For those who have made the leap: Has Digital or other new technology changed your style?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by shawn_mertz, Aug 28, 2004.

  1. About 8 years ago I bought a Medium format system but ended up using it little than not
    at all because it didn't suit my style I had developed using 35mm since I was 10 years old.
    It was too clumsy for shooting lens wide open, low shutter speed, no tripod, and take a lot
    of photos.

    I know many in the last couple years have switched from MF to digital also there are new
    films etc. have any of things things had a major effect on your style or the way you
    approach things?

    For me, I think it has simply allowed me to be more me. I don't think I have changed much
    style or approach, but I know have made photos I would not have before. One example, I
    was photographing a wedding with another photographer. I saw a chance to get a photo
    from the opposite angle he was at. It was an almost silhouette, and his tripod leg was
    sticking out into my view. With film going straight to a lab, I would have passed it up.
    Knowing I have full control to make the changes needed later has probably with
    photoshop has probably changed me more than the cameras.
     
  2. I shoot fulltime for a newspaper, do weddings and events in my free time. Been shooting digital slr's for five years. It works for me because of the market I cater to. PJ weddings with a book. Used to shoot with an RB67. I do miss those juicy negs but my clients don't. I don't miss the expense of film. The upside of digital is that I am a LOT more creative with light. I experiment more and can stick with a shot until I'm satisfied. I can also take test shots to see what I'm getting before the action starts. The result is my work has a more distictive look and is more in keeping with my style. I get my bookings based strictly on that style and my market is those who don't want the standard shots. Downside (and upside) is the work flow. No more shipping film to the lab on Monday and waiting for it to come back. All my proofs are cropped and color corrected before I transmit them to the lab. It adds about six hours to the job but the B&G get custom proofs. I have the advantage of shooting and doing color corrections 40 hours a week for the newspaper. It comes pretty easily and I got a lot of OTJ training.
     
  3. For me digital has had both a good and bad impact.

    On the good side I really learned about artificial lighting. That slow shutter speeds don't
    necessarily mean a blurry image because short flash duration freezes the subject.
    Something I knew before but never really trusted until digital let me see that it worked
    right there ... and allowed me to adjust speeds for effect.

    On the bad side I now shoot more color than I used to, and I'm not happy about it at all. It
    has impacted the look of my work in general. I think B&W digital is okay, but film is better
    IMO.

    I use to shoot minimal color just to record the dresses and flowers, now I need to return to
    what got me into this business in the first place ... B&W, which I think is inherently more
    romantic looking.

    PhotoShop simply replaced my darkroom. When I shoot film I just scan it anyway... color or
    B&W. So I can still correct film stuff I don't want. It's just easier than with traditional prints.

    Concerning cameras: 35mm SLRs & DSLRs in general are faster, yet I also see them as
    being more promiscuous. I still like working with a Leica M and a Hasselblad 503 CW. It's
    just a personal thing... maybe more connected to using B&W film than anything else.
     
  4. I have never shot anything but digital (at least as a pro), ao I am on the side where now I would love to learn/try MF. My only film cameras were P&S, so I would love to try film for a change. Not move to film, just play around with that format. I know that doesn't answer the poster's questions, but it poses one. Has anyone gone from digital to film/mf?

    Thanks,
    Teresa
     
  5. Short answer; Yes. I am working out a new style since going digital. Partly because it is instant response to what I try (no more making notes on a little book and then logging the roll #). Partly because of the foreknowlede that I have a great many things at my disposal to "adjust" the image now. I have never liked the idea of scanning negs. Its just more fuss, to me at least. I am currently playing around with corel painter 8 and a Wacom 9x12 intous2 tablet. This has given mew life to photography for me. When I shoot I am less aware of the gear now. I used to be always double checking and triple checking settings as I knew it was not until the lab returned the prints that I could see a mistake. The other thing that I have been comming to terms with is the lighting temperature not having so much bearing on what I am willing to shoot. No more filters to balance the film, etc. No time or thought about those things. There are many things that I have changed to some or other degree. The similarity in what I shoot digital vs. film (on reflection) is there for sure. There is, however, a broader scope of shots and a more aggressive style that is developing for me with digital. I cannot see going back to using a Blad/Mami now. And thats just some ways it has affected me/my style :)
    009JRM-19396384.jpg
     
  6. Digital allowed me to learn faster; see the results right away. But it also allowed me to
    shoot carelessly. Since i've moved to film, i have to pay more attention and get it right the
    first time. This has moved me further into the technical aspect of photography which i
    appreciate.

