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In recent years, film photography has seen a resurgence in popularity in Wales, especially in wedding photography. Photographers are turning to film for its unique aesthetic, and for the challenge it presents. Shooting on film requires more intentionality and planning than digital photography, and the results are often stunning. Let's explore the world of film photography, and how it has become a popular choice for wedding photography in Wales.
Film photography has a unique look and feel that digital photography cannot replicate. Film has a softer, more organic feel, and produces images with a timeless quality that are more akin to fine art. The colours in film photography are often richer and more vibrant, and the highlights and shadows have a more natural look. Film photography also has a greater dynamic range, allowing for more detail to be captured in both the highlights and shadows. Another advantage of shooting on film is the challenge it presents. Wedding Photographers must be more intentional with their shots, as they cannot instantly review the image and make adjustments. This challenge can be rewarding, as it forces photographers to slow down and think more carefully about their compositions. Finally, film photography produces a tangible product that can be held and cherished. With digital photography, images are often stored on a computer or shared on social media. Film photography produces physical prints that can be displayed in a frame or album, creating a more personal connection to the images.
Choosing the right film is crucial for producing the desired look in the wedding images. There are several factors to consider when choosing a film, including the ISO rating, colour balance, and grain. The ISO rating determines the film's sensitivity to light, and a higher ISO rating allows for shooting in low light conditions. Colour balance refers to the film's ability to reproduce colours accurately, and different films have different colour balances. Grain refers to the texture in the image, and some films have a more pronounced grain than others.
Some popular films for wedding photography include Kodak Portra, Fuji Pro 400H, and Ilford HP5. Kodak Portra is known for its natural skin tones and warm colors, making it a popular choice for wedding photography. Fuji Pro 400H has a cool color balance, and produces images with a subtle, pastel-like look. Ilford HP5 is a black and white film with a fine grain and high contrast, and produces classic, timeless images.
Film cameras come in different formats, including 35mm, medium format, and large format. The right camera will depend on the photographer's personal preference and the desired look of the images. 35mm cameras are smaller and more portable, and are a good choice for capturing candid moments. Medium format cameras produce larger negatives, which result in sharper images with more detail. Large format cameras produce the highest quality images, but are more cumbersome and require more time to set up.
Film cameras do not have the automatic exposure settings of digital cameras. Photographers must use a light meter to determine the correct exposure settings for each shot. A light meter measures the amount of light in a scene, and provides recommended aperture and shutter speed settings. The photographer must then adjust these settings manually on the camera.
Photographers must be intentional with their shots when shooting on film during a wedding day. They cannot take multiple shots of the same moment and choose the best one later. Photographers must carefully plan their shots and be mindful of the composition, lighting, and settings before taking each photo and this can be extremely tricky which is why generally less photos are given to the happy couple when shooting a wedding on film. This requires more thought and preparation than digital photography, but can result in more thoughtful and intentional images.
A great resource can be found on the Modern film archive website. Image below shared from their website.