February 19, 2021

What is a Hybrid Wedding Photographer?

If you have started to research wedding photographers, you’ll find there is a huge variety of styles. I try not to add labels, but for the sake of articulation, here are some examples of wedding photographers you may find: Moody, dramatic, film/hybrid, glamour, photojournalistic, and so many more. Even within film and hybrid photographers, there is a ton of variety as well. Many film photographers choose to take a more documentarian approach by not getting much involved in the direction and allowing things to happen naturally. Another style, which is the descriptor I find most describes my style, is fine art film/hybrid wedding photography. In this article I will explain what a hybrid wedding photographer is and why we do what we do.

The way I like to describe fine art wedding photography is this… it is the perfect mingling of documentarian and more curated and posed portraiture and event photography. It’s about capturing the event as naturally as possible, while also not being afraid to step in and fine-tune the image. The fine art wedding photographer also takes on the roll of art director in a lot of ways on the weddings day, often working with the planner or stylist to help crate the best flat-lays and detail images. But most important, we always aim for the images to flow seamlessly, to tell a complete story of your wedding day.

Although there are still some purists who only shoot film, most of us shoot both film and digital. In this article, I am going to explain why we choose to still shoot film, but also explaining why we choose to shoot digital. If you find yourself drawn to this specific style, this will help you understand why I think you should hire a hybrid wedding photographer.

The Benefits of Film:

1. Timelessness

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I want my couples to love their photos next year, ten years, and fifty years from now. Film helps ensure that the images have a timeless quality to them. While I encourage following fun trends for your wedding, I think it is best to keep your images classic and timeless. The last think you want is for your photos to be dated just a few years after you took them. The image above is actually how the film looks straight out of camera. There’s no filters or heavy processing except just a little sharping and adjusting white balance.

2. Overall aesthetic

There’s no doubt that film has a certain ethereal quality to it that just is hard to explain. It is what makes you notice something is different right away, without even being able to put your finger on what it is. I remember when I first started photography about ten years ago, I knew I was drawn to a certain look, and it was only after reading both Jose Villa’s and Elizabeth Messina’s books that I realized it was film. You should have seen me, it was like my head exploded. I knew from that moment on I wanted to be a film photographer, and the rest is history.

3. Attention to detail

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Because we do not have an endless supply of film, we are forced as artists to slow down and really pay attention to every detail of the image. We double check our settings, we scan the backdrop, we pay attention to little details that may throw off the composition of the image. I truly believe it forces you to not only become a better photographer, but to trust yourself as an artist.

4. The colors and skin tone

I find that with the type of film I use looks incredible on a wide variety of skin tones. It produces a creamy quality to the skin that is incredibly flattering for brides and grooms.

5. Dynamic Range

To spare you the bore of the nerdy side of photography, I will explain dynamic range simply. It is essentially the ability to see the details within both the highlights and shadows of an image. With digital, I often have to draw back the highlights to see the details in the wedding dress of the sky. But with film, it has an even superior dynamic range to RAW format images.

Now let’s discuss the benefits of digital photography:

1. Speed

There is just no denying that wedding days can be wild and things can happen very fast. As much as I love film, it can’t match digital when it comes to speed. There are times when you simply must get the shot and get it right, like when the couple is running into the reception for their entrance and first dance. In these situations, I love that I am able to not only get the shot, but make it a beautiful image as well.

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2. Reliability

There is security in being able to see the images and immediately back them up to 2 memory cards as you are taking them. For my somewhat paranoid self, this is one of my favorite qualities of digital cameras. Within 24 hours I can have over 100 GIGABYTES of images backed up FIVE TIMES (Two memory cards, hard drive, cloud, and backup hard drive). The peace of mind this brings is unmatched.

Fine art film hybrid wedding photographer san diego california los angeles wedding photographer

3. Versatility

My number one most favorite thing about digital cameras, is the versatility and adaptability, particularly in low light situations. With film, you have to use a high ISO film which provides a high amount of grain. Although this is lovely, it may not be ideal for all images. I love that with digital equipment, I can increase the ISO to really capture the ambient light without having distinct grain or having to use a high power flash that drowns out reception glows, such as candlelight. This is my number one reason I am a hybrid wedding photographer.

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The benefits of hiring a hybrid photographer:

The primary benefit is that your wedding images will encompass the best of both worlds- the old and the new. In an increasingly digital era, many of us are craving to head back to a more analog experience. We buy records instead of listening on Spotify, we read from books instead of from a tablet… there is still a desire for many of us to savor the beauty of analog mediums. But we also cannot deny the versatility, convenience, and beauty that comes with the digital era as well.

Hybrid wedding photography is not for everyone. We completely understand. But if this all resonates with you- a photographer who shoots both film and digital may be exactly what you need.

If you are engaged and interested in hiring a hybrid wedding photographer, contact me today!

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