December 14, 2023

Film Wedding Photography vs Digital: What to Know


When it comes to film wedding photography vs. digital, here’s what you should know from a documentary-style wedding photographer who shoots in both formats. Read on to see side-by-side examples of each!

Choosing A Wedding Photographer

Choosing a wedding photographer is a big decision. After your wedding is over, your wedding photos are the most lasting reminder of one of the most special days of your life. Regardless of what kind of wedding day you’re planning, you want to find a photographer that’s the right fit for you and your partner’s unique vision.

As a documentary-style wedding photographer that shoots both film and digital, I get questions all the time around my approach to each. Over the years, I’ve learned so much by shooting weddings and elopements in both mediums and have gathered some key takeaways to share.

Here are my reasons why I shoot in both film and digital, and how each medium impacts my approach to documenting wedding days.

Film wedding photography vs. Digital: Key Advantages

When it comes to film wedding photography vs digital, they are two different approaches to capturing your wedding, and each format has its own set of advantages and characteristics.

Benefits of Film Wedding Photography

  • Shooting in film allows me to deliver artful snapshots and timeless portraits.
  • The nature of this format allows me to slow down, be present and more deliberate with each photo I take.
  • There are different film cameras, film formats, and film stocks, and my years of experience have taught me what kind of camera and format to use depending on the moment, and when.
  • All photography started with film, so it will always be timeless — its “look” will never go out of style.
  • After your wedding day, you get to keep these physical artifacts as a family heirloom, in addition to the digital scans.

Benefits of Digital Wedding Photography

  • Endless amounts of photos, there’s a safety knowing you’re not missing anything.
  • There’s a speed element in taking photos and also being able to preview them immediately after
  • Digital allows me to take photos in a dark space by capturing the ambient light in a way film can’t (with ISO settings in the thousands, my DSLR can capture the darkest candlelit receptions without the need for flash!)

Here are a few things you should consider if you’re on the fence able film wedding photography. First and foremost, you have to be okay with imperfections. Film photography is a much more organic format (one of the reasons why I’m so in love with it!), but it means that not every photo will be perfect — shooting film is raw, spontaneous, and risky, but those photos are always the best.

When you combine film wedding photography together with digital, you get to reap the advantages of both with a beautiful and cohesive gallery. That’s why I offer a mix of film wedding photography and digital in all my wedding packages!

Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer

If you’re thinking about hiring a film wedding photographer, here are some good questions to make sure they’re the right fit:

  • Do I get to keep the negatives?
  • Do you develop the film yourself or where do you get it developed?
  • How do keep our files safe?
  • How do you prioritize film and digital when shooting?
  • How many film photos should we expect if you’re shooting both?
  • What specific formats do you shoot on?
  • If you’re a film nerd: what film stock do you use?

Film Wedding Photography vs. Digital: I want both!

If you’re looking to book a wedding photographer that shoots both film and digital, you’re in the right spot. I’d love to chat about documenting your love story on film and digital, so you can get the best of both worlds. Reach out through my contact form here and let’s be friends! To learn more about my specific film process, browse through my most recent photography work here. For more behind the scenes of my work and updates, follow me on Instagram, @hopeallisonphotography and Tiktok, @hope.allison.

Film Wedding Photos vs. Digital Wedding Photos side-by-side

In the examples below, all of the images on the left are film.