Film for Weddings?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by daniel_blondowski, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. Just curious...does anybody still shoot weddings using film?
     
  2. Wrong forum again. You already posted this in the Canon EOS. Try Film and Processing.
     
  3. Why wrong forum? I asked if anybody is using film for the weddings in the wedding forum. Or is this "wedding and social event photography using digital" forum?
     
  4. .....and some people still use horses to go to work too.
     
  5. Why the vitriol?
    A tiny bit of grace and manners goes a long way.
    Daniel, this question comes up from time-to-time and a search will probably provide answers to your questions.
    If you like film, I suggest searching out some film friendly forums ... since apparently this isn't one of them.
    BTW, I still love film works and have 35mm and MF film cameras that I occasional use for weddings ... especially B&W film.
    If you have a moment click on my name and go to my P.net gallery .... lots of shots on film there along side digital.
    Not one client can tell the difference, and I doubt anyone here could either without clicking on the info.
    Best of luck on your explorations, and happy holidays!
    -Marc
     
  6. Wow...
    I'm asking, because I'm taking a darkroom class in my local community college, so just wanted to know if pros still use the film (at least on a ocasion).
    Marc, thank you for your professional response.
     
  7. Howdy!
    Like Marc said, this question has been raised and answered many times. But in the interest of one-stop-shopping, let me offer you a summary of the most common answer I've found:
    Few (if any) people shoot entire weddings on film anymore. Brides are just demanding too many images these days for film by itself to be feasible.
    However, there are things you can do with print film that you simply cannot do with digital, due to it's wider exposure latitude. People (like Marc) who understand film use it as another arrow in their quiver, particularly when they want to prevent blowing out the highlights, or capture a scene in true black and white.
    I would encourage you to enroll in the darkroom class. It's a great education, and it is sure to give you an appreciation for the digital darkroom. No messy chemicals for one thing.
    Me, I'm a 100% digital guy (but I look remarkably human).
    Later,
    Paulsky
     
  8. Daniel,
    This is an entirely appropriate question for the wedding forum; I have no idea what the basis is for Angel's impolite objection to your post. If I understand it correctly, the question is about the asthetics of using film for weddings in the digital age, not a technical processing issue.
    To answer your question, yes, there are wedding professionals who still use film for contemporary wedding work. However, these days it's usually reserved as a supplement for the bread-and-butter DSLR work. Myself, I will occasionally use a Leica M7 for certain images. The main reason is that I know that under certain lighting conditions, a given image will present better as a true B&W rather than a converted RGB file with it's limited tonal latitude. There's also the factor that no software can ever truly replicate a genuine B&W film image. This is not to say that a modern DSLR file cannot produce a gorgeous B&W processed file, but those of us who were raised on D-76 fumes know that film can still provide a very pleasing artist alternative. I fully appreciate that this is an entirely subjective statement, but before I get flamed by others let me stress that I'm speaking of a personal opinion based on artistic interpretations of image aesthetics. The invention of digital photography did not somehow abolish the artistic aesthetics of film that we were all so happy to live with for decades.
    In fact, whenever I am approached by an eager aspiring young photographer wanting to learn about producing great images, the first piece advice I give is to obtain a quality film camera like a Nikon FM or a Leica M6. Shoot film for a while with a fully manual camera before ever touching a modern DSLR and learn how to use and manipulate light; process your own film; print your own prints, and feel the paper as the image comes up in the tray. The magic of a beautiful image is not about using the most advanced piece of equipment -- it's about learning how to use light to craft an image.
    That being said, my primary gear consists of a pair of Nikon D700's with prime lenses. I'm still waiting for a modern wedding client who will agree to allow me to shoot a wedding solely on film with my Leica's.
     
