Film Wedding Photography

A different view, today on the blog.

As a wedding photographer, I am asked over and over how much film I shot at weddings, which film stock I was using, where I sent my negatives to be developed, what process I was using to match my digital photos to my film work.

The short answer: I wasn’t doing any of that. The long answer: I wasn’t shooting film outside of my personal experiences. I reserved film for myself, but I strove to add an element of film to the wedding images I created with a digital camera.

Film always felt like a safe space to me. I didn’t care if my work was perfect. I wanted it to pause a moment. I wanted to wait to see the results. I wanted that anticipation to be fostered in the weeks it took for the results to be mailed back to me. I wanted to see those images and feel, intimately, deeply, personally connected to what I had seen. Because that’s the thing about film: it makes me feel so much deeper. The imperfection is the enchantment.

So when someone asked me why that genuine joy and artistic curiosity wasn’t finding space on my wedding days, my original answer of “it’s personal” didn’t really seem to hold up.

So I found a compromise. Toy cameras. Yep. Good old disposables, plastic 35mm bodies, the Holga, if I feel like breaking out some 120mm film. It adds a breath of life into my events where, sometimes, a process is so second-nature and habitual. I strive for each of my days to be their own. I like to meditate before shooting. I like to take intentional breaths. I like to allow whatever emotion is in the moment to wash over me. It’s exhausting, but so satisfying.

I’m finding joy in having this imperfect images coupled with my “nicer” work. These are from a wedding day with S+T in the rolling hills of Ojai, California.

At a private estate just outside of Santa Barbara, Indigo Event Design curated a truly exquisite event. Every detail, tablescape, linen, and bloom was perfect. But these scans from my toy film camera offer us back a little humanity.

I think this is a small joy I’ll continue granting myself, though I do shoot film on a professional body at weddings these days.

If you’d like to see the digital gallery, you can view it here.

Wedding Planning & Creative Team

Photography: Kay Cushman

Venue: Private Estate

Planning, Design, and Styling: Indigo Event Design

Floral: Creative Light Design

HMUA: Cassandra Kennedy

Video: Taylor Petronovich

Bridal Boutique: Alexia’s Bridal

Gown: Ines Di Santo (ceremony / after party) Leah Da Gloria (reception)

Paper Goods: Papier Handmade

Rentals: Theoni Collection, Tacer LA, BBJ La Tavola

Verious Shoes: Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Bella Belle, Dolce Gabanna

Host: Sean Thomas

Ojai Wedding on a Toy Film Camera

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Sunstone villa flanked by olive trees--a wedding venue in Santa Ynez, Calfornia built with old-world, European charm

In the world of California venues, there are many that take your breath and offer a luxurious space to enjoy your day. Sunstone is one of the most iconic. Noted for it’s old-world charm and homey interior, this space feels less like you’re getting married at an estate and more like you’re getting married at home. Your very, very beautiful, Tuscan-inspired home.

Black and white editorial wedding photograph of bride and groom. Groom is wearing a black tuxedo and standing int he shadow. Bride is wearing a white wedding dress and standing in the sun. Yin and Yang wedding photos.

Nestled just to the east of the Napa River, this beautiful resort is home to a variety of modern farmhouse-inspired suites and bungalows, intermixed through the grape vines. Guests enjoy the privacy of their own lodgings with the ease of a weekend together, making this spot an ideal home base for a weekend of festivities. Accessible from three airports, Oakland, San Francisco, and Sacramento, Stanly Ranch is ideal for relaxed destination weddings.

As a wedding photographer, I am asked over and over how much film I shot at weddings, etc. Short answer? I wasn’t. But now I think this is a small joy I’ll continue granting myself.

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