Are There Clients That Still Request Images Shot On Film?

Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by mark_farrell, Mar 3, 2011.

  1. Digital images seem to be the current flavor for most work being done today, but I know personally of a few holdouts that still use "old fashioned" film for weddings and portraits by their own preference based on "the look" and their own particular workflow. What I don't have a good feel for is if it is being used by preference or at a clients request in other markets such as advertising/commercial or other types of media uses.
    Where there is a broad spectrum of photographers in this forum, I thought it would be interesting if you're still using film in anyway to produce an income from its use, "what kind of market is it being used for and is it by your own preference or at the request of a client".
    This question comes about from a discussion in another forum regarding the worth of a photography school still teaching the craft of film in part of the curriculum versus eliminating it altogether and teaching only digital. My gut feeling is that teaching something about film still does have some value in some markets even though it has diminished significantly.
  2. I do a little portrait work, all of it on film. Few have complained about this, and no one has complained after seeing the results. I have sometimes been specifically asked to do work of other kinds on film; and there have been a few who have wanted B & W. It is my feeling, though, that mainstream teaching will follow the market and pay less and less attention to film.
  3. In editorial and commercial work I haven't ever had a client request a specific imaging-technology (film or digital). They all just look at the results.
  4. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Nobody asks me either, although I have had people ask for on-shoot viewing, which means digital. Delivery is always in digital.
  5. As far as I know most Colleges are still teaching B&W photography, but many started giving students the option of choosing a digital camera as opposed to a film camera as long as they could produce their own prints. The problem with teaching B&W using digital, is that it would have to be concentrated more on how to use digital software to mimick B&W film, which is a whole nother story.

    There are a few Art Galleries, Photo exhibitions, some Magazines and Museums that prefer, or accept Silver Based products. As far as Color, only recently have Gliccee prints replaced traditional Cibachrome/Ilfochrome prints for display purposes in Museums. Of course there are still the alternative processes such as Ortho, Platinum Paladium, Lith, Pin-hole, Gum bichromate, etc that are difficult to recreate using digital methods.

    For huge prints 30X40 and greater, film is still the King. Unles you have a camera with 20MG pixels or more, film is usually easier to enlarge than digital at those sizes. Also there are situations that only a View camera can handle, (this includes architectural and some commercial/advertising work) where film definately has an advantage, although there are now view cameras which offer digital backs, but they are very expensive.

    Commercial and Advertising photography have gone 99.0% digital, but there are tons of editing software on the market that are supposed to mimick the "look" of film.
    For Portrait/Wedding work, most people cannot tell the difference between both mediums and could care less as long as the prints are acceptable to them. It takes a real coinnosseur to be able to distinguish the differences between well made prints from either and make choices between the two.
  6. I can't imagine why a client would specifically request film because almost everything eventually goes digital at some stage of the process. Magazines, newspapers, book publishers all put their pages together electronically today. Even billboards. Their might be some small or esoteric publishers out there who have old equipment that works fine and haven't switched and would therefore want film, but they would have to be few and far between I would think.
  7. most people cannot tell the difference between both mediums and could care less​

    Couldn't care less.
  8. "what kind of market is it being used for and is it by your own preference or at the request of a client".​
    My own preference. Fashion. My clients don't make requests along those lines. Ever.
  9. "Arizona Highways" was one of the last hold outs requesting film...They now and have for a while accept digital.
  10. And what is the workflow once the film is exposed and processed? Is it being scanned and printed digitally? If not, where are the optical prints being made? Especially the color prints?
  11. You may be looking at this the wrong way. Film can be a marketing niche, e.g. sell the permanence of film and silver, platinum, carbon, etc. based prints vs. digital to those who care about very long term stability of images.
  12. If you don't have the darkroom skills there are pro labs that can scan and print traditional color prints (Lambda). Those skills are not difficult to learn. If you are going after a niche market you might be better off making the final product by hand, e.g. platinum or silver contact prints from large format negatives - with prices to match of course. The craftsmanship can/should be part of the marketing strategy.
  13. I know of a number of wedding and portrait photographers who offer film sessions, I believe at a premium. People will choose it especially when it's offered as a more arty option. But I think they have to have it offered to them before they realize they want it. So it does seem like there's at least a potential market for it. It probably comes down to photographers offering it in the right way.

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