Wedding photographers - do you ever use 35mm transparancy film?
I might be wrong, but it seems the majority of wedding photographers use negative films of one sort or another instead of transparency films. Before I go on, I realise many film wedding shooters use medium format, but lets pretend you have only got a Nikon F5, for example ;-)
Firstly, is that statement correct? If so, why? Is it because negative film is generally more forgiving of extremes (and errors) thus allowing the photographer to be more versatile in a variety of lighting situations that are typically part and parcel of a wedding? Or is it due to some other reason - skin tones not looking right, or something like that?
When it comes to enlargements etc, I read that the chromes of Kodak (E100G, for example - http://www.kodak.com/global/en/profe...th=13319/1229_ ) can be enlarged huge with no noticeable addition of grain.
I ask the question because I have not used transparency films for portrait work yet. I've used Fuji Velvia and Astia, all in 35mm format, for landscapes and macros and I ahve to say that they have been outstanding pictures (for me)! Arguably some of my best work.
So I am naturally curious as to why such films are generally not used for weddings, or am I totally off the mark?
I would guess that "historically" negative film was shot because they would have been printing RA-4 prints in their studio; as Cibachrome isn't for the high-volume kind of operation, although theoretically internegatives could've been used.
I would also bet that medium format was used more than 35mm.
That being said, as much as I hate to admit it, I bet less than 2% of wedding photographers aren't shooting digital. MF however would give you a legitimate advantage over digital/35mm, so perhaps there are still some people out there wielding Portra 400 in their Hasselblad.
All speculation of course...
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Weddings are by nature uncontrolled. The ones where I live are shooting negative for the forgiveness offered. (They aren't printing optically). It isn't generally more forgiving, it's much more forgiving. There are photographers here that offer film as a choice, more than 2%, more like 20%, including two that shoot only film. The kicker is that they are young. Seems to be a good niche looking at their rates... Of course there are a ton of $300 bottom churn and burn feeder hacks, and it doesn't matter what they shoot, but you can guess. My suggestion for this thread is to keep it on topic, and not belabor what everybody already knows.
Last edited by JBrunner; 01-18-2011 at 12:42 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Color transparency film has less latitude than color neg film. If you over expose transparency film you can blow out your highlights or even your whole exposure. When you over expose color neg film, you can salvage a shot. Also prints are more expensive from transparency film.
Have to agree with Jason, transparencies need very tight exposure control and aren't ideal for social photography and particularly weddings.
I've never heard of anyone using transparencies for weddings,, it's always been negatives.
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Only once, I shot K64 at one wedding decades ago in the UK. A special request from the father of the bride. No flash, dark church interior, exposures around 1 sec at f4 with a 200mm telephoto on a very solid wall bracket on the balcony at the back of the church. Dad was thrilled with the slides. Mom was much happier with the black and white album complete with studio portraits.
The hardest thing was convincing the father to accept K64, he wanted K II.
I would think it's a combination the latitude offered by negative film, and the ease of commercial color negative printing. Printing transparencies well is not easy or cheap. For a wedding, you'd have needed a whole album of proof prints done good,fast, and cheap, which would be tough to do with slide film.
Slide/transparency was popular in other realms of pro photography for two reasons I know of. Because of the one-step processing (no printing), you got exactly what you shot and color/image quality wasn't compromised by the automated printing machines. Instead you looked at the images on a light table and saw it with your eyes when you have a good original. I wasn't involved in it, but apparently print shops were better at making good color reproduction for cmyk printing when using slides as their original.
If you are considering slide film just because it appears to have better grain, there are other options. The f5 is a nice camera and part of a nice system, but you could add a cheap used rolleiflex/hasselblad/pentax67/bronica/etc.. medium format camera for group photos and get the medium format quality for the group images. Having an unusual camera for the group photos might also help direct everyone's attention to the same place when posing. Unless you make group photos bigger than 8x10, I think the f5 will be more than adequate. I'd think only upscale clients would be ordering bigger than 8x10" group photos.
I agree with the above. Shooting on the fly, as some weddings are prone to make one do, calls for a little more leeway in the film. If it was portraiture only with even lighting, a little more controlled, reversal film might be of the order.
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I shot all transparency film when I did commercial work. Art directors loved it because it was sharp and they needed to see a positive to check on color balance. The lighting was highly controlled and proofed with tons of Polaroid. Weddings in general are totally a different game.
When my wife and I got married the second time in Vegas, one of the chapel staff shot a roll of 35mm, which was handed to us unprocessed as we left. But that whole wedding cost less than what any photographer would have charged. We did have an Elvis.