By in Technology

When Picture Taking Was a Special Event

It wasn't all that long ago that camera required film to take photographs. The under-20 set may have read about them in history books, but for the rest of us, we can remember film cameras in their various stages of development.

When cameras yet required film, few average folks took photographs except on special occasions. Even this was a step forward from the turn of the 20th century when family photos might happen once a generation.

Film for cameras was relatively inexpensive, but the price of having it developed could be forbidding for those on a modest income. In addition, the exposed film had to be taken somewhere so that it could be developed into photographs, with waiting times of seven to fourteen days.

With the relative ease of use of digital cameras and no further reliance on extra costs beyond the investment in the camera itself, it became possible to take photos of anything or anyone the camera's user desired.

If you're wondering why most everyone was posed in those old film photos, now you have know.

Isn't technology grand?

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Image Credit » PublicDomainArchive Public Domain/CC0 1.0 License via Pixabay

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FernandoSHA wrote on January 6, 2015, 1:02 AM

It used to be funny seeing the photographer hide under a black veil to have our yearly class picture taken hahaha! Most of the space in my PC is occupied by photo file from my digital camera or my smartphone and some music too. I take extra precaution though of saving a back-up file in a portable drive, just in case my PC crashes or gets infected with virus and corrupts my data. Recently, my photos are of the rising sun which I often share on Facebook. My wife and I get to catch up with the rising at the boulevard in our city after our early morning walks at the sports ovals at 5:00 A.M.

AngelSharum wrote on January 6, 2015, 1:06 AM

I didn't take near as many photos back in the day, but I did take more than most non-professionals. We spent way too much money getting them developed.

FernandoSHA wrote on January 6, 2015, 1:07 AM

The photo on my profile is one of the shots I've taken of the beautiful rising sun at the boulevard in our city.

JeanC wrote on January 6, 2015, 1:09 AM

I remember when the camera came out and everyone gathered around. Invariably when we got the pictures back from the developer someone's head could be cut off LOL! I remember when the one hour photo shop opened and no more waiting weeks to get the photos back. Film and I never quite got a long tho, it wasn't until digital came out I really got the hang of it. I still have rolls of negatives I never got around to having developed into full pictures. Should do that one of these years.

celticeagle wrote on January 6, 2015, 2:05 AM

Technology is grand. I have been following the 3D technologies now a days.

PattyTherre wrote on January 6, 2015, 3:19 AM

I remember well film and flashbulbs. lol. And getting film developed never knowing what the pictures will look like until you got them back. Kinda of dun actually. I sort of miss the old days.

ison1 wrote on January 6, 2015, 4:04 AM

I don't know the current rate , but in March 2012, 10% of all photos taken in the history of mankind had been taken in the preceding 12 months!

Debbie wrote on January 6, 2015, 4:20 AM

It is grand indeed. I love the freedom of capturing the moments in life.

I have a wonderful picture of my grandmother and her family in all their formal wear.

Kat- wrote on January 6, 2015, 6:48 AM

I remember taking pictures on film, although I used a point and shoot camera. My Dad had one of those expensive 35mm with different lenses and all, they have finally made the move over to digital also.

nbaquero wrote on January 6, 2015, 7:17 AM

Feisty56 What a good post. I remember when I graduated from high school I got a film camera. I used film cameras for the next 20 years or so until in 2004 I got my first digital camera. Those were good times.

VinceSummers wrote on January 6, 2015, 7:57 AM

I really prefer film cameras, but for snapshots, or immediate use and minimal cost, digital works.

phoenixmaid wrote on January 6, 2015, 9:44 AM

I miss using film, if you developed your own pictures it was a great experience. getting your hands on film now though sets you back a fair bit.

wolfgirl569 wrote on January 6, 2015, 10:09 AM

I still miss the ones that popped the picture out and you watched as it started to show up on the paper.

LadyDuck wrote on January 6, 2015, 10:48 AM

This is so true. I remember that I was so sad not to take more photos during my travels, but the cost of developing films was so high. I remember my very first digital camera back in 1990, it saved the photo on tiny 2.5 inch diskettes (much smaller than those used for computers). It was the Canon ION. I still have it, but the battery does not work anymore and Canon is unable to replace it... so sad, I am unable to see about 200 old digital photos.

paigea wrote on January 6, 2015, 10:52 AM

I can't believe how many pictures there are of children today. As you say back in the day we were very careful as that film seemed expensive to get developed.

arthurchappell wrote on January 6, 2015, 11:15 AM

the easier it is to take photos the easier it is to take bad ones - the quality of most social media photography is shocking

GayleStorm wrote on January 6, 2015, 12:07 PM

As I was growing up, we used a lot of disposable cameras. We still had the big clunker and an even clunkier video camera. We used those mostly for special occasions.

zabelle51 wrote on January 6, 2015, 2:42 PM

I hate to admit it but I have at least 5 or 6 films still hanging around that I never did develop. :)

AliCanary wrote on January 6, 2015, 7:38 PM

It's funny, because "One-Hour Photo" used to be a BIG deal, and now it's all just bleep-bloop, you're done!

