Back to Blogs Mar 20, 2019

Film Photography – Jo, Leigh & Luna

film engagement photography

I’m really excited to share these images with you, I’ve been looking forward to this little moment for almost a year! This is my sister Jo, her husband Leigh and their adorable Cavapoo, Luna. I photographed their wedding back in June 2016 (which was a total blast to do) and recently thought it would be a good time to get them out again. Particularly now that they have their little pup! It also gave me the opportunity to do something I’ve been itching to do for ages, get back to shooting film!
Before DSLRs had largely replaced film cameras in the early 2000s, I spent a tremendous amount of time in my teens photographing on film. A family friend had introduced me to developing film at home and had decided to invest in all the necessary equipment for me! I started studying photography at a local college and had round the clock access to their dark rooms. I also managed to find work experience at one of London’s top B&W processing labs, ran by a chap called Anthony White. Anthony really helped me hone my processing and editing skills using his state of the art equipment, I was able to take all this knowledge back to my studies… a real advantage at the time! When I look back to around 1998/1999, I can remember blacking out my bedroom windows and drying negatives in the shower, I still miss the smell of developer, stop and fix!
Digital cameras have really changed the photography game over the years, what once took an hour in a darkroom now takes less than ten seconds in Adobe Lightroom. However, the very same principles apply! In 2011, an app developer named VSCO started releasing filters for smart phones, they mimicked the look and feel of film brilliantly. They later created presets for Lightroom that were actually named after particular film stocks… getting pretty darn close to the real thing!

 

As more and more photographers have introduced this vintage look into their work, it seems that people have started to appreciate the look of film once again, like some sort of long lost art form. This new found technology has inadvertently turned people back to an old one… and I’m absolutely delighted about that!
I was really sad when Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012, simply left behind and outdated. Yet, it seems that perhaps there’s a gap appearing. Actually, make that a chasm! You see, why accept a format that emulates the look of another, when you can have the real thing? There’s something magical about film, it really makes you think about what you’re shooting and why you’re shooting it. Each roll of 35mm film has 36 exposures, not 1,500 like one of my memory cards. It forces you to be more deliberate with your choice of shot, you also need to get it absolutely right in your camera as there’s no rear screen! Each frame is special, not a never ending commodity. Kodak updated their Portra range in 2010, their professional portrait film. I just love it! The way it renders highlights and handles colours is simply out of this world, so creamy and so balanced!
Decent film labs are able to develop film just like in the olden days, but now they can scan it and produce a digital image. It really is possible to get the best of both worlds nowadays. Thankfully some labs have survived the digital purge, particularly in the USA. Richard Photo Lab is one of them, they’re based in LA and I think they did a cracking job of everything you see below. Let me know what you think in the comments section!
Shot on Kodak Portra 400
Processed & scanned by Richard Photo Lab – thank you guys 😉

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