In an age with amazingly advanced digital cameras, why in the world would a modern photographer choose to shoot many of their images in film? I personally adore film, which is a majority of my work seen on my website, and if you are interested to know why, read on!
First of all, let me clarify what I mean when I say “film”. I am not talking about the type of film you can go out and buy at a drug store or a disposable film camera. The film I shoot in is a professional grade called medium format film, which is widely used amongst many of the world’s top wedding and family photographers.
The three main reasons I love medium format film so much are the COLORS I’m able to achieve with it, it’s DEPTH and LUMINOSITY, and it’s ARTISTIC AESTHETIC.
1.) COLOR – If you’ve scanned my website and instagram and something about the color you see in my images struck you as beautiful, it’s most likely film! Or, a digital image that I have edited to match to look like my film image. Film renders the most natural and beautiful skin tones. The colors are rich and true to life. One of the top wedding photographers in the world, Jose Villa, is known to shoot primarily in film and was doing so in a time when practically no one else still was (but many, like me, began to quickly follow suit!). His work struck others and he quickly became a top photographer in the world, going on to shoot the weddings of major celebrities like Justin Bieber. In his book “Fine Art Wedding Photography” he discusses the color of film quite a bit. It is true to life, beautiful, and timeless. Editing styles (like “light and airy”, “earthy”, or “dark and moody”) will come and go, but images taken in film will still look just a beautiful and relevant 20 years from now. Shooting in film has helped the editing of my digital work extensively! At each of my weddings or portrait sessions, I shoot a mixture of film and digital images and once I have the film back from my processing lab, PhotoVision, I edit my digital images to match as closely as possible.
2.) DEPTH and LUMINOSITY – Medium format cameras are able to retain more information in the highlights and shadows than non-medium format cameras. It’s just a fact. So, when you look at a medium format film image and think “wow, it’s just so extra beautiful although I can’t seem to figure out why”, you are likely noticing an extra amount of depth. It can almost have a 3-D look to it – it just looks more alive! Additionally, because of the depth it’s able to capture, it renders a luminous look that I am crazy about.
3.) ARTISTIC AESTHETIC – Film images simply have a different look to them than digital images. They tend to be soft and almost resemble a painting. There is a dreamy quality to film images that resonates deeply with my photography style. I desire to give my clients imagery that captures the emotions of their wedding or communicates their deep love for their child and something about film images reproduces those feelings in such a lovely and nostalgic way.
I wanted to keep this post short and sweet, so this, in a nutshell sums up why I love film so much! But, I also must mention how absolutely crucial my digital camera is in my work too. I love them equally. Digital cameras far out shine film in certain situations such as fast moving moments, candid shots, when there is low lighting, or traditional portraits when I need to have the confidence that everyone’s eyes were open! (No checking the back of your film camera!) I love utilizing both film and digital to give my clients the best of both worlds!
Scroll on to see a few more of my most favorite film images I’ve taken over the years!
Hope you enjoyed this post and learned something a little new about film! If you love the look of film and would like some dreamy film images of you and your loved ones, I’d love to work with you – you can contact me here.
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