Learning to Shoot Film – Brady Street

I’ve been shooting photos digitally since the early 2000’s. My only experience with film before now was through disposable cameras. I loved shooting with those cheap plastic boxes, but didn’t like the lack of control that came with them. So, from my first 2.1 megapixel point-and-shoot camera, to the full frame DSLR I use today, I’ve mostly created images using bits and bytes instead of film and chemicals.

That’s going to change.

After a series of trials and errors (which I plan to write about in the future), I decided to purchase a Minolta XG 7 SLR from a seller on Craigslist. I got the camera body, a 50 mm Rokkor-X 1.7 lens, a Tokina 80-200 mm 4.5 zoom lens, and a flash for a flat $20. Huge steal!

Minolta XG 7 Film Camera

I’ve shot three rolls of film on this guy so far, and I’m loving everything about it.

  • Yes, you must meter and hope you’ve got the exposure right.
  • Yes, you must manually focus each shot.
  • Yes, you need a better understanding of aperture, film speed and shutter speed.
  • No, there is no way to see what an image looks like until it’s developed.

But all of those things are what make the process so meaningful. I am much more connected to each shot I take. Each of the 24 exposures on a roll of film receive far more attention than the average shot on my 32 gigabyte SD card. Because of the finite number of opportunities I have to capture an image, and the fact that each decision I make is permanent, of course I’m spending more time composing and setting up each shot.

So without further ado, I wanted to share 23 of the 24 photos I took on Brady Street last week. I took a quick afternoon photo walk to document this little bar-hopping haven because my wife and I were moving about half an hour from it the following week. Keep in mind, I am still a beginner when it comes to film. These photos are not representative of my professional work.

Here’s what I came back with:

[All images shot on Fujifilm Fujicolor Superia X-TRA 400]

“Can’t Stop Won’t Stop”

“Save Co”

“Back Alleys”

“I’m Sure You’re Really a Club”

“Family Feud”

“Our Reflections”

“Fire Flowers”



“Hot Ham”

“So Milwaukee”

“Open House”

“Sean Love”

“Lux Above, Trash Below”


“Kill Capitalism, Love”


“Lake and Luxury”

“The Crossing”

“Views from Afar”


“Cylinder and Symbol”

“The test shot.”

And that’s that!

If you’re familiar with the area, you might notice that I ventured a little off Brady over to Swing Park. Don’t judge.

I brought the film to the Walgreen’s on Brady for development, thinking it would be fitting with the theme to keep it local. They of course shipped it off to some mysterious lab for actual development, but I kept it as close to the street as possible.

I plan on shooting more film in the future for my personal work, and I’ll share my experiences with you here. Be sure to follow me on Instagram for more regular updates.

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One comment

  • Riva Treasure June 28, 2017   Reply →

    Your ‘Save Co’ pic looks like a tropical destination! I love all your photos, you really captured the beauty of Brady Street perfectly!

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