  9. I agree - it's an excellent question.
    I shoot film at every wedding. Sometimes exclusively, but more often as a hybrid approach alongside digital. But I notice an increasing renaissance in film, and several high-end and well-known photographers shoot nothing except film, and have made it an essential ingredient of their product offering. Some of the leading keynote speakers at WPPI over the last few years are 100% film - a fact of which many wedding photographers are entirely unaware.
    As an example of film's attraction in certain circles, Jessica Claire hired Jose Villa to shoot her wedding specifically because she wanted his stylised approach and that aesthetic. He's an all film shooter. As is Jonathan Canlas, Yvette Roman, Leo Patrone, Gia Canali, Lisa Lefkowitz - names which you'll see in every issue of the high-end magazines, and continually picked up by all the leading wedding blogs.
    Any wedding photographer who thinks film is the way of the dinosaur is misinformed about their industry. Some of the most highly paid wedding photographers I know are film shooters. And some of the most undifferentiated, low-rent photographers are digital. Make of that what you will....
    It doesn't have to be an either/or choice. There's a large body of photographers, myself included, who view film as a creative choice and shoot it alongside digital, thereby having the best of all worlds.
     
  10. "Some of the most highly paid wedding photographers I know are film shooters. And some of the most undifferentiated, low-rent photographers are digital. Make of that what you will...."
    Neil, intentional or not, your comment implies that film is the way to go if you want to make lots of money. To be fair, some of the very best wedding photographers use digital exclusively (as one example, think of probably the top UK photographer...), and the vast majority of wedding photographers most likely use digital. Of course there are some bottom feeders using digital and producing poor work, but it is a bit much throwing in this comment as it doesn't put a realistic perspective on digital photography. In the days of film there were also bottom feeders also producing poor quality work.
    I am still of the opinion that film won't give you a huge shift in differentiation. Of course you get the film look (and all the hassles and cost developing, scanning etc. which isn't for me) but the most important ingredient is one's personal abilities for capturing the moment, technical proficiency & style. To me, style - personal style which doesn't have to be a copy of the flavour of the month - and creativity is huge, and is clearly the biggest differentiator between good and not so good photographers. Is your viewpoint, subject matter, composition and lighting going to be that different depending on whether you re using a film versus digital camera? I think not. But this is just my opinion and if some of the top dogs are going back to film good luck to them. I, for one, am not a sheep.
    Robert Cossar - ".....and some people still use horses to go to work too" - that was hilarious!
     
  11. Of course you get the film look (and all the hassles and cost developing, scanning etc.​
    Why scan? Why not get your lab to do all of your printing? And think about the post processing time you will save.
     
  12. Steve Smith - very clearly it is because we live in a digital world where the modern bride wants to share photographs digitally (email, online web galleries, facebook and whatever). Times have changed and only offering physical prints would be severely limiting.
    Neil, I would be very interested to understand exactly how and why film gives you a "creative choice", versus digital. Let me make it clear that I am not against film. I love film, but firmly believe it does not have a place in modern wedding photography and that i why I shoot digitally. If you can convince me otherwsie I may be a convert myself...
     
  13. Steve Smith - very clearly it is because we live in a digital world where the modern bride wants to share photographs digitally (email, online web galleries, facebook and whatever).​
    I know that but if I were ever to think of doing weddings, I would offer a film only, album of proof prints and an option to order re-prints service just like my father used to.
    Luckilly, I have no intention of ever doing weddings for a living! I have done a couple for friends (last year) and I used my RB67 to give excatly this service.
     
  14. Neil, intentional or not, your comment implies that film is the way to go if you want to make lots of money. (David Bell)​
    Don't think so, David. I chose my words carefully, and it implies no more or less than what I said. If you were to push me on the subject, the only assertion I'd make is that if you want to be successful you need to produce work good enough to attract great clients, and have a reputation that continually encourages demand. There are no constraints on the means used to achieve these goals.
    I would be very interested to understand exactly how and why film gives you a "creative choice"... (David Bell)​
    Hand-made prints as a premium product; choice of formats (e.g. LF/MF rather than 135 for richer lens choices and much higher quality drawing); choice of emulsion for lighting situations; high resistance to over-exposure for dealing with aggressive contrast; markedly different aesthetic; entirely different process; pre-visualising the image rather than finding it in post-processing. Whether any of these things are of value to you I don't know - that's for you to decide. But they're of value to me.
    I love film, but firmly believe it does not have a place in modern wedding photography and that i why I shoot digitally. If you can convince me otherwsie I may be a convert myself... (David Bell)​
    I have no interest in getting into a film vs. digital debate, and even less interest in convincing you to work differently than you do now. If you're happy with your current choices then it's not my place to influence you in any direction. But I would suggest keeping your eyes open. It's great claiming you're not a sheep, but there's a slight irony in saying it while you're standing in the same field as the other 99%. :)
     