    I bought a med format camera a few weeks ago and i get 12 shots to make it right; no
    room for errors (although i have many). It's extremely challenging, but i need to climb a
    new mountain every year.

    started on digital >> moved to film
     
  7. I still haven't tried digital. Hell, I still prefer shooting B&W over color. Eventually you really do get to the point where you can walk across the room, decide which focal length lens to use for the shot, and when you put the camera to your eye everything just falls in place in the frame, you're exactly the proper distance away, you've already turned the diaphragm ring on the lens to a larger f/stop, and when you touch the release button the meter's needle centers itself because you "guessed" correctly. No little screen in the back to review your exposure! Amazing! Why is it that the shooters with the fully automated electronic marvels are the ones that have to check every shot immediately, think nothing of making 500 to 800 or more exposures at a wedding and still oft times end up with second rate pictures? Maybe the subjects get worn out. Perhaps the habit of squeezing off bursts instead of deciding when to release the shutter? Because when you shoot bursts you're locked into the camera's sequence, you can't shoot the one perfect picture that may have occurred while your camera decided that it was film advance time.

    Of course with digital there's no film expense, that's the justification, right? What about the hours and hours of your time examining and tweaking and adjusting color and contrast and cropping on every damned one of those 500+ images JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN, yet knowing full well that you'll be lucky to sell more that 36 shots in the album. Your time costs you nothing only because you don't watch yourself writing a check for that amount. If you figured your time at only $25 an hour all that digital tweaking/editing it cost you $100 or more. How many 5x5 or 4x6 paper proofs can you get for $100? Of course it used to be traditional to SELL the proofs for real money, several times what they cost you. Now you can't, they don't exist.
    The Rollei that you used would keep cranking out weddings for 20 years or more, then you could sell it for as much or more than you paid for it. Now you buy the latest piece of digital crap for top dollar and it's obsolete by the time your purchase shows up on your Visa statement. Brave new world!
     
  8. In drafting; ie Autocad; their is a timer that can be used to show how much time one spent on a cad drawing. Maybe Photoshop will add this one day.
     
  9. Al, I for one, would like to see a sample of your recent wedding work. I suspect that you aren't awear, or understand, what many of the younger shooters (I'm not at 50) are doing, or where wedding photography is today. Wedding photography, like sports or fashion photography doesn't have the same look it did 30, 20, or even 10 years ago.
     
  10. Bruce, Al shot a wedding with me just awhile ago. Believe me when I say you are barking
    up the wrong tree.
     
  11. Thanks Marc! Dang, he made it sound like I'm still running film packs through a Crown Graphic with Press 25 flash bulbs!

    No, I don't shoot all that many weddings these days, but I'm still shooting plenty of film, picking and choosing what I want to shoot. The kids are grown. My daughter is a tax attorney and my son is doing his doctorate tuition free at Harvard on a fellowship. I don't need to produce the big bucks like I did a few years ago. (Money saving tip: have bright kids!) I'll probably shoot a couple of rolls tomorrow fishing, while wearing my other hat as Captain Al Kaplan. Life should be fun!
     
  12. I still get The Rangefinder in the mail and my best friend owns a wedding/portrait studio so I'm aware of current wedding photography trends.
     
  13. Bruce, Al shot a wedding with me just awhile ago. Believe me when I say you are barking up the wrong tree.
    our friend al doesnt make a living from shooting weddings...if he did, he would be at least half digital like you are marc....al talks a lotta shyt about digital and hasnt even tried it! cmon man.....
     
  14. Why does this forum keep going to film shooters are doing everything right and digital shooters are doing everything wrong? I've seen good and bad photographers and good and bad photographs. The medium was less important than the skill of the photographer. If you have something that works for you then you should stick with it but loose the "holyer than thou" attitude. I can look at what I shot with film vs what I am shooting with digital. I feel my style is advancing faster now than it did with film. I do charge for my work. I'm towards the high end in my rural area but I have never watched the clock in the darkroom or in front of the computer. Making a living is important, but making a good image is a labor of love.
     
  15. Of course with digital there's no film expense, that's the justification, right? What about the hours and hours of your time examining and tweaking and adjusting color and contrast and cropping on every damned one of those 500+ images JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN, yet knowing full well that you'll be lucky to sell more that 36 shots in the album.

    im curious al, are you talking about marc there...i believe he uses digital, doesnt he?
     
  16. Marc, Al has no pictures posted on PN, and sounds like another Timber stuck in 1973, but I'll take your word that he can shoot a wedding.
     
