Why I shoot film.

Film photography is going through a bit of a renaissance at the moment and I've unashamedly jumped on the bandwagon and here's why. I've included some of my favourite frames from my recent film reels too which I hope you enjoy looking at.

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I can remember getting my first digital camera, 2 megapixels! When I got it I wasn't a 'photographer' the way I am now but it did however represent a certain freedom. I could suddenly take as many photos as I wanted and document my life. It was part of whole series of new tech that became available as I hit my late teens. Mp3 players, mobile phones and access to the internet. Although I have a vague memory of life before all that, (my first car had a tape player and I used to velcro a walkman cd player to the dashboard that skipped over every bump in the road), I have never the less become an adult in the connected digital age. 

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So why did I pick up a film camera again, when I own several top of line digital cameras? I was given my Grandad's old Canon AV-1 a few years ago, a really great little camera. I had a little go with it, just because I had it really and although I liked the results it went back in the cupboard for another few years. It wasn't until recently that I reached a point in my life where being a mother, always busy and just constantly connected to everything and everyone became a bit too much that I really thought to pick it up again.

I realised that I probably spent as much time looking at facebook in any given day than I did anything else, including my child. I found myself commenting on everything, giving opinions on and judging people for things that I really had very little understanding of. It's easily done when your on your own with only a small child for company for long periods of time. Looking at other peoples lives on facebook can make you feel both isolated and inadequate, not many people present a rounded view of themselves over social media, me included. So I made the decision to take a step back and boy did it make me feel better. The first few days I genuinely shocked myself picking up my phone and almost instinctively trying to open and scroll though the now deleted app and feeling a quite real sense of loss, honestly that scared me a little. Once I got over the initial withdrawal I really felt more comfortable in own skin again and although I still use social media I keep a much tighter check on the amount of time I spend on it, I caught myself just before the point of no return and I'm thankful for it.  

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I don't want people to think I'm down on social media altogether, I'm not! It has many many benefits and for many people I think the opposite of my experience with it is true. It brings them comfort and connection when they need it and I won't argue with you about the benefits its brought to social mobility, my experiences are personal but I don't think I'm alone. What has this got to do with film photography? Well my withdrawal from facebook sparked a bit of a desire in me to just slow down in general, stop trying to do everything all the time and just focus on what matters. So I decided to pick up the film camera again.

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When your shooting on film you have no screen to check what your doing, you can't just make a rough guess and work from there. You have to think before you press the shutter. Am I using the right settings to get the results I want? What results do I actually want? Is there a better way to do this? Every shot matters, there's no second chance at that frame. When you do take a bit of a risk, it's fun and challenging and getting it wrong is just as beneficial as getting it right. It slows me down, focus's my thought process and I produce better work because of it.

I'd like to think that over the last few years I've become a fairly economic photographer anyway, I try not to just shoot off hundreds of frames and fix my mistakes on the computer later but I still fall into the trap of doing that sometimes. I have caught myself thinking, never mind that's not quite right but I will fix it in 'post' as we photographers call it. Shooting on film takes that opportunity away. Mess it up and there is no photo and you've wasted money to boot. The lack of instant gratification is refreshing and ultimately very rewarding. 

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Next theres the look of the images. There's just something about them, they have a depth, warmth and what I would describe as a soul that I just don't see in digital. They are less perfect, a bit more forgiving and I think better for it. Here's a wee secret, not all but a lot of photographers who shoot wedding and portrait work in a similar style to me, relaxed documentary feel to it edit their work to look like it's shot on film anyway. Those colour modes on your compact camera, or filters you put on your instagram photos, probably based on the look from a particular film stock. So if your going to edit your digital photos to look like film, which I do, why not just shoot on film?? Why pretend to do something you can actually just do for real. As I mentioned I've always gone in for minimal editing of my photos anyway, some photographers whole look and style is based on how they edit the images, that's a real skill too if your into the results you get from it, but it's just not me. So the fact that shooting on film basically removes the need for editing altogether is just another benefit for me.

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Now I get that if your a client of mine your probably not that interested in the process of how the photos are made, you want the end result. In the case of my photography the results from my film and digital work are now fairly similar because I try hard to shoot digital with my film head on. Think, question and respect every frame. I don't think I would give up the flexibility that digital photography affords me when shooting a wedding for example, being able to jump about in different lighting conditions producing consistent images is just too important to wedding clients BUT there is an undeniable magic to film photos and I will be offering that to clients too.

