Planning your nuptials and considering going with film photography? Today, we're so excited to have Matt and Jackie, the talented husband-wife duo behind Whiskers & Willow Photography, offer up their take on the film-versus-digital debate. Read on for their thoughts on taking it back to the age of the old-school versus sticking with modern-day technology.
There has been a recent resurgence in analog film photography, bringing back an age-old craft to a snap-happy era. Film photos have an authentic quality about them, a look that feels more timeless than perfectly sharp digital photos. Because of the way that film can handle light, film images can look so beautiful in tonality and color. Film has a broad dynamic range that allows it to deal with harsh lighting situations in a way that digital simply cannot. Bright highlights are softened and skin tones appear radiant. And there’s a slight graininess to film photos that adds to that feeling of nostalgia.
Digital image on the left, film image on the right
However, film is costly to work with. With a scarcity of film labs and decreased production, the film, shipping, development, and scanning costs can all add up for a film photographer. This pushes the photographer, then, to be more intentional with each shot. Instead of rapid firing many shots, the film photographer must compose each shot, as well as make sure exposure and focus are perfect before releasing the shutter. But this is part of the artfulness of the film photo. It has thought and intention behind it. There is a beauty in knowing that a film image of a candid moment is the only image of that brief 1/60 of a second frozen in time.
This is not to say that digital photos cannot be artful as well. In fact with current post-processing tools, a digital photo can look very similar to a film photo. And there are many advantages to shooting digital besides cost. There is an instant feedback of the image, which can allow a digital photographer to feel comfortable that their nailing their shot. That rapid fire shutter can be useful in fast moving moments such as at a wedding. And digital sensors perform better in low-light situations. Additionally, many modern digital cameras have dual memory card slots that allow a backup of each photo to be stored for extra security.
Each medium has its advantages and it’s easy to feel like a photographer should fall into some category. But really it’s about making beautiful images that tell a story. A great photographer will be able to adapt to the light they are given or create their own light. And they’ll be able to craft artful images with whatever camera they have on hand. No matter the medium, a great photographer will always shoot intentionally for themselves as an artist, and preserve lasting memories for their clients.