Explaining the value of film photography

January 8, 2023

Words from Richard Photo Lab – our incredible film development lab.

“In a largely digital age where images are snapped and posted and instantly forgotten, it’s a refreshing change where brides and grooms are appreciating the art involved in taking a photograph and that it’s really not as simple as pointing and shooting. But how do we educate our clients in the value of film photography?”

sunset-film-photos-maui
Shot on Kodak Portra 800 120 using the contax 645 and Zeiss 80mm f2.0 lens

1) Film photography doesn’t mean you miss out on the ease of digital advantages

Long gone are the days of heading to your local photo developing pharmacy or gas station for 1hr development and scrap-booking the prints into an album. You will still be able to share your images with others around the globe via different online channels digitally such as instagram, email etc.. Film no longer means printed. Yes we still shoot good old fashioned film, but the images are sent to a lab like Richard’s to be digitally scanned and downloaded so all involved can use them as digital files. We still believe that you SHOULD print those beautiful images though and don’t leave them trapped in a digital world! Nothing better than a framed, beautiful, film photo on the wall.

hawaii-film-photography
Shot on Kodak Portra 800 120 using the contax 645 and Zeiss 80mm f2.0 lens

2) Arguably, you’re hiring a better photographer

We’re not disputing that there are amazing digital photographers out there, we’re simply confirming it’s not easy to shoot film by any means. You have to be confident in your ability to nail it every time (which if you look at our portfolio you will see that we do!). Only an incredibly experienced and skillful photographer can successfully shoot film and create the types of galleries you see in our portfolio. Many digital photographers sometimes rely upon simply “spraying and praying” and doing their best in post production to fix or create the image they had in their mind, rather than skillfully choosing the right lighting conditions, angles and compositions. This is not an option as a film photographer as every shot must be composed with purpose and precision. The results are incomparable. Even the most expensive digital cameras of today, combined with all the digital editing software cannot compare with the quality produced my medium format film. This is the reason we are so obsessed with this medium. We have been shooting weddings for 15 years and when we switched to film 7 years ago, the higher quality was obvious and there was no going back for us.

film-photographers-in-hawaii
Shot on Kodak Portra 800 120 using the contax 645 and Zeiss 80mm f2.0 lens

3) Slowing down and being more mindful—it’s the new fast photography

Shooting film is expensive. Which shows that we really care about our clients images. We take on a significant investment, purchasing the most expensive film stock available every time we photograph a wedding, as nothing is more important to us than producing the highest quality images for our clients special day. Shooting film is difficult. This doesn’t mean that you will miss out on any images from the day, don’t worry. You can still expect 700-1000 images in your gallery. We simply do not just click away like paparazzi. Everything is far more considered, meaning we, as artists, plan ahead and have refined our style over many years— we know the shots we want and how to get them. Your images will be better for it, we know it.

gorgeous-bride-on-maui-film-photography
Shot on Kodak Portra 800 120 using the contax 645 and Zeiss 80mm f2.0 lens

4) Resolution.

The thing we love most about using film photography in the wedding industry is the classic, timeless nature of the resulting image. I mean, there’s a reason we all look at our grandparent’s wedding images with such nostalgia. The softness and grain in the image is flattering. The skin tones that color film shows are exactly what you see in person from your own eyes (only softer and way more flattering). No high definition of crows feet or trendy filters or editing used here that quickly date your wedding photos. We want you to still be able to get out your wedding images in 20 years time without cringing over the dark & moody edits or VSCO style filter that was popular in 2012… In our humble opinion the value of film is priceless.

wedding-photos-maui
Shot on Kodak Portra 800 120 using the contax 645 and Zeiss 80mm f2.0 lens

For more of our film work, please take a look at our website & portfolio!