Film Wedding Photographer



What is the difference between film and digital wedding photography?

Digital wedding photography is when a photographer uses a digital camera to capture photos. There are many kinds of digital cameras, but the cameras that are used typically can shoot in any lighting situation, have low-light capabilities, and can track moving subjects really well. The images are captured electronically onto a memory card called an SD card or CF card.

These images can replicate the look of film if the photographer knows how to edit and shoot in a way that lends itself to the look of film. Typically digital images have a much more "perfect" or sharp look to them. Again, this depends on the camera, lens, and how the photographer shoots in a given lighting situation.

Film wedding photography is when a photographer uses what is called an analog camera to capture photos of a wedding day. An analog camera has many different names and kinds. There are 35 mm, 120 mm, Half frame, etc. The camera takes actual film (a rolled up piece of plastic with a photosensitive gel coating) and when the shutter opens to let in light, the light creates an image on that gel emulsion. It is a very organic process.

The main thing that I think couples really are drawn to with film photography for their wedding day is the feeling of nostalgia that it creates, the softness and the grain or texture you can achieve with the medium.


Yes - absolutely! Typically people worry that shooting film in low light as it is difficult, however, if you have flash, or if there is enough ambient light during the reception, you can shoot film the entire time. Preparation and knowing your gear helps a lot.

I personally prefer to shoot a combination of digital and film to give my couples the best possible image. Mainly because I can push my digital much further in low light situations. I have found that I reach for my digital camera less and less.

I recommend thinking about the space ahead of time and planning what kind of film and gear to bring so that shooting the entire wedding day on film is easier.

Is film photography harder than digital?

No - The hardest part is getting over the fear of shooting film. If you already know how to shoot a manual digital camera, you should have no problem shooting film. My top pieces of advice:

1) Never underexpose film - you can't fix it. Film is safe to over expose a few stops, so don't worry about accidentally over exposing.

2) Learn to use a light meter.. trust me, it is easier to learn than you think.

3) Still not convinced? Take my course below:

Film Course

film cost

Short answer is yes - film is more expensive than digital per shot. On average, one 35 mm roll costs anywhere from 12-18 dollars to buy. Then to develop and scan, it costs 20 dollars. That means each roll will cost you 32-38 just for 36 shots. If you shoot medium format, it is more expensive per shot since you have fewer shots on the roll. I recommend adding a film package before offering it to everyone. Allow clients to choose it before incurring the cost if you're worried about spending too much on film.

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Why do film photos look better than digital?

A digital camera is a machine that is trying to replicate what it thinks it is seeing. It basically takes light and turns it into digital squares - this creates a rendered picture that sometimes looks to sharp, too perfect.

Film, on the other hand, uses a gel emulsion on a thin piece of plastic basically. When light hits it, it is more of an organic natural rendering of the scene in front of it. Any imperfections on the lens, shake of the hand, and depth of field is also imparted on the photo. It just isn't as perfect and defined as a digital camera. Because of this difference in how the image is captured, you will see that there is a difference between digital and film.

How many rolls of film do you shoot at a wedding?

This totally depends on the wedding, however on average, I will shoot around 25 rolls of film for a full wedding day.

When I started, I shot 2 - 4 rolls mainly because I was getting used to managing both digital and film and film just seemed daunting and time consuming.

Now because I rely on my hand-held light meter, I can be confident in shooting and knowing quickly what settings to put my film camera on and know that the shot will come out properly exposed.

What are the disadvantages of shooting 35 mm film?

The disadvantages of shooting film are few, but are worth mentioning.

1) First of course is cost. The expense can cut into your profit margin quickly.

2) Time - it takes time to learn film and it takes time to get your film developed and scanned.

3) Risk - if you shoot film and accidentally open the back, then some of your shots will be lost. Sometimes if you don't expose correctly in camera, you lose shots and can't get them back.

For the most part, film is worth it if you are willing to give the time necessary to learn it and get comfortable with it. I would say it is easier than digital because you don't have to learn all the menu's and micro-adjustments digital cameras offer.

digital to film


First I would recommend that you go look at my blog post on this.

Second, I believe it is about how you shoot. Film is soft and imperfect. For some things you will want to shoot at a lower f-stop For a look that is similar to a point and shoot, you want to shoot at a higher f-stop. When you start, look at photos you love and analyze the technical components of the image - what do the colors look like? what f-stop is being used? how much grain and contrast is there? The rest is just you tweaking your image to match those things.

Why do I shoot film?

Early on in my wedding photography career, I didn't think to use film as it was slower and more deliberate. I need to work quickly on wedding day. However, I found that when I started shooting film, I became more deliberate, and took much better shots by focusing on waiting for the good moments.

Film is now my inspiration. I am always wanting to see what new and unique or unexpected image I can create by mixing light and lens together.

Film also endures trends and editing styles. It will look good 30 years from now, and that is what I want to ensure for my couples.

Creative fulfilment, and to best serve my couples. When I graduated high school, the first class that I signed up for in college was film photography. I have always been fascinated with it and wanted to do film photography.

I loved the magic that happened when the image appeared on the paper in the darkroom. It was like I had worked some kind of miracle. I couldn't explain the delicious softness of the image, but it got me to my core the first time I saw my images appear on paper.

What are the best film stocks for wedding photography?

This is totally your preference honestly. I think if you use the film how you want and can expose it correctly in any light, it really depends on if you like the end result.

With that being said, I personally love Kodak Portra 400, 800. I also love Tri-x 400 and Ilford 3200, both of which are black and white. I love Fuji 400, however that is being discontinued.

I do recommend experimenting with a roll of each and shoot each one at a proper exposure and then over expose 1 to 6 stops to see what quality you like best.

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Film Wedding Photographer

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