UK Film Lab Spotlight – Molly Matcham

Molly Matcham was one of our original UK Film Lab Beta Testers. This means that she has been with us since the very start of our film lab journey, and she has been a constant source of support and inspiration since those early days. It’s difficult to put into words how much support from Molly – and our other, loyal, long-term clients – means to us, but suffice to say we are incredibly proud and grateful.

Choosing images for this spotlight feature was incredibly difficult as Molly creates so many beautiful images every time she shoots. Her work is diverse in subject matter but united by her wonderful use of light, bright yet subtle colours, and overall from the genuine warmth that her images exude. We always feel that this comes from her warm spirit as a person. Her work always feels like it comes from the heart, and makes us want to be in the photograph, breathing in the fresh air.

But that’s enough from us, here is what Molly has to say about her photography. Following the Q & A are some of our favourite images, and you can find more at Molly’s website here and blog here.

Why do you take photographs? 

When you are in the present you don’t always think about it becoming an era. The still image is like a smell or a song, it has the power to take you back to a time that’s passed and you instantly remember those feelings. I love having the opportunity to record events through my eyes. I look for the beauty in the world, which is also a philosophy I like to live my life by.

I have the chance to document the special times in people’s lives, and the ordinary ones. That is such a privilege that I never tire of or fail to be inspired by.

You seem to draw a lot of your inspiration from family…could you tell us a little about that?

I am very lucky to have two (usually) willing subjects in my daughters. I love photographing children and being able to practice on my own has definitely helped when photographing others. They allow me the chance to be creative and try my ideas out on them. It is also important for me to try and tell their individual stories and their relationship with each other. That inspired me to start a project to photograph them in the same place every month. It has been a great experience as I’ve captured their physical and personal growth, the changing environment around them and my own personal development as a photographer. I just hope they will keep letting me try out daft projects on them for a while yet!

What else inspires you to create images?

I want to tell stories mostly. I want to record where people are in their lives at that moment. Time goes by and nothing stays the same, I want to be able to tell a bit of their history. I am particularly inspired to tell the stories of people close to where I live. I believe that they are part of what makes the area I live in special to me. I am always thinking of who I’d like to photograph next. It’s an ongoing project that I think will last for years to come. I get to meet and talk to people I may not have done otherwise, it makes me feel more connected to where I live.

Why do you shoot film?

I love the way film makes me shoot, taking more time to get the right photo before I press the shutter, focusing on the person in front of the camera as apposed to a screen on the camera. I find it easier; once I have taken my meter reading I can focus on taking photos not technology. All the different films and cameras and lenses you can use, so much variety! Only seconds spent on editing if at all (that’s only when you use a great lab like UK Film Lab though)! The thing that draws me the most obviously is the look; the colours, the depth, the way film reacts to the light, that’s pretty special.

Why do you use UK Film Lab?

I was so thrilled when Christian and Erica started UK Film Lab. They are wonderful photographers themselves so you can trust in what they’re doing.

In Christian and Erica I know my film is in the best hands. They are brilliant to communicate with and they always take the time to make sure the scans are as good as they can be. Their advice is personal to you and they treat you as an individual. They are a big part of the end result and I am so grateful to them both.

Do you have any tips for your fellow film photographers?

It’s a cliché, but simply don’t be too hard on yourself – you learn from your mistakes. I have spent too much time focusing on what I did wrong as a bad thing but I try to look at them as learning. Every shoot is a chance to try new things and if I make a mistake I can still learn something new. Essential kit – light meters – can’t live with out mine! And of course use UK Film Lab!

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Most of these beautiful images were shot on Contax 645, Portra 400 and 800, with some on Fuji 400H. All images developed/scanned/edited at UK Film Lab.

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UKFL Image of the Day – December & January Round-Up

We are very fortunate to be able to work on the film of many talented photographers every single day at UK Film Lab. In fact, there are far too many wonderful photographs for us ever to be able to share them all! However, we try to single out one photograph every day to share as our UKFL Image of the Day. Often our Image of the Day is simply a beautiful shot that really appeals to us aesthetically, but we also like to showcase images that push the boundaries of film in some way, or show a different side to a popular film stock. This time around we’ve decided to combine two months of UK Film Lab Image of the Day into one, so we have twice as many gorgeous images to share with you today! Please click on the photographer’s name to be taken to their website and enjoy more of their beautiful work, and please visit our FacebookInstagram or Twitter page to see all of the images complete with camera and film stock details.


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And here they are together in all their loveliness!

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UKFL Image of the Day – November Round-up

It’s that time again – another month has passed and it’s been another month full of the most beautiful images. For those who’ve been with us a while you’ll know that every day we post a client image to our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages as our ‘Image of the Day’, and for those who have only just joined us, now you know! Every month we like to look back and re-cap on all the images we posted, though this is just a very small selection of the amazing film that we receive from all over the world every single day. Thanks again to all the photographers who choose us for their film processing – we’re committed to delivering the best to you.

