Zenith Clipping

Zenith Clipping

Complete Guide About Classic Film Wedding Photography

The best way to capture your wedding day is through wedding photography, especially film wedding photography. This special type of photography can offer you dreamy and timeless images with great quality, unlike digital photography. If you ask me what makes film wedding photography the best, then my reply is that it uses modern and classic techniques.

More importantly, you can make your wedding memories special and memorable through these photo techniques. In this guide, you will learn the key benefits of film wedding photography, how to choose the right photographer and tips for making your wedding film photography successful.

Finally, it’s time to reveal film wedding photography and I’m sure this guide will help you more. Let’s click on it!


Photo by OlgaMerolla

What Exactly is Film Wedding Photography?

film photography

Photo by Vlad Teodor

Let’s start with the main question: what is film wedding photography? So…it’s time to begin with the answer. In essence, a film wedding photographer comes with a collection of vintage cameras and a stash of precious film rolls to shoot your modern weddings. You can think of their presence as a nod to the past, a celebration of the present, and a timeless keepsake for generations to come.

Every classical film camera is like an intricate puzzle, with lots of knobs and dials that need to be understood inside and out. And with different types of film, each one has its own unique personality and possibilities. However, you don’t need to get worried about it because your photographer has already done the thought process even before taking a single picture to make important decisions to capture your special moments in just the right way.

classical film wedding photographers

From the preparations to the last dance, your photographer will capture every moment of your special day, just as you’d expect. However, they will approach each shot with a more thoughtful and deliberate mindset than a digital shooter might need to with a classical (vintage) film camera. Also, classical film wedding photographers will carefully consider every frame to guarantee each image is meaningful and has a lasting impact. (I’ll get deeper into the details of this intentional approach of capturing 35mm film wedding photography soon!)

After the wedding, the film rolls are carefully packaged and sent to a professional lab, where skilled technicians develop and process them with precision and care. Once the negatives are ready, they are scanned into a computer. The film wedding photographer’s work is completed. Now, the designers and editors will transform the physical images into digital files that can be shared and cherished for years to come.

Sergii Sobolevskyi; digital-images

Photo by Sergii Sobolevskyi

Next, the digital images are uploaded to an online platform and delivered to the photographer, who can then refine and enhance them with their artistic touch. Finally, the beautifully edited images are delivered to the couple as high-resolution and downloadable JPEG files – the same format they would receive if they were shot digitally.

But that’s not all! Many photographers also offer exquisite fine art prints and stunning albums to let you cherish your precious memories in a tangible, heirloom-quality way.

precious memories

Why Choose Film Over Digital?

Film Over Digital

Photo by chicvintagebrides

There are two main reasons why someone might opt for film over digital photography. Read below to see the reasons.

  • Firstly, 35mm film wedding photography offers a unique and nostalgic aesthetic that is hard to replicate with digital cameras. The texture, grain, and warmth of film photographs have a distinct charm that many people adore.
  • Secondly, shooting with film cameras requires a more mindful and deliberate approach to photography. Interestingly, it can lead to a more thoughtful and artistic process. So…it is a chance to slow down, be more present, and truly savor the moment.

According to the experience of Gina Dover, a film wedding photographer,

“I’m drawn to film photography because it is a tactile and sensory experience. To be honest, it’s alive! In fact, the medium itself is radiant and rich, with a soft (ethereal) quality that adds a dreamy dimension to my images. And let’s not forget the way it captures skin tones – it’s simply stunning! My couples choose film for their wedding photography rather than digital because they are looking for something truly special, timeless, and a physical proof of emotions.”

I completely agree with her! One of the things that even I love most about wedding film photography is the “distinct approach” it requires. Shooting with film forces you to slow down, be more intentional, and truly connect with your subject. It is a more mindful and meditative process that yields a unique and organic result. The deliberate nature of film photography is a refreshing change of speed in today’s fast-paced digital world.

In simple words, shooting with film wedding photography is a more thoughtful process that requires patience. Unlike digital, the film doesn’t allow for rapid-fire shooting. So, wedding film photographers must be more intentional and focused. This means aiming for quality over quantity, carefully considering each frame, and pouring heart and soul into every shot.

