Chapter 2: Shooting Film

I own both digital and medium format film cameras. The latter I mostly use for personal work now when I need to play, but for about 2 years I worked as a hybrid shooter, using both in my professional work and portfolio. I shot purely digital during the most stressful parts of the day (and edited those with a film emulation preset series for Lightroom) and then pulled out my film camera for some getting ready shots, maybe a few scene setting shots during the ceremony, alot during the portrait session where I had full control of the situation, and again now and then during the much slower paced reception/dinner part of the day.

Here are a few examples of my film work from those years.

Shooting film is in some ways a different way of running your business, and instead of getting into that here, I would much rather refer you to a few essential experts in the field. You can find them in the Resources section at the end of this Module.

I will say one thing, though, that may improve your confidence if this style and way of shooting is something you find tempting: I have met several film photographers, even among those at the very very top of the hierarchy, who still use a digital camera during the most challenging/dark phases of the wedding day. So don't feel like you have to shoot ALL film to market yourself as a film photographer or a hybrid shooter. There is something truly special about shooting film! But for the purpose of business and speed and convenience, I chose to go back to 100% digital for my professional work.

Nomatter what shooting style, editing style or equipment you choose, consistency is key. Even if you are known/want to be known as an experimental photographer where nothing is ever quite the same, and each wedding covered is done so from a truly unique perspective and with a variety of editing styles too (Fer Juaristi and Jonas Peterson are both great examples) then even the unexpected becomes a consistent theme of their work.

To charge a premium and gain clients' trust from the beginning they need to see and know what they're going to get if they choose you. So if you have shot and edited a certain way for 2-3 years, booking new clients on the basis of that work, you shouldn't just all of a sudden do a 180 and change everything. If a client has booked you based on a moody experimental portfolio you can't show up to their wedding day with an analog camera and deliver ethereal film photographs. It must be a gliding move, and make sure you have explained your creative process to your booked clients. Sometimes you may need to keep shooting the old way for a few weddings that have been booked a long time ago.

When you change your style, make sure you also update your portfolio. So that all your representative images on your site represent what people may expect from you. As an example, I brought my film camera to weddings (with the couple's permission) for 1½ years to gather portfolio material before I changed my portfolio and website copy and started working officially as a hybrid shooter. In Denmark this transition is relatively easy because the wedding season is relatively short. The primary season is June-September. And bookings usually come in from October - February. So there is space to shoot a whole season in one style, change your portfolio as soon as the season is finished and book clients based on your new portfolio immediately after. If you live in a part of the world where you shoot almost all year round and have a steady flow of enquiries and bookings all year round too, such a transition of style will require far more attention to the communication with your clients.

Camilla JorvadComment