Here’s the deal: we LOVE film. We are film photographers, and every opportunity that we can shoot in film, we will. We educate our clients about our love of film photography, and why it’s important to us. We adore it. We will choose film all day e’ry day, because it’s just so beautiful.

We are also clear on the fact that film works the best in well lit scenarios, and we believe that digital photography is also beautiful and necessary in low light situations. So while we shoot primarily in film, we are technically hybrid shooters.

And guess what? Most film photographers do this! The more I’ve gotten to know other film photographers in the industry, the more I’ve realized that this is the norm. There are only very few photographers that I can think of who exclusively shoot film and don’t bring a digital camera with them on a wedding day.

With that said, here is how we approach a wedding day with film and digital cameras ready to go!

Our Primary Photographer Setup:

Contax 645 w/ 80mm lens
Canon 1V
5d Mark 3
50mm 1.2
35mm 1.4
85mm 1.2
50mm 2.5 macro
600 exrt flash
CF cards
15 rolls Portra 400 120mm film
15 rolls Portra 800 120mm film
4 rolls Portra 400 35mm film

3 items that are super helpful to keep all of this coordinated:

Holdfast Money Maker Camera Strap: We keep the Contax on the right side, the 1V on the left, and the Mark 3 in the middle
Oatmeal Lace aprons: We keep our 400 film in the left pocket, our timeline, stickers and phone in the middle pocket, and our 800 film in the right pocket! (Our assistant also carries an apron full of film and holds onto all of the film that’s been used!)
Camera bag: I love my Ona :)

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Preparation
We assess the light, and shoot much of the preparation with digital, knowing we love black and white images for these shots, knowing that it’s often in close quarters & poorly lit rooms. We’ll often take the dress, shoes, and details outside to capture them all in film. It’s not uncommon for us to ask the bride outside to put her dress on to capture that in film, too!

Ceremony
Outdoor: We shoot the bridal party processional in digital, saving 1-2 rolls of film for the bride walking down the aisle with her dad, the important moments, and the recessional.
Indoor: It all depends on the metering! If it’s a super dark sanctuary, we might take 4-5 images total in film, or we might do the entire thing in digital. If the metering turns out okay, we’ll take 1-2 rolls indoors.

Formals
We try to do all of these in film! 100%! We typically take back ups of the large group shots in digital, but only a few.

Details
We try to do all of these in film as well! We’ll even move details outdoors to put them in good light. We plan to do these early enough in the day to get good light! If the reception is too dark, we’ll do reception details in digital.

Reception
This is when we put our film cameras away! Once the sun goes down, we transition to 100% digital. We believe the look of digital and the capabilities of the Mark 3 are the better option in this scenario.

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In summary, it all depends on the light we are given! If it’s a dark, gloomy day, we will be shooting much less film. If it’s bright and cheery and there is a lot of access to windows and the outdoors, we’ll be shooting much more in film! We always check with our light meter to see if we can shoot in film. The lowest settings we are comfortable with are 1/60th at 2.0. When it drops below that, we switch to digital.

One helpful post might be planning your wedding timeline around film photography – goodness do we love it when our brides and planners do this!!

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COMMENTS

I’m curious to know: what do you do to ensure the rolls of film are not lost/damaged in transition to the lab? Is there anything you can do besides hope for the best?

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