super 8 wedding film

Mar 24, 2021

Our Super 8 wedding films are gorgeous, nostalgic wedding videos for folks looking for something more gritty and natural. In fact, it’s exactly what we’d book for ourselves, and the look that this incredible 1970’s format gives, is like nothing else on the planet. No sound, no drawn-out storytelling: just the best bits, the weird and the wacky, stored perfectly on real celluloid in the only way that the super-8 film format can.

a super 8 wedding film still of Gina (Georgie Boy flowers)

In 2018 a special, strange looking thing landed in our lap: a super-8 camera. You can find them everywhere, and they look wonderful. Once we got the first tape back, we were hooked, and immediately began offering it for wedding couples: in the process, creating the first super-8 only video offering in the world, Supergreat Films. Now, we simply offer them here.

Check back here soon for our New Orleans and Scottish Highland super 8 wedding films.

Super 8 wedding film - emma and ben in the forest

If you’ve booked us for your wedding photography, then adding a super 8 film to your wedding coverage is easy.

If you’ve not booked us for your wedding photography, you can still enquire for a standalone wedding film using our contact form at the top. If you’d like to connect with our Super-8 wedding film account, head over to Supergreat films.

We shoot Kodak film too: find out about having your entire wedding photographed on analog Kodak film by heading here: film wedding photographer.

What is a super 8 wedding film?

A super 8 film is a 3-5 minute highlight of your wedding, captured on the Super 8 cameras and Super 8 Kodak film, which is still being produced. You might know the look without realising it: it was the format used to document much of the worlds family history throughout the 60’s and 70’s.

Does super 8 film have sound?

Super 8 film does not record sound. In the past it did, but that format has since been phased out. If you would like sound recorded, check out these wedding videographer Melbourne folks who create the full experience, sound included.

How much is a film?

I craft these in a unique way, and shoot enough tapes to have plenty to work with. To cover processing and material fees, my super 8 wedding videos start at $2k.

When can I see my film?

After I film your wedding or session, the tapes are sent deep into northern Victoria, where my lab-wizard processes them chemically, before sending me the files. This part alone can take up to 3 weeks. From there, I do my edit. You should expect to receive your finished super 8 wedding film inside 6 weeks.

Free wedding photography workshop

Dec 19, 2020

Since Covid has put a stop to conferences and wedding photography workshops, I wanted to give a little back, and so have created a free wedding photography workshop in an online course format. This contains around 7 years of my workshop content (head over here for wedding photography podcasts), drawn from an award-winning background in design and photography, and I have separated the best bits into easy to consume, bite-sized chunks, and released them on Instagram as a 100 frame wedding photography workshop.

To see these for free, scroll further down.

Free wedding photography mentoring Australia: sign up for my free 12 month wedding photography online course

STRANGE ATLAS – anti-hustle wedding photography workshop: delivered to your inbox, every Monday morning. Sign up for free

Who this wedding photography online course is for:

  • Photographers looking for wedding photography courses online
  • Folks looking for wedding photography education that’s a little bit different
  • Wedding photographers who want some simple education in a format that isn’t overwhelming
free wedding photography workshop

The free wedding photography workshop is divided into three main areas.

  1. Creativity
  2. Community
  3. Business
  4. Editing
  5. light

Each of the 100 frames speaks to one of those. The current climate of workshops I found doesn’t appeal to my style of learning personally, and it made me wonder if other folks out there were the same, so I tried to create something to fill that gap!

I remember thumbing through MAD magazine, comics, and encyclopaedias, and found that a curiosity-driven approach to learning, where you can open a book up at any page and take something away without feeling like we have to complete a full course: the best way to learn for me, personally.

So that’s how i’ve crafted this.

I want this to be useful no matter what page it’s opened up at: rather than me dictating the learning from front to back (there’s plenty of brilliant other options for that out there), so this is something where I hope there’s a nifty surprise useful to wedding photography, and photography in general wherever it’s opened.

The workshop is available from frame 35 onwards on my instagram, and as new ones are uploaded, old ones will be removed, so follow along and catch them (save, screen grab) them while they’re available.

