Why I shoot film

I’m sure you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that when I was younger, I was always the girl with the camera. My friends and I would arrange photo shoots in our backyards and shoot rolls and rolls of film (cuz no one had a digital camera at that time besides the pros!) I loved dropping off the film to be developed and picking up the thick white envelopes full of prints and negatives. It was so fun to relive whatever memories the film had captured just a few days before. You know what I’m talking about — someone blinked with a crazy look on their face or you captured the perfect mid-air jump on the trampoline.

I still have so many of those photos (organized by year with written descriptions and ages of everyone in the photo OBVIOUSLY) in my home office. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a million times: there is nothing like flipping through those tangible stories of my childhood.

You can imagine my excitement when I found out a few years ago that a lot of the photographers I followed and admired had started using film in their business. And y’all, it has come a long way from one-hour developing at CVS.

Film has a lot of benefits but many brides have no idea why someone would choose to shoot film over digital — and sometimes, they have no idea what film is! (For reference, it’s not video. It’s the stuff we all used to put in our cameras before digital cameras burst on the scene in the early 2000s).

Some brides get concerned when they hear their wedding photographer is going to shoot film at their wedding — and I get it! We can’t see the back of our camera and there’s a lot that can happen to damage a roll of film. But if you’re hiring a pro (and you should!), they will have safeguards in place to make sure that even if the worst happens, you have every aspect of your wedding documented beautifully.

NOTE: I do not shoot everything on film on a wedding day. I utilize digital all the time for numerous reasons (lighting, time constraints, etc.) but I always have digital backups of anything I shoot on film. Either I take the backup or I have my second shooter do it while I shoot film. Just thought I’d throw that out there so we’re all on the same page.

Without further ado, here are some reasons why I personally love incorporating film into my work:

Film is timelessEver seen wedding photos of someone who got married in 2009? I bet the editing style is pretty different from what’s popular today. Of course it’s difficult to plan a wedding that won’t look dated on some level but I would hate to look back in 10 years and have very dark, moody, and muddy images that are so 2017, ya know?

Film has a timeless look. That’s why your parents wedding photos (aside from the hideous bridesmaids dresses) still look like they could’ve been taken today. No weird editing filters.

Film captures most detail better than digitalWhat do I mean by this? Well, I’m going to try not to get overly technical here but basically on super bright days, if there’s a lot of light behind you, because of the way the digital sensor works, the background will look almost white. The background is blown out. With film, because it is so hungry for light, I’m able to capture the couple and also all the pretty detail in the background.

​In the photo below, it would have been really hard to retain all the details in the clouds and ocean had I been shooting digital. But because of how film works, I was able to capture all of the texture.

Film also make skin tones look really pretty. Skin looks smooth and has a realistic color tone. With digital cameras, sometimes it can take a lot of editing to make uneven skin look even and like the right color. Digital sensors are more sensitive so skin tones are more likely to have colors casted from the environment (i.e., bright green grass can make your skin appear green).

Film has made me a better artistBecause each roll of film has a limited number of shots, it forces me to slow down and really think about what I’m shooting instead of just clicking the shutter rapidly. It helps me make sure your hair looks perfect and your husband’s tie is straight because I don’t want to have to reshoot it. Film is expensive so I think very carefully each time I compose an image.

Film has helped me see light differently (and better!) and I truly believe it’s what has elevated my work over the past two years. I believe shooting film is one of the best ways I can serve my clients and provide them with beautiful romantic and timeless images. My clients tell me all the time that although they weren’t sure about film at first, they absolutely love the look of their images on film!

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