7 Things You Definitely Need To Know When Hiring A Film Wedding Photographer

Why should someone choose a film wedding photographer for their big day? Let me give you the inside scoop!

So, you find yourself wondering looking through website after website of these extremely talented wedding photographers but aren’t quite sure what the pros and cons of a “Film Wedding Photographer” are. (I mean, isn’t this the digital age?)

With over a decade of wedding photography experience under my belt and about five six different film cameras sitting beside me on my desk, I’m happy to help provide you with the inside scoop on what you need to know about hiring a film wedding photographer to capture your big day. Let’s get right to it, shall we?

It Has That Timeless Aesthetic, Baby!

First and foremost, you’ll notice that film wedding photographer have images with a prominent je ne sais quoi element. It’s this dreamy depth and magical true-to-life color that simply cannot be replicated. Film, by it’s very nature of being an image burned into a literal film, is scanned and processed resulting in an image that often doesn’t need to be adjusted much via editing and therefor doesn’t undergo filters, presets or any of those over-done forms of post-processing.

So, even though it’s currently on-trend, film images will always be in-style because, technically, the were the originals. Everything else is just a knock off.

No Instant Edits Here.

If you’re looking for a completely edited wedding gallery in a week–film wedding photographers may not be the route for you. Shooting and processing rolls of film all take time. Most film wedding photographers aren’t whipping out next-day sneak peeks. Whether you know it or not–you don’t need instantaneous photo turnaround from your photographer.

Couples choosing a film wedding photographer to capture their wedding day know that fast isn’t always better. They’re looking to experience a once-in-a-lifetime moment together, celebrate with their family + friends, enjoy the honeymoon, and take time to process all that has happened before receiving a gallery of images to relieve the special day.

It’s not unusual to see an 8 to 12 week wait time written into the contract before you’ll receive the completed gallery from a film wedding photographer. (Although, I try my best to turn mine around in 6-7 weeks!)

Film Photographers Are Incredibly Talented

…and I’m not just saying that to toot my own horn.

Let me just say, digital photographers are also extremely skilled. There is no denying that. You need to learn the constantly evolving equipment, the numerous editing software, and formatting for all the social media platforms. You’re always out of date with some form of equipment and you have to own what seems like 1000+ different memory cards. Let’s not even talk about the photo storage required!

However, a film wedding photographer needs to be super intentional about the images they choose to capture. It means we are constantly honing our craft and sharpening our skills. We don’t have the ability to over shoot a moment with a constant shutter or super high ISO. Without the convenience of a digital camera’s instant-screen on the back of a camera, film shooters have to train themselves to see light all around them, and not depend on the view-screen of an image they just shot to tell them if something looks pretty or not.

Film wedding photographers have to learn without the safety nets digital photographers have and I wholeheartedly believe it makes them all the more capable. As a film shooter, I’ve trained myself to develop an instant ability to determine light and color quality of a scene with just a glance, and that has certainly made me a better photographer in the fast-paced schedules of wedding days.

Chances Are: They’re Actually Skilled Enough to Rock Both

As a fellow film wedding photographer, I can tell you with confidence that most of my colleagues are shooting hybrid. What does “hybrid” mean? That we’re talented enough to master photographing with both digital and film cameras throughout your wedding day.

There are perks to both types of cameras and why should we deny our clients the benefits of both? I personally love the assurance that I have your photos captured on both cameras. Lost roll of film? No worries. Corrupted memory card? I’ve still got it!

I will also be the first to say that I can appreciate how effective digital cameras are in low light situtations (like your reception dance party!) and don’t charge per image. Digital cameras can also be easily repaired and replaced in the event of an emergency, which leads me to…

A Film Wedding Photographer Is A Luxury

It’s often difficult for me to try to relay to my couples the advantages of shooting film on wedding days as opposed to digital. I truly respect both mediums, but I choose to personally spend a substantial amount of money from every wedding payment I receive just for the ability to shoot film.

Why is a film wedding photographer more expensive? We have so many additional costs to factor in.

Rolls of film: $15-20 per roll. Processing film: $19-25 per roll. Old cameras: somehow more expensive than new digital ones. Repairs: Nearly impossible to find. Postage for mailing rolls of film.

You’ll definitely see this reflected in the cost of a film wedding photographer–so don’t be surprised!

Quality Over Quantity

Film wedding photographers have an intentional artistic process. To avoid expensive bills from our film labs of choice, we’ve had to refine and hone our skills. I personally had to become more selective about which photographs I take and I had to slow down, see the moments unfold, and capture them with intention.

Instead of rapidly photographing every moment–I am decisive about which images I take throughout the wedding day. While I shoot almost 60% less frames in total than a completely digital shooter – I typically deliver the same amount of images in my final galleries.

It’s A Whole Vibe

For those being photographed, this feels a lot less like a high paced (and overwhelming!) photoshoot and more of a once in a lifetime record of history. I encourage more real-life interactions while directing, and often have the time to allow my couples to take things at an even pace because I’m not shooting for quantity. Instead, I’m searching, creating, and capturing the quality of what I consider to be the perfect shots, both candid and directed. Instead of being able to show the back of the camera in the moment, I let my couples relish in the moment and take it in from their own point of view.

Still Have More Questions?

I get it! Explaining my job as a film wedding photographer is definitely a tall task over a blog post. I’m always happy to discuss more details anytime, so get in touch. If you’re looking for a film wedding photographer for your big day–I’d love to chat more about that too!

Looking for more work from a film wedding photographer? Check out these hand picked blog posts:

Hi there—

i'm danielle

I'm a Virginia-based wedding & portrait photographer capturing photos that look like actual ART. 

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hi, i'm danielle—

In the past 10+ years as a Wedding & Portrait Photographer, I’ve found that, aside from arming myself with my cameras to catch swoon-worthy moments of my couples on their day, I’m also bringing a few other unexpected things. 

Like my tough love mom-voice that will keep your bridal party in check, my air of calm if you’re feeling overwhelmed, and the corniest jokes so no one has the jitters in front of the camera!

Because so much more goes into getting those gorgeous wedding photos than just hitting “click!”

and I'm not just bringing my camera to your big day.

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