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polyglot
09-16-2009, 09:41 PM
I shoot weddings (using the D word) and I use film. As you've found, you cannot compete on quantity against spray-and-pray using film, but nor should you want to. However, there are benefits to having digital around for the purpose of getting candids because it seems that what people mostly want now is candid coverage of their wedding and not so much the formal shots. People standing stiffly in groups are not cool, but people engaged and lively and probably unaware that they're being shot - they're the shots that I find that people respond best to. And they want a good photo of EVERY guest.

If you're doing digital properly, there is definitely more time involved than there is if you're just posting some films off to the lab. However, it doesn't have to be the massive time-sink that people here are saying that it is. I typically shoot about 1000 shots at a wedding (over the course of 10 hours: ceremony, reception, everything) and it takes me maybe 4 hours to do all the postprocessing on them. I don't process heavily (no blemish repairs, face swaps, etc) but just deal with colour issues, adjust contrast, etc. While that extra 4 hours is annoying, it's way way way less time than I'd spend in front of an enlarger just to get a handful of good prints!

While you need (to pay for) proofs or at least scans of all your analogue shots, you don't need to pay for prints on ANY digital shots except for the ones that you really want. While I might shoot about 1000 shots, I'll cull that straight to about 300 that the customer sees and then you might be looking at picking 150 for an album and another 10 for larger prints.

If I were you (well actually, I'm me, and this is what I do... it may not be right for you at all), I would use each technology where it is best suited. Use a DSLR for all the candids and chasing kids around and experimental grab-shots that might come off and high-ISO church shots (ISO1600-3200 in colour is quite viable these days, which gets you shots in very dark locations, particularly if you have stabilisation). Where you have time for high quality formal setups and/or know you might want to print large, use medium format.

If you want to make archival FB prints and sell them as your top-of-the-range product, then do so! Obviously with such an approach you're not aiming at the budget-wedding people (because they'll go with a $500 spray-and-pray, burn-to-cd incompetent), but that's no reason to forgo the best tool for each job on the basis of some ideology.