  15. I suspect that Angel gave him some grief over posting the identical question in two forums, the OP added the word "wedding" after his initial post.........which changed the nature of the question, made it much more appropriate to the wedding forum, and likely would have avoided her initial admonishment.
    Daniel, since you are a student I'll point out that this is hardly the place to find empirical data on the current use of film by pros, newcomers, or hobbyists. It's hardly a representative sample of current practices in the US. I can tell you this, at a training event for pro-photographers over a year ago, the speaker asked the crowd of approximately 400 participants how many were still primarily using film at the studios.....he then counted seven (7) hands. This question comes up frequently on the forum and a search of past threads will give you lots of responses. However, this is hardly the way to establish empirically valid samples.
    I like Robert's response about those who ride horses to work :)
     
  16. Thanks for your reply Neil, quite informative and an interesting read! My comment about not being a sheep doesn't have any irony to it at all - going for the most sensible choice versus a relatively unpopular alternative doesn't make for being a sheep. I don't cook on an open fire in my back garden as it is quicker and much more convenient cooking in my kitchen, with very tasty results purely limited by my cooking skills. Cooking on an open fire produces a special and unique taste and one which I indulge in occasionally (although sadly not in the UK too often), but given that technology has given us kitchens with lovely cookers, this doesn't make me a sheep. Its just the most sensible choice for me, and if that is what 99% of other people also decide, that is neither here nor there.
    I hear what you say and agree with your points about film and providing a niche product, but I think one needs to be positioned in the higher end of the market for it to work. I may well consider something similar in times to come, but right now my offerings haven't reached those levels.
     
  17. I suspect that Angel gave him some grief over posting the identical question in two forums, the OP added the word "wedding" after his initial post.........which changed the nature of the question, made it much more appropriate to the wedding forum, and likely would have avoided her initial admonishment.​
    Actually I didn't edit my post here. Yes...I posted the same question in the EOS forum and here. But they were worded differently from the start. And I should have searched first, which I didn't. Lesson learnt.
     
  18. "Actually I didn't edit my post here. Yes...I posted the same question in the EOS forum and here. But they were worded differently from the start. And I should have searched first, which I didn't. Lesson learnt." -Daniel

    Not a problem, occasionally moderators will also edit posts and change wording as well. Welcome to P-net and good luck with your class. BTW, if you do end up doing some empirically sound research on the question of wedding pros using film, be sure to post your results back to the forum, I'd really like to see what you find.
     
  19. Daniel, taking a darkroom class is invaluable experience, no matter where you end up. Many of the things you will learn are the foundation of digital processing. A lot of the tools in Photoshop are based on the analog darkroom, so you will learn first hand what a good print should look like and how to achieve it. Something a lot of digital shooters could benefit from IMHO.
    Hey, if you've never shot film, it's cheap and fun to do if only for a class during the down wedding season. You can pick up a film body for your existing lenses for a song, and maybe learn something new in the process. Processing the film and printing isn't an issue since it's provided at the school.
    The first time you hold your first, well-made "real" silver print in your hand, you will better understand what film advocates (full or part time) are talking about.
    BTW, IMO, the "Horse Joke" was meant as an insult. Not exactly the stated mission or spirit of this forum IMO.
     
  20. IMO, the horse joke was a good-natured attempt at humor with an ironic element of truth to it....and I did a LOL upon reading it IMO, to see the remark as an insult would require a personal projection of malevolence. Knowing some of Robert's history on the forum, I doubt that was his intent.
     