Hence, it’s a more mindful approach that encourages creativity, patience, and attention to detail. And I think this is the thing that makes 35mm film wedding photography so special and makes it an antique part of art.

What to Expect from Working with a Film Photographer?

When working with a wedding film photographer, you can expect a slightly different experience from a practical standpoint. The biggest difference you will notice is the pace of the shoot (as I have mentioned in the previous section). So, things might move a bit slower than you are used to.

But apart from that, the experience will be similar to working with a digital wedding photographer.  The only difference is that the process will be a bit more relaxed and intentional. Importantly, the end result will have a film-like quality that is hard to replicate with digital cameras.

film wedding photographer is the occasional need to reload the camera

One of the charming quirks of working with a film wedding photographer is the occasional need to reload the camera. Medium format film, for instance, comes in rolls of 16 frames. So…every 16 shots, the photographer will need to pause, open the camera, and insert a new roll.

This gentle rhythm adds to the relaxed pace of the day that allows both the wedding film photographer and the couple to peacefully enjoy each moment. And, of course, some photographers will bring a dedicated assistant to help with loading the film.

Wedding Photographers

Let’s see what Gina Dover has said about what she’s able to deliver to meet their couple’s photography needs and expectations:

“Regardless of whether I’m shooting with film or digital, the only noticeable difference for my couples on the film wedding day is that I use a handheld light meter to carefully read the natural light. Other than that, my approach remains the same. I work with intention, consideration, and a relaxed and guiding demeanor that puts my couples at ease. My goal is to create a safe and comfortable environment and allow them to be their authentic selves and enjoy every moment of their special day.”

When daylight fades, film shooters may switch to black-and-white film or digital. However, some stay with film all day. According to my research, most hybrid photographers use both. In this case, you can discuss and review full client galleries to ensure comfort and understanding of their approach and evolving style throughout the day.

Moreover, you can expect stunning images no matter what the condition, and the photographer must know how to deliver these results irrespective of digital or film wedding photography. Furthermore, a good film wedding photographer always suggests different poses and locations to elevate who the couples really are.

One of their favorite moments (and the couple’s too) is to capture quiet moments right when the light is dreamy (before sunset). Also, you can expect to get the digitized form of your film wedding photographs after 2-3 weeks, depending on the process and system of that film wedding photographer.

Flora Westbrook said in an interview, “I always advise couples to allow a bit more time for their couple’s session if they opt for 35mm wedding film photography. While the approach is intentional, it is never posed or cheesy! Just remember, patience is a virtue – it takes around 6-8 weeks to receive your beautifully developed film photographs. But trust me, it is well worth the wait!”

fine art photographers

In terms of style, you would have heard about “fine art photographers” which is an interchangeable word for “film wedding photography.” In fine art photography, the film wedding photographers favor muted palettes and soft natural lights which is often not guaranteed. But, if you think this is very important for you, you should talk to your wedding film photographer. This conversation is also helpful in sorting out more things about the film-to-digital ratio.

Investing in Film Photography:

When it comes to investing in film photography, be prepared for a slightly higher price tag. Film photographers tend to be on the pricier side, but whether or not it’s worth the extra investment ultimately depends on your personal priorities and what matters most to you.

  • Physical Cost:

The higher investment in 35mm film wedding photography is partly due to the physical costs associated with using and developing film. On the flip side, this cost doesn’t apply to digital photography. On average, photographers incur a cost of around $2.50 per image taken. While it is essential to be aware of these costs, don’t let them deter you.

  • Dedication & More Efforts:

Film wedding photographers’ pricing also reflects the significant investment in sharpening their skill set. While both film and digital photography require skill and dedication, film photographers face a unique challenge. And what’s that? They must develop a keen eye for light and a deep understanding of how their camera, film, and lab will interpret it, all without the instant feedback of a digital screen.

Obviously, this requires a high level of expertise and trust in their process which is reflected in their higher pricing. Plus, the training of film photographers and the equipment (like rolls and ancient cameras) are very costly. Thus, they charge more.