  17. he knows film, thats for sure, AND definately stuck in '73...
     
  18. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    So we have a title that says For those who have made the leap: Has Digital or other new technology changed your style?
    and we have a response that starts with
    still haven't tried digital.
    I guess this begs the point of why someone even bothers to ask a question when one gets a response from someone that makes it clear from the start that they have no idea. If this is to be a useful forum, people should answer questions that correspond with their experience, not their lack of experience.
     
  19. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    "Making a living is important, but making a good image is a labor of love."

    I totally agree Ralph. When I used to print wet, B&W, the tunes where cranked with a couple bottles, and it would soon be 3am. For colour printing, I used to have rent by the hour and often didn't make much on a print because I would always go back and burn a bit here and dodge a bit more there with a filter change. It was always the "what if I tried it like this..." that kept me going. Now photoshop provides all the time for my curiosity. I'm looking forward to learning more. It's the subtleties that can be popped out, much like wet printing. And if Al got a few sessions in with an experienced digital darkroom magician, he perhaps would be on fire again with all the possibilities that used to hinder the imagination with wet printing.

    Film, and I can't believe I'm saying this, is just too damn inconvenient for me now. There's always something I want to tweak in photoshop, be it eye colour or removing a stray hair, whatever. And once on film, it's a chore to play in the digital darkroom now. Al talks like it's a chore to sit in front of the computer and we're here to save a buck on film. It's not. It's total control like the days of playing in the wet darkroom, but safer, cleaner, repetitive, and easier to share.
     
  20. Oh, I'm not so sure you all have got Al pegged right. As you say Jeff, one should speak to one's experience, not lack of it. I have shot with Al, and would again if the opportunity arose. I poured over his contact sheets before shipping to the client. Pretty darned contemporary stuff IMHO. I'm not sure of other's experience with AL other than words on the internet. It's not easy to participate on a (digital based) forum if you are fairly new to the technology like Al is. On the other hand, Al and some others here on this forum, are of value in that they evangelize on behalf of film so people like Teresa (above) think to explore it's possibilities. And, while some redundantly drone on about the pitfalls of digital, they're right to some degree about the drudgery of digital post work. Heck, I love sitting at the computer and all the control it affords a photographer. I love chocolate also. Too much of either makes me want to puke. And weddings with hundreds of images can soon become overload when you are doing it all yourself. It's not creative in the least to sit there PS processing a ton of "client must have" redundant group shots, formals, processionals, recessionals, grand entrances, cake cuttings, portraits of Uncle Bob and Aunt Millie. For that reason I am upping my ratio of film to digital for weddings. It's just more practical in terms of time spent. Since in 90% of the cases, I select the album images, only a few of the "must have" shots make it to a page. So the rest of the pages I am free to fill as I want. That's where I want to spend my time. BTW, I don't shoot digital on vacation anymore either. 300 digital images of Martha's Vineyard sent me right back to using my Leica on our next trip. It was like a busman's holiday digitally processing everything my wife wanted for our family album. Paying a lab for the same amount of shots with 4X6 prints is well worth it IMO. So, there is a balance to be considered. Example: 2 shots of old fashioned country stores below taken on 2 different vacations. Digital one on top, and part of a lot of processing work for all the vacation snaps, then still pay for select prints. The lower one shot on film, with all rolls processed and printed at the lab for $112. and no effort on my part. Frankly, for some shots like these film looks better anyway IMHO.
    009Jfm-19402984.jpg
     
  21. Marc - You're using something of a double standard here: dropping film at a lab and tweaking all your digital. There are many digital wedding shooters who just do a fast, rough edit of digital and then up load them to a place like Millers, and let the lab do corrections to create a set of proofs. In this model the lab is doing the same work for film or digital. Final prints, which is a much smaller number you correct individually. I know how hard it is for you to let go of control of any part of the process, but sometimes the final results can be better because you're less "used up" by the time you get to the deliverable end product.
     
  22. I too miss B&W film, but have no regrets with color. I think there is a different mental
    approach to shooting B&W that is hard to get onto when planning to shoot color and
    convert.

    When I posted this I was getting ready to go to a wedding and thinking a little about how
    my approach to shooting has changed over the years. I had bought a MF system because
    wedding pros at the time said that was what was needed, but I quickly went back to my
    newspaper experience and fell away from the more static style that MF is better suited for.

    At the time I switched to digital I had a dual photo carreer. Working 5 days a week for a
    newspaper and about 12 days a year doing weddings. I could see the impact photoshop
    had on my color work for the paper and wanted to add that control to my wedding work.
     
