This session is special to me for a few different reasons. I met Kaitlyn’s mother at a bridal show last fall and she entered Kaitlyn in my raffle to win a free engagement session. I’m so glad that I drew Kaitlyn’s name in the raffle! I emailed her and she was so sweet and appreciative. Our schedules and other circumstances kept us from shooting for a few months, but we finally got together on a sunny St. Augustine afternoon last month.
When I met Kaitlyn and Jake, my first thought was “wow these people are models!” My photographer heart did a very happy dance. Beautiful people, an awesome location, and medium format film are always the perfect trifecta! Kaitlyn and Jake were also as sweet as can be and went for all of my ideas… I couldn’t have asked for a better couple!
Another really big reason that this session is special to me is that this is the first engagement session I’ve done fully in film! I’ve been incorporating film into my work for almost a year now as I’ve been studying hybrid (digital+film) photography. Ironically, I was actually first trained in film and then learned digital later. I have my Bachelors in Fine Arts with a concentration in photography from UNF, but I still for some reason always shot digital!
I shot only digital because it was easier. You can take 5,000 pictures and most likely there will be some good ones lol! You can check the back of the camera to make sure you got the shot before moving onto the next. And if you didn’t concentrate on composition or you got the exposure wrong, you could just fix it in photoshop. While it all sounds wonderful, the truth is it caused me to become lazy in a way. Fix it in Photoshop was a motto that I lived by. (New photographers, or anyone really- please never think like this!)
I’ve always admired certain photographers and their work. Elizabeth Messina, Jose Villa, Jeremy Chou, and Julie Paisley are a few that come to mind. I loved their aesthetics and while I didn’t want to copy their styles or anything, I wanted to know how they achieved certain looks that I just couldn’t. After some research, I found they all had one thing in common- They are all film photographers.
That led me on a quest to find a way to make my digital images look like film. I discovered Mastin Labs, a company that makes the most accurate film emulation presets out there, and I was hooked! When I was editing with Mastin, I was finally able to get somewhat of the look that I wanted. Mastin was a game changer but something was still missing. While Mastin looks a lot like film, nothing can look exactly like film except film itself.
I invested in a medium format Pentax camera and an amazing workshop with Jeremy Chou and my life changed! I learned that shooting film actually makes you a better photographer. You have to slow the process down and make sure your composition is correct before you take the picture. You take time to create the image ahead of time, rather then just rapidly shooting on your digital camera. This requires more creativity and it shows in the images.
Also, the look and quality of medium format film is unparalleled. Film is timeless. Film is real. Sometimes images are soft focus and those are beautiful too! Film is a look that I believe will never go out of style. I love using Fuji 400 for it’s soft pastel colors, the way it soaks in the light, and the dream-like aesthetic that you can achieve with it. There are other amazing film stocks out there but I feel that Fuji is the one for me.
It’s been quite a journey that I’m not even closed to being finished with, but I am so glad that I rediscovered my love for film. I will probably always shoot hybrid for weddings, but for engagement sessions I think I am ready to take the plunge and shoot only film! I couldn’t have asked for a sweeter and more gorgeous couple to shoot my first all film engagement session with! Thank you Kaitlyn and Jake for trusting me to capture you in film. I am absolutely obsessed with these pictures!
These images (and all the film that I shoot) were scanned by the amazing FIND Lab.