Feisty56 wrote on January 6, 2015, 9:48 PM

That profile photo is amazing. I have some nice sunset pictures I took when I'd go out each day to the porch to watch the sun set. I'm going to have to try and find them.

FernandoSHA wrote on January 7, 2015, 1:50 AM

I'd love to see your sunset photo, Ms. Deb. We have our sunrise and you have your sunset. It's unfortunate we cannot have our cake and eat it too hahaha! So we have to be content with our sunrise here and you with your sunset there LOL!

seren3 wrote on January 7, 2015, 7:03 AM

So true! I have entire periods of my life without one photograph of myself or people I know/knew. I never had the income to develop pics. I love it that I have more photos now.

Sheilamarie78 wrote on January 7, 2015, 12:05 PM

I used to develop my own black and white photographs in my own darkroom. I studied photography as classes in university and learned the art and science of both taking photographs and of mixing the chemicals needed to develop them. I love my digital camera now, but I do miss some of the feeling of creation that the old film method lent itself to. Now everyone is a photographer, which is fine. The main benefit of digital photography I find is the freedom to take lots of pictures and just to delete the ones that don't work. I don't have to limit myself to about ten to twenty frames per day as I used to do. I used a 35 mm, a 2 1/4 square, and 5 X 7 large format cameras in the 1970's and 80's. Even developing your own photographs became extremely expensive in the old days. Now once you buy your camera, the cost is negligible until you want to print up the best ones.

bestwriter wrote on January 7, 2015, 11:44 PM

Those sessions with the photographer were a real pain. Asking us to move here, move there, a smile place, not such a broad smile, just a little, you there come closer, that little one can sit on the floor, oh no please take care of that child. she is looking the other way, eh you, will you please stop giggling - any more orders? And finally a personal visit from the photographer giving us bad news that he could not develop and so needs another session emoticon :grin:

Koalemos wrote on January 8, 2015, 4:40 PM

Yes, it was an expensive hobby in days gone by. You also had to take care what you photographed because you did not want to run out of film on a holiday or day trip. Of course I have no need to read a history book because I used to have a Kodak Brownie many moons ago.

Feisty56 wrote on January 8, 2015, 4:58 PM

I do remember as a child (1960s) that photo taking was nearly always posed shots. In the 1970s things were a little less informal, but the price of developing was prohibitive of just random picture-taking. A family generally had one camera, which the adults took charge of. It's just amazing to consider the differences that have occurred in a relatively short period of time.

Feisty56 wrote on January 8, 2015, 4:59 PM

Oh yes, cut off heads or shoulders, photos out of focus, too grainy to make out or over-exposed. Red eye when those flash bulbs went off. Those were the days, eh? lol

Feisty56 wrote on January 8, 2015, 5:20 PM

Those 3D technologies and now the ability to actually produce useable items from 3D printers takes all of this to an entirely different level, doesn't it?

Feisty56 wrote on January 8, 2015, 5:21 PM

I miss some of that, too, Patty. I guess because it was part of childhood and when life seemed simpler, at least in retrospect.

Feisty56 wrote on January 8, 2015, 5:23 PM

My parents had a Brownie camera. I remember being allowed to take it on my fourth grade class trip to a museum. I thought I was big stuff.

Koalemos wrote on January 8, 2015, 6:07 PM

A Kodak Brownie was really the first camera to become in very common use by the general public and popularised photography.

Feisty56 wrote on January 8, 2015, 6:09 PM

That is an amazing statistic. I wonder how many selfies alone are in that number?

Feisty56 wrote on January 8, 2015, 6:19 PM

I have some of those old black-and-white family photos, too. Most of the people in them look as if they'd rather be any where but there, don't they?

Feisty56 wrote on January 8, 2015, 8:11 PM

I had a few variations of the point and shoot cameras over the years, too. I remember when my grandparents bought a Polaroid camera -- the ones that spit the picture out? That was the cat's meow.

Feisty56 wrote on January 8, 2015, 8:13 PM

Photo-taking just had a different feel to it when we used cameras with film, didn't it? It wasn't something taken for granted.

ViperGirl85 wrote on January 8, 2015, 10:58 PM

Technology certainly is grand! I may still have my old film camera somewhere, but it would be in storage. It was always exciting to get my pictures back from the Rite-Aid photo center!

Glenn wrote on January 9, 2015, 12:39 PM

I actually had a camera just like that one in your photo. Wow does that go back in time! I must have been 10 years old. I used to process my own black and white film. Had to take the film out of the roll in a dark room to process it without seeing what I was doing. That was fun. I think I still have an old picture I took of my enlarger. I'll have to look for that.

agvulpes wrote on January 10, 2015, 5:45 AM

Like some others my first camera Kodak Box Brownie I think it was called here in Australia and was purchased some 65 years ago:)
We had to take the exposed film to a Chemist Shop (Drug Store?) and they would send it to Kodak for processing ! This could take 2-4 weeks? and I you say cost a small fortune :)

cheri wrote on February 1, 2015, 10:52 PM

That is the wonder of technology. People are so innovative that they can think of ways on enhancing a certain gadget or product.