Why film? We get asked this question a lot. Shooting with film is an artistic decision, part science, part artistic tool. Having film cameras in our "tool box" makes sense to us for three main reasons. The first is that we learned photography using film, (pre digital), why throw away all that knowledge? The second is that the combination of film and film cameras create soft beautiful images, specifically with medium format film, (which is a large negative), and third - it sets us apart from most wedding photographers. These days shooting with film is a niche market, one which we gladly take part in! We feel that strongly about the art of creating the images we're commissioned to create. Shooting with film does cost a little more, but we feel it's worth it. It's as if film breaths life into images as living breathing photographs. Film, asanartistic tool, captures emotionally powerful images with beautiful soft tones. All the film we shoot gets scanned during processing at the lab. A good lab is most important, our lab of choice is the best lab we've found, we use Richard Photo Lab.
What's in Your Camera Bags?
Since we shoot with both film and digital cameras, we're considered hybrid shooters. The best of both mediums. Our camera bags are pretty heavy but we love what we can create using different types of cameras. I thought it might be fun to share what equipment we use to create the images we make. We use both film and digital cameras on most of our shoots, we love and understand them inside and out. The film cameras we shoot with are for the most part the Contax 645, Hasselblad 500CM, Rolleiflex, Widelux F7 and Holga. We also love and embrace digital as an important tool and photographic advancement. The digital cameras we use are Canon 5D’s.
Please take a look at the different cameras we use below to learn more about the gear we use and the images we create. After all, it isn’t the camera, it’s the photographer, but having really great equipment helps! The film cameras listed here are no longer produced, and are therefore even more special. Film and film cameras can still be purchased at camera stores. Give them a try! If you have any questions about film cameras, feel free to ask, I may know the answer! You can also follow us on IG at @karenhillweddings.
Medium Format Film Cameras:
Contax 645, with an 80mm f2 and a 45mm f2.8 Carl Zeiss Lenses
This camera is one of my favorites and in my opinion, is the best camera ever made. This auto focus camera shoots a rectangle, an actual 6x4.5 negative size. There are 32 images per roll on 220 film and 16 images per roll on 120 film. I use 400, 800 or 3200 ISO film.
Rolleiflex, with an 80mm 2.8 Carl Zeiss Optics Twin Lens
This twin lens camera is a vintage gem from the 1960's. The first Rolleiflex was produced in 1929. It shoots a square, 6x6 negative, with 12 images per roll of 120 film. It's super Carl Ziess lens produces images that are a little bit dreamy. I use 400, 800 or 3200 ISO film. I love this camera.
The Holga has a plastic lens and one exposure, f8 at a 60th of a second. This camera loves light as much as I do. It shoots a square 6x6 negative, with 12 images per roll of 120 film. Since the lens is plastic, two things happen when you shoot with it, first, the plastic lens makes the image a bit blurry and secondly, when light hits the lens, it causes refraction. Refraction essentially means that when light hits the lens, the light wave is changed and causes light to record in the most curious ways. I find this "accidental light" rendering to be lovely, quirky, dreamy and poignant. The images look like they were shot 100 years ago!
Hasselblad 500CM, with an 80mm f2.8 Carl Zeiss Optics Lens
This Swedish made camera is a vintage beauty from around the 1960's. It's shutter makes a specific loud "kerrrplunk" sound, music to my ears. It shoots a square 6x6 negative, with 24 images per roll on 220 film. This is a completely manual camera, there is no battery which means no light meter. A hand held light meter is a must. It's Carl Zeiss lens renders images that are extremely sharp and at the same time, a little dreamy. I use 400, 800 or 3200 ISO film. I adore this camera.
Fun fact, in 1969, a slightly modified Hasselbald went to the moon on the Lunar space shuttle Apollo 11 when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin became the first people to reach the moon. A little history side note.
Here's a photo I took of the actual Hasselbald that went to the moon at the National Air & Space Museum in DC in 2016. A pretty cool geek out moment, (see the image below).