And so here’s a re-cap:

Karol Tracz

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Anouschka Rokebrand

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Jared Przemek Macias

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Mark Lim

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Richard Leng

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Chloe Browne

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James Tarry

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Jeni Smith

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Christian Ward

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Georgina Harrison

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Phil Nunez

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Georgina Harrison

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Ray Bobrownicki

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Anouschka Rokebrand

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Magnus Fagernes Ivarsen

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Melanie Nedelko

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Jenna Reich

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And all of them together!

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Pushing the Boundaries: Fuji 400H at 800 and 3200

Winter – with its soft and atmospheric light – is one of our favourite times of the year to shoot.  Evening light is also a beautiful thing to capture. Winter evenings therefore, are a glorious thing, and something that we were very keen to explore on film. In some ways, the tonal range capabilities of film seem perfectly suited to capturing the nuances of golden light streaming through a dark woodland. However, with the desire to avoid underexposure (see our Exposure test here for more information) film shooting in low light presents a challenge.

This walk was only intended as a stroll with our cameras, not a serious shooting expedition, so we weren’t equipped with a tripod or anything else that would help as the light levels dropped. Yet the beauty of the evening and dusk unfolding before our eyes demanded that we give it a try.

These shots are all taken on Erica’s Rolleiflex 2.8F. Because she wanted to be able to utilise a narrower aperture on some shots she chose to start with a one stop push of Fuji 400H.

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At this point the light was really beginning to fail. These next two are still only pushed one stop but there is a little underexposure now:

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In these final shots the sun had gone down and this patch of woodland facing onto open fields, was receiving the very last bits of light before dusk truly fell. A few minutes later and we were using a torch to make our way back. This again is Fuji 400H pushed three stops in development to 3200. It captures the nuances of this light superbly well and with minimal colour shift. The increase in contrast that pushing brings about is actually welcome in these scenes, adding a little drama. In the main though this represents the scene as my eyes remember it very well. In most of these shots I was metering to add a stop of overexposure, although I was down to F2.8 and a shutter speed of 1/30 or 1/15 (helped by reasonably steady hands and the Rollei’s leaf shutter!)

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For the original version of this blog post you can check out Erica’s personal blog.

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UK Film Lab Spotlight – Chloe Browne, Caught the Light

We love Chloe Browne. Not only is she a pleasure to have as a client but she takes breathtaking photographs which we love working on. Chloe has a worldwide reputation and photographs weddings all around the globe. Known for her beautiful use of natural light, her style really suits the tone and feel of film. We asked her some questions and here are her answers, with some absolutely gorgeous images to round things off! Enjoy:-)

Why do you take photographs? What inspires you?

I take photographs because I don’t like to forget things. Life is all too often, so fleeting but I love that a photo will trigger a memory I would likely otherwise have forgotten. I’m inspired by beautiful light, as ridiculous as that sounds, learning very early on that good light is what makes me want to make an image.

Images have always been so important to me and I was always intrigued by my grandfather’s camera. The last photo ever taken of him, I took on his 35mm camera in Cornwall. He was our family photographer and I like to think he passed it along in his genes.

Tell us a little about why you started to shoot film, and what shooting film does for you.

I’m predominantly a digital photographer and taught myself how to shoot with a DSLR but for me, film is just magic. It looks like my dreams (once UK Film Lab have worked their magic) and I don’t achieve that same aesthetic with digital. I shoot all of my personal work on film and all of my portraiture now. I’ve managed to incorporate a little film into my wedding days, but still keep up with the fast-paced nature of weddings, which I love. I really slow down when I shoot film and I’m a lot more deliberate and considered, too. I feel like it’s made me a more observant photographer.

Why do you use UK Film Lab?

I use UK Film Lab because your feedback has been invaluable. I also appreciate supporting homegrown businesses and that you give my film such personal attention. You look after my film and I very well.

You use light beautifully to create your gorgeous images.  Could you tell us a little bit about how you developed your style?

Firstly, thank you! I chose the name Caught the Light as before I really got serious, people would always say “you caught the light well in that one”. It’s a stupid name but I’m stubborn, so it stuck.

I started off shooting weddings six years ago and fell in love with Jose Villa’s work and the way he seeks out the light. He has such a beautiful eye and makes everything look ethereal and I was drawn to his work immediately. When I started investing in photography, I quickly became dependent on prime lenses as I loved how they helped me hone in on the details I noticed. I also liked that they let me shoot in really low-light situations without always needing to use flash, which means I can creep around a bit and blend in more.

Do you have any tips for your fellow film photographers?

One of the best purchases I ever made in shooting film was buying a polaroid back for my 645. Being a digital girl, I like that reassurance of knowing that my kit is in working order so I can shoot to my heart’s content.

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You can check out more of Chloe’s wonderful work at Caught the Light


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