Just because you own a record player doesn't mean your giving up your spotify subscription, but if your honest with yourself you know which one makes you happier! So there we have it, I love film, I love geeking out over film stocks and cameras and if I'm shooting for myself it's pretty much all on film. Getting my developed images back is exciting, seeing the success and failures is both rewarding and disappointing in equal measure and yes theres a bit of a fashion for it right now, but think that comes from my generations desire to take a step back from our crazy busy connected lives and I honestly don't think for me at least it's a fad. Check back in a few years and see! 

Peebles Dog Photographer - Lola the spaniel

How cute is Lola! So well trained too, had a great time with her and owner Laura on a typical walk around Cadrona golf course. 

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Peebles Wedding Photographer - Nicole and David

Nicole and David travelled up to Peebles from the Lake District to get married at Neidpath Castle. The pair know the area, being mountain bike mad, drawn here by the trails that criss cross the Tweed Valley. This was my first wedding at the castle and proved to be a perfect venue for their friendly and intimate wedding.

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Nikki got her hair and make up done at the Peebles Hydro, whilst friends and family dropped in to make sure preparations were right on track. Like most outdoors people there was a good helping of canine support too!

We moved down to the castle to get the final touches done and finish getting ready. No shortage of stunning spots to show case Nikkis dress.

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Congratulations to Nikki and Dave on a great day at Neidpath Castle.

Lake District wedding - Esther and Paul

I was lucky enough to be invited down to the lake district to photograph the wedding of Esther and Paul in the truly beautiful location of Loweswater.  With Paul being a tree surgeon and Esther recently qualifying as the first female tree surgeon in the Lakes the whole day had a theme of trees and wood and a really personal, natural feel. Absolutely loved it. I hope you enjoy the photos.

Esther choose not to have me attend her getting ready, a decision a really respect so the first job of the day for me was capturing the guest arriving and the getting some shots of the boys before the ceremony.

 

Esther arrived in style in the back of her Dad's Landrover Defender

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Peebles Family Photographer - Toddler early riser sessions

I'm really pleased to now offer early riser sessions for Toddlers.  Having a toddler myself has made me realise that their best time of the day is quite often the morning.  Lets face it most of them get up fairly early too don't they!  I always thought it was a shame to miss the lovely evening light with young kids as they are often tucked up in bed or at least getting tired by that point of the day.  The good news is the mornings have their own fair share of nice light too.

So why not take advantage and join me for an early riser sessions.  Just £50 and you will get the top 5 images yours to keep on digital download.

Megan and Phil

It's always lovely to be invited to photograph a wedding, it's really nice when its an old family friend though.  Although I did have a wee tear in my eye during the ceremony and that certainly didn't help me focus the camera.  Well done guys and wishing you many happy years together x

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Auchen Castle Wedding - Kirsty and Colin

A couple of weeks ago I was privileged to photograph Kirsty and Colin's Auchen Castle Wedding.  I knew from the fact that these guys were both Project Managers it would be a super organised and slick run affair and I wasn't disappointed! Not only that though, it was relaxed, fun and full of lovely people, just like a wedding should be.  Kirsty and Colin have the most amazing chemistry and I hope that comes through in the pictures, I really did enjoy working with them.

Details, details and of course shoes! Usually my first job of the day.

Getting ready was a relaxed and fun affair.

It's always great to spend some time with the boys in the morning as well.

Colin keeping an eye on the time.

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Sometimes rain is a good thing, some lovely glint on the rocks.

That moment just before....

Kirsty and Colin share a love of travel and choose it for the theme of their day.

Sometimes I get to jump on someone else photo opportunity!

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Especially when their phone isn't playing ball!

Aachen castle provides a stunning backdrop for portraits.

I love this one, Colin and Kirsty making their entrance to their reception, it just shows how much fun they are!

Speechs and smile :-)

Give a boy a big sword to play with....!

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Catch!

First dance and then lots more, great party!

