Years ago I received my masters degree from a German University of Applied Arts. Oil was my preferred medium as a classically trained artist, and when I made a gradual and organic shift to digital photography (a medium that was developing very quickly), I wanted each image to be unique and worthy of being hung on a wall.
I grew to love my dear Nikon 850 digital camera. I still love shooting digital, and most of my weddings photographs have been digital. It’s fast, convenient, the results can be seen immediately (and it can be done at night in near-darkness). BUT, after 15 years of being a digital girl, I finally started shooting analog. I bought a legendary Contax 645 medium format (from Japan) and a Carl Zeiss 80 mm f2 lens, and the magic began!
Almost immediately, I discovered that actual film transmits light, skin tone, and atmosphere in a way no digital camera can. Film photography provides more natural, softer shots that seem almost timeless, in contrary to sharp digital images. Because the most important facets of a wedding are emotions, faces, colorful scenes and decorations, film photography more naturally captures the aesthetically powerful elements of a wedding.
In addition to these aesthetic advantages, film color-rendering also has technical advantages. Its dynamic range is much higher than that of the digital matrix, which provides a perfect balance of light and color. Therefore, human skin on film shots comes out more even and smooth, and the overall colors are very bright and pleasant.
The psychological aspects of film photography are also very important. When the amount of film is limited, and nothing can be deleted or erased, you appreciate each frame much more. For instance: I place a couple in beautiful light, look for the best angle, wait for the right emotion, watch the background details, and only when I understand the scene is worthwhile, I click the trigger. My mental focus is higher, and the shots are more thoughtful than if I were shooting with digital. Unfortunately, with the advent of digital technology, photography is turning into a routine process: click, look, delete, repeat. Film photography taught me to carefully consider each frame before shooting, to concentrate my attention. This has actually contributed to my technical and professional growth.
Lastly, and this maybe sounds nostalgic, but film has … a soul. There is something unique and fragile that makes analog film photography more like a painting or a natural piece of art. This is especially inspiring for a “classical artist” like me!