  21. Moderator Note: I added the phrase 'for Weddings' to the title of this thread. It is a legitimate question, and one that gets asked from time to time. While multiple threads are frowned upon, apparently, Daniel is asking whether film is used for weddings in the Wedding Forum, and whether film is used in other kinds of photography in those forums--I don't know. I didn't see the same question posted in the EOS Forum.
    In any case, please focus on answering the question, not where the question belongs.
     
  22. Apparently there still seems to be some people who think film should be forever relegated to the museums; probably the very same people who have never even seen the inside of a darkroom. This could not be further from the truth. Although I find myself using digital more and more in weddings because of the quick turnaround time and low cost, I still, and will continue to use, film with my Hasselblad for the bridal portrait and any other studio based images and use either Ektar 100 or Portra VC. I have yet to have anyone balk and most actually prefer it.
     
  23. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "Just curious...does anybody still shoot weddings using film?"
    Yes, right up until about nine months ago, mainly for the formals only.
    As I scan read the answers a few wrote about Darkroom work being an invaluable learning experience - add me to that list.
    I have a friend who shoots only film for Weddings, and produces only hand finished B&G prints. Yes is a boutique niche market, yes she is good, yes she is busy, yes she started out doing Weddings (and Portraits) in a more “usual” form and has since tailored her business into a niche.
    WW
     
  24. The look that is discussed from photographers like Jose Villa are difficult to achieve with digital capture. I've posed the question of mimicing the look with a DSLR to a number of photographers and in a number of forums. While a lot of helpful advice has been given....I've found that when people are asked to recreate the look using the method they've advised....it doesn't look the same.
    I've decided that rather than spend a mountain of time playing with each image to achieve the look I want, it's simply easier to just grab a few rolls of Fuji NPH 400, expose to get the look I'm after. Having 3 or 4 rolls added to the cost of a wedding is minimal.
    As to what other people use, I'd advise the OP to simply use the tools he wants to get the desired look he wishes to obtain. Just because a majority of photographers use digital capture, that is of no relevance as to which is better for what you want. If we were doing a poll, you'd find that more people capture images with cell phones than every other type of device combined. That has nothing to do with it being better....just easier and more convenient. Sometimes, achieving the look and quality one desires takes more work.
    And speaking of work....you'll find that someone like Joes Villa spend far less time preparing the photos for release than most digital photographers do. Far, far less time!
     
  25. You kidding? Film is all that I shoot weddings with. I've even had a few clients insist on the use of film. Love the look and ease of film.
    Russ
     
  26. Hi Daniel,
    I poked around at apug.org and found a thread about wedding photographers who use film.
    Here is the thread, and below are some links to sites where the photographer uses film
    http://canlasphotography.blogspot.com/
    http://filmisnotdead.blogspot.com/
    Traditional Film Photographers
    http://www.erichegwer.com/category/wedding-stuff/film-weddings
    Here is a friendly discussion about using film for weddings. On Flickr
    Also, I attended a wedding last winter and noticed that the photographer used a combination of a 35mm sized dslr(s) and a Contax medium format camera. She was a hip young lady from Southern California. I used to know her URL but I've forgotten it.
     
  27. Yes, I'm covering soon for a studio photog having surgery that will be out for a month or so. When he called I warned him I am new to digital and feel not fully comfortable with using it on a wedding. He told me on first call he wants me to use Hasselblads and film and not to worry about any digital, he's buying plenty of film for me, just do my thing and he'll be totally relaxed about the whole thing so he can focus on his health, the lab will do the rest. It will be all Kodak 160 NC like I'm used to using in the past. I too will be relaxed, I would be very stressed using digital, shooting with my regular equipment and film will be very nice.
     
  28. Hi Daniel!
    I don't use film anymore for weddings. At least for my clients. It's not a part of my workflow anymore. Every so often, I will bring along a medium format camera once in a while just to have some black & whites that I create with film. I have a Nikkormat 35mm camera I bought when I was in the military during the 1970's. I just replaced the gaskets, including the mirror bumper with a die cut set from Jon Goodman.
    Nikkormats are wonderful cameras.
     