At the end, i’ll be releasing them all, along with a set of bonus annotations totalling 400+ pages. It’s the exact wedding photography workshop resource I would have liked starting out, and has been tailored for both new photographers and working professionals 5+ years in the game.

To see the free wedding photography workshop:

Follow it on Instagram while it’s there.
Sign up for the School of Strange, 52 weeks of free wedding photography mentoring, for access to the full 400+ pages.

Some conferences i’ve had the brilliant honour of sharing this at:

Conferences and retreats this workshop content has previously been shared at:

Wedding photography conference: Way Up North, Rome, Italy

Wedding photography retreat: RURAL Workshop Barcelona, Spain

Wedding photography conference: BODAF Portugal

Wedding photography conference: Midwest Gathering Detroit USA

Wedding Photography Workshops Melbourne

Transplant workshop at Tanglewood Estate

It was such a treat sharing with photographers such as Briggsy, Ashleigh Haase Photography, Sarah Tee, and even inter-staters like Cassie Sullivan at the most beautiful wedding venue in Victoria. Here’s a mugshot of the last ones left standing after it was all done. Tanglewood Estate hosted “Transplant”, my one-day workshop on alternative-thinking strategies for wedding photographers, with a day full of hands-on techniques and follow-up mentoring for wedding photographers. This format is one I have delivered over a period of 5 years all over the world.

Structure of the wedding photography workshop

The day began with roundtables, building community through sharing everyones own current journeys, pain-points and joy-sparkers from the job. Many of the points were known ahead of time as the onboarding process ensured everyone felt heard as an individual and was able to share these things before the day. We then moved into a day of interactive content and thinking strategies and follow up strategies to action the content.

I’ve always had a “eyes at the back of the classroom” approach. I know what it’s like to be sitting at the edges, a little intimidated by the scale of a room and structured offering, and ending up feeling like you weren’t seen. For this reason these workshops have been anti-clique, and pro embracing new faces. So it’s been such a treat to advocate this way in my own courses, and then see students such as Ashleigh Haase (also an attendee of Story and Light in NZ, co-facilitated with Bayly & Moore – it’s incredibly flattering to see folks come along for the ride to more than one workshop) move on to take their learnings from Transplant into their own education offerings, sharing adaptations of Transplant into their own education community.

I don’t look at others work anymore, I’m finding inspiration from lots of things I learnt whilst at the workshop.

Ashleigh Haase Photography, who since Transplant has launched Ashleigh Haase Education!

Transplant wedding photography workshop itinerary

1 – Participant introduction and journey sharing
2 – Context-setting: creative thinking holistically rather than wedding industry specific
3 – Don’t do what you love: servitude and people mindset
4 – Challenging biases: fundamental mindset strategies 101
5 – Bias challenging: 3 specific techniques, and applying them to a small business
6 – Storytelling is dead (also the title of my Los Angeles Field Trip talk)
7 – Anti-storytelling techniques
8 – Separating yourself through community and branding
9 – Practical magic: separating yourself through the art of image-making
10 – An analogue primer: introduction to the world of analogue
11 – From the ad-agency, with love: simplified business and marketing techniques
12 – Actionable follow up strategies

Free Wedding Photography Workshop Melbourne
Briggsy, Cassie, Ashleigh Haase and the rest of the gang left at sunset.

Plus Image n’ Tech Athens, Greece, ABMS New Zealand.

how to take dark and moody wedding photos

Aug 8, 2020

How to take dark and moody wedding photos: a complete guide (apparently this is what i’m supposed to write, but more like my high-school exam output, it’s probably more the “enough to get by, hopefully” guide).

Something i’ve always loved to do is find ways of photographing things in a “moody” way no matter what the scenario. Usually though at a wedding, these sort of images end up representing about 10-15% of what the couple receives, because the “dark and moody” stuff in reality only ever represents a small percentage of a wedding day.

Typically it’s areas like moody preparation rooms, or sometimes indoor receptions with natural light, that sort of thing. Regardless, they’re super fun to make, and nice to celebrate.

Why make dark and moody wedding images?

Weddings are joyous! Full of fun and confetti! Why would we try and imprint some Tarantino, Wes-Anderson-esque painterly vibes into something supposed to be uplifting? WELL.

