You might think film wedding photography in a digital world is a rarity these days. Film photography has been around since the late 1800's and shortly after digital cameras were invented, it was put on the shelf by many. But I'm so happy to say that it's officially making a comeback! I have dozens of wedding photographer friends who also include the service with all of their packages. And if you are here on this post, you might be looking for a photographer who can capture your wedding day on film as well as digitally. I'm going to hit all the high points on why you might consider having film wedding photography- And then hopefully you may even consider hiring us!
What is a Hybrid Wedding Photographer?
If you've heard the term hybrid film wedding photographer, it's likely referring to someone who shoots both film as well as shooting digitally. This essentially just means that throughout the wedding day, they will use both digital cameras as well as film cameras for a mix of photos from both. For myself, I use a double harness for my mirrorless Canon R6 and one of my film cameras- then a neck strap for another of my 35mm film cameras. I alternate during the events, and my second shooter focuses strictly on digital images so nothing is ever missed digitally.
And yes, it may seem like an overwhelming amount of cameras- because it is! We offer hybrid packages as well as a fully film package for those couples who want us to strictly focus on film only for that nostalgic 1995 vibe.
Tip: Hybrid Wedding Photographer can also be used to describe someone who photographs weddings as well as does videography or cinematography for them as well. Be sure to clarify this during your search!
Why is film photography special?
Essentially, you are choosing film wedding photography for high-end nostalgia. Being able to say your wedding photos were shot on film is an absolute brag. It's rare, it's unique, and the photos are incredible while still bringing a vintage feel to the table. Not only that, but film is expensive in this day in age. Going for around a base price of $50+ a roll (including processing and turnaround), it's something to recognize as special. That price doesn't include the photographer's gear, insurance, education, experience, post-editing, shipping, etc. Outside of the U.S., one roll of film can cost hundreds of dollars.
I consider film a luxury and I believe that most photographers and brides are moving in that direction as well. This is just another reason why I am so excited to be able to offer it to my clients!
What are the Pros to Film Photography?
- Unique Aesthetic: Film photography has an obviously distinct look and aesthetic that can bring a different feel to your photographs. The colors, tones, and textures produced by film can create a timeless and artistic quality that isn't easy to replicate digitally (although we get pretty close!).
- Attention to Detail: Film photographers often have a more deliberate and careful approach to their craft. Since shooting film requires more thought and consideration due to limited exposures and processing costs, film photographers tend to pay closer attention to composition, lighting, and other crucial elements. I really put so much heart into each image when I'm shooting on film!
- Film's Dynamic Range: Film has a wide dynamic range and can handle highlights and shadows with great subtlety. This can be great in situations with challenging lighting conditions, ensuring that details are retained in both bright and dark areas of the image. That may be photographer speak, but in laymen's terms, film cameras were made for making happy mistakes. We embrace the grain, the motion blur, the out of focus. So much so that we replicate it in our digital photos!
- Intentional Shooting: Like we mentioned above, shooting film requires photographers to be more intentional and thoughtful with each frame. Unlike digital photography, where hundreds or thousands of images can be captured in a short time, film photographers have limited shots available per roll- typically 36 but it can vary. This limitation encourages them to carefully consider each shot, leading to a more deliberate and mindful approach to photography. It actually takes some planning to figure out how and when you'll use those images throughout the wedding day or session.
- Emotional Connection: Film photography can evoke nostalgia and create an emotional connection between the viewer and the image. The unique qualities of film, such as its grain, imperfections, and vintage look, can add an extra layer of sentimentality and evoke a sense of timelessness. This is the biggest reason why I fell head over heels in love with film photography.
- Minimal Post-Processing: Film photographers often rely less on extensive post-processing compared to digital photographers. This can save time and effort in the editing process, while still producing visually appealing results straight from the negatives or scans. My edits to my film scans are exponentially less than my digital images- I usually only need to do basic color correction or exposure tweaking. However, it does take time to send off the film to the lab and wait for the scans (typically 2-3 weeks total) but still usually quicker than digital editing (most contracts state 6-8 weeks).
Tips For Hiring a Film Photographer
As with any wedding photographer, you want to make sure that you really love and feel a connection with the photographer's work and style. It's so important that you and your partner are able to see yourselves in the images, or imagine your own wedding in their style of image. I always encourage any potential client who finds us online to read through all of our info across our website or socials and get a good feel of who we are and how we create our images.
However, when you are specifically hiring a film wedding photographer, there are a couple additional things to be aware of as you go along your search.
Some questions you make ask the photographer, or may just ask yourself as you look:
-Do you love their style of film images? Not every film shooter has the same style, that's most important in your search.
-What about their digital images? Do you like those as well? Do they coexist well with the film photos?
-Don't be afraid to ask questions: how long is their film turnaround, what type of film do they use, why did they decide to specialize in film photography?
-Are you okay with not being able to print large versions of the scans? Film cameras have a lower resolution image than digital and huge prints or canvases aren't usually possible.