Film and Digital - The why and the workflow

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by adrian_morgan, Mar 23, 2004.

  1. Firstly I want to say the intention of this is not to have this post
    denegrate into which is better, because we all know it doesn't matter
    which you use, but the end product is what we are all concerned with.

    What i am keen on is the why and the how you use one or the other.

    As an example, i use film because i feel it simplifies my workflow,
    meaning I spend less time going through photos and more time
    shooting. My situation is not that of a pro however - i shoot approx
    10-12 weddings a year, all through word of mouth. It would be
    ridiculously expensive for me to run a D1X (or equivalent) in my

    My workflow is to shoot the day - I shoot 15-20 rolls for each 12
    hour wedding. I charge based on an hourly rate + per roll. Approx
    50/50 B&W to colour. At the end of each wedding I deliver these to
    the lab (approx 30 minutes), pick them up (ditto) and put around 300+
    into a proof album (around 2-3 hours). The client then gets
    everything i have shot, including negs and the other 300+ photos I
    have shot.

    Film seems to work well for me. What do other people do?
  2. Hi Adrian.

    I use both film and digital for most of my weddings. For years I printed my own B&W neg.
    in my darkroom and sent out the color film/print work to labs.

    As digital came of age, I began shooting it for the color work while still using B&W film...
    however I tend to scan-in B&W film now to keep all the album prints similar in look and

    Frankly, for most part-time shooters the cost savings of digital are grossly over-rated. I
    am in a different position in that my digital gear is paid for by charging a $200. digital
    capture fee (independent of my fee) to commercial clients ... which paid for my
    1Ds in less than a year, and my digital back in less than 1 1/2 years.

    However, the cost of film, processing and proofing film for a big wedding has become a
    bit of a burden IMO... sometimes $300 to $350 or more. And it promises to only get worse
    as digital further dominates the scene.

    For me, the larger issue of adopting digital capture was creative control. Now I get exactly
    what I want, and make creative decisions that I see immediately on screen, with no
    expense involved. It promotes experimentation and exploration. It has opened a whole
    new world of possibilities IMO.

    It is important to realize the extraordinary depth of programs like PhotoShop to streamline
    work-flow. With-out that understanding, processing 200-300 wedding images is a
    daunting task compared to just sending rolls of film off to a lab and awaiting its return.
    But just like darkroom work, there is a learning curve with digital processing that must be
    endured to get really fast and sure results.
  3. I think that if you are getting the number and types of jobs you want, then there is no need to change what you are doing. For part time shooters there is little cost justification to go digital, particularly when you factor in the time you would have to spend doing post production digital work. At some point, however, not having digital capabilities can start to cost jobs for clients who want digital files. Scanning from film is either too time intensive, or expensive to be worth it.

    One of the intangible value of digital is that it permits you to experiment, and grow as a photographer, at a much faster rate than film does. The pressure of having to be sure you "got the shot" tends to make film wedding photographers very conservative in their approach. Trying things out with film really requires testing and note taking when you are not on a job. Many film shooters get to the point that they have established what works for them, and then they stick to it. Digital lets you experiment more without taking major risks.
  4. I'm 100% film for two main reasons;

    1) I like my M6's. Leica don't make a digital M, so why change to another camera system just to use digital? Being comfortable when shooting is far more important to me than the method of capture.

    2) Worklow. At the moment digital capture is very, very time consuming. I shot 81 weddings last year and simply wouldn't have coped with all the editing, colour balancing etc. It is far easier to farm the films out to a lab and get back excellent quality 5" prints which are then used in the design and construction of the wedding album.
  5. Am I hearing that there is a market for post processing digital images for profesional wedding photograpers just as film labs opened up to take the burden from constant film shooters?<P>
    Is there truly a market or is it just a bother?
  6. Capturing the Wedding on Digital or on Film. If you don't want to do your own processing why not let the Lab do it from your memory card just as you would with your film. For rush events I have done just that - with excellent results. (at least with 4X6 prints) I think most of todays computerized labs are capable of good results. For the enlargements I do check things out in photoshop though.
  7. John, the only difficulty in doing that is most wedding shooters use RAW files which need
    post development using the specific camera's proprietary RAW file developer before mass
    proofing can be done.

    To date I know of no automated action or plug-in that'll mass develop RAW files at a lab.

    It can be done if the shooter selects to use J-Peg files, but that is like shooting slide film at
    a wedding, with the only advantage being able to check each shot on the digital camera's
    LCD screen which is a real PITA.
  8. PS CS will allow batch raw conversion. You can create an action to convert to JPEG and
    then save to a folder, burn a CD and have a lab print 4x6 prints.
  9. Thanks David. I have CS, so I could use that.

    If you have the time could you please let us know the step-by-step on that? A lot of folks
    could use that info.
  10. "ditto" to Marc's question. Can you give a step-by-step on that action you mentioned for RAW to jpeg in batch, (please). I would pay galdly :)
  11. John, most pro labs I've encountered charge a hefty premium for what you are suggesting. To be honest, it's cheaper for me, paying for 'x' rolls of film, both the films themselves and 3 sets of 5x7's (I work the cheap end of the market and give negs, so I make lots of money on the initial doubles/triples)then getting the same amount of digital files printed, plus I don't have to do any post processing work.
    I'm happy to go buy a 10D to do the PJ/candids on at weddings but not if the prints will be more expensive!
  12. You would need to create a new action set and then within that create a new action
    converting the files from 16 bit to 8 bit and them saving them as JPEGs. Then put all the
    images you want to convert in a folder and then go to the Browser and select Automate,
    Batch, your action and specify an output folder. PS will do the rest!
  13. David, how much does that come to? Thank you for sharing this info.
  14. Dave

    I do batch conversions of my TIFF scans to JPEG and have come across a strange thing. PS saves the JPEGs to the specified folder ( usually the one where the TIFFs are) and also to another folder which happens to be the first folder of TIFFs when I did my first batch! Anybody know this problem?
  15. Gareth,

    I suggest you check the action you created to see if there is a step in it that tells PS to save
    the file to a specific folder. If so, then that is probably the cause. The solution would be
    when you run the batch to check the box next to Override Action "Save As" Commands.

    That's my initial thought. If that's not it I'll put my thinking cap back on :)


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