Beginning in 2014, I will be a film photographer.


If you’ve been following me this year, you may have noticed that I’ve been shooting film quite a bit. I’ve actually been shooting some film at every wedding for the past 2 years, and it has pushed me and inspired me as an artist much more than I thought it would. When I learned photography in college, I spent most of my time in the dark room, developing film and prints myself. I worked with a large format camera (yes, the giant old school camera), and I loved the anticipation of watching the image appear under the chemicals. My first love has always been film photography.


I switched to digital for wedding photography because that was simply the thing to do. Fast images, the safety of checking the back of your camera, low light capabilities.  I embraced it fully, and got very good at it. I still love shooting with my Markii, and I love digital photography. But for me, as an artist, I missed film. I purchased a film camera in the beginning of 2012, and then another this year. I have felt challenged and inspired, and I have loved every minute of it.


My friend Caroline  did a wonderful blogpost on Film v. Digital, in case your interested in seeing the visible differences. To be honest, the common eye probably cannot tell a difference. But I can, and as an artist, I want the photographs I take to be the very best they can possibly be. I want to give my clients warm, beautiful images, rich in skin tones, vibrant in color.


So now that I’m a film photographer, does this mean I’ll never shoot in digital again? Absolutely not. I will primarily shoot in film, but if I feel the image would be better captured digitally, then I have no problem switching. In certain low light situations, digital outshines film, and I’m aware of that! I am confident to make the decisions necessary to deliver the most beautiful images.


What about Callie and Elizabeth? They will be primarily digital photographers, but both will begin shooting with film in 2014 as well. In short, our team will deliver mixed media – a combination of film and digital as needed. I will primarily deliver film images, they will primarily deliver digital images.


So many photographers are switching to film these days, that it was honestly a hard decision for me. I don’t want to follow the crowd, or do something on a whim. I wanted to be thorough about it, making sure this decision to switch to film was the best decision for me and my business. I’ve taken my time with it – shooting some film at every wedding for two years, learning it to the point of having full confidence in my own abilities. There is a financial cost to shooting with film, and I didn’t want to rush into that either. But when I focused on the big picture, I knew it was the right thing to do.

I’ve learned so much from film this year – to be intentional with every photo that I take, to take my time, to think through every photograph. This can be challenging on a wedding day, but that’s how photography should be – focusing on quality over quantity.

I want to deliver work that I am incredibly proud of, like the film shoot I did for Southern Weddings.
I want to work with brides who appreciate the artistic value of shooting in film, and want that for their own wedding.
I want to partner with beautiful magazines and blogs who love and appreciate the medium of film.
I want to work from a place of passion rather than complacency, being challenged rather than being comfortable.
I want the joy of seeing my images come back from Indie Film Lab, just as I saw the images appear in the darkroom when I first fell in love with photography.


I am so excited about how my business is growing and changing! Most of all, I’m excited in 2014 to be inspired and challenged as an artist, returning to my first love in photography.

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Thank you for offering this workshop! I’ve always been intrigued by film but didn’t know where to make the first steps to learn.

[…] magazines, companies, and even brides are solely seeking out film photography. I really love how Nancy Ray writes about her decision to switch back to film and the heart behind her […]

I am beyond excited for your switch! I have fallen in love with film photography, and I know your photos will be gorgeous. Can’t wait to see more this year!

I love that you’re going to be switching over to film in 2014. One of my friends uses only film and it provides such a depth and artistry that it seems only film can. Your work is lovely – thanks for sharing!

Thank you for this inspiring post, Nancy! I cherish beautiful photography, and while I am not a photographer myself, I still found this post to be so applicable to my own passions.. I love the line, “I want to work from a place of passion rather than complacency, being challenged rather than being comfortable.” You helped me remember that things worth doing, are worth doing wholeheartedly and well– even if that means taking a more challenging path. I love the resolute and confident attitude you have in this decision for yourself, your art and your clients. Thanks for sharing! xo

Beautiful wedding day photos! You really captured the magic of the whole day! The vivid colors made me feel like I was there!

I have loved following your work in film and it has helped inspire me to start re-exploring film, which I am loving! I would love to know what film camera you started using in 2012. Thanks!

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