The art of film wedding photography featuring Davy Whitener Photography

I’m so excited to introduce to you one of our newest friends in the photography arena – Davy Whitener. I have so enjoyed following him and am looking forward to some amazing projects together. I asked Davy to contribute his thoughts on what can be a hot topic in wedding photography: film vs. digital. Davy is a firm believer in film (as am I) and I am so glad to have him give his thoughts on what it brings to a wedding. Enjoy getting to know him and his work! Until next time – XOXO, Julie

Photography is an art. Everyone is going to see something different and have their own opinions of “what is good”. Film and digital photography are two different mediums to create photographs. There are many amazing film and digital photographers. I am not conveying that one medium is better than the other. I believe it is ultimately in the skills and talents of the photographer. I am going to state some differences that I have noticed over the years and why I love film photography.


I starting shooting with 35mm film in 1996 (commissioned jobs in 2000), transitioned to digital in 2003, and back to medium format and 35mm in 2013.

For me, the final product is a feeling. I love the feel that film photographs produce. They are timeless, soft, honest, and ethereal. This look is exceptionally beautiful and dreamy with weddings. I still believe digital images cannot match this feel, even after hours of computer editing. Being a film photographer makes me feel more like an artist. It excites me and I have a passion for it that I cannot explain. With each job, I strive to go above and beyond for my clients and love adding new elements to further perfect my craft.



Here are some differences that I have noticed. Film has a wonderful way of handling light – ranging from low lights to highlights in one frame. The transition from darks to lights is so smooth and beautiful. I find digital to be more contrasty, which I do not care for. Film has color information in bright highlights, where digital highlights tend to blow out. All of the above are great advantages for weddings because I am shooting outside at all times of the day, not just the prime golden hour in the evening. Color is a huge element for me. I believe color is very accurate and true in film. For example, a bride’s dress will be pure white, her skin tone is perfect, the florals are accurate, the grass is the correct shade of green, the sky is a true blue, and the bark on the white oak looks real. I have had difficulty achieving this correct color, across the whole frame, with digital. Film tends to have a more 3 dimensional appearance (more depth of field). Lastly, I believe portraits come out more flattering in general.


Another side note, I love the workflow of shooting film. Yes, it is more expensive because I have to purchase film and incur lab bills to process, scan, and/or print images. (By the way, I love my lab, Richard Photo Lab.) To me, it is worth the cost. I get all the benefits of beautiful film photographs and I do not have to edit for hours on my computer. I would much rather be photographing, working in the studio, resting for my next job, or spending time with my lovely wife and three babies.



My ideal client can see and appreciate the fine art feel and difference in what I deliver. As a bride, look at a photographer’s portfolio and see if you relate to his/her work. Do you like their feel, imagery, lighting, and the way they capture the day? Talk with them (or meet) and make sure you get along with their personality… as they will be with you and your loved ones all day.


Again, these are my humble opinions and why I choose to be a film photographer. I hope you find this information useful as you enjoy choosing the right photographer for your special day!


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