How to Explain the Value of Film to Your Clients

A guest blog by Sara Russell of Wedding Sparrow.

Image by Greg Finck

If you’re a film photographer and are struggling to educate your brides and grooms about the advantages of film photography, we need to talk. At Wedding Sparrow, we feature the industry’s best weddings, editorials and planning expertise all on film. Long ago when I started Wedding Sparrow in 2010, I decided film photography was the part of the wedding industry I loved most. I don’t shoot film. I only know the basics. BUT, I was the ideal client film photographers were looking for. I was engaged and loved the aesthetic of film. The problem? I had no idea film existed. People still shot film after the 1980s?! Yep, that was me. And it’s also the bride you seek to book now. They love the look but aren’t aware they should be searching for a film shooter. So, I figured if I was a bride that loved the look and appreciated the aesthetic of film but didn’t know how to search for a photographer or vendor that used this medium to hire them, there must be more of us out there! And so, Wedding Sparrow was born…

In a largely digital age where images are snapped and posted and instantly forgotten, it’s a refreshing change where brides and grooms are appreciating the art involved in taking a photograph and that it’s really not as simple as pointing and shooting. But how do we educate our clients in the value of film?

Image by Jose Villa

1) Film doesn’t mean you miss out on the ease of digital advantages

Long gone are the days of heading to your local photo developing pharmacy or gas station for 1hr development and scrap-booking the prints into an album. Brides still want to still be able to share their images with others around the globe via different channels and film images are also available in this way. Believe it or not, clients are still of the opinion film equals printed. They need to be made aware that even though you shoot good old fashioned film, the images are sent to a lab like Richard’s to be digitally scanned and downloaded so all involved can use them as digital files. Don’t forget to remind them to print those beautiful images though and don’t leave them trapped in a digital world! Nothing better than a framed, grainy, Ilford 3200 on the wall…

Image by Eric Kelley

Image by Clay Austin

2) Arguably, you’re hiring a better photographer

I’m not disputing that there are amazing digital photographers out there, I’m simply confirming it’s not easy to shoot film by any means. There’s no ‘shoot-and-check-the-back-of-your-camera-to-see-if-someone-was-blinking’ and there’s certainly not much over-shooting going on to make sure you get the shot. Be confident in how you ‘sell’ this to the client as an advantage of being a film shooter. You have to be confident in your ability to nail it every time. Regardless of lighting situations, movement, weather conditions and anything else that may affect the result. You know you’ve got the most important images of their life despite not seeing the result for another few weeks. Assure them that you have the experience in photography and film needed to shoot smart and efficiently.

Image by Sophie Epton

Image by Clark Brewer

3) Slowing down and being more mindful—it’s the new fast photography

Shooting film is expensive. Shooting film is difficult. So make them aware you slow down to enable you to make sure you’re only shooting the most important images. The bride won’t miss any images from the day, don’t worry. They can still expect 600-1000 images back. But educate them that you simply can’t keep that shutter clicking away like paparazzi. Everything is far more considered meaning you, as an artist, plan ahead and have refined your style over years—meaning you’ll know the shots you want and how to get them. Their images will be better for it, we know it.

Image by Jose Villa

4) Resolution—What bride wants to see their face in ultra HD?

Not me, that’s for sure. The thing I love most about using the film medium in the wedding industry is the timeless nature of the resulting image. I mean, there’s a reason we all look at our grandparent’s wedding images with such nostalgia. The softness and grain in the image is flattering. The skin tones that color film shows are exactly what you see in person from your own eyes (only softer and way more flattering). No high definition of their crows feet or trendy filters or editing used here that quickly date their wedding photography. I don’t know about you, but I want to still be able to get out my wedding images in 20 years time without cringing over the VSCO style filter that was popular in 2012…

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