Introducing Film Photography Into My Workflow
I recently started introducing medium format film photography into my workflow for weddings and portraits and you may be asking why, as film is an outdated medium for photography, right? It’s really not, and it’s amazing to see photographers all over the world embrace the magic that film photography holds for all kinds of photography, and how digital cameras and Photoshop isn’t everything when it comes to taking amazing photographs.
I don’t have a particularly exciting or romantic story as to why I became a photographer. I’d borrow my dad’s DSLR and photograph pretty much anything from landscapes to flowers. This was 2007.
9 years later and I’m still taking photos every day. Why?
It’s my passion and it’s in my blood. I borrowed my dad’s camera; he’s been taking photos for years, my uncle is a local film maker and my sister incorporated a lot of photography into her art studies.
But that alone can’t be the reason I’m constantly striving to capture beautiful images. A photographer once told me ‘I don’t have a passion for photography, I have a passion for business’ and I realised – that’s not me.
Getting my own DSLR in 2007, I was constantly taking photos of mountains and details like flowers and then I’d import them into my computer and start playing around with tones and colours in Photoshop. This was magic! To create a different mood and feel just by changing the colours was so exciting and I loved creating my own little world. This then developed into my portrait work too.
At university, I first used a film camera. This was new territory. No instant reviews of the photos on a screen. No becoming snap-happy and hoping for the best. It meant slowing down, thinking about what I was photographing, perfecting the shot before taking it. 36 images on a digital camera is nothing, and is virtually free, but 36 frames on film costs per image when incorporating the film and developing costs.
Since then I’ve been using digital and film, with my film cameras mostly for my personal and journal work. I have some quirky film cameras that are great fun to use (Holga, Diana, Instax) and an SLR which is really lovely to use. My experience with film is very varied and I absolutely love the feel of film which is completely unobtainable on a digital camera.
I love digital: my DSLR is my workhorse. Almost 100% of my wedding work is shot on my digital camera.
For 4 years now I’ve been using only digital for my work – it’s quick, convenient, and I can still work on the tones and colours like I always have been, creating a style that compliments weddings and portraits.
But that passion for photography keeps burning. I will never settle. I will never reach a point in my business and decide ‘That’s it! I’ve reached my goal!’ I want to try new things, develop the business and grow my personal knowledge and expertise.
Included on this page are photographs shot on a medium format film camera, a Contax 645. Remember what I said about film? It slows you down, it makes you think and ultimately, it makes you a stronger photographer. Photography isn’t just pressing a button and hoping for the best. It’s a fusion of lots of little elements and settings what you have to get just right to get great results. These photos are from my first few rolls of film, and to me, the photos are perfect. To have created such vibrant photos straight out of a camera where I was fully in control completely fills me with butterflies. No Photoshop or any editing software has been used on these images, they are straight from my film labs – Carmencita Lab and Canadian Lab (formerly UK Film Lab).
Aesthetically, film handles light much better than digital and images come out crisp and clear all across the board. I am a natural light photographer since day one, and film makes capturing light even easier and more beautiful. A sucker for backlighting, the Contax paired with it’s Zeiss lens creates dreamy, soft images without any loss of detail. My digital style of editing is complimented by the tones film creates and so my work keeps it’s consistency too.
This summer I am slowly introducing film into my wedding photography workflow. By slowing down, and taking time to capture perfect photos, my photos have even more meaning and become truly timeless heirlooms captured in perfect light and colour.
Here’s to new photo adventures. If you’ve got that passion for something, take a risk. Learn everything you can about that subject. Keep at it and keep it burning.