Wedding Photography on Medium Format Film
Why do we shoot film at weddings as well as digital? There’s a lot of reasons.
There’s a lot of cliché statements about how it slows you down as a photographer which means more time to get better shots, and that it looks ‘more real’ and whilst those statements hold true we believe in it for something else… Quality. When it comes to Medium Format Film wedding photography, we choose our film cameras very carefully, only the best we can get. And when we’re looking for the best, it has to be better than digital, otherwise it’s not worth doing it. We don’t subscribe to lo-fi film photography, we’re all about crisp focus, strong clarity, deep contrast and unrivalled resolution. When we shoot film at weddings, we shoot very little. We’re shooting digital all day because it’s easy, fast, accurate and offers us a more fluid approach. Our top of the line digital cameras can even see in the dark, something our film cameras just can’t feasibly do. But when we find the right moment for a photograph taken on our beautiful 1959 medium format Rolleiflex, it’s for a moment that we can visualise on film, something that deserves the extra something that only film can deliver. Those few photos we take, are the real ‘Wow!’ show stopping photos. The ones you’ll want to frame without question. For us, high-speed frame rates, AF points and all the other minutiae of digital camera specs don’t matter. We’re interested in how a camera helps us capture a moment, not the camera itself. Our camera is a tool that emphasises all that is intimate and emotional in a photo of a couple.
We love shooting analogue cameras at weddings because it’s a mechanical process that fixes the real moment that was there onto film. There’s nothing but light and chemistry, it’s not a digital interpretation, it’s the real thing. We love taking one of our super-high-quality Polaroids and seeing all the guests gushing over it because it’s real, it’s there, it’s from that moment that just happened. It’s hard to describe how a Polaroid photo can have this aura about it, maybe because it was there at the wedding with everyone else, it has a unique presence and quality to it. It’s special. Everyone loves the portrait shoot, it’s a quiet time in the day and it’s usually the first opportunity the newlyweds will be able to actually say hello to each other and spend 15 minutes reflecting on what just happened. We know how special those moments are even if the couple don’t yet realise it and film cameras allow us to capture all that quietly and unobtrusively. They say imitation is the best form of flattery. There’s a huge trend for wedding photographs to look like film but what could look more like film than film? Colours, tones, sharpness, it all comes right out of the box with film. We also work with the best film lab in the world who know our work well – we trust them with all our personal photos too so we know they’re good – and they achieve everything with their processing that we had in mind when we pressed the shutter button. It’s a partnership we’ve really come to value and it’s worth all the time and money we collectively spend in keeping that magic of film looking exactly the way it should. Ultimately, we do it for us. We love it, we document our own lives on film. It keeps us on our toes and constantly thinking when we’re shooting film at a wedding. There’s truly next to no money to be made in shooting film at weddings, we just do it because we enjoy it and everyone always enjoys what we do with film, and that’s the best part of it.