Although most wedding photographers out there today primarily use professional digital cameras, some of them (like us!) still love the beautiful and full-of-character beauty that film photography offers. Since it's a topic we hear come up in our discussions with couples fairly often, we wanted to better explain a few of the top benefits film wedding photography provides, especially since we also shoot with digital!
The Classic Film Look
There's just something about film wedding photos that simply make them romantic and timeless right from the time they're captured. No filters or drastic editing needed here!
Film photos are often described as "painterly". It tends to have a more "creamy" smooth look, as opposed to a super-sharp more "crispy" appearance that digital photographs have. Part of the reason for this is because of the chemical reactions in the film material vs the pure digital effect of a digital sensor.
When compared with digital, film has the ability to retain more minor color difference, especially in the highlights. For example, distant hills will often retain the atmospheric blue while digital tends to lose some of the fine color transitions and detail.
In the examples below, notice the color difference in the sky, grass/foliage, and hills in the distant background. These fine, subtle details are very difficult to reproduce via digital, and everything but impossible to reproduce when handling many photos at a time. You may also notice how much more "washed out" the digital image looks when compared with the film.
Shooting film allows us to create fun, beautiful and nostalgic photographs that won't ever look dated or temporarily "trendy." Film photographs also have a stunning range of colors, tones and dynamic range that is hard to beat, especially for outdoor ceremonies with harsh sunlight. Simply put: when you hire us as your professional film wedding photographers, you'll receive photos that are gorgeous, well-balanced and won't ever go out of style.
To create gorgeous and high resolution film images, we currently use 645 and 6x7cm medium format cameras (which is basically just a way to describe how big the film is). 6x7 film negatives are four times the surface area of a 35mm film frame as well as four times the size of a typical professional full-frame digital camera. This means that using medium format cameras, in particular, allows us to capture very high-quality images with interesting perspectives and outstanding depth--all increasing our ability to create an image that is visually intriguing to the eye.
Film Helps Us Focus on Beautiful Skin Tones and Color Balance
We love to create beautiful, natural images that move our viewers to feel in awe when they see the subject in the photograph. Many film wedding photographers focus on accurate, lush, healthy, and "natural" looking skin tones to help help create this effect.
Likewise, for us, the priority is to have a well-lit image that allows for pleasant color to your face, especially. Our philosophy, which we believe we share with many others in the film wedding photography community, is to bring the focus on the subject in a very beautifying yet natural manner by focusing most on skin tones and then creating color balance within the image. Film developed by professional equipment and labs gives an amazingly beautiful production of skin tones that is often very difficult to replicate with digital.
Photographing with Intention
There is a stronger sense of "art" when photographing with film cameras, because it forces us to slow down on purpose and focus on several key factors that create a select number of fantastic images.
With digital cameras, photographers can get carried away with snapping hundreds of photos without a whole lot of strategy involved. While this process can provide many great images in the end, it also means there are many not worth keeping at all. The benefit of using film is that we're able to shoot with a documentary style that is intentional, rather than accidental or by happenstance.
Knowledge of the Photographic Process
Successfully using film cameras requires a lot from a wedding photographer. There are a few vital skills and bits of knowledge you need to have in order to create beautiful, print-worthy film images. These include things like film speed, focal length, exposure, composition and lighting situations -- all combined in-camera without the ability to see a preview on the back of the camera after the image was taken. In short, using film helps us hone our photography skills and makes us better at our craft, even when we switch to digital throughout the day.
The Benefits of Combining Film and Digital
Weddings can be pretty fast-paced events. This is where having digital cameras alongside our film cameras is extremely handy. The setup time and setting adjustments can be far quicker in a digital camera than film, and we don't want to miss any details you'll love to look back over years from now!
A few other dangers of only shooting in film? Not only can the film itself get lost in the mail on the way to the lab, but film cameras are (in general) older and can break without the photographer even knowing it until the film comes back. By having digital cameras with us, we're able to provide extra security for your wedding photos to make sure your images don't get lost or damaged.
And especially for wedding receptions with limited amounts of lighting, our full-frame digital cameras can more easily capture low-light situations. That way you know your wedding photographer can shoot in low-light!
This means that a photogrpaher shooting both film and digital has a very capabable choice of equipment to capture the full-range of lighting situations, from bright harsh light, to dimly lit receptions.
Looking for a Husband Wife Wedding Photographer Team in Louisville?
We’re Jeff and Michele, husband and wife wedding photographers based in Louisville, Kentucky. Your engagement and wedding photography experience is our top priority — we want you to cherish it forever!
We’d love the opportunity to be your photographers. Reach out to us online! We look forward to hearing from you!