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Why I Stopped Shooting Film

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May 26, 2020

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Hi there! Welcome to the AWP blog, a journal about our lives, travels, fashion, and style. Stay a while and say hello!

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Warning up front: this blog post is more geared towards photographers, and is rather technical in nature! I’ll try to explain everything in laymen’s terms as much as I can and please keep in mind – this is just my opinion and works best for me and my business. If you love film, by all means, please keep shooting it!

As you may remember, I shot quite a bit of film at last year’s weddings and sessions. I purchased a medium format Pentax 645N and a 35mm Nikon F100 and loved exploring these mediums. But ultimately, I’ve decided it just isn’t the right fit for AWP. Here’s why:

  1. I like to turn around galleries fast. It can take up to two weeks to receive film scans, and that’s just the beginning of the editing & file management process! I don’t have time (or let’s be real – patience) to wait that long. My clients receive a same-day sneak peek, a blog post within a few days, and their full gallery is delivered within a month of the wedding. If I had to wait two weeks to even begin to edit those images, I’d be perpetually playing catchup!
  2. It’s expensive. For a frame of reference, it costs about $3-5 just to click the shutter of a film camera. That’s not even considering the cost of the camera and lenses, light meters, backup gear, and hiring an extra assistant to help me roll film on wedding days. Bottom line, I’d have to increase my wedding pricing by almost $1000 to account for the additional time and expenses it takes to shoot film.
  3. Shooting quickly & confidently is part of my client experience. In the past year, I’ve honed in on the parts of my business and shooting style that work really well. What I’ve realized is that I’m great at creating a variety of photographs in a short amount of time, and in a way that never makes my couple feel like we’re behind schedule or overwhelmed. I’m able to do this because after four years of working with the same camera, I know it inside and out!
  4. I’d rather shoot with two digital cameras instead of a hybrid setup. I use the Holdfast Moneymaker dual camera strap when shooting weddings – this allows me to have two camera bodies on my person at all times. When I shot film, I’d typically have my Pentax 645 // 75mm lens on one side, and Nikon D750 // 50mm on the other. What I found was that my habit of wanting to shoot fast would kick in, and I’d often ignore the film camera and instead switch lenses much more frequently on the Nikon to change focal lengths. Then at a wedding last December, I was forced to shoot with two digital bodies and skip the film altogether due to not having much light – and I LOVED it! I was able to work so much more efficiently and didn’t have to change my lenses nearly as often.

There you have it! I still have my film camera to use just for fun, but honestly, I prefer my digital cameras. I get questions about my gear all the time, so for those wondering, I shoot on two Nikon D750 camera bodies and exclusively use prime lenses: Nikon 35mm F2, Sigma Art 50mm 1.4, Nikon 58mm 1.4, Nikon 85mm 1.8, and a Sigma Art 135mm 1.8 (plus a macro filter for details). The rationale behind those gear choices is definitely a blog post onto itself, so I’ll leave it at that for now!

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