DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FILM AND DIGITAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY
The advantage of film wedding photography is how film cameras record light, shadows, and colors. Film just has “that look.” We, wedding photographers, call it “the film look”. It is hard to describe the feeling that I get when I am looking at my film images.
Film photos look buttery and soft, the colors are just beautiful, and there’s just something qualitatively different about the look of film. It’s softer, it’s dreamier, and the color palette is a little more defined. Skin tones look great. Honestly, I favor the color tones and skin tones that comes straight from my film.
With film, you need many years of photography experience. You need to slow down when shooting film. I slow down and shoot every frame with purpose. I feel more present with the couple. It is much harder to get every photo perfect because film forces photographers to understand light and know exactly where the subject should be positioned to get the best images possible. I even love the grain on my film photos. In general, film has more grain than digital. In some cases, it can be a disadvantage but in my view, it adds to the beauty of film photography.
Film wedding photos feel more like an old-school piece of art to me.
Film photos are not going to be tack sharp always like digital ones. At the same time, they have that dreamy artistic feel to them. If you don’t really love that super tack sharp look, and love artistic images, film may be just perfect for you. I just love more of the mood, that very dreamy, romantic look, the aesthetic, the vibe that film wedding photos give off and for me.
The disadvantages are that film wedding photography is expensive. The film rolls are expensive. Film and developing and scanning costs are added to this. Digital cameras don’t have these expenses. You can take an endless amount of photos. Practically, you can shoot all day as long as you have memory cards and batteries.
Digital cameras shine at wedding receptions. During the best wedding receptions, things on the dance floor can get crazy fast and fun.
Sometimes I’m holding the camera above my head just trying to get the right shot. Often I take 30 photos to get that one killer shot I will be proud of for the rest of my life. Also, you can not place a film camera on a drone.
When it gets dark, I need to use my digital cameras more because colors and shadows disappear around and after sunset. You can keep shooting digital cameras at night with minimum or almost no light.
Digital camera makers, Canon, Sony Nikon, are continually increasing their digital cameras’ low light capabilities and now far exceed film in that respect. I shoot with my digital cameras during wedding receptions and after it gets dark. This photo I took with my digital camera below.
this wedding photos would have not been possible with a film camera, unfortunately.
Film photography requires more time during weddings. Film needed to be loaded after film runs out. It usually happens after 36 or 12 photos. It does take time to load the cameras and I need to do it a few times during longer wedding ceremonies. Loading film can take 10-20 seconds. Also, after loading a roll of film, I am tied to that particular film speed for the rest of your roll. You cannot change ISO on the run. Digital cameras are designed to adjust to shifting light conditions all the time and they are continuously improved as you read this.
In a real wedding, most film photographers are shooting a combination of hybrid film and digital. It means that they all use both film and digital cameras at your wedding to take advantage of the mentioned benefits and avoid their disadvantages.