  23. Well Shawn maybe it's the newspaper work that puts us in this frame of mind. I found my niche in PJ and wanted it to carry over into my wedding work. Digital seems to be a natural for PJ. Perhaps my approach to film weddings was wrong. I shot 5-8 rolls of 120 (6x7) and 8-10 rolls of 36 exp 35mm. Sorting all those prints and matching neg #'s to put together a proof book was sheer agony. Now I sort out the keepers in Nikon View, send then to a lab over the internet and just have them print what is going to the client. For me the time spent is similar. It helps that I don't mind sitting in front of my computer. It works for me, but I know it's not for everybody. Regards, Ralph ps: My only diversion from photography is mowing the grass. Perhaps that's a factor too.
     
  24. Digital hasn't changed my style as yet because I still shoot all film. But from
    shooting with MF capture for ad work and hiring assistants with DSLR's for
    occasional location jobs I understand the drill, although I haven't personally
    culled and tweaked hundreds of raw captures as yet. I was in communication
    with my Queensberry rep. yesterday as I'm putting together new sample
    books and one thing she was in agreement with me on was that dig. capture
    and dig. workflow has really pushed up the average number of shots being
    taken and being shown in albums. I still work at the 20 roll, 40 print average
    for albums but she was discussing a 90 print average for dig. printed albums
    from dig. capture. I've always felt that 700-800 images from an average sized
    wedding is more than enough , but I see folks here talking about 11 gigs. of
    raw captures and I think Wow! that's a lot of captures, a lot of editing and a lot
    of "keepers" for the customer to look at. At what point do our collective eyes
    glaze over? When does the photographer come up for a breath, or the B&G?
    In some ways, dig. capture seems to be about MORE , and I'm not so sure I
    want to go down that road as yet.
     
  25. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Wow! that's a lot of captures...In some ways, dig. capture seems to be about MORE , and I'm not so sure I want to go down that road as yet.
    There's a reason why more is better when shooting anything that someone else will choose from or edit. What the photographer may think is perfect, or captures everything, may be (and often is) completely different from what the buyer/editor/etc chooses. I do a lot of live band shoots, which isn't all the different from weddings in certain respects (although I doubt many weddings have mosh pits) and I find that the bands and publicists often choose photos I would trash. So I shoot more, and they are happier. This was true with film, and it's true now with digital, which does make it easier to shoot even more.
    I've found it to be true with publications also - they want a choice, because what the photographer might choose is rarely what they choose. I've had one photo published (Modern Drummer magazine, I think) that was so bad I asked not to have a credit. But they picked it out of 200 shots from a live performance. This type of editing takes place with film or digital - look at how many shots are submitted for NG features - but it's a lot easier with digital.
    I had a funny thing happen with a portrait shoot. It was for my personal portfolio, and I offered prints to the woman I was shooting. Another photographer worked with me, doing large format shots when we went into the studio. I showed her the contact sheets from both of us, and the shots she picked to have printed from both photographers were the ones in which her boobs were most prominent (these were not nude photos.) None were shots either of us would have chosen to print, it was just another reminder that the "customer" wants more choices than the photographer might provide. And digital makes this easier.
     
  26. When I'm doing ad work I really don't think about how much film I'm shooting
    or how many captures -- it's all about the end game and working within the
    time frame which is more often than not, nowadays, too short. Even before I
    went to dig. capture for the majority of my ad work, I would never think twice
    about shooting 30 rolls of 120 on a people setup, a case of 8x10 polaroid, or
    what have you. But with weddings, I approach them as though the reason
    the event is going on isn't entirely about pictures. I try and strike a balance
    between their event and my role. Timing and selection, and judging when to
    give them some space. Also, I've had clients say many times that there were
    too many photos to choose from , but I've never had one say that there were
    too few. In and of itself I think that working from 35mm platforms lends itself to
    more volume than med. format, and some of the masters of med. format have
    done some great work shooting a lot less than even 700 frames. Now,
    banging out double and triple that in captures leaves me thinking that it's
    simply too much for everyone, particularly the client. I've always thought that
    the old straw "Throw enough mud against the wall and eventually you'll come
    up with a masterpiece" was a large format shooter's gripe and not really
    accurate in regard to handheld discipline. But when we start talking about
    thousands of captures in a 12 hour day, I begin to question: Where's the
    pacing, the observation, the selection?
     
