According to the FujiFilm website on February 25th, 2019, FujiFilm Corporation President Kenji Sukeno came out with a public statement that FujiFilm would be enacting a minimum of a 30% price increase on film and photographic paper beginning April 1st, 2019.
With Fuji Prices set to skyrocket at least 30%, one can only wonder what the future holds for film stocks such as Fuji 400H.
Thinking Like a Pro
As professional wedding photographers, we always like to have moment to survey our cost of doing business so we can sustainably keep doing what we love. So, let's talk a best case scenario of only a 30% increase. Fuji 400H in 120 is currently around $35 for a box of five rolls (depending on where it is bought, how many you buy at a time, etc.). A 30% increase would mean that same $35 box would end up being $45.50.
With lab rates ranging from $10 to $20 ($15 average) per roll for development and scanning, this could mean that a photographer shooting 10 rolls per wedding at 30 weddings per years (300 rolls shot, developed, and scanned, not counting shipping), would go from spending $6,600 per year to $7,230 per year on shooting film. That's a $630 increase, on average.
Now, $630 might not sound like much, but with our example cost already being over $6k, we believe this could be a sort of “writing on the wall” in regards to the future of film.
Ahead of the Game
This would lead the prudent professional film/hybrid photographer to a few serious considerations:
1. Stock up on Fuji 400H at the best price now, while you can.
2. Consider just how good digital cameras and film presets/profiles are getting, and perhaps consider positioning yourself to have a good transition if film prices go whack, “just in case”. Consider checking out some great alternatives to shooting medium format film.
There's no doubt that we love shooting film for wedding photography. But, we also consider it a priority to ultimately serve the client, while retaining our individual creativity. If film, or rather the cost of film, one day stands between that priority, we’ll have to seriously ask ourselves, “is this film worth the cost?”
Hopefully the market doesn’t force us to ask that question, but perhaps it already is.
In the End
Who knows, maybe FujiFilm will redact their plan to increase prices. But, history has taught us this: prices inevitably increase, but the professionals who know how to adapt and manage their business to best serve their clients will rise to the top.
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