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Congratulations Mr and Mrs Armstrong x

Edinburgh Engagement Shoot - Kirsty and Colin

I headed out into a lovely corner of the Pentland hills at the weekend to capture Kirsty and Colin a few months before their big day at Auchen Castle in April.  There was certainly a wee nip in the air but despite that and a bit of a breeze we had fun and they got that all important chance to relax in front of the camera. Although they were both a little nervous initially it was soon clear to me what a lovely natural couple they were and I really can't wait to work with them some more at their wedding!

Engagement shoot- Vicky and Owen

It was great to dust off my lenses after my maternity break and nip back down to Yorkshire for this engagement shoot with Vicki and Owen.  A lovely natural couple and we just managed to get finished before the heavens open!

Looking forward to the wedding in a weeks time! x

The best of 2014

I'm just about to make the move North of the border to my new home Peebles in the Scottish Borders.  It's an exciting move and one I'm really looking forward to.  However, it's been a great year here in Yorkshire and I will miss this fantastic county.  I have no doubt I will be back to visit on plenty of occasions.

So here's just a small slice of my 2014 weddings....

It's hard to pick a favourite wedding of the year but if I had to it would be Claire and Phil's.  Starting in Whitby and holding the main party in Dalby Forest it had pretty much everything going for it.  Great people. great weather and a great party! All organised by the fab Woodland Weddings.

One of my favourite venues this year was the little BnB, Millgate House that Catherine and Paul discovered in the centre of Richmond.  What a gem and what a lovely intimate wedding. The gardens gave me so much opportunity to shoot some of my favourite portraits of the year.

Although not in Yorkshire the wedding of Nicole and John gave me a chance to get down with the cockneys, I'm afraid some of the rhyming slang was lost on me but this cross continental love affair was a great day.  The best part of the day for me was the amazing retro hair salon, Rockalilly cuts that the ladies spent most of the morning in.

The wedding of Donna and Benoit in Harrogate early in the spring introduced me to spray on make-up for the first time as well as one of my favourite shots, mother and daughter.

It might have been a cold October day but the sun shone for Christine and Peter at the stunning Ravenscar hotel, overlooking Robin Hoods bay.

The Martin Family

I was privileged enough to be asked to photograph the Martin family whilst they were all visiting the UK from Canada.  They wanted to plan their shoot around a visit to York so I suggested museum gardens as it's nice and central and provides a great backdrop!  We had a great hour with a variety of different shots taken and I think it really shows how much you can get out of just an hour if you get a family group together.

 Uncle Simon is pretty proud of his new nephew Sam!

Uncle Simon is pretty proud of his new nephew Sam!

Lorraine and Andy

Lorraine and Andy were married at York registry office a few weeks ago. I like the registry office at York because it has such nice light and no dated carpets! We headed round to the museum gardens for a photo session after.  It was just a quickie but what a lovely heartfelt day and great peeps! Here's a few of the portraits.

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I was really looking forward to Claire and Phil's wedding at Dalby forest.  It's a place I spend a lot of my free time in and I was excited to shoot my first wedding there.

The photography coverage actually started at their intimate registry office service in Whitby before they headed back down to Dalby for the main event.  Claire had decided not to have me along for her 'getting ready' part of the morning.  It's a decision I really respect actually, the choice to keep that special part of the day private to just close friends and family!

Despite the weather threatening a bit it actually turned out nice for the service and a few portraits down on the seafront afterwards.

Then we left the beautiful seafront of Whitby behind and headed down to Dalby forest.  Claire and Phil went off to get there glad rags on and I headed off to meet some guests.  I knew they had a glamping set up and I was really impressed with the whole layout from Woodland Weddings. It was great fun capturing the guest getting their tents set up and starting the drinking!

The details were simple but beautiful, just the way they should be!

Thankfully the wind dropped and the sun shone as Claire and Phil arrived for their hand fasting ceremony.  Just like it was meant to be!

Part of the ceremony was receiving the elements of earth, wind, fire and water (or beer) from their close friends.

Then you jump a sword and it's time to party!

You don't have to go far as a Dalby forest wedding photographer to find an amazing spot for a portrait.

The competition for the best cork popping quite literally went up with a bang!

Fun and heartfelt speeches and thank you's followed.

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Then the party really started!

The dance floor was never empty and kept rocking late into the night.

A huge thanks to Claire and Phil for inviting me along and congratulations and wishing many happy of years of marriage to the new Mr and Mrs Smith, thank you for letting me be your Dalby Forest wedding photographer.