Street Photography with colour film

Street photography in colour is so different from shooting in b&w.  You really have to change the way you see.  What looks good in b&w rarely looks good in colour and vice-versa.

I chose to shoot with colour negative film as it has more latitude than transparencies and the developing costs are much lower.  I find colour tough enough and using film is going to be even more challenging.  But I am really excited by the idea of starting to see in colour as my mind was stagnating shooting b&w and I needed to recharge my emotions and vision on the streets.  I feel like a beginner again 🙂

I found it difficult to concentrate on composition, content and colour (3 C’s!) when shooting.  I would often find myself concentrating on composition and content (like b&w) and would have to remind myself to look for colour at which point i would focus on colours and forget about the other two C’s.  Will take time for all three to come together in my mind seamlessly.

I used Fuji Superia 800 and Kodak Porta NC 400 and scanned the negatives.  Scanning colour film is very tricky as colour negative film has an orange caste which translates into a bluish/greenish cast when scanned into positives.  So even the whole colour correction thing is a learning process.

These are my first attempt and I have edited loosely as I am hoping for some helpful feedback/suggestions/tips.  My colour street photography journey has just begun and I think it is going to be a long and challenging and often frustrating one.  But I am having so much fun again!

And I will continue to shoot b&w as well to keep that side of me alive:)


The icing was the pair of pants hanging in the top right corner???

A new-look Cross Maidan

If the hat fits…

For these kids the school bus will only provide some shade

Can always use an extra hand

Crossing the street is a test of patience in parts of the city

Too young to ride



Not sure if the standing guy adds to the image or ruins it by partly blocking one of the 2 guys in the background

I am trying to understand how light works with colour

King of the castle

The license plate on the hand cart drew my attention

Wish I had caught just a bit more of her face

Self grooming

Back therapy?

I guess someone has to clean them

We’d be so lost without our phones

All the elements came together in this image

Loved his hair

The upper floor on these huts are very pricey and some offer spectacular sea views!

Chai time

Don’t hang the messenger

It was cold enough to warrant a blanket the last few days in Mumbai


19 thoughts on “Street Photography with colour film

  1. I too feel far more comfortable with B&W but the challenge of colour is something I’m very slowly coming to terms with, add in film and like you say, it’s like starting over. Awesome shots

  2. As usual you have picked some excellent subjects and I like the output from film – I am still using it occasionally but haven’t jumped to colour yet. There is a wonderful richness to these although in some I would have liked to see more of the shadow detail. An example would be “If the Hat Fits….” or “Chai Time”. Your style shines through whichever medium you choose.

  3. This was sort of unexpected to see from you, but very nice! You have a great eye for color as well. It’s funny too, because I just shot a roll of Portra 400 NC this weekend. Waiting for the negatives to come back from the lab.

  4. loved going through the collection. I have got a film compact and i am feeling very tempted to strap on some film and just try it out for kicks:) Photographs i really loved:
    Appy one (no.2), The extra hand, crossing in mumbai – the smiling lady in the bus makes the photograph, spooky is kickass:P, back therapy, the shadowed one immediately after that, we’d be so lost without our phones. The cold enough to warrant a blanket is one i really really like because the man who is walking has his hands in a direction that would turn those bikes the way they appear to be turned in the pic – Super!

  5. I sold all my digital gear late last year because I wanted to challenge myself more. I did so by opting to shoot colour film. It’s taken a while to get to grips with the medium but the new challenge is stimulating and proving to be worth it.

    You won’t regret it.

    1. I am really having fun with street photography again. Film is amazing and now colour has thrown up a fresh challenge. And just the feeling of immersing yourself in the creative process rather than machine gunning through memory cards is so gratifying.

  6. Hey Kaushal, I was already familiar with your B&W work but I found your blog through a friend of mine and it’s a pretty interesting place, I’m glad I landed here
    You described perfectly the state of mind I was in when I did some color last year, I’d say it took me about 3-4 rolls’ time to get used to seeing in color. I’d also add that you can’t shoot color everywhere in my opinion, some places lend themselves more to that

  7. Great images, and I particularly liked the second one and the ones on street shops. Am starting off with color film too, and it is interesting to see through your images the kind of impact color can have on capturing street life. I suppose you are already familiar with Steve McCurry’s work in India – that is usually a very good source of inspiration on the use of color in street photography.

    Keep ’em coming.

      1. Thanks for stopping by. I have in all my time in India yet to visit Mumbai, and it’s something I’ve been wanting to get to soon. Will keep you posted when I do.

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