In the digital age we are in, it may be perplexing to hear about photographers who are returning to shooting film. You may be of an age when you remember when there was no other option for photographers but to shoot with film. The process of rolling, loading, taking upwards of 36 exposures and developing all before ever glimpsing an image was the norm. Today, advances in camera technology make it possible for us to see images as we capture them and even edit and upload photos over wifi from our cameras. The instant gratification of snapping away with immediate results has taken away some of the artistry of storytelling through photography. When you can take literally thousands of digital images, it isn't necessary to thoughtfully and creatively set up an image-- to pause and think about the smallest of details before clicking the shutter. Thankfully, a larger and larger number of photographers are returning to the craft of film photography.
Why Film Photography?
As I dive deeper into the world of film photography, I have found more and more reasons to shoot with this medium over digital. Shooting with film has made me a better artist because instead of snapping away, I am forced to be in the moment. I am more thoughtful about everything from the lighting, to the way I frame an image. I pause to consider everything, and the smallest of details are important. I know that taking these extra moments will yield a beautiful image that won't need much, if any, post production editing. I simply am investing more of myself into the process initially instead of filtering through thousands of digital images, color correcting, photoshopping and tweaking things that could have been done to begin with to make the image even more beautiful.
The second reason that I have fallen in love with film is because of its amazing capabilities in multiple lighting and weather conditions. You may have heard that it is awful to shoot during mid-day with a digital camera, which is true. Highlights get blown out, color and depth is lost and the image suffers. Film's ability to translate the scene, react to light and capture the moment despite the time of day is unmatched. Film has a depth unlike anything that can be created digitally. You feel like you can literally step into the photo because of the overwhelming sense of realness. I love that, and I love that moments like weddings can be captured in a way that feels so timeless. Film is as close as you can get to what you actually are seeing with your own eyes than anything else. (You'll see this for yourself in the examples below)!
Third, the turnaround from time of session/event to delivery has literally been cut by more than half. Instead of spending days tediously culling through hundreds of images, I simply package and send my rolls off to the lab. They develop and scan them and send them back. Most of the time they are perfect as is, but sometimes may require slight tweaks that can be done in less than half an hour. After that, off the images go to the client. That means I get to spend more time on other areas of my business, which keeps me motivated, passionate and excited to work!
So, Is Digital Bad?
Not at all! As much as I love, and prefer film I also will never go bashing my digital gear. There is a time and place for digital equipment, and because of it we can shoot and ensure every special moment is captured. For those fast paced moments of weddings days--receptions, ceremony and entrances-- I will always have my digital camera out. Why? Because this means that while a bride and groom are playfully smashing cake in one another's faces, I can shoot several images and choose the best ones for their gallery. Or maybe someone at a session isn't very confident in how they look. With my digital camera, I can show them how their smile and pose is reading, and we can make tweaks during our time together to make sure we get the best of the best. Just like film, digital definitely has a time and place!
Compare these film (right) verses digital (left) images below to see the difference in how the camera interprets light, skin tone and softness... The film photographs show detail, depth and light in an unmatchable way!