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Wedding Photography Tips | Film vs Digital Wedding Photography with Karen Hill

By Kishore Sawh on May 18th 2015

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If you’re in the aviation community, particularly military but not necessarily, you’ll know that the older, more experienced flyers love to sit around and chat about the old days when flying was more analogue and recant tales of derring-do. This seems to happen with each subsequent generation, that each recalls the younger years and more manual craft with affection. In photography, we have a similar affliction regarding film and digital.

Those who shot film almost always have a deep rooted affection for it and like to take every chance to tell anyone who asks, or anyone within earshot, how special film is. But just like how fly-by-wire electronically controlled aircraft have taken over, so digital photography has done the same, leaving the same question to be asked – is there a place for analogue anymore? Is it still relevant and practical in a professional capacity? Photographer Karen Hill shoots both film and digital in her wedding photography business which sees international clients and international acclaim, and shares with us (thanks to B&H), how she uses both together in her workflow, and it’s inspiring.

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She’s a bit of a camera connoisseur and even with an MFA in photography from The Yale School Of Art, and established her wedding photography business in the early 90’s successfully navigating the transitions of two decades of trends, and the switch from film to digital (the latter coming somewhat late), in the late 2000s. Her incorporation of film shooting with various types of film cameras into a modern environment is admirable, and so is the restrained passion with which she speaks about her process. She regards it as ‘hybrid’ photography.

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As with most film shooters, she speaks highly of the ‘feel’ and organic-ness to film images, and actually says she shoots the most important photos of the wedding with film, using the digital camera, a Canon 5D Mark III, as her roving camera, and as a light meter for the film. That’s a technique I, and many others, use to shoot with older film cameras that don’t have a built-in light meter. While not as accurate as a dedicated light meter, it gets the job done, is much less intrusive, and expedites the process.

[REWIND: Do You Like To Take Photos? Or Are You A Photographer? | B&H Gets Introspective With 14 Of The Best]

In the video herein, Karen discusses her favorite cameras, why they are so, how she uses them, and explains some of the benefits to each type, and format. If you’ve ever been inspired to shoot with film, this is sure to be fuel to that fire. It’s wonderful to see how she embraces the predictability, efficiency and certainty of digital, along with the natural and often quirky behavior of film. You can find more about Karen and her work on her site and Instagram.

Source: ISO1200

About

Kishore is, among other things, the Editor-In-Chief at SLR Lounge. A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

15 Comments

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  1. Ralph Hightower

    Darn! I went to watch the video today (May 24, 2015) and it’s marked private! As a photographer with two film cameras that are still working and a DSLR owner since 12/2013, I was interested in her video.

    But I will continue to shoot film as long as film is available. Now, film may get to the price point where it is too expensive to buy or develop, but that hasn’t happened yet.

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  2. Josh Mattox

    Why is it saying the video is private? Everyone has been able to watch but every time I check back it stays the same.

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  3. Bárbara Herrnsdorf

    Ugh! I see that everyone has been able to view the video and now I am even more curious to see it but I keep getting an error message saying I must log in to see the video but I am logged in to the SLR Lounge site. Can anyone tell me what’s wrong or what I might be doing wrong? Thank you!

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  4. Hernan Vazquez

    Can’t see the video! Keeps coming up as private, even though I’m logged in.
    What’s the point of having a video if you are making it private!

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  5. Ed Rhodes

    cool

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  6. Ronald Mathis

    Will keep a film camera.

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  7. Tosh Cuellar

    awesome, thanks for sharing

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  8. barbara farley

    I love her now. gonna follow.

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  9. Thomas Horton

    There are times when I am nostalgic about shooting film and working in the darkroom. And it is fun to selectively remember the good stuff. At one time, I had plans for my own darkroom in my house. Kinda glad I didn’t.

    Digital is pretty good enough for me. :)

    “she shoots the most important photos of the wedding with film, using the digital camera, a Canon 5D Mark III, as her roving camera, and as a light meter for the film. That’s a technique I, and many others, use to shoot with older film cameras that don’t have a built-in light meter. While not as accurate as a dedicated light meter, it gets the job done, is much less intrusive, ”

    What a minute? She uses a 5DIII as a light meter for her film camera and thinks it is less intrusive than a dedicated light meter? I am not getting that.

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  10. Duc Hong

    such an incredible photographer, this proves that the human who is behind the camera that matters

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  11. François Kerisit

    Photographer still using both film and digital cameras, her website still offering both HTML and flash. That makes sense ! :D

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  12. Derek Schwartz

    The ethos of “right tool for the job” I think is the best thing about this video – I shoot both film (LOVE my ‘blad 500CM) and digital, based on just Kish mentioned – that look and feel of film. For example, nothing beats Autumn images shot on Fuji Velvia. YMMV.

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  13. Barry Cunningham

    Nice presentation. Love the Widelux and the Hasselblad.

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  14. Brandon Dewey

    great video

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