35mm Film Camera:
This panoramic camera shoots 180 degrees with a barrel, rotating lens, which I love because as it makes the exposure, it distorts and bends the image. This camera takes in the whole scene! It has three shutter speeds and is a completely manual camera. No battery means no light meter. There are 20 images on each roll of 36 exposure film. One of my favorites for it's specific fun style. I use 400, 800 or 3200 ISO film.
High Resolution Digital Cameras:
Canon 5D Mark III & IV, with the 24-70mm f2.8 ll, a 50mm f2.0, a 17-40mm f4.5 and a 35mm f1.4 lenses
Super flexible in all types of light, sharp and fast with tons of exposure latitude. We shoot in RAW. Black and White is achieved in post processing. These cameras and lenses are great additions to our camera bags!
We use two Think Tank Rolling Airport Navigators and love them!
This a top loading rolling camera bag that allows easy access to three cameras on the top with additional storage under each camera, it has a front, padded sleeve for a laptop, hat, reflector and paperwork. This bag fits in the overhead compartment of an aircraft so we're good to go.
I also carry an additional tote bag that piggy backs on the Navigator, and a shoulder bag for film, film inserts and cards.
This is the photo I took at the National Air & Space Museum, it shows the modified Hasselblad that went to the moon on the Lunar space shuttle Apollo 11 in 1969.
Who Processes Your Film and How Will We See the Film Images, Are They Digitalized??
We use Richard Photo Lab to process our film and have for many years. The relationship between a photographer and their lab is so important. We have all the film scanned and it's sent to us via FTP and we combine them with the digital files to create the wedding day story. You'll receive the entire gallery together in the approximate sequence of the day.
Do You Travel?
Yes! We love to travel near and far, let's talk!
We've shot weddings all over the country, including Chicago, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington DC and internationally in Antiqua, Canada, France, Nassau in the Bahamas and Mexico. We'd love to travel to your wedding!
Do You Provide Video Services?
We do not, we are still photographers only but are happy to share a short list of videographers we enjoy working with.
How Many Photos Will We Receive?
We deliver about 100 images an hour, so for 8 hours, you'll receive about 800 images!
Do You Edit Every Photo?
Yes, we edit every single photo you receive.
Do You Have Insurance and Can You Provide a COI?
Have You Worked at My Venue?
Most likely! It would be fun to start a long, long list, maybe another day!
To name a few, (in no particular order),
Cedar Lakes Estate,
Bridgehampton Tennis and Surf Club,
The St Regis,
Bryant Park Grill,
Central Park Boathouse,
New York Athletic Club,
The River Cafe,
Brookyn Botanic Garden,
New York Botanical Garden,
Montauk Yacht Club,
Castle at Tarrytown,
The Pratt House,
The Marble House,
Sunset Beach Club,
The Creek Club,
Onteora Mountain House,
Wee Burn Country Club,
Willow Ridge Country Club,
The Parker New York,
Liberty View Farm,
Montauk Lake Club,
Blind Brook Country Club,
The High Line Hotel,
Blue Hill at Stone Barns,
Piping Rock Country Club,
The Liberty Warehouse,
The DeSeversky Mansion,
Gramercy Park Hotel,
632 on Hudson,
The New York Palace,
The Mansion at Natirar,
Wolffer Estate Vineyard,
Belle Haven Club,
Numerous Private Homes, Churches and Synagogues
How Long Does it Take to Receive Our Images?
For weddings, including rehearsal dinner coverage, our turn around is 8-10 weeks.
For portraits, including family sessions, our turn around is 4-6 weeks.
How Long Have You Been a Photographer?
I've been shooting weddings for 25 years and have been a photographer for much longer. I've actually been shooting since I was little with a Kodak Instamatic. My first real camera was a Pentax K1000, then I got a Canon AE-1, then a Nikon FM2 and then a Nikon F3. Fun fact, these were Frank's first cameras as well, AND we still have ALL our old cameras!
What Happens if You Get Sick on Our Wedding Day?
I've been shooting weddings for 25 years and have never missed a wedding and I don't plan on missing a wedding either. I take my job pretty seriously but if I was not able, like the time my colleagues adoption came through and she had to leave the country to pick up her baby daughter, I covered a wedding for her, I think that from the talented pool of amazing photographer colleagues, besides Frank, I'd be able to replace myself.