What qualifies as a moody feel can be just as uplifting as the bright stuff in it’s own way, and it can channel a whole lot of other ways of connecting to the set of images that we deliver. My job is to generate the widest amount of emotional connection with the images as I can. That means tapping not just into the bright stuff, but also providing some images that nudge our brain into another direction, because all of those moments and moods are present somewhere on a wedding day – and we might as well show them for what they are.

So, my approach to dark and moody: photograph things as they are!

If something feels dark and moody, I want to photograph it that way, and edit it in such a way that the qualities of that feeling are brought out in the best way. If someone tosses charcoal-coloured petals in Gollums cave lit by a line of candles, then it’ll be moody. But if theres a bright petal-toss with colours and glory, that should also end up looking as it felt.

In this shot above, two single points of natural light in a bathroom made for a beautiful soft vibe, and the real thrill is making that come alive in the image.

If changing an image, change it gently: see this post about editing.

I wanted to use a photo shoot with Dan and Dre as a main example, who flew down from their hometown of Canberra to have a play over a couple of days for their couples shoot, in some of my favourite locations in Victoria (see these other favourite Melbourne wedding photo locations) as an example.

Before we crack on, this thread on Reddit is worth a look, as it highlights a common misunderstanding of what dark and moody is, and how it can be interpreted as a trend, which is a bit of a misnomer that we can say about anything, and kinda implies there’s a “right” or authentic way of making an image. If we go deep into the real esoterics of photography, pretty quickly we discover there is no such thing as authentic capture: not only that, but the rich, hazy, beautiful colours of overexposed Fuji film for example, look nothing like reality: just a (really pleasant) interpretation of it.

So everything is a trend, and everything isn’t: the key is to nail the vibe in a really careful way, sympathetic to point #2 below: we want our folks in the image to love themselves in it.

How our eyes interpret light, differs from the person next to us. How theirs interpret light and mood, differs wildly from insects and other animals. photography is an act of interpretation, not a way of “taking something as it is”.

The images in here mostly use chiaroscuro, and open-shade.

My tips for creating dark and moody wedding photos

1. Find chiaroscuro light.

This is the MVP (most valuable player) of the dark and moody vibe. Chiaroscuro is, to put it simply, highly contrasted light and shade. This can be found in the most unlikely of situations. Hot tip – anywhere that you have a room with a small window – the smaller the better – you’ve got yourself an instant kit for Chiaroscuro light.

Expose for the highlights, and you’re good to go.

2. Skin is king.

Keep orange out, and flattering tones in. Per the Reddit thread up above, we should probably be more worried about making our couples look like they’ve swallowed a stick of uranium or a bag of carrots than them being too moody necessarily: this means that flattering tones and flattering light are a higher priority than whether the image is too light or dark per-se.

A great way to stay on top of this is to constantly reference where we got colour tones “right”. And for me, that’s any of either cinema, or great classic photo books with anyone shooting on film.

Calibrating our eyes to the skin tones of what we see on Instagram is a bad, bad idea.

Slim Aarons on the other hand? Holy basted badger-balls.

3. Keep RGB curve tweaks to a minimum, because the tool itself in Lightroom sucks

We want to have full, or nearly-full, black and white point in your image to give us the most room to play with in nailing a moody vibe in post-production.

This means that our image has a full range of information in it (as much detail in the darks and lights as possible), that translates to a detailed print. Any adjustments we make to the RGB “S” curve in Photoshop or Lightroom, immediately throws away information in the image: so tampering with it has to be a delicate exercise.

There was a bit of a movement towards really flat shadows some years ago, but my experience with Lightroom these days is that it turns an image to mud, really quick. If the aim is to get dusty shadows or muted highlights, generally that’s better achieved by instead selectively dodging and burning: this way you can raise or lower their brightness, while still keeping as much pure shadow and pure highlight in the image where it makes sense for them to be.

So using the RGB curve graph is not the best way to raise shadows or mute highlights, as it’s not a well developed tool inside Lightroom at all (maybe it will be better in later years to come – Capture One’s version works much better). A good way to think about why we don’t use RGB curves to mute our lights or darks is to imagine trying to cook a souffle in a crematorium.

By keeping the shadows rich, we can selectively dodge them out later while maintaining a solid black-point that will print out beautifully.

