top of page

Stepping out of my comfort zone with film photography | LeeAnn Stromyer

I finally leaped and did something I have wanted to do for a long time.

Self-portrait in Rochester Ny at  a film photography workshop.
A selfie experiment with a Pentax medium format camera.

Fear of failure has a funny way of keeping you small. We convince ourselves that failure is the enemy, so we steer clear of obstacles and challenges.

One of the greatest lessons you can learn is that failure is your greatest teacher.

My first encounter with photography was in college when my brother and sister were graduating from high school. I wanted to save the family money, so I decided I would take their senior pictures.

They still hang in our home, and when I look at them, they remind me that the dream of one day being a photographer was always in my veins.

My sophomore or junior year of college, I finally decided to let myself take photography.

The moment I picked up that old Pentax 35mm camera I was hooked.

Portrait of a ballerina during rehearsal by LeeAnn Stromyer.
35mm Pentax on TriX400 developed on Ilford Paper - One of my all time favorite photographs from my work in college.

It wasn't so much the process of taking the photo but more the experience of creating a photograph from start to finish. The minutes that felt like hours as I tried to correctly put the film on the reel desperately trying to keep my undeveloped film off the floor.

From the moment I popped open the canister and to see my newly developed negatives for the first time.

And then the best part of all...... the time I spent using my negatives to create photographs.

Portrait of a ballerina during rehearsal by LeeAnn Stromyer.
35mm Pentax on TriX400 developed on Ilford Paper

The experience was exhilarating and meditative. The hours would pass by sometimes in silence, sometimes listening to books like Any Rand's Atlas Shrugged and it never got old.

I loved it all, but after I graduated from college, I stopped pursuing my love for photography. I went with the safe route, and along the way I convinced myself that I would never be good enough to be a photographer.

After six years and the death of my mother, I woke up. I stopped saying that dream wasn't for me, and I started seriously pursuing my business.

This July marked my first full year in business, and I FINALLY decided to face another fear - FILM photography. From day one, I have loved and preferred film photography over digital. The idea of finding a way to incorporate it into my business was overwhelming and scary. When I caught wind of a film workshop in Rochester, NY called Make Friends with Film I knew it was time to leap!

Portrait of people jumping in the air by LeeAnn K Photography.
Workshop hosts Brian and Alexandra jumping for joy!

The workshop was all that and a bag of potato chips. Brian and Alexandra went over film labs, film types, and ratings - all the things I needed help with. We spent time working with different film cameras and experimenting with different films.

So I wrote all this to say......

It's never too late to face your fear and failure is key to growth. If your afraid to do something find people, classes, or experiences that will help you get to where you want to be.

I am so freaking excited to start integrating film photography into my business! Check out my film scans from the workshop below - I have to say they turned out pretty awesome all things considered!

Film Portra 400, portrait of a young girl by LeeAnn Stromyer

Film Portra 400, portrait of a young girl by LeeAnn Stromyer

Portrait of plants on portra 400 film by LeeAnn K Photography

Photograph of hand on portra 400 film by LeeAnn K Photography

Portrait by LeeAnn Stromyer on portra 160 film shot on a medium format camera.

Photo of my shoes shot on portra 400 film.

Still life of a plant on portra 400 film.

Photograph of mexican sparkling water on portra 160 film shot with a medium format camera.

Photograph of my shadow on portra 160 film shot with a medium format camera.


Hey there, I'm LeeAnn!

Thanks for stopping by :)

If you like what you read I think you might like some of my other content.

I share stories of everyday women from all walks of life along side their beautiful photos.

Their stories are meant to uplift and inspire. When I'm not sharing their stories, I am diving into the whys behind what I do or I am sharing tips for having great sessions.

I'd love for you to follow along and join me. You can do this by signing up for my newsletter where I send updates twice a month!

Interested in booking a session? You can email me directly or hop on over to my families or branding page.

Until next time, all the love!




Hey friend!


I'm LeeAnn a Pittsburgh-based personal brand photographer helping women create memorable brands that align with who they are  while attracting the right people. 

bottom of page