Film photography and weddings

Film photography is one the most recent artforms when compared to the ancient arts of painting and sculpture. The history of photography starts in the 1820s with Nicephore Niepce and Louis Daguerre who popularized the medium in the coming decades. It wasn’t until the 1880s when Eastman Kodak created the first roll film, that photography was truly democratized, at least for the upper classes who could afford it. Roll film kept all of the dangerous chemicals out of the hands of amateurs and allowed them to experiment safely with the medium, as customers would buy ready-to-shoot cameras and then send them back to Kodak for developing and prints. In addition they would also get their camera back, with a new roll of film in it.

The first wedding photographs were rigid and stiff. Exposure times were long in the 1800s and people often needed to sit or stand still for a few seconds for the photographers to get a correct exposure. As time went on, film speeds increased and flash photography became more available to consumers, allowing hobbyist photographers to freeze moments without having a fast shutter speed. Until the 2000s, wedding photography was still somewhat rigid. It was because of the finite number of frames available on a roll of film along with the cost of shooting and developing. Photographers simply couldn’t take 5000 photos in a day and turn a profit. That meant photographers had to be selective with their frames and had to set up more shots than what we see today. In the present time, digital cameras have allowed photographers to shoot as much as they want. This allowed photographers to introduce documentary-style photography in the world of weddings. The documentary and photojournalistic styles focus more on capturing candid moments and not poses.

Eastman Kodak

The story of Kodak is a bit tragic, the company suffered greatly when digital photography was introduced in the 1990s as the company refused to give in and make products for the new way of capturing images. Although they suffered, film photography has been making a serious comback in the last few years. It is mostly thanks to Millennials and Gen Zers who have increasingly denied digital photography’s perfect image making processes and embraced the authentic and flawed nature of film photography.

Wedding photography on film now

One genre that has seem an immense boom of film photography is wedding photography. Brides and grooms are now, more than ever, wanting to include film wedding photography in their packages. Many couples grew up with film photography and physical family albums and want to emulate the nostalgia and vintage vibes they had in their childhood on their wedding day. 

Film photography is associated with authenticity. In a world where digital images are easily manipulated, film allows people to have a better sense of what’s real and what was actually captured. Many wedding photographers today offer both film and digital packages, and some even offer videos shot on super 8 cameras from the 1970s and 1980s.

35mm, 120mm, and Polaroids

The most popular film format is 35mm, the frame size is 24×36 millimeters but the 35mm name comes from the width of the film, not the size of the frame. 35mm film is also most affordable, a roll with 36 shots will generally cost about $15. 120mm film is much larger and allows for more frame sizes and formats, such as square format and panoramas. 120mm film also allows for much more detail to be captured and is therefore a bit more expensive to use.

We’re using the Polaroid term here for any type of instant film, whether they are made by Polaroid or not. These films are developed on the spot and users can see the image within minutes of capture. This format is hugely popular as it has all the aesthetics of film photography and the instant gratification of digital photography, where users can see their images instantly.

Is wedding photography on film here to stay?

Film wedding photography is definitely here to stay in our opinion! It actually never left, even though digital photography took over in the 2000s, there have always been many wedding photographers who either fully or partially included film photography in their work. We think we might see a slight decline in popularity in the next 10-15 years but that’s how wedding trends work, they come and go.

Comments are closed.