4. Spot clean the image

Dark and moody wedding images, if they’re shot in lower-light situations, inherently have a lot less highlights in them. That means the highlights that are there, stick out a little louder than they would otherwise, and can quickly dilute the power of an image.

This means that in order to have a beautifully powerful dark and moody image, we need to exercise a high level of care in spotting our image, and dodging and burning it: you can read about both of those in this post about photo editing.

Spotting is the gentle art of removing unnecessary bits of information in the image – this could be a rogue hi-light or a rogue fly sat perfectly in the middle of someones forehead.

The aim is to clear out unnecessary hi-lights. “If it isn’t lifting it up, it’s bringing it down”.

Here’s why this is also important:

Photography isn’t the art of freezing reality, it’s the art of telling a story through exclusion. Editing an image in photoshop (delicately) is no different than selectively framing things out in the moment. The unique thing about photography is that it “bakes in” things in the frame that our eyes wouldn’t process if it were, say, video. This means that in order to be MORE #authentic, we actually need to remove these things, as they’re causing an unnatural distraction to us and hold our attention more than they did in reality once they’ve been freezed into an image.

I know this sounds incredibly wanky, but spotting is the gentle art of bringing back the purity of how a moment actually felt, by fixing the things our cameras unnecessarily froze into the frame.

Here’s an extreme example first, and a not-so-extreme example second.

Before and After - Newport Substation

5. Take notes from painters

Gain a wide vocabulary in painterly tones, from the source. My two favourite painters are Jeffrey Smart and Zdiszlaw Beksinski – and in a roundabout way they inform my love of moody tones. Dig into some books and find some painters you align with.

Some more of my favourite dark and moody wedding photos.

dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos

Learn more about creating dark and moody wedding photos.

Follow my free wedding photography workshop series, or make an enquiry about joining my mentor program.

International wedding photographer of the year

Jul 16, 2020

We all go into this strange old gig for different reasons, but never on that list is “to win xx award” (i’m pretty sure my couples don’t really give a shit about that stuff and nor should they). Regardless, it’s nice to be recognised by your peers as international wedding photographer of the year, and winning awards does help for visibility and for sharing of educational content that I enjoy putting a tonne of energy into.

So at the risk of compromising my desire to be a recluse artiste gnawing on my own fermenting dreadlocks (it turns out that celebrating the wins and actually talking about them is a necessary part of the capitalist empire we all find ourselves in), I thought i’d share some images judged at the International wedding photographer of the year (IWPOTY) competition last year, the same competition that i’m also totally rapt to be judging this year. It’s a ripper competition and has been doing tonnes to rebrand an industry that thanks to being associated with cheese and all that jazz, is generally the first thing folks think of when they muse “I wonder where all photographers go to die”.

For me it’s meant the most stupidly wild quests all over the planet, making stuff that matters for real humans.

Winning the analogue category is particularly special to me as i’ve got a huge love for being a film wedding photographer, and as far as IWPOTY, have a tonne of respect for their judging panel and founder Luke, so it means a lot to be selected.

With this win I thought i’d share a selection of my entries across all the other categories, and I was fortunate to place as a finalist in nearly all categories.

Grandstand, grandstand, look at me me me, here we go.

Actually though, a special shoutout to all my bloody awesome couples who make this happen and (pre covid 19 anyhow) make me well aware i’ve stumbled onto one of the most bloody wonderful jobs on the planet.

I also love that I can look at all of these images and say they were made for them, and not for me, and that’s where it all starts and ends.

international wedding photographer of the year awards
international wedding photographer of the year awards
international wedding photographer of the year awards
international wedding photographer of the year awards
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
Blue Mountains Wedding photographer – Zoe and Adam

Thanks again to all the judges, and the IWPOTY founder Luke Simon who puts so much time and personal energy into making this happen, and sifting through the thousands of entries submitted from over 50 countries around the world.

Hire me for your wedding here.

analogue film wedding photographer

Jul 6, 2020

An image of genius photographer Lucy, in front of a genius-designed mirror, stolen mid-application of lipstick midway through Lil and Jakes reception.

This image shot on Kodak film, and found amongst incredible company over here at IWPOTY.

