There are still many pros using film, esp. in larger formats. For wedding and portrait, check out Inside Analog Photo Radio for a very long series of interviews with wedding and portrait photogs who use film, including Jonathon Canlas. One guy shoots Super 8 B & W movies for weddings. One guy uses a Leica and Tri-x almost exclusively. Just a matter of finding clients who like the look. Inside Analog may be a sponsor here, not sure.
As others have said, it's not enough to make your work good -- which really goes without saying -- and there are LOTS and LOTS of clients who just couldn't care less but others like the look and/or the notion of something unique.
Not everyone wants a good enough approach. Many people will pay for unique photography, but you have to look good and hard look at your work and ask yourself what differentiates it from anyone else who is making portraits, shooting weddings, food, etc. regardless of film or digital.
Originally Posted by ToddB
For example, there is a super expensive "on location, available light" photographer here in Atlanta and her work is indistinguishable from all of the $100 shoot and burn "on location, available light" photographers. As far as I can tell, she isn't working much. They all have the exact same style (flare, bad 70s Lightroom filters), so why would the average person pay more for the same product?
And if you are shooting film, the last thing you need to be worried about is keeping it affordable, unless you want to work your ass off and never have anything to show for it. I can promise you there wouldn't be a dime of profit in a film based 8x10 that costs less than $300. Sit down and calculate your cost of sales, all the time it will take to process, proof, develop and print, plus handle all the client calls, emails, sales meetings, session time, etc. It would be very challenging to keep it affordable. You're far better off serving fewer clients at much higher prices.
It seems that the industry has been cheaped with introduction of digital. No.. I'm not going to start slamming digital. I have a point and shoot digital that shoot with for fun stuff that I want to capture. For the stuff that i think that has value, I shoot MF. My investment in my gear and and darkroom is hundreds of dollars less that what I could get for high end DSLR. So if it doesn't work out, I'll shoot for my own enjoyment, and and go down another path of photography than our society has taken. I was shooting in a local area last weekend and come upon a art show that a guy was making guitars out of cigar boxes, beautiful BTW. I was approuched by several people in regards to "What a beautiful Camera". I was happy to answer any questions. One guy commented to the effect of "Your going back to the ART of photography". I was replied.."Absolutly". So going back to film users.. I think that is my motivation. Going back to the art of photography. Getting back to the grass roots of the art. I think most of members hear feel the same way. There is something lost with shooting with a digital camera.
Use film like David Bailey used Jean Shrimpton.
The client is always wrong.
I was at a Japanese-American matsuri (festival) a while ago and met a young woman with a new Leica SLR. I mentioned the camera brand and she said "yes, they make the best cameras in the world." I tried not to laugh in her face. I'm old enough to remember when Leica did in fact make some of the world's very best cameras but there's too much other stuff out there that is first class to make that statement any more.
The point is, I am sure she used that line to get clients "you have to hire ME because I use the worl's's best camera." (A lot of hooey.)
If promoted right I think a person could do portraits, wedings, you name it, with a Holga. But some self-pormotion is, I think, in order. If I was a young whippersnapper I'd shoot commercial jobs on film myself. I have a digital Nikon SLR with a zillion lenses but digital bores the devil out of me. I'm just now building a film darkroom after being "in the light" for 25 years.
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
Here is a guy that's doing platinum portraits in the UK: Ciaran Lee. I think he's packaged it beautifully. That would be a great model to follow.
IMO the market segment is a big factor. For instance, when working with agency art directors there is an ongoing relationship, and usually a more sophisticated understanding of how something "looks" and how that can be arrived at. I think dealing with a more competitive market with less sophisticated clients would be more difficult.
If I can get a little returm from investment , I'll be happy. It's not like I need it to cover my mortgage. I figured there so many un- experiance digital shoots shooters out there with fancy brand new digital cameras,and semister of Photoshop elements from the local community college why not pitch an idea for something different.
its all about your client base. some won't care what it is shot on, some will.
for years i have had clients that only wanted film and paper. they wanted portraits
they wanted archival site work &c ... now, at least where i am located, fewer really know or care
about the differences, and the archives and government agencies that used to be film + paper only
don't want it anymore .... go figure ...
you have to find your audience and market to them the fact that you can give them something no one else is selling ...
sometimes it will sell itself ..
on a side note, i bid on a job a few weeks ago and archival 35mm film and 5x7 enlargements on fiber paper
cost LESS in the end than files and pigment prints ...
I would only consider using film for professional work if you have reliable, pro quality lab services available to you.
And if you do, that is an excellent way to run a business.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2