first wedding - film query

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by steve_west, Mar 20, 2004.

  1. i have a wedding to shoot next month and would like to know which is more widely used
    and why - positive or negative film? the 'why?' is the most valuable information for me.

    i'll be using medium format for some formal family shots and shoot the rest on 35mm,
    candid. i'm going to use all colour, (clients request) but some stuff that i think would
    work well in black and white, i'll scan and convert so i'd also like to hear from anyone with
    experience in this area.
  2. Most pros use negative film because there is a lot of latitude in exposure. That latitude
    tends to favor over-exposure better than under-exposure... which is why some
    photographers like to set the ISO on their camera a bit lower than the recommended one
    (like 320 instead of 400). There is no substitute for proper exposure, but in the head-long
    rush of a wedding you sometimes don't have the luxury of pondering exposure settings to
    a highly refined degree. Neg. film is a life saver in such conditions.

    While I would absolutely avoid transparency film like the plague, I recently scanned and
    restored a 1964 wedding for a fellow Leica nut that was shot with a M3 (no meter) on
    Kodachrome slide film, and the images were spectacular. I was in awe of the guy who shot
    the stuff back then.

    I've used both Kodak films like Portra 160NC and 400NC as well as Fuji selections. Portra
    is supposed to be optimized for scanning.
  3. Marc's recomendations are good. The porta films have good
    latitude, and are a fine choice all around. If you think you may
    want something higher speed than 400, and you might, Fuji NPZ
    800 is a good choice. It would probably be a good idea to go out
    an buy a couple rolls of each likely canidate and shoot them
    before the wedding, so you can get idea what the films are like.
    Good luck.
  4. Everyone has a "first" wedding. Follow Marc's advice.
  5. But (equipment wise) are you ready to do a wedding -- mixing color film and then going to B&W, and back again? Do you have two 35mm bodies, or is your game plan to use the medium format for color and B&W?

    If you get into shooting 'candids' in B&W and have to rip out the roll to switch to color, you will have a lot of practice 'quick loading' during the reception, unless you have a means of switching camera bodies (on the flash bracket, yet) to go to B&W from color, and then back again. Been there, done that: if you do not go prepared, then perhaps don't go that route is best. (With Photoshop, you can gain a B&W image, but going to color from B&W is not for starting out wedding jobs.)
  6. Weddings are shot with low contrast color negative material,such as NPH or Portra NC(or digital).Low contrast film is essential in order to capture the normally high scene brightness ranges of the day(bride in white,groom in black).Normal or high contrast film's cant handle detail in the extremes.
  7. Negative film. There are two problems with slide film. The first, that has already been pointed out is that exposure for slide flim is critical, and will make the technical part of taking pictures a distraction to the aesthetic part of taking pictures. The second is that slide films best suited for people are 100 speed. The two stop loss will make it very hard to pick up any ambient light if you're indoors, and also mean that you need a much more powerful flash. If you're using a shoe mount flash you'll be using it straight on (no bounce or diffuser) to get the amount of light you need. This will result in a not so pleasing, classic "flash look".
  8. my plan is to shoot the standard formal shots on medium format, colour and then the
    candids on 35mm, black and white using two 35mm bodies. the 'client' is a friend who
    really isn't into having the formal shots but his future wifes family probably are. so both
    are important, but i am more interested in producing quality candids than anything else.
    thanks for all the advice. as mentioned i would like
    to convert any colour positives or negatives (as the case may be) that would work better in
    black and white, which is a technical question related to film and scanners. the
    friend who asked me knows my work because we have been working together on a project
    for the last 2 years, he knows my work and i suppose that's why he asked me rather than
    someone else. to be honest it's not really my thing, which is again, why i asked for some
    input from experience people in this field.
  9. Shooting documentary weddings, all my stuff is shot on Fuji Superia 400 & 800. I found NPH to be way too flat and dull in comparison. These emlulsions handle highlight and shadow detail perfectly. However NPH has a softer feel that would suit traditional images perfectly.
  10. Hi Steve,
    I wouldnt use the pro films - I have used Fuji Superia 100,200,400 + 800 consumer films. I agree with Jeff Ascoughs summation of NPH NPZ, they are lifeless. As for Fuji Superia it is vibrant, colourful and low contrast. I probably shoot close to 500 rolls per annum of mixed ISO Superia and get brilliant results and Ive been using it for years. Please God - Never let Fuji film disappear!
    As for shooting transparencies - do this at your peril. I agree with all the other posters but would add that print reproduction may not be up to the standard you require from transparency film.
    Peter (Australia )
  11. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    I feel that NPH is a better idea than Superia. If you want to make people look like people use NPH. If you want to take pictures of clowns, fire hydrants and balloon races use Superia. Amatuer films like Superia and Kodak MAX exagerate every blemish in human skin while NPH and other portrait films don't. You want a nice smooth skin tone. NPH or NC does well in that regard.
  12. "While I would absolutely avoid transparency film like the plague, I recently scanned and restored a 1964 wedding for a fellow Leica nut that was shot with a M3 (no meter) on Kodachrome slide film, and the images were spectacular. I was in awe of the guy who shot the stuff back then."

    I'm amaze at the fear of transparency films today. Either these films are worst today are something else is? I fell into this trap and today realize it was totally wrong headed. Go with the transparency or just use digital and be done with it. Of course my recommendation of trans is base on the fact one has knowledge of the medium, if not then by no means take my advice and go with the safe negative film.

  13. Just saw your website and all i can say is wow! my fave pic has to be the bubble blowing panoramic scene. makes me want to get married (ok not quite) just to have pics done so well!

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