Ted Given that most customers will want prints, then quite apart from the lack of exposure latitude with slides, I'd have thought that the price of Cibachrome prints and lack of printing sources in the U.K. might be the main reason that colour neg is used.
PE, I think, would go further and contend that nowadays colour neg and RA4 prints will give better prints than Cibachrome anyway.
It might be that if photographers can ensure that exposures are spot -on then slides can be printed onto RA4 in mini-labs but even then the slides printed onto RA4 would have to be better than colour negs for the risk to be worth it.
Unless the quality difference with slides printed onto Cibachrome or RA4 is appreciably better than colour neg on RA4 then the reason for wedding photogs not taking slides will be simply: Why take the extra risk with no measurable pay-off.
In the wedding business there's no second chance as in: Sorry all the pics weren't as they should be but never mind we can do it all again next weekend :D:
That all makes sense gents - many thanks for the clarification.
I had assumed it was due to the lack of tollerence that transparency has to incorrect exposure issues and the versatility of the light in a day of shooting a wedding. Nice to hear the extra details though and to get confirmation that I wasn't missing a trick somewhere.
I am happy with my Fuji 400H and 160S selection, with use of 800Z on occasion (I am trying to buy and freeze stocks of 800Z as we speak)
I think if the couple wanted slides to project, it would be among the only reasons to do so. Most (as in every couple I've ever known) want prints and/or digital files, though. There is such a huge variety of shooting situations within a single wedding, and almost all of them require moving quickly. Some slop is involved in the shooting of every wedding, at some point or another. Negative film's extreme versatility and ability to survive less-than-perfect handling makes it the far superior tool in this case, IMO.
But technical issues aside, I imagine that the couple in this day and age that wants slides is a very rare thing. It does you no good to shoot them unless that is what they want.
Another thought on negatives versus chromes is contrast. A close friend of mine and his wife shot weddings for many years and used color negative film exclusively because of the smooth tonal shift, as well as more accurate color rendition. He shot with a pair of 6x6 Kowas, and a 21/4x31/4 Speed Graphic(IIRC). He also offered hand colored B&W's.
My wedding, many years ago (OK, many, many years ago), was shot with transparency film. But the photographer (a friend of my wife's family) was a National Geographic photographer and that's what he was comfortable with.
The results were fine, but the reality is that slides don't make the best medium for a wedding album. And prints are more difficult/expensive than from negative film. Only the "humility challenged" would want a print larger than 11x14 (and maybe 8x10) so very large prints are generally not a factor.
In the years that I shot weddings, I shot exactly one on 35mm - the first one!
All the rest were shot on 120.
They were all shot on Kodak professional colour print film - initially on the various versions of Vericolour, and then the Portra films that replaced it.
I still have almost all the negatives. The work-flow involved in selling enlargements to my customers just wouldn't have worked with transparency materials - the labs that did good wedding work and the materials available were not set up for it.
Have you ever tried to photograph a bride in a white dress and a groom in a pale blue tuxedo? If you had, and had used transparency film, you wouldn't have tried that film again.
I realize that I might be dating myself a bit here. :)
The only thing I will say about the 135 vs. medium format part of your question is that all colour print film today is significantly improved when compared to, e.g. 1975, so the results from 135 might very well be closer to acceptable than they were back then.
I only ever shot one wedding on 35mm slide film because that's what the clients requested all the other ones I did were shot on 120 Pro negative films.
In the one month that I shot weddings, I only used 120 (for both of them).
Originally Posted by MattKing
My father spent many years photographing weddings with 35mm and Fuji Reala film with great results. Before that it was 120 with a couple of Rolleiflexes and before that, his first wedding used ten glass plates!
Most of my father's personal photography was with Kodachrome but I don't recall him using transparency film for weddings.
Add another wrinkle to that problem- the bride is a red-headed Celt and the groom is from Nigeria. Then you'll REALLY want a negative film.
Originally Posted by MattKing