Include Film Photography in Your
Wedding Workflow

Wondering how to actually shoot film? Or maybe you are wondering how a photographer can include film into their digital workflow. This page is dedicated to get you started and show you that you can differentiate yourself through film and give your clients a unique experience.

How to include film in your wedding day workflow

for photographers

Film Workflow

Wedding Day

I like to look at what my timeline is for the wedding day and how much time I actually have to shoot different parts of the day. If it is scrunched, I use the easier/quicker of the cameras - the Canon 1V and the Pentax Point and Shoot. If I have time through the day, I will choose which cameras I want to use and when. When you get used to your cameras, you will know which ones you like for different parts of the day. For me, the point and shoot I use all through the day since I don't have to think about settings. That is a great way to start if you want to ease into it.

I usually shoot with my medium format for details and bridals and then use the canon 1v with flash for reception.

Map out the timeline

Step 1:

Take the packaging off of your 120 film, throw the rolls of 35mm into a bag and even take off the plastic container if you want to live on the edge like me. 

Think about what kind of film you want to use through different parts of the day and gather what you need. More than what you need actually.

Loading and unloading film is a pain during the day. So if you have a fanny pack, or some kind of bag with you, use that for easy access to grab rolls and put your used rolls in.

I usually have a fanny pack or small black purse that I wear all day so that I don't have to constantly search for my rolls of film.

Prep your film

Step 2:

Knowing how much light you might have or might not have will help you plan ahead for the kind of ISO film you might need to use, or if you can even use film at all.

Dark venues and evening weddings aren't really conducive to film photography without flash - even if you do have a higher ISO film.

Scout locations

Step 3:

Film is made of a transparent film base coated in a photo-sensitive material.

When light hits the film, it creates a slight chemical reaction that results in an image.

Film must be developed by a chemical process to fix the image permanently - this is developing the film.

Film camera Basics


Film cameras allow light to come through the lens and hit the film in varying intensities. The shutter speed and f-stop control this.

The light meter in the film camera can tell you if the resulting image will be too bright or dark.

Typically it is best to use a hand-held light meter to make sure the exposure is correct.

There are two formats for film photography that I use.

The first being 35mm which is what many film cameras are. Most people who start in film photography start with this film size.

The second being 120mm which is a larger film format and results in images with finer detail.



My favorite film stocks





35 mm




120 Film

where can you buy and develop film?

I recommend going to your local photography store first. You can buy packs of film or individual rolls. If you want to buy film and get them developed, I recommend these film labs:

- Indie Film Lab

- Photo Vision Prints

Also - one roll of film can cost around $15 depending on the film stock, and developing and scanning is around $20. So price your packages accordingly, otherwise you may eat into your profit.

Film faq


Which film cameras do I use on wedding day?

For my 35mm, I use two cameras, the Contax g2 - and the pentax espio 410v.

For my medium format, I use the Contax 645.

Which film cameras should a newbie start with?

If you are starting out in film, I recommend the Canon AE-1. It is widely available on ebay and at local camera stores. It is reliable and will allow you to dip your toe into film before moving up to different cameras.



What parts of the day do i shoot film?

I try to shoot film as much as possible, but honestly fitting it in when the timeline isn't scrunched is what the reality is - unless my couple has opted for a film add on package, in which case, my associate helps me with coverage so I can focus on film. I love photographing details in film as well as some portraits. I get a few shots of the ceremony on film and sunset bridals. I love shooting flash on film during the reception.


common mistakes when shooting film

Some of the most common issues I have had with shooting film are all centered around not metering the light correctly and underexposing the film.

Film is different than digital - underexposing film will not result in a good image and you can't fix it. Instead it is better to err on the side of overexposing. You can overexpose up to 6 stops or more and the image still looks great! That is completely different from a digital image, which overexposing will result in an image that you can't fix.

metering incorrectly

It is really easy to forget to change your shutter speed or f-stop between changing locations and lighting situations.

The one habit that I use is to meter the light every time my feet move. As soon as I walk and stop somewhere new, I meter the light and change the settings on my camera. Typically this is just a change in shutter speed. But this is critical because it is easy to forget to change your settings and then you shoot and accidentally underexpose your image.

Forgetting to change settings

Still need more support to feel confident in film?


1. If you are wanting to be able to shoot a larger portion of your sessions on film.

2. You want to find a way to quickly get film developed and scanned to sent to your clients.

3. You're not sure which cameras or formats you want to use and need someone to show you.

4. If you are not sure where to start with film and need step by step instructions.

5. You want to know which film stocks to choose and why.

6. You want to know how to shoot film in difficult lighting situations.

learn more about my ultimate film course