As everyone is arriving abroad for the semester, I want to give one of the best pieces of advice I can: bring a film camera with you. Sure you can capture high-res photos on your iPhone these days, and digital cameras are easy to use, but looking back on my four months abroad, I couldn’t be more glad that I had my film camera with me.

Anyone that still uses film knows there’s a magic that comes with measuring the aperture and shutter speed for each shot, carefully framing each photo, and then waiting in anticipation for the film to develop. In my experience, using my film camera to capture my favorite memories of abroad was much more meaningful than the other photos I accumulated.

When I was exploring Copenhagen or traveling, I tried to always bring my camera along. If I saw something special, I would take a shot, then move along. Rather than sitting there, obsessing over getting the perfect photo with dozens of attempts and then going through editing and posting on Instagram, I would capture the moment in a single click. Weeks later, when I got the film developed, I could look at the photo and remember that moment for the joy of experiencing it, rather than through the screen of my phone. It helped me live in the present.

Today, over a year after I arrived in Copenhagen, I finally went through the CDs with my photos on them that the camera store gave me. It was like experiencing my favorite memories all over again. Each photo had so much character and emotion with it that I just don’t experience with any other form of photography. Not to mention, there’s something really special about holding a photo you’ve carefully created.

So if you’re in the process of packing and deliberating bringing your camera, take it. Or if you’ve already arrived and you’re lucky enough to find a used camera and some cheap film, buy it. You’ll be glad you did.

Here are some of my favorite shots:

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P.S. Don’t take undeveloped film through an X-Ray machine! Unless you want it to come out with cool purple/red filters 🙂

About Rachel Wine

Rachel Wine is our Editor in Chief and a lover of all things New Orleans! A few of her favorite things include film photography, traveling, and finding new restaurants to try.