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
Paper Goods: Papier Handmade
Host: Sean Thomas