by David Simm Published 01/04/2000
My standard film for most of my wedding work is Fuji NPH, at 400 speed it is a beautiful all rounder, great for available light portraits, superb during the ceremony either by natural light only, or with fill in flash, candids at the reception are a breeze, there is just enough speed to fill in the ambiance in the background at the same time allowing battery saving on the flash unit. It is a great wedding photographers film.
Although I only ever use it for studio portraiture, Fuji have another great professional film, NPS is a true 160 ISO emulsion with the capability to record magnificent flesh tones. If there are any of those purist still left out there... hey, this is the film for you, not a trace of grain and you can press your noses on the paper and bring your loupe, it is simply gorgeous.
Of course in this day and age with wedding photography styles and fashions changing seasonally, not everyone wants all colour, I often sell black and white prints made from all these films, some of the time we use Kodak Panalure panchromatic printing paper, but just as often we print on Ilford Multigrade with equally impressive results.
Four years ago I had a bride who wanted all black and white prints, her mother who came with her on the day she booked, almost had kittens, because she wanted a colour albums. I don't have to tell you what we did, you know what comes next, but both and daughter were deliriously happy.
There are occasions however, when it is requested that the photographs are shot in black and white, well things haven't changed all that much these past thirty five years, films I used as a young press photographer are still on the market TriX at least, Ilford had evolved a long way even past there wonderful HP5.
Many American wedding photographers have added infra red film to their armoury, I see some eye popping results. The only word of caution is, that most of these pictures are usually shot on a separate day, more for the photographer's portfolio and competition, than for the clients satisfaction. For me those days are gone, I'm a bit long in the tooth for that, the wedding day is enough for me, any extra days I would rather spend with my four children.
I am presently having a lot of fun shooting Ilford Delta 3200 in my Pentax 645 and a Minolta XD7 35mm with tremendous results. I did a self assignment recently, shooting all black and white, having the negs printed to sepia, on colour paper. Without trying to sound too conceited, I had people from the lab calling me to rave about the "new look", only it wasn't all that new to me, I did the same thing twenty five years ago the only difference that time is I printed my own work in those far off days.
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