How to Photograph Fire on Film

Film photography can feel intimidating and downright terrifying. Not today. Today I'm sharing how to photograph fire on film. Here's the deal: if you can photograph fire on film then you have nothing to worry about when photographing details. The best part? Photographing fire on film is actually really simple! You're bound to find yourself around a campfire this month. I have put together the full list of items you will need (marshmallows not included)!

The Recipe

1) Film camera 2) Lens 3) Portra 800 Film

That's it. You don't even need a light meter because I am going to tell you the exact settings to use. I used this camera and lens (you can purchase them as a kit on KEH.com), and this film. If you don't have a budget for that, go buy the Fuji Instax camera or a disposable camera and play around with film!

How to Photograph Fire on Film - The Jordan Brittley Blog (www.jordanbrittleyblog.com)

Here are three different fire "looks" that you can achieve with a few manual adjustments on your camera.

Soft Fire

This type of fire photo is pictured below. This is how I would photograph fire if there are people (or hands) in the photograph. In this photo, I am not exposing for the flame. I am exposing for the skin tones.

Portra 800 rated at 400, 1/125th of a second

How to Photograph Fire on Film - The Jordan Brittley Blog (www.jordanbrittleyblog.com)

Spurts of Fire

I would describe spurts of fire as a mix of soft and crisp fire. I photograph fire this way until about 30 minutes after sunset. I like the movement in the photograph and the distinct wisps of fire.

Portra 800 rated at 400, 1/250th of a second

How to Photograph Fire on Film - The Jordan Brittley Blog (www.jordanbrittleyblog.com)

Crisp Fire

This type of fire photograph makes me think of something fierce. We are talking crisp lines, contrast, and maybe even edgy. I would photograph fire this way once it is completely dark outside.

Portra 800 rated at 400, 1/500th of a second


What's your favorite thing to do around the campfire? I personally love watching re-runs of The Good Wife!

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