In the latest installment of our advice column series, we delved into the digital side of things and interviewed some of our friends about shooting hybrid! We hope that wedding photographers looking to add film into their workflow this season will be inspired by what Rachel Solomon of Rachel Solomon Photography, Andy Carretto of Carretto Studio Photography, and Kristin La Voie of Kristin La Voie Photography had to share about shooting hybrid!
How do you match your digital to your film?
I outsource everything to theFINDlab and let them handle it! Honestly I’ve never enjoyed editing my digital photos and wasn’t really very good at it. It sucked the life out of me, especially knowing I could be using that time to grow my business or simply enjoy my life! -Rachel Solomon
I outsource all of my editing to theFINDlab! I have built a relationship with my editor who knows all of my preferences and manages my hybrid editing utilizing Mastin Labs. -Kristin La Voie
I have been using the Mastin Labs presets since right after they came out, and they were essential for me to achieve a consistent look between both mediums that I loved. I also work with an editor at theFINDlab who matches my digitals to my film images for me. Over time and with lots of communication on both sides, my editor is able to process both my digital and film images to achieve the look and feel that I want, saving me tons of time in the process. -Andy Carretto
When do you shoot digital? When do you shoot film? What percentage of digital and what percentage of film do you shoot?
I shoot digital for most of the getting ready photos, most of the ceremony, and most of the reception. I shoot film for a few key getting ready photos, a few key ceremony photos, and for all the detail photos, bride/groom portraits, bridal party and family portraits. I typically make the determination of film or digital based on lighting conditions and how fast-paced the moment is, as well as whether that particular photo or part of the day will make it into a client’s album or framed on their walls. On average I shoot about 25-30 rolls of 120 film per wedding, which is around 50% or more film when combined with my 2nd photographer’s images, who shoots digital. -Rachel Solomon
I shoot digitally at weddings about half of the time. Normally, my weddings are in dark churches or indoor venues where digital excels. Likewise, film excels during portraits and moments where there is plenty of natural light. This makes my film and digital use about 50/50. -Kristin La Voie
I shoot most of my film outdoors, typically during the bridal party and couple portraits, and I always try to get my favorite details on film. My digital body is the workhorse of my wedding photos. If I need to work really fast or the lighting is poor, I’ll definitely be shooting digital. I also prefer to get the full wedding day on my digital body since it has a dual card slot, and there are more risks with film. I’d say I shoot about 25% film and 75% digital. -Andy Carretto
How do you stay organized while shooting more than one medium?
I have an assistant with me specifically to help me load film, carry cameras, swap lenses, etc. This has been key in keeping my wedding days efficient and organized. -Kristin La Voie
I take my time and stick to a system. I always put my exposed film straight into a ziplock bag, and I mark the roll if I’m pushing it. If I know I’m going to be shooting a lot of film, I keep a sheet of numbered stickers to keep the rolls in order. I use a separate compartment in my bag for unexposed film. It’s all about consistency and immediacy. It takes a tiny bit more time, but getting the film properly marked and put away ASAP is well worth it. -Andy Carretto
How do you shoot differently since you started shooting hybrid?
The biggest difference is that when shooting film, I shoot less, with the result being almost every photo I take is a keeper. I don’t find myself firing away 20 shots of the same thing. I take 1-2 amazing shots and then I move on to the next. I also have trained myself to shoot my digital in a way that I know will best match my film photos later. From aperture, to composition, to lighting, to cropping… it all makes it that much easier to deliver a consistent set of images to my clients. -Rachel Solomon
I have learned when to incorporate each format throughout the day, which makes me hyper aware of my surroundings and understanding my camera settings at all times. When shooting film, there is a particular skill set required to ensure you are always “getting the shot” that is not as necessary when shooting digital with its “safety net” of viewing the images immediately. This has made me a stronger photographer, and has allowed me to appreciate the moments spent with my couple, since it has been freeing to be unglued from the back of the camera. -Kristin La Voie
I became much more intentional and confident since I started shooting film. With film, I’ve learned I don’t need to click the shutter 5 times to get the one shot I want – that’s ⅓ of a roll, and that ain’t cheap. I take my time, know I hit focus, and then get it on the first try (second if they blink). My film keep rate is pretty close to 90%. Applying that mentality to my digital shooting has meant that I shoot less, but have more keepers. -Andy Carretto
How has your business evolved as you’ve introduced film into your workflow?
Almost immediately when I started shooting and showing my film work, my business grew. My photos were more beautiful, I was delivering a stronger set of images to my clients, and I was able to raise my prices significantly because my work and portfolio looked higher end. I actually find it easier to shoot film now than digital. I love the look of it, I only need to take 1-2 photos, my workflow is much quicker on both the wedding day and post-production, which means I can deliver my photos to my clients in 3-4 weeks. While my film is being scanned and theFINDlab is editing my digital images, I can focus on marketing, meeting with clients and planners, blogging, keeping my website fresh, or just enjoying some self-care doing yoga or getting a massage. Outsourcing my film and digital work has truly been life-changing for me in my business. -Rachel Solomon
I have been able to command a higher price point and book higher end weddings since incorporating film. The skill set required in shooting film is not as imperative with digital photographers, with their ability to self correct immediately upon viewing their image. This results in a level of trust that is instantly built with the clients right off the bat. It also has shown them a higher level of experience and expertise with photography. -Kristin La Voie
Many thanks to Rachel, Andy, and Kristin for taking the time to share their tips and insights with us! We hope their experience helps you improve your own hybrid workflow as you balance film and digital photography!