35mm film wedding photography

Shot on Kodak Tri-X film.

Visit this post to see why I shoot film at weddings, and keep an eye on my wedding photography workshop for info on how I edit.

Analog wedding photographer

Jul 2, 2020

In all the flurry of things happening fast movement not stopping click click go go get it all don’t miss a moment…

It’s nice to hold back, strip it all away, and wait,

for just, one.

Jenelle and Parker, one frame each, one click each, on film that expired over half a century ago, and processed at Atkins lab.

Whatever happens along the way, I reckon it’s nice if everyone can come outta this little plane of existence with just one image like this.

And in case you were wondering, the rest of their day was as inversely colourful and upbeat as these were moody and sedate.


This post here goes into detail about why I shoot film at weddings.

Analog film wedding photographer melbourne

Jun 28, 2020

Every once in a while at a wedding, you’re graced with a little moment where the thing happening in front of you, the environment itself, the weather, and the gear you’re using all come together in perfect harmony.

Jake here writing his vows at The Diggers Store, the morning he married Lilli, shot on old Kodak classic black and white film.

Analog film wedding photographer melbourne

You can read more about being a film wedding photographer here.

Destination wedding photographer

Jun 25, 2020

2017, overlooking the Cathedral of Porto: running a small portrait session for photographers at the Bodaf conference. Great time to pull out some gear well past it’s useby date in one of the most beautiful little cities I’ve been to.

Melbourne Film Wedding Photographer - Yashica TLR

This frame taken on a beautiful piece of 1960’s engineering (Yashica 635 twin lens reflex) on Kodak film.

If you like this, check out more black and white wedding photos.

Yashica Rolleiflex TLR film wedding photography

Jun 23, 2020

Something I teach when lecturing about the strange bastard art of photography, is about segmenting our brains and our time when there’s a “thing” happening, so we can gracefully and intentfully photograph the “thing” from more than one angle, and in the process, gift that “thing” with more variety in how we see it.

Got it? No? Perfect.

Yashica Rolleiflex TLR film wedding photography

A “thing”, is defined as a block of time where there is no deviation in the fundamental arc of the event by other contrasting events or alternative measures of some-such otherwise.

Canapes hour? That’s a thing.

First speech block? That’s a thing.

Portraits hour? That’s a thing.

Righto – glad we got that cleared up.

Case in point: the “thing” here, was about a 2 hour block, where Jenelle and Parker and all their guests were partying together on some ten houseboats that were tied together, off the eastern coast off the edge of Canada.

2 hours is a lot of time where there’s just partying, diving, and BBQ’ing going on. This means a lot of opportunity to intent-fully divide the time up, and try and extract some more wondrous things out of it that test both us and the narrative that’s there.

So, I divide my time into “laps”.

I’ll spend, for example, 25 minutes moving around doing photojournalism on digital cameras, and then, i’ll gift myself a calm lap, on a camera half a century old, to try and see this scenario (previously referred to as “thing”), in a different way.

In this lap, i’m extra slow, watchful, and, deliberately, not particularly worried about missing moments en-masse, but rather, more concerned with getting “a couple of good ones”.

Staying in a state of “fomo” and shooting like a maniac on digital is good for content creation and capturing opportunity in a sometimes thin way, but then the tradeoff is you’re watching less intentfully at what’s happening – and maybe missing the opportunity to show an event in a better light.

I walked along the edge of one of the houseboats, turned a corner, saw a bit of commotion, held this 1960s bucket of bolts to my eye, and breathed in.


One of my favourite images ever, let alone wedding ones.

Shot on Kodak Tri-X film, and developed by Atkins Pro Lab.

See their full wedding day featured on the USA’s largest wedding blog: Jenelle and Parker’s rustic week-long wedding featured on Wedding Chicks.

Melbourne wedding photographer reviews

Jun 20, 2020

Atlas Singles is a little peek into some of my favourite images, along with some lyrical wax from the last bits left in the jar.

Here’s one from wayback.

Two humans.

A little cabin on a lake in the Blue Mountains.

A clunky, 50 year old camera, that just a few days later, i’d have to jam a stick into it’s front to trigger it.

Barely nailed focus.

