Film in the mix.

Many a days I spent pacing my office floor figuring out what worked best.  Sitting down, typing and re-typing a ‘game plan’.  But, as with life, there is no game plan, and sometimes you just gotta wing it.  That’s the same when it comes to film and finding a place for it within your current workflow.  Whether you plan to shoot hybrid, all film, or an unbalanced mix of the two, here are a few suggestions I have figured out along the way: When you’re just getting into the groove shoot it in both digital and film.  Then wait for the film to come back, and pick your favorites out of the two image options.  I betcha it will wind up being your whole roll of film---just saying.  While shooting in both digital and film does take some extra time, it will help you curate your eye more (and see which photos you like enough to take in film--those are the only photos you should be taking ANYWAY!) and help you build your confidence in the medium as you have a “backup” in case of user error.  Doi.  ;)

Shoot with straps.  This was hard for me to do, as I typically shoot without a camera strap (I get all wrapped up in them!), but having your digital AND film around you and easily accessible (with a light meter) may not only make you look like a total dweeb but makes life much, much easier.  Speaking of making life easier...pay attention to this one...

Bring along an assistant.  In addition to a second shooter for weddings and some shoots, an assistant especially when shooting film is clutch.  CLUTCH.  yeah, I said it.  They carry bags when you are loaded down with all that dorky camera gear, they make sure your client's hair isn't getting too too windswept as you are squiting up your light meter, and they are awesome film loaders and support systems.  I am thankful to have found James Ramos, who often helps out on shoots and is a saving grace!  That man can whip out bug spray or an umbrella in the blink of an eye!  And I just may have made him fall in love with some medium format...

Find a good editing style:  I know what you're saying:  who? what? where? when? why?  Where in the WORLD is Carmen San Diego?!?!  I know, this is the hardest part about film--finding a seamless way to make it mesh with your digital.  And in my eyes, nearly impossible to do.   I love film for many reasons, a lot that digital just can’t emulate no matter what (but there's a lot of digital goodness film can’t do, either!).  I tried a million ‘actions + presets’ and worked on figuring it out on my own, and nothing (for me!) seemed to quite hit the nail on the head.  HOWEVER don't let my struggles up until this point get you down.  THERE"S GOOD NEWS FOR ALL!  There are digital editing software and companies like Richard Photo Lab that offer digital edits (it’s great that they DEVELOP film so they know the good color correction sauces to put on photos!) and lightroom tools like Red Leaf, Totally Rad Actions, and VSCO that offer film-like editing presets.  So try them out, you may love them!

Wait to blog or edit any images until the film returns.  Just hold your horses.  I know, "but the client wants them NOW NOW NOW!"  Getting away from the instant gratification that we are acclimated to with digital is a toughie, but that's the beauty of film!  It's worth the wait.  And honestly, with the quick turn around now-a-days with some labs, I get my film back quicker than I can download, cull, and even edit a blog post worth of raw images.  This is difficult for me, the whole patience part, but think about it there is no sense in editing a slew of digital photos without even  seeing how your beautiful film turned out.  Have patience, wait until they come back, choose the best  from the collective and edit.  (I am realizing my favs are ALWAYS the film, so it made sense to take strides to mainly shoot it).  Seeing a side by side comparison of digital and film images is a big help in the culling and editing process.  That being said, here are a few from Mel + Mark’s wedding: