll of film at my youngest son's T-Ball game. A friend's son was on the opposing team so I snapped a few pictures of him, too. I gave my friend the prints of her son and she told me that her son loved them so much that she bought a few frames and now they're on his dresser for him to enjoy every day.”

Nicole Becker of NKB Photo

@nkbphoto @beyondtheframecamp

Why did you join the #365dayfilmchallenge?

“I joined the challenge for a few reasons. Growing up, I would thumb through the boxes of film prints that my family had of the most mundane memories—playing cards, suntanning, holidays. But the images told even more of a story through the history of viewing them through the years. I learned who my uncles were, how my family spent their time, the partners they all kept, the weddings, their children and all the moments in between—it was truly a love story for my family. The second reason I joined is that these moments are fleeting. My kids have grown up in front of my eyes in the last 2 years of being home together. When you watch their growth so closely, you can almost miss it. Even in a year, through the images I have created, I am able to see just how much they have changed and seeing this change is truly miraculous. These memories have now become part of my family’s love story. I don’t think I realized this from the start, it was merely ‘something to do to grow my craft’ but instead it grew our history!”

What did you learn from the challenge?

“Kids are funny. In one image, I found my daughter fully clothed in the shower with all her books and dolls and the next day she was peering out the window to the snow-filled yard while my other daughter pouted about having to shovel.”

What do you love about PhotoVision's Everyday 35mm service?

“It’s effortless and fun to receive some unexpected GEMS!”

Some of the best ways to learn and grow are in community.

We hope you give 35mm film photography a try and participate in @ValerieVaughan's #365dayfilmchallenge! We can’t wait to see what memories you capture on film and in print with Everyday 35mm.

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