Said god-knows-what to them which generated a reaction, took a wild guess as to when the right moment to click was (you only get one chance when you’re using a camera you have to wind-up).

Missed the “moment”, and got some ephemeral in-between.

For me, more perfect than perfect.



Shot on a Yashica 635G Twin Lens Reflex on Kodak Tri-X for Zoe and Adam, before they did the wedding thing out at the Hydro Majestic Hotel in the Blue Mountains, NSW.

If you like this, check out more black and white wedding photos.

35mm film wedding photography tri x kodak

Jun 17, 2020

This is one of my favourite images from Lil and Jakes wedding. Up close and personal with my characteristically well-dressed friend John at The Diggers Store (nestled just over an hour outside of Melbourne) who probably thought he was the feature of the frame, who looked aside with furrowed brow, while I actually focused on old mate to the left, deep in a state of existential ponderment.

35mm film wedding photography tri x kodak


It was such a treat photographing this wedding on old, banged-up film cameras. This was the wedding of a couple of dear friends, and I somehow managed to high-tail it back to Australia the day after delivering a talk in Vancouver, landing the morning of their wedding, and catching a few hours sleep in my hire car.

And then at midnight, I hit the road again, to deliver another talk in Rome.

Small wonder none of the Italians could understand my blubbering, jetlagged Australiana, but it made the translators of Way Up North earn their fee.

I love this image, and it’s still strangeness takes me right back to that very odd few-day whirlwind.



Shot on god-knows-what camera, on Kodak Tri-X film.

Visit this post to see why you should shoot film.

Jun 15, 2020

35mm Film Film Wedding Photography: should you have your wedding photographed on 35mm and medium-format film? It’s no secret that film is having a massive comeback, and in this post we’ll share out love of why you should consider some or all of your coverage being captured on the inimitable nostalgia of real Kodak film: the ethereal colours, the grit and grain, and the enormous variety of formats available to us from over a century of the craft of photography being in existence.

A decade of experience in film wedding photography

We’re not new to film wedding photography: 35mm and medium format film have been an essential part of our toolkit for a decade. We’re thrilled that film has been experiencing a major revival, and that more couples are asking for their entire wedding to be photographed on 35mm and medium format Kodak film.

(See these full weddings photographed entirely on Kodak film: Alexa and Alex’s Scotland elopement, Lucia and Carter in Sydney, and, the one that got us most known for photographing weddings on film internationally, Lilli and Jake.

An island elopement by film wedding photographer, Briars Atlas
From Parker and Jenelles canoe wedding in Canada. Photographed on a Yashica TLR from the 1960’s, on Kodak Tri-X film. Featured on Wedding Chicks.

For a brief moment there in the late 00’s, opportunistic young-things were meeting the cries of the old-guard lamenting “film is dead!” with “yes, i’ll take all that old processing gear off your hands for free, thankyou very much”. All of the beautiful analogue film processing gear that had seen so much love, had been decommissioned and retired, before being snapped up by enthusiasts for a song.

As a result, more film-labs began to open than they did close, and now there has never been a better time to shoot analog at weddings.

Film has been a key part of my look and approach since I became a melbourne wedding photographer, and an ongoing reason why creative folks and even other wedding photographers book us – even if in some cases I just channel the look of film photos in my digital images.

Film wedding photographer portrait of Lucy
International Film Wedding Photographer of the year winning entry.

In 2019, we were awarded the analogue international wedding photographer of the year award, and in this post we want to discuss why we shoot film, what it’s benefits are, and why you might consider the use of 35mm analogue film as part of your wedding coverage.

35mm film wedding photography
For Rachel and Bens Melbourne Registry wedding, they wanted the day shot on film. I then processed and scanned the entire shoot by hand.
Shooting film at weddings
35mm wedding photos: Lil and Jake. See their Analog Film Wedding on Together Journal.

Being a film wedding photographer means being comfortable with all things slow.

Film photography slows you down, and photographing on film costs you money. In a generation of excess, our freewheeling brains need to be reined in. Historical patterns show that the more Tik-Toks and short-form content (ie – catering to short attention spans) there is entering the arena, the more room is then created for long-form content, and things warranting pause and stillness, as we collectively look for a space to make us feel something again.

