How To Incorporate Real Film Into Your Wedding Day Captures!
The best way to ensure gorgeous, attentive analog film captures of your wedding day memories, is of course to invest in a photographer and/or videographer that offers authentic film options — 35mm, medium format, Super8, & Polaroid are the most popular mediums for film wedding captures.
(If you’re looking for ways to DIY adding real film to your wedding day effectively, head to the last section!)
When searching for real film wedding documenters, you’ll find three categories of options;
1. hybrid coverage providers
Photographers and videographers specializing in the combined use of digital & film mediums full time.
2. Primarily digital
These are digital photographers and videographers with real film available as a Le Carte options. This means they offer any variety of film options as an separately priced add-on to their digital coverage.
3. Film exclusive
These are photographer and videographer teams operating only through the lens of film — you will not find options for digital coverage here.
Formats Of Professional Film Captures;
1. Super 8mm Film
We adore using this medium to capture wedding memories for the ways it pulls every ounce of romance out of your story & day, & ensures gorgeous, timeless forever documentation of it all!
2. 35mm/Medium Format Film
35mm Film- This format of film is smaller than others, resulting in grainier images, which is an artful touch many attempt to add to their digital images in post production! We absolutely love the warmth and sense of childhood nostalgia we associate with this film format, and adore using it in our film captures!
Medium format- This film format is known for its higher clarity in captures and lesser grain. Medium format film captured using the right professional tools actually produces such a fine grain, its hard for the untrained eye to differentiate between that and digital captures. Medium format is a favorite among professional wedding photographers for its image quality, dynamic range, and the intentionality required in making portraits with the medium.
2. Polaroids/Instant Film
A classic! As a child I ran around with my grandma’s Polaroid cameras swinging around my neck, capturing whatever moments I thought were magical & pretty — and this is still how you can find me on wedding days!!
There’s a pretty wide variety among instant film options — from Lomography & FujiFilm instant film cameras, to Polaroid and other more vintage bodies. Polaroids are our current favorite for wedding captures. We use 600 Polaroid Film in a vintage Cool Cam, as well as i-Type film in the modernized Polaroid Now+ (this beast of a professional instant film camera allows us to adjust exposure & aperture, capture double exposures in camera, & tons more!)
Film is a highly specialized and expensive medium. The cost of film itself is very high and going up all the time. The actual camera and other equipment used to produce film is also quite specialized and expensive — and most often in vintage condition (this means rare and in need of careful servicing & use). Because of this, and the highly specialized nature of film, authentic film wedding photography and videography is categorized as a luxury documentation service, and is priced as such.
DIY’ing your film captures with disposable or instant film cameras;
If the look of real film is important to you, but the option of hiring a specialized team is not a possibility for whatever reason, or you simply want to add a guest perspective to your film memories, DIY disposable/reusable film camera captures are always an option. In doing so, there are very specific things to note to ensure your captures turn out as you envision!
We actually chose to do this at our own wedding, using both disposables at guest tables, as well as an install guest book. And we have lots of pros and cons to share from our experience!
First we’ll share a brief list of cons — these are things to be aware of, so you can avoid them in your experience.
- Your wedding guests are NOT documentation pros, and even if they are they’re not at your wedding to work! Under-exposed, blank, & badly composed images are a guarantee if you choose to DIY your film capture experience - (Pro tip: turn on the flash on all disposables ahead of time to help your chances of having images that turn out!). And if that’s totally good with you, all good! However, if you want to guarantee beautiful, lasting film images that actually turn out, you’ll want to be sure to invest in a pro.
- Disposable cameras typically range from $25 - $35/ camera (which can add up if you’re hoping to distribute these to guests!)
- Cost to develop disposable cameras ranges anywhere from $12 - $20 depending on the lab you choose to use
- If not all rolls are used before sending off for development, you’ll have just wasted a lot of money on blank shots!
- Disposable cameras are actually quite bad for the environment as they’re non-recyclable
We’ve also compiled a list of DIY Film Do’s, which will help you have the best, least wasteful, and most cost effective experience possible if you choose to DIY your film captures:
- Invest in a reusable 35mm film camera!
Invest in a handful of reusable new or vintage point & shoot cameras to distribute to a select few trusted wedding party members for use throughout the wedding festivities! We sell these tested & in great working condition through our vintage film camera shop, and you can also find newer versions at your local camera shop or online. Reusable cameras (36/roll) also often offer more captures per roll than disposables (27/camera)!
- Make sure if you have remaining captures left on your rolls (cameras), to use them up before sending your rolls out to be scanned!
A great way to do this is to use the cameras yourselves the night & days following your nuptial celebration, and on your honeymoon! If you’ll be flying, just be sure to pack your film in a zip lock baggie and separate it from the remainder of your belongings going through security (film should not go through X-ray screening as it could be damaged)
Film is an incredible medium, especially when used to capture beautiful and precious wedding memories! If you're considering investing in real documentary film photography and super 8mm videos filled with feeling for your wedding day, inquire here and let's begin a conversation!