Digital Versus Film Wedding Photography
What's the difference?
By Natalie Tsang
October 17, 2011
In reality, in the hands of a great photographer, the end result of digital and film is identical to the naked eye. In situations with good lighting, both kinds will be crisp, full of contrast, and do justice to your wedding dress. Visually, the difference becomes apparent in bad lighting situations.
So, how what happens in bad lighting?
Many professional quality film cameras can record higher resolution images than the best digital cameras. However, digital color photography has less noise and grain than film in the same environment, which means that it has a better image quality. But once again, if you're photographer is worth hiring, you should not be able to tell the difference.
Isn't film processing like extinct?
Not necessarily, it is becoming easier and easier to make decent quality prints from digital files, and at reasonable costs. For regular photographers like you and me, it's increasingly difficult to find a lab that does a good job processing film, and making prints from negatives. But pros have their own labs.
So it really doesn't matter, then?
The most important thing to look in a photographer besides professionalism (the best photos are meaningless if he's not punctual), is the his style. The digital photographers and film photographers usually have different styles, because each of type of camera has an advantage.
For digital photographers, the ability to instantly replay the image allows them to adjust their style in the blink of an eye. They can take more risks, because they're not wasting money taking shots in iffy lighting. They have a lot more control later on with photo processing software and adjust colors and even removing things. However, they will spend more time tweaking their photos than a film photographer. Always make sure your photographer shoots in RAW format, but look for that in a future post.
The biggest advantage of film is that it is more sensitive to light. It is able to record both more highlight and shadow details than digital. For many situations this may not make much difference, but consider film if your wedding is outside and you expect it to be sunny. Exposed correctly, a photo shot using film will not only record the brightest highlights but also show detail in the shadows.
Film photography requires more skill because there are no previews. Since every shot costs x amount money and the photographer should be fully committed every time he takes a photo. This can result in a much clearer vision and a more thoughtful approach overall, but as you can imagine, this can also end badly.
When looking for a photographer, always ask to see a complete wedding. You'll see the ratio of great to not so great shots. If the bride's wedding gown has an odd, unnatural magenta tint, you should pick someone else.