Skip to Content

Do Wedding Photographers Use Film?

*This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclaimer for additional details..

Seeing as the world has become increasingly digital, you may think that wedding photographers do not use film cameras anymore. But is this really true? Let us find out.

Do wedding photographers use film?

Many of the top wedding photographers only shoot with film while some others offer both digital and film photography services.

While digital photography has become the popular choice in recent years, film still is the preferred choice for many wedding photographers.

If you are considering opting for film photography at your wedding, you may want to know more about it.

So, in this article, we discuss the pros of film photography, reasons to choose a photographer who uses film for your wedding photos, and much more.

wedding photographer taking a photo of newly wed

Analog and Digital Photography

While it may seem like digital photography has completely taken over, many wedding photographers still use film.

Over the years, digital photography has improved and perhaps caught up with film photography. But professional photographers know that the output offered by each type of photography is markedly different.

So, while some photographers are okay with the quality film produces, others prefer digital. Some even work with both types of photography, so customers can choose which one they prefer.

Interestingly, while there are barely any new film camera models in production, there is still a huge demand for film cameras. Most of this demand is satisfied through second-hand markets.

So, analog wedding photography, alongside any other type of analog photography, is still very much in existence.

Is Film Photography Expensive?

The cost of film photography depends on various factors. For one, if the photographer opts for inexpensive materials, the charges might be lower. But the more pictures they take at your wedding, the higher the charges will be.

The costs of film rolls, development, printing paper, and scans are ongoing, and they add up in your total.

Besides, non-technical factors like the photographer’s experience and status may influence the price film photographers charge.

It goes without saying, but if your photographer is a big name, they are more likely to ask you to pay way above average prices.

filmstrips with wedding photos

Reasons to Choose a Film Wedding Photographer

Film Photography Is Timeless

Once an image has been burned into film, it cannot be edited. There is no addition of filters and no overprocessing; the picture stays the same.

So, even when the images are viewed many years after, they retain their originality. There is no editing or filter specific to or reminiscent of a particular year or period; the image is just itself.

Film Cannot Get Damaged in the Same Way as Digital Images

SD cards (also known as memory cards) can get corrupted or damaged out of the blue. When this happens, the images on them can be lost (if there is no backup).

On the other hand, once the film is developed by a lab, the negatives remain usable forever. They can be reprinted over and over unless they are damaged physically.

Film Photography Takes More Skill

Film cameras do not offer the same automation as digital cameras. For one, there is no instant screen at the back of the camera. So, the photographer must study the lighting and color quality closely while taking the shots.

By training themselves to identify optimal lighting and color quality across various environments, film photographers improve their capabilities over time.

In the end, they are more skilled, especially when they have to take pictures in a fast-paced atmosphere.

The Film Photography Experience Is Immersive

vintage camera and film on wooden table

Film photography does not involve taking multiple shots within a short period. The photographer takes their time with every shot, from positioning the couple to finding optimal lighting and backdrops. Each shutter click is an experience – a unique one.

Then when the photographer is done, the couples do not just get 1000 images in their inbox immediately. There is a wait – and this wait is part of the experience.

While waiting for the pictures, the couple can revel in the other moments of the wedding.

When the pictures are ready, you get to experience them physically. You touch them as you admire them; you are not just scrolling through your phone’s gallery as you do almost every day. The experience is different.

Film Photography Offers Depth in a Way Unmatched by Digital Photography

You may have noticed that with digital images, white wedding dresses lose some of their details. But this isn’t quite the same with film photography. This difference stems from the ability of film photography to handle a dynamic range that digital photography struggles with.

The depth of exposure range of film is broader than that of digital cameras. So, when film photos are shot correctly, they capture lighting and shadows pretty well in one take.

But to get the same effect with a digital camera, you have to take multiple shots while altering exposure.

Film Blends Light, Color, and Grain Better Than Digital

Digital cameras use sensors that consist of millions of minute squares. So, they blend light linearly. But film is not built linearly; it has a fluid structure that blends colors better.

This gives film photos rich, vibrant, and true-to-life colors.

old film camera

Cons of Film Photography

  • Storing film/film photos requires a lot of physical space. But you can store thousands of digital images on your mobile devices, SD cards, and even on the cloud.
  • The photos are viewed only after development. So, you may never know how good the pictures are until then.
  • Unless you have a dark room, you will have to wait for the photographer to develop your photos before you see them.

Is Film Photography Better Than Digital? (Digital Photography vs. Film Photography)

Film photography is not necessarily better than digital photography. The better option depends on what you want.

If you fancy timelessness, thoroughness, and an immersive experience, then film photography may be better for you. But if you want speed and portability, digital photography may be better for you.

Final Take

Wedding photographers still use film. It may seem like digital photography has surpassed film photography. But film photography still holds various advantages over digital photography.

So, if you desire a thorough, immersive, and timeless experience that creates true-to-life photos of your wedding, employ a film photographer.