First, watch the video below which explains the challenge, and the five things you need to do to complete the challenge, which is actually designed to stretch your creativity and give you a greater appreciation of the photographers who came before digital. So, start by watching this short video now:

So, what you’re going to do is shoot with your digital camera like it was a traditional film camera, but just for one day, and for just one “roll of film.” (but I’m not letting you off that easy. Keep reading on page 2:

Here’s a recap of the Old School Photo Challenge rules (to be completed this weekend):

(1) You have to turn off, or black out the LCD monitor on the back of your camera. You can’t see the shots after you take them.

(2) You can only shoot 24 or 36 shots total (more on that in a minute).

(3) You can’t import the photos or even look at them until 24 hours AFTER you shoot them.

(4) You have to make a print (we didn’t always have computer screens to display our work. If we wanted to see it, we made a print. It was the moment when your image became “real.”) If you have your own printer, make a good sized print. If you don’t, and you live in the U.S., go to MPIX.com, set up an account (it takes all of 90 seconds), and upload your best image from your roll of 24 or 36. Choose a 16×20″ print on E-Surface paper. You’re gonna love the way they print your image.

If by some miracle, you just don’t like the printing job MPIX did (I’m not talking about the quality of your photo, but of the printing itself), then send me an email at skelby@photoshopuser.com with MPIX Print in the subject line, and I will refund the cost of the 16×20″ print myself (that’s right—not MPIX. Me!).

Of course, I wouldn’t offer this if I wasn’t darn sure you’re going to love your print, and making a print, or having a print made, is a crucial part of this process (by the way—-my refund offer is only good for new customers. If you’re already an MPIX customer, you know this stuff is good, or you still wouldn’t be a customer, right? Right!).

If you live outside the U.S., send your best image to a local photo lab, but don’t just get a regular-sized print. Get a large print (at least 11×14 size) but hopefully larger. You’ll be glad you did.

(5) Film wasn’t free back then. Processing cost even more. But you don’t have to buy film. I’ve got a better idea: We checked, and to by a roll of 24 400 ISO film, and have it processed at WalMart (cheap!) is $9.88, or around $13 for a roll of 36 (NOTE: Weird technicality; apparently, this roll of 24 actually lets you shoot 27 images total, so you can shoot 27 if you feel you need to).

Now, since you don’t actually have to buy film or processing, what I’m hoping is that you’ll follow this link, which leads you to a page where you can donate what it would have cost you for film and processing to the Springs of Hope Orphanage in Kenya (the same one you guys, the readers of this blog, help build from an empty plot of land, into a wonderful up and running orphanage that houses, feeds, and cares for some very special kids).

I’m using this to help raise just over $9, 700 and some change so the orphanage can buy an adjacent piece of land, which they want to convert into a farm so the orphanage can grow much of their own food and become more self-sustaining. So, although this fifth step is optional, it’s the one that will make you feel the very best out of all of this. You can make your donations using Paypal (and I really encourage to take this final step. I promise you, you’ll feel better inside than you’ll ever feel from buying real film and processing).

(6) There is no six, but you do get extra credit if you: (a) pick one ISO at the very beginning and don’t change it for all 24/36 shots, and (b) if you don’t do any post-processing of the images in Photoshop or Lightroom. Just look at them, but don’t touch.

Remember: this is not a contest or a competition. There are no prizes. But every one that participates wins on some level because it will stretch you, and your creativity, and it will really make you think before you press that shutter button. Plus, I know many of you will send 10 or so bucks to help the kids, and that’s a big win any way you look at it.

I have put up a flickr group so you can post your images on Sunday (you’re supposed to do your shoot this weekend, but remember—-don’t look at your images for 24 hours. Not a peek!

I’m really interested to hear your experience with all this, and how you feel about shooting in a somewhat non-digital way with your digital camera. It makes you really appreciate what we have now in digital, doesn’t it.

Anyway, this is the first of my monthly challenges—-ones we’ll do together (I’m doing this one Saturday along with you. Don’t be expecting much, though. This is harder than you think). I’ve got a lot of fun ones coming up, and hopefully it’ll get a lot of photographers trying new things, and new techniques they’ve never done before, which I think is a really fun, creative thing.

Thanks for rising to the challenge. :-)


P.S. I never said this would be easy. ;-)

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About The Author

Scott is a Photographer, bestselling Author, Host of "The Grid" weekly photography show; Editor of Photoshop User magazine; Lightroom Guy; KelbyOne.com CEO; struggling guitarist. Loves Classic Rock and his arch-enemy is Cilantro. Devoted husband, dad to two super awesome kids, and pro-level babysitter to two crazy doggos.