How to Get the Most Out of FIND in a BOX


Maybe you have been following me and you see the occasional #FINDinaBox. Or maybe you have heard about FIND in a Box and you are curious to learn more about it. Maybe you are in FIND in a Box and you just swung by to see whats up (what up FIAB Ohana!) I could do a rave review on FIND in a Box, and I probably will someday, but for now I want to talk about how to get the most out of your FIND in a BOX experience. I truly believe that people can have a large range of experiences (good, bad, ugly) and I don’t know what people are doing or what works for them, BUT I CAN tell you what has worked for me. There are a lot of learning resources out there. There are endless workshops and mentoring opportunities. Maybe it is because FIND in a BOX was the first time I invested in my film photography education but it has impacted me far beyond anything else. I will continue to find opportunities to further my education but so far FIND in a Box has been the best invest for my craft. Now, why have I had a great experience with FIND in a BOX? It’s pretty simple actually, but requires a little work, some confidence, and maybe a little reckless abandon.

READ the PDF’s

Oh. Em. Gee. This one is huge… That is why it is first and foremost. Read the dang PDF’s. Ok I get it. When I was in college I RARELY read my textbooks (don’t tell my professors). But the PDF’s are like your film bible. I will never understand why someone would invest so much money in learning something and then NOT do the reading. Ok, First, Jonathan Canlas’s writing is hilarious. Not only is it educational but you can totally hear his voice while you read. Its practically like he is sitting next to you rambling on about film, film stocks, shooting, metering, rating, pushing blah blah blah…. and an occasional hashtag cause lets be honest #thatstheworldwelivin. The PDF’s made everything clear for me. My AH-HA moment… “OH THAT’S WHAT PEOPLE MEAN WHEN THEY PUSH FILM” #facepalm. I can’t tell you how many times I have referenced the PDF’s. I am constantly going back to them to answer my own questions as well as others.

Bonus: Download them to your phone for easy on the go access

There are even downloadable exposure charts for your phone cause not all of us are walking light meters #eyerollemoji

WATCH the Videos

Alright, Alright, I get it, if you are reading this blog you are either cheering me on as a friend or curious because you are a photographer looking for information (bonus if you are both! HI Friend!). If you are the latter you are PROBABLY a visual person. You maybe learn things better when you can SEE it. Um. Hello… there are videos! Watch ’em. Jon shows us how to load his camera, what’s in his bag, how to meter (yeah that one made a huge difference for me), how he shoots a family, a wedding…. are you getting the point yet? So after reading through the PDF’s then you get to see him in action, and then you #facepalm again because “duh that is what ‘bulb in 45’ means.” Again, I refer back to the videos ALOT. One of my favorites is to watch one of the family shoot videos and scroll a few different (favorite photogs) family session blogs when looking for inspiration.

ENGAGE in the Facebook Group

Seriously my favorite spot on the internet! I have NEVER come across a more diverse (knowledge, experience, life stage, worldwide) group of people that are so unified and supportive. There are crazy top of the industry film photographers, professionals shooting all kinds of subjects, there are hobbyists, and brand new to film photographers. Anyone and everyone is welcome. We laugh together, cry together (mostly over ruined rolls of film), cheer for each other, and learn from one another. I have never been afraid to post or ask a question and I now will confidently answer questions from my own experience. We aren’t there to just give each other high-fives (though we do that a lot), but we also constructively help one another to improve. My FAVORITE part is that I have never heard anyone say #swoon unless it was a joke. Also, Jonathan Canlas is very active in the group and always happy to answer questions. Where else can you have access to a teacher so eager to continue your learning beyond what was already put on paper.


CHECK the Documents in the Facebook Group

I guess this could go with the header above, but I feel like it deserves it’s own paragraph or two. Each month (or every other month or so) Jon Canlas gives us an assignment. ALL of the assignments are organized into a Document. I would suggest starting with assignment #1 and make your way through. Now Jon has already critiqued those assignments but doing the exercise will do nothing but improve your photography….. so why not. You also have the choice to jump in on the next assignment before the due date and hopefully get your image critiqued by THE man (he only critiques the top 15) If you don’t get yours critiqued its ALL GOOD (happens to most of us) just read through the ones he did critique and #LEARN.

Also, in the documents, you can find a file called “Critiques”. Every so often Jon puts out a post asking for volunteers for a critique. If you get chosen he will critique WHATEVER you want. Could be pricing, a blog post, your website… the options are pretty much endless. Go check out the file. You will find Critiques that have gone before you. The BEST part about this whole thing is that YOU do not have to be critiqued in order to learn or improve….. guys… are you seeing a pattern…. we learn from each other! I have watched people get their websites ripped apart and promptly worked on mine. I have seen a blog post talked about and then made sure to do better next time, I have seen price lists go through the ringer and then changed mine…. we can learn, learn, learn. It’s never ending and all encompassing. There are plenty of other useful files and I could do a blog post on each one so I’ll leave it to you to go check them out for yourself.


Ya gotta get up and do the work. You can sit around and read, and chat, and watch all things film photography but if you don’t get up off your duff and go shoot its all for nothin. Jon constantly talks about finding your personal project. Impressed by his hustle…. yeah its cause he shoots…. ALL the time. Why does he know film stocks and cameras in and out…. its cause he shoots…. ALL the time. Amazed by how clear and confident his voice is….. yeah…. say it with me…. its cause he shoots… ALL the time! We can all take a page from this hand book. Get out and shoot. Try out that camera, lens, film stock. Decide on a personal project, experiment with metering, pushing, scanning for shadows, midtones, or highlights. Not only will it make you more confident in your shooting in just about any situation but it will also help you to find your own voice. You will start to find what works for you and what YOU want to say. Its’ not about learning to shoot like Jon. And It certainly isn’t about learning to shoot like me. It is ALL about YOU learning to shoot like YOU! And then once you shoot…. go post that ish…. cause the rest of us want to see it and hear what you learned while you were at it!

Ok, for now thats all I got. Those are my top 5 Do’s to get the most out of FIND in a BOX. I could ramble on about it for days and if you have more questions I’m happy to answer them. At this point you might be like…. meh that was too much reading, I’m over it. OR you could be like…. heck yeah SIGN ME UP! If the latter is you…. I have good news! You can sign up and I would LOVE to see you in FIND in a Box. Here is the thing guys. I would try to convince you to join purely because I think everyone would benefit and its so freakin fun. I would do it for free BUT Jon has given me a chance to make a little change if you sign up. So, if you want to join…. click the link and you can join the most kick ass workshop ever. Oh and since you read the the bottom you can use the discount code FIND 😉 If not I guess you can go pick up your film camera and go shoot yo!

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