The properties of crystalline films are strongly dependent on the morphology development during the first stages of growth, that is, the nucleation and growth of the first crystallites. The ideal method to investigate such films at atomic resolution is transmission electron microscopy (TEM). However, this technique usually requires extensive sample preparation. In this study we present a simple method to investigate thin film morphology with TEM. The key to this approach is the use of TEM membranes as growth substrates. As an illustration we describe fine grains of SnO2 deposited on these TEM membranes by atmospheric pressure chemical vapor deposition.