Why Film for Wedding Photography?

Hi friends! This post was originally posted last year March, but I'm sharing it here again because it's never too soon to repeat this guidance that we feel is so important! Enjoy! 


It’s no secret to our clients and industry friends that we (and our clients!) frequently choose to work with photographers who shoot film. Does this mean that we think digital photography doesn’t have a meaningful place in the wedding industry? Of course not! There are many benefits to digital photography, and in some situations (think, nighttime receptions under the stars, or dimly lit ballrooms) digital equipment is a must. There are also some incredibly talented digital photographers out there! But… as our company’s creative director, and the person responsible for guiding our clients to make the best aesthetic choices, film photography won my heart fair and square several years ago. There is a difference so real and striking, that I truly feel I wouldn’t be giving our clients my best recommendations if I pretended this difference didn’t exist. I see profound differences both in the final finished images, and in the process itself. 

To help explain the benefits of film, I though it would be most impactful to share some thoughts directly from a couple of professional colleagues and friends who are shooting film and are truly at the top of their game. You’ve seen their work throughout our own website a bit, but you’ve also seen it grace the pages of numerous glossy magazines, floating around with viral status on Pinterest, and catching your attention on industry blogs. 

First, I'll introduce Jordan and Landon, the dynamic husband and wife artist duo behind Landon Jacob Photography. I reached out to ask them a simple question: "Why do you love to shoot film?"

From Landon at Landon Jacob Photography:

There is a certain way film photographs a moment in time that is hard to reproduce digitally, and we believe there are two main contributors. First, and the simpler of the two, film captures light in a more organic process that yields beautiful results. Second, film forces the photographer to shoot differently. Instead of shooting a mile a minute and hoping you captured something worthwhile, film teaches you to evaluate moments and details more methodically and naturally. There’s no reviewing the photos milliseconds after you shoot them. When you release the shutter on your film camera, you better have it right. Everything must be in place. 

Simply put, we believe film not only creates better images, but better photographers. 

This and all images above, by Landon Jacob Photography

Next, I reached out to Nancy Ray, my dear friend and oh-so-talented colleague who heads up an incredible team over at Nancy Ray Photography. I asked her this question: "Why do you feel like film is such a wonderful choice for wedding photography?"

From Nancy, of Nancy Ray Photography:

Wedding photography is one of the most important choices a bride can make regarding her wedding day. I always tell my couples, “There are only two tangible things that will last beyond your wedding day: your wedding rings and your wedding photography.” Because of this, I think it’s important to be more discerning and take more time with this decision than any other! 

At Nancy Ray Photography, we believe that film photography has an aesthetic that cannot be replicated with a digital camera, no matter how hard you try!  At first glance, you might not notice a huge difference between the two. However, once you familiarize yourself with the distinct look of film, you will notice that the colors are more true to real life. Film photographs are vibrant with beautiful color tones. Film makes skin look dreamy, it picks up nuances of light that digital does not, it has a timeless look that is classic, unchanged by photography fads or editing styles. Technically speaking, digital photography captures pixels that can be edited to resemble real life, and film captures different gradients and dynamics of light and color as they are in real life.

Often times couples aren’t willing to consider or pay for film photography because yes, it is more expensive. There are more costs to the photographer when shooting film: the cost of film, the cost of developing and processing by a film lab, the cost of carefully shipping the film back and forth to the lab, and the equipment is more expensive as well. But when considering your wedding photographs, when considering your legacy, when considering the one thing that will hang on the walls of your home live long after your wedding celebration, why not choose film?

I think the main reason we choose film is that we believe in capturing and preserving beautiful legacies. We think in terms of forever - not just the budget of a wedding day. As photographers, we want to capture and deliver a beautiful product that is timeless. And that is why we believe film is a wonderful option for your wedding day!

This and the 5 images directly above are by Nancy Ray Photography

Thank you Nancy and Landon for sharing this insight!