Follow our Leeds: Take It Easy Film Lab
By Elise Czyzowska
28 September 2022
To celebrate the opening of our new campus in Leeds, we’re getting to know our new local area in a series of blogs featuring local businesses from across the city. In our first ‘Follow our Leeds’ blog, we’re speaking to Take It Easy Photo Lab…
Film photography is a growing artform, and one that many of our students try their hand at, whether it’s to find inspiration in the everyday world around them, or as a hobby to compliment their studies. It’s for this reason that we reached out to the Take It Easy Photo Lab for our ‘Follow our Leeds’ blog series.
In their own words, Take It Easy is an inclusive film lab offering developing, scanning, printing, and workshop services for amateurs, pros and everyone in between. Keep reading to find out more about their community-oriented business, top photo spots in Leeds, and their advice for getting started with the craft of film photography.
Why do you think so many people are turning to analogue photography in the digital age?
In the digital age, there’s a trend towards everything being immediately available – Instagram images provide constant updates of people’s lives. There’s no denying that this is useful, but the abundance and constant barrage of this kind of imagery loses the romance of analogue mediums. The process of collecting a set of prints after your holiday, and reliving the memories through these images, especially days or weeks after they took place, is a completely different experience to scrolling through a photo roll on your phone.
In the same way, the aesthetic of analogue images has a certain nostalgic feel which evokes a different feeling to that of the ‘clinical’ images you get from a digital camera. And many people also like the tactility of analogue: of loading film into a camera, and then being able to see the negatives after you’ve had them developed. It’s similar to the way handling a vinyl record feels – it’s a physical, tangible experience.
Being an independent, family-run business, what does community mean to the Take It Easy Film Lab?
Building an inclusive film community is at the heart of everything we do – we don’t want people to feel intimidated when they come into the lab. In the past, there’s been a stereotype of film labs being for an ‘exclusive’ community, and luckily that seems to be something that, in general, is changing with time. We created Take It Easy to be a space where everyone can come to use our services, to learn new skills, ask questions, and enjoy analogue photography.
Leeds is such a community-oriented place as well – people are very open to collaborating and championing others. And we’ve also teamed up with another lab in Nottingham to create the Make It Easy Lab. This is a space which aims to demystify film photography and support everyone on their analogue journey through access to equipment, facilities, and experts.
You must develop a lot of photos on a daily basis – what makes a great snap for you?
We definitely do! The great thing about seeing so many images is that you appreciate the whole spectrum of types of photographs. We see all sorts of great work come through the lab: some of it is high-end editorial photography, and some of it is from complete beginners. The fact that there’s such a diversity of work, and that everyone has a different way of seeing the world around them, means we get to appreciate all of these skill levels.
I don’t think there’s a recipe for a great photograph, everyone is capable of making something great! Sometimes it’s lots of careful planning, and sometimes it’s simply being in the right place at the right time.
Many of our film students also try their hand at film photography. What would your top piece of advice be for beginners to the craft?
Our advice would be to just try it! Sometimes, people can feel precious about taking a photo on film, not wanting to ‘waste’ an image, but I would always listen to your gut. If you get that feeling, then shoot it. It’s often these photos that turn out the best.
The easiest way to get into film photography for a complete beginner is with a point and shoot camera, as these do all the work for you. If you’re wanting to use other types of film cameras, and are unsure of how to set them up correctly, then come and speak to us! We’re always happy to help here at the lab, or if you want some more in-depth guidance, we regularly run workshops both online and at the lab.
Can you recommend any of your favourite spots in Leeds for filming and photography?
If you’re looking for a scenic spot, then head out on the train to picturesque Knaresborough, or to Otley Chevin. Another good spot to check out is the Cow and Calf rocks in Ilkley!
Finally, what’s the one thing our students should know about the Take It Easy Film Lab?
Students get 10% off in store!