What is Hybrid Photography? And Why I Choose to be a Hybrid Photographer

Have you ever found yourself looking through wedding galleries and wondering, what is it about this style that I love so much? 

You might even ask yourself that question when you see my photos. What makes them stand out from the other images you’ve seen in so many other Australian wedding photographers’ portfolios?

Well, my future-wedded friends, it’s all about the film. 

“What do you mean when you say film?” 

I hear this question often. Couples fall in love with my photos, and I tell them it’s largely due to the beauty of film photography. 

But I don’t just capture with film. I’m a hybrid photographer, meaning I use two cameras (digital and film) to capture your wedding day. 

Still curious as to what all this means? I’ll explain below and show you some photo examples. 

What is Hybrid Photography?

Some photographers use only digital cameras to capture their subjects and may edit the photos to mimic the look of film images. Other photographers may prefer to keep things purely film and never pick up a digital camera.

And then there are the hybrid photographers, like me, who use film and digital mediums. I prefer a balance of the two because you get the best of both worlds. 

I’ve written in length about the differences between film and digital photographs, so if you haven’t checked out that post, I encourage you to take a look after reading this one. But here’s a snapshot of what these two mediums bring to the table.

Film Photography: 

  • Film reads light much better than digital, creating more true-to-life colour and detail.
  • The look of film is softer, brighter, and more colourful. Details pop. It lends to the elegant and timeless style you see in my photos.
  • The process is slower and more intentional because I can’t take photo after photo. I only have a limited number of times I can press the shutter button, so I must be mindful of each capture. This allows my clients to slow down a bit more and take in the experience. It’s quite enjoyable. 

Digital Photography: 

  • Digital offers a crisp and clear look, but some of this is achieved in post-processing.
  • Digital reads low light much better than film and retains details in the dark parts of a photo. Basically, nighttime photos and shadows look better when taken with a digital camera.  
  • A photographer can take as many photos as she wants in order to get the perfect shot. 
  • The process (from photographing to delivering galleries) is quicker. 

LEFT – Digital Vs RIGHT – Film

Why I Use Film

Why, in a digital world, would someone choose such an old way of photographing? Especially when the process is time-consuming and costly on my end.

Simply because the results are worth it. It’s a timeless art that can’t be reproduced. Take one look at a film photograph, and it’s easy to fall in love with the rich detail, gorgeous colours, and fine-art style. 

There’s also something about using a film camera. It’s a whole different process from using its digital relative. Years of experience and knowledge go into learning the intricacies of the device, the film, everything! So, from a technical standpoint, anyone who works with film really has to know what they’re doing (*wink wink*).   

Below – Black and white film

Why I Choose to be a Hybrid Photographer 

I may adore film, but I still believe digital has its place in wedding photography. And to give you the best images I can, I use both mediums. 

I’ll bring my digital and film cameras to your wedding, so I’m prepared for any situation. A lot of times, the light will dictate which camera I use at the moment.

Clear, natural light is film’s best friend. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the early morning, the middle of the day, or nearing sunset – if we’re outdoors and the light is good, I’m likely capturing photos with the film camera. You can see the difference in the details and how objects are highlighted in an image.

On the other hand, the digital camera will work wonders if we’re indoors where the light is less-than-ideal or outdoors at night. Film really can’t pick up any detail in the dark, so we would be left with a dull, black image (without flash). Digital, however, is brilliant at capturing subjects in shaded areas and when the sun goes down. 

Another option is to take a photo on film and digital so that there are two versions. But these are the things you don’t have to worry or think about. As a hybrid photographer, it’s my job to figure out which moment is best suited for digital or film. And to be honest, most of my couples don’t even realise when I’m going between the two! 

That’s the magic of working with me. I give you the best of both worlds without you ever knowing. All you have to do is show up, celebrate, and receive a gallery full of beautiful, timeless, and romantic images. Sound like something you’re up for? Let me know!

Sheri McMahon - The difference between digital and film wedding photography

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Whether your love story is one blossomed from elegant romance or one of epic proportions, I am so excited to be a part of this journey with you and can’t wait to get to know you more. I am a fine art photographer providing my services all throughout NSW, Australia and destinations worldwide. Passionately devoted to capturing the beauty of your special day. 

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