When something forces you to respond slowly and consider the cost, the by-product of that is that you give yourself to the medium more. Where there’s tonnes of advantages in firing off thousands of frames on digital, there’s just as many advantages to having the costly walls of constraint around us (constraint being the only true useful tool in creativity that continues to stand the test of time).

35mm film wedding photography
Also see this post here about how to shoot dark and moody wedding photos.

Film wedding photos contain variety & real timelessness

People throw the whole timeless thing around in association with analogue film, but I think that only really holds true for black and white (Tri-X) film.

Most colour stocks actually have their own distinct look and feel that, when processed by a modern lab, aren’t what I’d necessarily call timeless. I don’t say that in a bad way – but the timeless colour we’re perhaps used to, is more the Kodachrome, stuff from the 60’s-80’s that our eyes more closely align with timelessness.

The rich, punchy colours of beautifully over-exposed Portra film aren’t any more timeless than digital, and are actually very distinct in their own right.

The sheer variety of looks in analog film stocks, lenses, and camera bodies is staggering, and each link in the chain imparts it’s own little flavour on the end look of the image.

So for me, shooting analog film is less about timelessness, and more about variety.

35mm film wedding photography

Film wedding photos might be a better experience for the muse.

In my own tests, shooting analogue film is an objectively better experience for the person in front of the camera – if for nothing else, because we’re slipping into a loss of generational memory of those old cameras: and so these crazy old things bring on a strange sense of removed nostalgia and wonder, simply because it’s assumed that they’re just mantlepiece decorations, rather than fully capable image-making machines.

Having someone use an archaic piece of engineering with all the romance of a past-craft makes them feel valued in a totally different way. Even if the whole shoot isn’t being done on film, having some gear in the bag to switch things up can completely change the tone of the shoot.

David Rees is a good point of reference for the question “can the intrinsic value of a thing be increased or amplified by wrapping some old-world artisan air of craftsmanship around it”.

Typically, there are two main approaches that a photographer will take when choosing to use film as well as digital during a shoot, and they are either hybrid shooting, or separatist shooting (I made that second label up, but I can’t think of another way to title it).

Will we get less wedding photos on film?

You can generally expect there to be slightly less wedding photos delivered when we’re photographing on film, but the trade-off is, they’re all on film. Something that we’ve found in doing this over a decade, time and again, is that the volume that you receive is kinda neither here nor there. Where you might receive 800 wedding photos if we do it all on digital or 500-600 if we photograph your wedding entirely on film, it’s all really a much of a muchness. We tend to think quite strongly too, that the more volume there is, the more that kinda gets lost in the mix. Some might say it’s quality (if you appreciate the magic of film wedding photos) over quantity, but we can explain more about that if you make an enquiry.

Hybrid shooting: film wedding photos vs digital photos

Hybrid film photography is when the photographer shoots analog film, but aims to have the feel and tonality of the images completely in tune with the digital coverage. Often the aim of the preset applied to the digital images is to have them look as close as possible to the film ones. In this way, hybrid shooting is a process-based approach to film photography, rather than an output based approach: which is to say that it’s used mainly to provide variety to the photographer, rather than to the couple. This is not how I shoot film.

35mm film wedding photography cinestill
35mm wedding photos Melbourne – Lil and Jake in Castlemaine

Separatist shooting:

Separatist shooting is when the differences in the two mediums are celebrated, and no effort is made to create consistency between the digital images and the analogue images, meaning that the photographer gets to enjoy the process of shooting with different cameras, as well as providing something unique to the couple, and extra variety in the images they receive. This is how I choose to shoot film.

Separatist shooting is my preferred approach, and this is why: over the last 100 years, we’ve had hundreds of beautiful, differing formats used to create images. Different analogue film-stocks, and different lenses that all interpret light and render a scene, differently. I think those differences should be celebrated. It also keeps us more entertained pushing to find the deeper uniqueness of a particular format, rather than agonising over getting a perfect match between analog and digital, which for us, defeats the purpose of enjoying analog film as a medium.

Mixing things up is probably the number one reason why I shoot analogue film at weddings.

