Film or Digital?

Aside from the Digital Photography option (which is the most popular medium for most photographers), I do have a Film Photography option, which incidentally is my medium of choice and one that I’m most recognised for. This (Film Photography) is perhaps a very odd choice in a world where almost everything is going digital. The question that most wedding couples would ask is “WHY FILM?”, which not surprisingly some photographers have asked the same question as well.  Before I attempt to answer this question, perhaps it’s worth exploring a few other questions first.

Steven & Charissa's Paris Pre-Wedding Photography by Film Wedding Photographer Brian Ho from thegaleria
This is perhaps one of my most iconic image taken back in 2007 on the Kodak TRI-X 400 / Charissa, Rue Malher, Paris

Is there a difference?

Quick question is yes but there is really no easy way to answer (this question). Since most of the folks who’ll be reading this article are wedding couples, I’ll answer this question without going too much into technical details. In a nutshell, folks who love Film Photography (we shall call it just Film from now on) love it for the old-school and timeless feel to it. Some people have described it as being more natural, organic and realistic than Digital. One of the most common comment I get from wedding couples from viewing my works is “it’s as if you hit the pause button while watching a movie”. There is a certain transient mood to it that is sometimes very hard to put into plain words.

Deon & Sheila / Singapore Pre Wedding / Tiong Bahru / Film Wedding Photographer
Deon & Sheila, Tiong Bahru, 2017 / FujiFilm Natura 1600

Can I tell them apart?

Well, I can but that’s not a very fair judgement because I’ve had a decade of experience meddling with Film. Suffice to say, some folks can tell them apart while others can’t. It’s the same argument when it comes to how music played on vinyl and vacuum tube amplifier is different from digital music played on a modern amplifier.

Suresh & Luanne, 2020 / FujiFilm, Superia 1600

Jeremy & Elizabeth's Pre Wedding at Wessex & Tiong Bahru / Wedding Photography by thegaleria

Jeremy & Elizabeth, 2018 / Kodak TRI-X 400 on Diana F+

Is Film better?

Ian & Alicia's Wedding at Karuizawa, Nagono, Japan / Wedding Photography by Brian Ho / thegaleria
Ian & Alicia,  Fullerton Boathouse, 2010 / Kodak TRI-X 400

This is actually a question I keep getting. Quick answer is both yes and no. To use the same Vinyl vs Digital analogy, could you say Vinyl is better? Well, it depends who you’re asking. Vinyl lovers will swear by the natural, life-like analogue sound while Digital folks prefer digital music for entirely different reasons. The question you should be asking is which medium appeals to you more? For me,  I’m a Film Photographer at heart and that will always be my first love, but over the years, I’ve grown to appreciate both mediums for different reasons.

Should I go with Film?

Hong Kong Pre Wedding by Film Wedding Photographer Brian Ho / thegaleria // Kodak TRI-X 400
Felix & Joyce, Hong Kong, 2017 / Kodak TRI-X 400

Yik Shiong & Lin Li's London Pre-Wedding Photography by Film Wedding Photographer Brian Ho from thegaleria

Yik Shiong & Lin Li, Baker Street Station, London, 2010 / Kodak TRI-X 400

Only if you like how it looks. In general, if you like the ethereal, old-school, timeless feel in your wedding photos, then Film might be something that works for you.

Just remember there isn’t a right or wrong choice. Whichever medium you pick, you’ll still be enjoying good photography pretty much the same way how Digital & Vinyl lovers have enjoyed the music listening experience, albeit in different ways.

So, Why Film?

Now, as to why I’m still sticking my guns with Film Photography? Well, it’s a personal choice, one that I have grown very fond of and one that have become synonymous with me as a wedding photographer. Folks who have known me long enough have often described me as the “one who stubbornly refused to give up Film”.  Which is your medium of choice? Would it be Film or Digital? Which do you think works better for you?

If you do pick Film, you’ll be one of the few wedding couples who’ll be embracing this timeless medium which has withstood the test of time.

. . . . . . .
The Photographer
Film Wedding Photographer Brian Ho is probably no stranger to the world of Wedding Photojournalism having helmed his trade for more than a decade. His unique blend of UNSCRIPTED, UNSTAGED & UNOBTRUSIVE wedding photography has been the cornerstone of his style, creating images that are real and above all, true to the heart.
Brian is one of the few wedding photographers in this region who still shoots in the old school analogue film. His black & white film images are perhaps his most recognisable works.