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  • Writer's pictureCassaundra Cherney

Digital vs. Film: A Wedding Photographer's Perspective

Updated: Jul 6


Engagement photos under the full moon.

The debate between digital and film photography is nearly as old as the technology itself. Since the advent of the first digital cameras by Eastman Kodak in 1975, photographers have weighed the merits of each medium. As someone who has embraced both formats, I’d like to share my journey and insights into this timeless discussion.


My Journey from Film to Digital and Back

My passion for photography began in high school with a film photography class. We shot, developed, and printed our work in a tiny 10x10 darkroom, nestled in the back of a classroom. This hands-on experience with film cultivated my deep respect and love for the craft.


As the world shifted to digital, so did I. I began shooting weddings for friends and discovered a rewarding side hustle that complemented my 9-to-5 job in hospitality. Digital photography was convenient and offered endless possibilities for creativity.


However, by 2018, I hit a creative roadblock. Photography, once a joy, felt more like a chore. Seeking a way to rekindle my passion, I bought a film camera on eBay. The experience was transformative. Waiting for my film negatives to return each week felt like Christmas morning, reigniting my excitement and love for photography.


This reawakening led me to integrate film into all my sessions. Initially, I did it for personal fulfillment and practice, but soon I realized my clients cherished these film shots as much as I did. This realization inspired me to fully embrace my role as a hybrid photographer, combining both digital and film in my work.


Embracing the Hybrid Approach

While I don’t claim to have the same technical prowess as renowned fine art wedding photographers like Jose Villa, my love for film drives me to constantly learn and improve. Each format offers unique advantages and challenges:


Resolution

Film typically offers a higher resolution than many digital cameras. Digital technology rapidly evolves, often making cameras obsolete within a few years. In contrast, film’s resolution remains consistent and timeless.


Color

Digital photos straight from the camera can appear flat and often require extensive editing to achieve vibrant colors. Film, depending on the type, tends to deliver rich, creamy tones with minimal post-processing, capturing a timeless aesthetic.


Cost

Film cameras have become more affordable compared to some high-end digital cameras, which can cost upwards of $8,000, not including lenses. This makes film an attractive option for photographers seeking high quality without breaking the bank.


Storage

Digital has a clear edge in storage capacity. Tiny memory cards can hold thousands of photos, whereas film is limited to a finite number of exposures per roll.


Reliability

Digital photography offers the advantage of immediate review and multiple backups, reducing the risk of lost images. With film, there’s always a chance of a compromised roll, and you won’t know until after development—a risk that digital mitigates.



The Best of Both Worlds

As a wedding photographer, blending digital and film allows me to harness the strengths of both mediums. Film provides beautiful, evocative colors and textures, while digital offers security and convenience. This hybrid approach ensures I capture the magic of each wedding day in a way that resonates deeply with my clients.


I invite you to explore the differences between film and digital in my portfolio. Can you spot the differences? I’d love to hear your thoughts and preferences!





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