The top tips and recommendations

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.


Map Out Your Timeline

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.


Make The Film Easy To Grab

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.


Scout Your Locations

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.


The Basics




How Does Film Work?

How Do Film Cameras Work?

What Formats are There?

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.

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.

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 film formats that I shoot with and are typically the easiest for shooting at weddings. 35mm and Medium format - 120mm.

Medium Format - 120 Film

15 shots per roll

35mm Film

My favorite 12o mm film stocks are:

Kodak Portra 400, 800

Ilford 3200 Black and white

36 shots per roll

My favorite 35 mm film stocks are:

Kodak Portra 400, 800

Kodak Gold 200

Tri-X 100 Black and White

Ilford 3200 Black and White



Starts around $2000 for body alone

This medium format camera is a workhorse, but is very heavy. I only use it on certain parts of the wedding day.


Starts around $800 for body alone

The reason I love this camera is because I can put my DSLR lenses on it and don't have to worry about getting native lenses for this camera.

Let's talk about gear. Choose gear that suits your needs, otherwise you might spend money on gear you don't use.


Starts around $124

Some of my favorite images ever have been taken on this camera. My clients love the candid feel of the images it creates.




Which film cameras should you start with?

Where can you buy and develop film?

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.

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.


Which 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.

Which film cameras do I use on wedding day?

For my 35mm, I use two cameras, the Canon 1v - mainly because I can use my dslr lenses on it, and the Pentax Espio 410v because I love the look of point and shoot film on the dance floor.

For my medium format, I use the Mamiya 645 AFDII - this camera gives me great looking medium format images without having to purchase the Contax 645. The Contax is known to break and it is extremely hard to get parts.

I will also use polaroids when the day is not rushed.

Film tips

Common Mistakes 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.




If you want to learn more...


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Wonder what gear and materials I take with me to weddings?

Or how I prep the night before to ensure a successful wedding day?