How To Use Film And Digital Images As A Photographer

Hey, friends! Happy Monday! Today I’m coming at you with some video content I am so excited about! At this point, I’m planning and producing content that I wish I had when I started my photography journey, and even little chapters of my journey along the way. In this handy video, I’m taking you along to see how I process film and digital images to retain the qualities of each medium, resulting in a cohesive, yet inherent story.

The trendy thing in wedding photography these days is to “film match”- aka, shoot film and digital in a given situation and then edit your digital images to look like film. On a practical note, photographers do this to increase value in their photography while retaining a clean, cohesive look within client galleries. It makes sense to do this because it can get a bit confusing and also a bit of a turn off to deliver two completely different sets of images to a client. Film has a very distinct look, like that of an adult who has settled into themselves and discovered who they are. Digital is very much like an impressionable teen who is like a canvas, ready for change, adventure, and modification/growth whether it be small or in leaps and bounds. So it’s not otherworldly to synchronize the look of your images to create consistency.

But here’s my opinion. I shoot film because of all the strengths of film. The grain, the rawness, the depth, the richness, and the way it handles light. I shoot digital for all its strengths as well, like the way it handles low light, its clarity for details such as rings and cufflinks, the ability to adjust levels of color and light in post-processing from a micro-digital level, and the fact that equipment is widely available and at a lower price point. Those are all incredibly important points for the case of film and digital.

But if I’m just going to make my digital images look undistinguishable from film, then what was the point of even shooting film in the first place?

The average client isn’t like us, folks. They don’t see these images through an artistic lens and the things that hit the spot for us don’t hit the spot for them. If it were me from a consumer’s point of view, I’d be wondering why I paid more for a medium I can’t even recognize. Whoa. That goes beyond the whole matching digital and film argument. It’s all about the client and what they are receiving and experiencing. If we’re not careful the client is just paying more and waiting longer for a gallery that doesn’t explicitly show what they’ve invested in. I see it a lot like getting a pedicure. I have a beloved salon I love to go to. Then, they switch locations and advertise the stew out of the “new and improved ‘this and that’!”. I go to the new location only to find that it’s virtually the same as the last location but $5 more expensive. That $5 increase was to pay for a new brand of hypoallergenic gloves and fresh chemicals. Would you go to this new salon consistently after that first time? Some may but the majority probably wouldn’t. Why not? Because we’re not seeing what our extra $5 gets us. Sure they can boast all they want about how the experience of fresh polish remover is an awesome time-saver, or how they now offer options for folks who were allergic to silicone gloves……while valid, it’s still not enough to make me come back for more. It sounds more like an increase to the benefit of the nail techs, and not for me. I’m an average consumer who doesn’t care how long it takes to get my polish off, and I’m not allergic to silicone. So the price increase doesn’t benefit me.

Shooting film is highly similar. We raise our prices because film is a specialty medium, it is not part of our everyday lives anymore, therefore not widely at our fingertips like it used to be. So if our clients are paying for more, they need to see it, not just hear how great film is then receive a gallery while wondering which images are film and which are digital. Much like us and the nail salon, we did not see the direct result of our investment, so we go elsewhere to get what we think is worth our money and time.

So how do we adjust our focus and make shooting film something our clients desire and consider worth the investment?

I have one tip for you that will set you off on the right foot. Ready for it?

don’t match your digital images to your film images.

Bet ya saw that one coming, didn’t ya? LOL! Watch the video below to see this tip in action and learn more about how I use employ film and digital in a client gallery. Bon Voyage!