Digital or Film for Wedding Photographs

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When selecting your wedding photographer you will inevitably have to decide whether you want your images captured using film or digital cameras. Both are capable of wonderful results, but the debate rages on as to which is "better", which will last longer and finally, would you even be able to tell the difference. There are many factors which come into play and I'll try to go over some of the most common misconceptions about digital wedding coverage and why I made the transition to all-digital wedding coverage three years ago.

Many falsehoods are circulated on various wedding chatboards where one person blurts out an unsubstantiated opinion and somehow this becomes "chatboard gospel". One of my favorites is: "digital photographs aren't as crisp and vibrant as those made with a film camera". This can certainly be true, if the photograph was made with a two megapixel point and shoot camera and the image printed out on an inexpensive desktop inkjet printer. However, a qualified professional will most likely be using what's known as a digital single-lens reflex camera, or DSLR, with an average of 8 megapixels and perhaps even more. These cameras, manufactured by such well-known companies as Canon and Nikon are more than capable of producing wonderfully crisp enlargements of sixteen by twenty inches and beyond. While inkjet prints may be fine for family vacation shots, I much prefer to have digital album photographs printed by a professional processing lab. The digital printer used by a pro lab is an extremely expensive and specialized piece of equipment. The prints are made on actual photographic paper and should enjoy a long fade-free life given proper care. Ask your photographer to show you some samples. You won't be disappointed.

Digital wedding photos are becoming much more prevalant due to quickly evolving technology and advancements in image storage capability. Film has been around for more than 100 years but is rapidly fading in popularity. I was reluctant to provide full digital coverage for my clients until I was confident that the finished product could meet or exceed that which I could deliver using film. I've seen the wonderful results from my digital gear and nothing could convince me to go back to film. Other market factors influenced my decision, such as long-time medium format camera manufacturer Bronica discontinuing US availability for a number of products and Canon's recent announcement indicating that they may halt future development of their film camera line.

There are many advantages for the Bride and Groom when they choose an all-digital photographer. Some of these include the ability for online posting of their wedding photos, conversion of images from color to black and white or antique sepia tones and the ability to have the photos placed on a CD or DVD for easy storage. From your photographer's perspective, starting with a digital file allows for superior image retouching and corrections when necessary. Additionally, the larger storage capabilities of a digital camera allow the photographer to shoot more images, giving the client a greater selection when it comes time to assemble the wedding album.

About the Author

Andy Heller is the owner/operator of Heller Photography, specializing in Boston Wedding Photography and social events throughout Massachusetts since 1987. He can be reached at 508-668-4277 or by email:

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