Hybrid Photography

Hybrid Photography

What does Hybrid Photography mean?

Once upon a time (not all that long ago), teenage girls had to wait days before poring over every single school dance picture they took.  Vacation photos?  It would take a full week before you could relive the fruity drinks and sparkling sand of a tropical destination.  The anticipation built as days passed, your photos held hostage, until finally (FINALLY) the drugstore called and you could pick up your sealed envelope full of pictures.  

Enter digital camera technology followed by camera-equipped mobile phones.  Now, people post drool-worthy images of dinner before they’ve even taken their first bite.  You can follow your best friend’s entire European vacation from airport check-in to last museum visit -- in real time.  Suddenly, things like negatives and film seem more fitting in a time capsule than at your wedding.

In reality, film photography has surged in popularity over the past few years, especially in the wedding industry. In a time when filters and editing apps give just about everyone the ability to capture a passable pic, photographs shot on film can showcase true artistry and talent.  Many top contemporary wedding photographers shoot in film, with gorgeous results.  

 Film shot on a medium format camera at a shoot for Southern Smoke Cigars.

Film shot on a medium format camera at a shoot for Southern Smoke Cigars.

I shoot with both film and digital cameras at engagement sessions, bridal portrait shoots, and weddings.  While I love the versatility, action, and instant gratification of digital photography, shooting on film allows me to play with light and mood and composition.  By using both types of cameras on your big day, I am able to capture every important moment and delicate detail in the most appropriate medium.  Read on to find out why I use this method of “hybrid photography.”

You’ll Know When You See It

At an initial client meeting, I had a bride tell me she didn’t want “shiny” pictures. After struggling to explain what she meant, she pointed to a natural, dreamy photo from a wedding I’d recently shot.  “THAT!” she said, “I want my pictures to look like THAT.”  

Turns out, she was attracted to the airy, romantic feel of film.  From the distinct grain to the intense depth and highlights, images shot in film are softer than those captured digitally.  This makes film perfect for capturing outdoor bridal portraits, intimate first look photos  and other tender moments.  

Life in Color

Film is my go-to for daytime pictures, as it captures a vast range of color in natural light. A bright day and interesting background begs for a film camera.  The prints will be vibrant with rich color that begs to be touched and savored.  On the other hand, film has limitations when a strong light source isn’t available, which leads me to my next point.

The Light Call

Digital photography pulls its weight at every wedding when it comes time for clean, crisp photos in low-light situations.  I rely on digital cameras in situations when timing is essential or tripods and long exposure times aren’t realistic, especially in churches, during indoor receptions and while capturing those dramatic nighttime shoots.  

 Film shot on a medium format camera at a shoot for Southern Smoke Cigars.

Film shot on a medium format camera at a shoot for Southern Smoke Cigars.

Feeling a Little Exposed    

While digital cameras give me the chance to snap clear pictures quickly in certain situations, I can play with exposure in film to emphasize highlights (think pearls and lace on your dress, beachy skies) that otherwise might be lost in digital pictures.  Since most brides wear white, I feel compelled to use film to showcase the beauty of the day.    

Time is on My (and Your) Side

Just like in the good old days, it costs money to purchase film plus to have it developed and scanned into digital images by a lab.  Because of this, I like to be thoughtful and purposeful with the pictures I take on film.  I want each one to count, so I have to slow down and truly work for the photo.  And the outcomes are SO worth it!  By pausing in the moment and putting forth effort to compose a truly beautiful image, I end up saving time after the lab scans the prints.  My scanned film images usually require little to no editing, which allows me to deliver them to my eager clients faster!