  29. Film compliments my digital work but doesn't dominate my wedding workflow. It's not cost effective, and even if I charged more, I'd still have a small profit margin compared to primarily digital.
    I shoot 135 and 120 both. Usually it's Tmax 3200 or 400 and in a body slung around my shoulder under my 20d strap, with a 17-40 mounted on it to take advantage of the ultra-wide that my 20d can't.
    Even developing it at home, I still incur a USD$8/roll scan charge to get decent quality TIFF's from a local pro shop, which is a basic cost I can't cut out for any professional event with film.
    Once I move to a full frame body I probably won't shoot film much anymore at weddings except to take advantage of the TMX 3200.
     
  30. Hi,
    I'm still use film along with digital. I understand that each method has their own advantage. Digital is so convinient, film has 'soul' (IMHO). The feeling of waiting the actual image after processing is so thrilling.
    In my wedding gigs, digital is used for documentary purpose, where responses is critical. No brides will ever tolerate to lose any single moment of their ceremony. Sometimes they dont really care whether its technically correct or not. One person is responsible to it. Then, the other is person (which is me) is pulling my 35mm camera and take some artistic work. Something that add 'spices' to the overall wedding album.
     
  31. Last wedding I went to, 2 years ago, the professional photographer, who seemed very experienced, shot digital and film (black and white).
     
  32. I'm another sometime-film user. It's been a while since I shot a wedding entirely using film but even on a digital wedding I'll still sometimes use a bit of film too.
     
  33. I shoot 4 weddings a year with about 3 rolls of film per wedding; from which I usually end up with 6 images that really challenge the digital ones. About 85% of my shots are Digital.
    As for all the bull regarding the hassle of film processing... clearly whoever wrote this doesnt shoot film. You hand it in, pay and walk away smiling.
    I dont shoot commercially, but I do get paid to shoot my weddings and offer a very personal service. I would feel I had short changed a client if I were not to give them some film as well as the Digital extravaganza.
    Additionally it becomes a completely different spin on backups, as whatever is crashing your ultra reliable digital camera is very unlikely to affect your film camera.
    Kodak E100G - Stunning low light bounced flash images awesome flattering tangible skin tones - and projected are in a class of their own something that Digital cannot touch. Dragged images (when they work) are so full of life, whereas Digitally they loose that oomph.
    Kodak Portra 800 - An alternative for lower light work. I will not dispute that Digital definitely has the upper hand in High ISO work, and the likes of the D700 being twice as good as film, but this one has a certain saturated feel provided you get the metering right. (I cant be bothered [now] to learn the Fuji press 1600)
    Kodak Portra 160nc - For no effort whatsoever this film produces the best portraits imaginable. No post processing necessary, and gorgeous tonality. The VC is also awesome if you want to spice things up and go for a pastel effect.
    Fuji Delta 1600 - With what you are getting from Digital and converted to B&W there is little reason to mention this, as anyone can recreate the grainy effect - but film has a certain dimensional edge, and a hand processed B&W print takes allot of beating. Its a mood thing
    I would never feel confident if I had to shoot a whole wedding with film, I need the security of seeing the results.
    My primary requirement of film, is Projected images, the NC sort of came to me as my back up alongside the two faster negative films and though I dislike Negative film, these have stuck.
    Lastly I have a 5x4 field camera that I occasionally break out. The resultant images are magnificent and blow away anything else.
    I guess its a case of the right medium for the right subject. Plus changing to film forces you to think, which is a good thing right?
     
  34. I admit I'm a newb. I got a used EOS3 on ebay but almost sold it after experimenting with it a bit. I didn't realize cheap kodak film + walgreens had that much affect on the final image. Just shot my first roll of Reala 100 and got it developed from a real photography store. I'm really glad I didn't sell the camera... The point is, whenever I shoot my first wedding, I will definitely have film with me, maybe even 2 bodies along side digital....
     
  35. I shoot all my weddings in film and my clients LOVE it. To produce an image strait out of the camera takes skill, and little post-processing. I like it a lot. I have fun.
     

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