  • Time and Practice:

“Mastering film photography takes time, patience, and dedication. It requires a great deal of practice to consistently produce exceptional results in any lighting situation. Not only is there the cost of film and development to consider but also the investment in shipping and processing. I personally send my film rolls to a professional team in Canada for development, which adds to the complexity and cost of the process. However, the unique aesthetic and tactile experience of film photography make it well worth the extra effort and expense for those who truly appreciate its beauty.”Terry Li, a Reputable Film Photographer.

Also, you need to consider that there are a few exceptional film wedding photographers available all around the world. This shows they are demanding of their targeted people. It means, their availability is sparse and their booking calendars are always full which makes them charge more to their special clients.

According to my advice, you should take your time to decide on getting film wedding photography. For this purpose, you can ask questions to yourself, have conversations with the wedding film photographer, and see the full wedding galleries of their recent wedding photoshoot.

In addition to that, ask them if they are comfortable working at your preferred time and location. Also, it is preferred to ask if they have any backup equipment and cameras so that any bad scenes of worn out or damaged equipment do not occur right at the time of your wedding. You should not take it lightly as your emotional and financial investment in film wedding photography.

How to Make the Most of Working With a Film Photographer?

If you have carefully chosen to work with a film wedding photographer, keep in mind that wedding film photography truly shines in natural light. Remember, a skilled film photographer can use various techniques to capture stunning indoor shots. For example, harnessing window light, and ambient light, and utilizing different film stocks, tripods, and occasionally flash.

However, the reality is that challenging lighting conditions require an exceptionally talented photographer to produce remarkable results. So, be prepared to put your trust in their expertise to make the most of any lighting situation. I think only a better photographer can do justice to your photographs in bad lighting conditions.

planning your wedding

Photo by AlPhotoss

When planning your wedding, consider the potential for film photography magic! Always remember that different elements can create different truly living moments. For example, shaded midday spaces (especially with trees nearby), back-lit outdoor ceremonies, and al fresco dinners during the golden hour are the best add-ons.

These scenarios offer the perfect conditions for film photography to shine. So, be sure to add them into your location and timeline planning to shoot the most breathtaking and memorable images of your wedding. You can also look for spaces with natural light, a covered porch, minimal clutter, and ample windows to shoot your photographs beautifully.

natural light

Photo by Arsalan dehnad

Why Choose Us (Zenith Clipping) for Film Wedding Photography?

At Zenith Clipping, our happy clients trust us due to our extensive knowledge and decade of experience in film wedding photography. Our team of skilled film photographers has a deep understanding of the art and science of film photography, ensuring that every moment of your special day is captured with precision and creativity.

Film Wedding Photography

You can trust us to preserve the memories of your wedding day with a proven track record of delivering high-quality images.

  • Expert Film Handling: Our photographers have the best skills in handling film. We guarantee that every film shot is carefully clicked to maximize the unique qualities of film photography. We take care of everything from loading the film to processing and scanning.
  • Personalised Storytelling: We take the time to understand your love story and vision and this is our approach to capture the essence of your relationship. Our photographs are not just beautiful images, but a narrative of your special day that will be saved for generations.
  • State-of-the-Art Film Scanning and Editing: Our cutting-edge equipment, film wedding cameras, and expert editing techniques will transform your wedding images into stunning digital photos that are ready to share everywhere. Plus, we scan and edit each frame to bring out the full depth and beauty of the film while guaranteeing exceptional quality and consistency.

Conclusion on Classic Film Wedding Photography

I hope this article has cleared enough of the beauty and process of film photography, and helped you determine if it is the perfect fit for your special day. Like many others, I once held misconceptions about film photography being outdated. But, I fell deeply in love with its unique charm after giving it a second chance.

Despite the added challenges, working with film is an art form that slows you down and encourages intention. Honestly speaking, it’s a medium that requires patience, trust, and a passion for authenticity and love in your photos. If you’re willing to enjoy the process, film wedding photography will reward you with stunning and warm photographs that you will remember for the rest of your married life.