Why I shoot film at weddings
Lou on Cinestill 500T

I don’t necessarily think consistency is overrated, but I do think surprise and intrigue is underrated. And as a film wedding photographer, there’s no greater joy than delivering a set of images where couples get the chance to swoon over that sprinkle of images that seem to just have something… else, to them.

The downsides of film wedding photos

Sure, I could go into the all the impractical bits of it, but for me, they’re joys. The only prolonged implications of shooting this stuff, is that it costs. It’s easy enough to throw in a roll here and there, but with analogue film and developing costs, we’re looking at about $70 for a couple of rolls – or about $3 per shot.

That’s fine when it’s a small part of the shoot, but a full-day analog wedding shooting only film can run past $1500 in film and developing costs alone very quickly, and that’s where it has to be considered as an add-on, rather than something that can be thrown in.

35mm film wedding photography cinestill
Head here for a ripper wedding florist

If you’re considering having your wedding photographed on analog film, I can recommend a bunch of ways in which it can be approached: whether having your entire wedding photographed on film such as Lil and Jake here, or doing what I do much of the time, when I detect that the idea sparks joy: bringing along some weird, wonderful gadgets, and making some images on them over the course of the day.

If you like, you can see some of what’s in my camera bag over at Shotkit, although it’s in need of an update (i’m pretty sure all the kit there hasn’t survived my anarchist hands for half a decade).

Are you sure our wedding on film wont get lost in the mail?

We personally deliver all of your film to one of the best professional labs in town. If we are photographing your wedding internationally, then part of our meticulous level of care when photographing your wedding on film includes researching labs nearby and doing the exact same thing.

The film photography gear we use currently:

Hasselblad 500 film wedding photography. Why I shoot film at weddings

Yashica 635G

The poor-mans Rolleiflex, this little beauty is quiet, a marvel of engineering, dream to look at, and a pleasure to carry around.

hasselblad 500cm film wedding photo

Hasselblad 500CM

This is my “good afternoon, i’m making some serious work” camera. A little heavier, a lot louder, but due to having an enormous mirror inside it, what you see through the ground-glass is what you get: whereas with a Twin Lens Reflex (TLR) camera, there might be a very slight difference in what you end up with.

Crown Graphic 4×5 camera

The grand-daddy of common press-cameras in the 1950’s. Extremely portable, lightweight, invites curiosity, and the looks of it alone are good enough reason to be a film wedding photographer.

If I had to take one to a desert island, it would be the Yashica. If I got to take a tripod too, it would be the Hasselblad. My favourite film stocks are Kodak Portra 400 and Kodak Tri-X, although these days i’m taking a leaning towards the rich colours of Ektar.

Why I shoot film at weddings
Why shoot film at weddings

If you’d like us to shoot some analogue film at your wedding, you can connect with us here or on instagram, and maybe for a doubke-whammy of awesome, let’s get our analogue on at one of these Melbourne wedding venues.

For more of my film-only work, you can follow my personal account here.

If you like this, check out more black and white wedding photos

Film wedding photography questions answered

Do wedding photos on film cost more?

All of my packages include some film. To enquire about the cost of having your wedding photographed on 100% analog film, make an enquiry on the contact page.

Can anything go wrong on analog film?

I use a mix of old cameras, as well as the very latest analogue film cameras that were ever made. All of them are regularly serviced by the leading analogue film camera technicians. And I carry backsups on backups, so there is never any risk of anything going wrong. In fact, since I’m not simply shooting everything on one digital SD card, you could even argue that having your wedding photos taken on analog film is even safer than digital.

Will we get less photos on film?

Shooting your wedding on film means being even more careful when capturing moments. This means that i’ll typically come back with a fraction of the photos that I would for a wedding photographed on digital. With that said, you’ll still come away with a minimum of 300-400 finished film photos of your wedding, sometimes even more.

What is the best film to photograph my wedding on?

We use only the best stocks from Kodak and Cinestill. Typically, we can be seen waving our very favourites around: Cinestill 800, Ektar, Portra variants, and TMAX or Tri-X. Occasionally, we’ll even bring some special sauce that has become a unique part of my look and made us one of the most sought after film wedding photographers on the planet.

Is there a course on analogue film wedding photography?

We’ve been planning one for years, and will be releasing a short course on how to be a film wedding photographer soon. Check back on our education here for photographers.