  27. OK, this is my first post as I've only just registered, but here's my 2p's worth: We went fully digital with our wedding & portrait business in 1999, we sold all our Mamiya RB and Bronica SQAi gear and placed everything, our entire livelihood, upon digital in one fell swoop. We never regretted the conversion. I would agree with most of what has already been said, digital certainly changed the way in which we approach wedding photography, just as it has changed our clients expectations of their wedding images. I would disagree with the argument that digital wedding photography always generates massive computer time. It will if you allow it to. We learnt very quickly that you must be disciplined, despite the temptation to "hose" the wedding. We are very selective about what we photograph and how many shots we devote to each stage of the days' events. My partner and I always cover weddings together with a combination of traditional, contempory and pj styles. It is usual for us to return from an 8-hour wedding coverage with around 350 images between us. A comparable amount of work to when we worked with film. But without the material cost, of course.
    009JzF-19410984.jpg
     
  28. Personally I shoot more iterations of the same image so the client will have and myself will have more choices from which to pick, but as a whole it doesn't make that much difference once you get the feel for the equipment.

    I shoot PG with my digital and MF for formals and portraits
     
  29. I agree with Hugh regarding offering more for the client to pick from.

    Also since I'm not worried about "wasting" flim, I take more chances on shots that are a gamble. If it does't work then I zap it to Neverland when I'm editing. If it works, well I get some fun stuff that way.
     
  30. I am still wating to go digital !! About 20% are partial digital here on the Pennisula. We just do not receive enough call for a digital job or the one that call can not afford the cost. The shooters using digital, for wedding, portraits,etc--- are $17 a minute and I charge only $10 per minute with film-based. So waiting for calls for the B&G with the bigger budgets. We still offer a CD of their coverage (that 1 out of 100 order)..but most are not that much into the technology. The only drawback with the corporate work, for digital--is they expect a "next-day" turnaround. SO it's PS, all night, for the images to a CD ...where with film >> you drop at the lab and it's complete the next day. The client may spend $3-5000 for their convention with film but, digital adds maybe $2k more. Yes more $, but more time!! Film ^^ Still my favorite.
     
  31. You younger folks have had your fun kidding me about my sticking with film, and I still shoot more B&W than color, doing my developing and printing the old fashioned way. As I aproach my 62nd birthday I don't want to invest the time to relearn the game ~ too short a pay back period ~ and my trusty old Leica cameras long ago earned their keep. Rather than being the most expensive 35mm film cameras it turns out they were the cheapest. After using the hell out of them for decades they're now worth many times what they cost, and still chugging along, silky smooth quiet mechanics and nice smooth bokeh overlaying tack sharp images. I have friends who've spent far more on digital equipment than I ever did on Leicas, and today what is it worth second hand?

    But probably the nicest thing about all those B&W negatives I've accumulated over all those many years is that they still print just fine. The reality is that I'm making more money selling prints from photos I shot in the 1960's and 1970's than from the more recent stuff. Thirty years from now I doubt that any of your digital files will be readable, or if you'll still have the hardware/software to read them anyway. Or if anybody would even bother looking through stacks of old CDs or DVDs to see what's on them. At least contact sheets can be fascinating and you WANT to look through them. Sure, digital is fast and cheap! Enjoy!
     
  32. I don't post much on photo.net anymore, but I read quite a bit. Poor Al. Change is always challenging. I daresay digital files will be readable far, far into the future. It all depends on the photographer's discipline in converting digital files to new media types as they become available. regardless, I always like reading Al's responses. At least he makes it clear where he stands.

    Back to the original question, how has digital changed my style? Dramatically, to say the least. I shoot weddings and portraits, mostly outdoor stuff.

    1. I've become much more accustomed to being very careful with exposure, especially when using off camera lighting.

    2. I've gotten a bit sloppier with composition. I tend to shoot a little wide, and I can crop in as much as needed on selected areas of my image and still produce a great print.

    3. I can produce multiple images from the same primary image. Instead of looking for one excellent image as I shoot a frame, I sometimes think about nailing three distinctly different image possibilities with one shot. Not all the time, just occasionally.

    4. Love the fact that I can capture in color, then convert to b&w, sepia, etc. Could do the same with film, I supppose. Just takes a long, long, long time.

    5. I learn much faster. Shoot now, see results on my computer screen, and correct only minutes later. For someone like me who does not have a lot of extra time to experimant with film, digital is a great thing.

    6. My clients like the instant results, and it gets me more business.

    I strongly feel there is still a place for film. I just found that my creativity was unleashed when I went digital.
     

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