Film photography: Manual EXIF

Sometimes you find things that transport you straight back into the past. The other day I found this Ryman tiny memo pad in my very first camera bag, purchased in 1995. It’s a pretty impressive bag and still in good nick – it holds all the photography bits and pieces that I don’t use often.


Flipping it open I saw the date at the top of the first page was 15th Feb 1997!

A month after my sister died.
Two years before my son was born.
4 years before we came to South Africa.

I’m sure many of you will remember the days before digital cameras and EXIF information?

In those days, I wrote my own EXIF manually by writing my settings on this pad when I was trying out something new so that I knew what worked and what didn’t. Then when I got the photos or slides back, I numbered them and logged the settings for each one.


I started using this process when I studied photography through the UK City and Guilds courses which I did at night school. At weekends I would drag my then-husband out on photo walks and dictate the settings to him whilst I took the shots.

The story that this pad tells

Film: Kodak Ektar ISO25
Lens: Sigma 28-70mm with close up filter
Subject: Shells
Shots 5 and 7 were wasted
And when I got to shot 24, I had to change the film!


I love digital for a loads of reasons – because you can delete a shot without knowing you paid handsomely for it and because the EXIF information is so comprehensive. But, I know that I learnt loads from writing down settings this way – even if it was time-consuming.

Debbie blog sign off 2018

4 thoughts on “Film photography: Manual EXIF

  1. Pradeep says:

    Hi Debbie, this post took my memories many years back. Those days it was quite a task to buy a reel, put it the camera, shoot scenes one after the other, without knowing how they have been taken, then getting the photos developed and printed.
    While the whole process has become so easy and convenient now, what we are missing is the huge joy of seeing those perfect shots many days after we actually shot them. Now it is all instant, is it not?
    — Pradeep |

    Liked by 1 person

I'd love to know your thoughts on this post, please leave me a comment

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.