Wedding trends

De-mystifying film photography | An interview with Liz Baker Photography

Film photography is enjoying something of a renaissance at the moment, especially within the wedding industry. In fact, it's driving the wider international trend of so-called 'fine art' weddings, characterised by overexposed film tones and natural styling.

I love photography, and I'm rarely without my Canon 6D, but until I interviewed Liz, I knew very little about the art or science of film.

It's still rare to find a wedding photographer who will only shoot on film, but there are an increasing number of 'hybrid' photographers who can offer you the best of both worlds. So, if you're in the process of choosing your wedding photographer and you're considering film, I hope this interview helps you in your decision-making. Enjoy!

‘Fine art’ is a huge trend in the world of weddings. What's the link to film photography?

‘Fine art’ can encompass every aspect of the planning and design of a wedding. It describes an elegant, pared-back style with a strong emphasis on seasonal and loose floral design. The trend stems from a revival of film photography and moreover, the look and feel of overexposed film tones is the defining feature of fine art wedding photographyThis was pioneered by Jose Villa in the US and fostered by blogs like Wedding Sparrow.

For me, it’s about much more than a trend. Like paintings - one of the original fine arts - photographs are powerful impressions: they use licence, they interpret movement and they evoke feelings. That's what I'm trying to do with my images. 

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What makes film photography special?

Light particles react chemically with the silver in film emulsion to give the colour a depth, contrast and grain that set film stills apart. Digital camera sensors use a mathematical process to measure pixels, but the results can appear flat. The reason film images look more natural and more tangible is because they are!

Why do you love film so much?

I grew up shooting on film - opening the back of a camera, loading a roll of film, winding it on, correctly exposing all the frames on the film to the light, unloading it carefully and then sending it to a lab. Sometimes I'd develop films myself in a darkroom. I am passionate about the exceptional and unrivalled beauty of a good film photograph that draws the eye and touches the soul.  As an artist first and a technician second, this is why I choose film, especially when I’m shooting people, settings or beautiful details.

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Are film photographers better photographers?

Not necessarily! It’s not the film that makes you a better photographer. As with any discipline, you perfect your craft by learning and stretching yourself. Almost all film photographers will have a very good understanding of light and exposure, which may put them at an advantage over purely digital photographers who might not have needed to learn as quickly. At £1 per shot, choosing the right settings becomes essential and naturally these skills improve my digital photography too.  I usually shoot a mixture of film and digital, but if I can shoot an entire wedding on film, I will.

Developing a film photograph is a labour of love. Can you explain the process to us?

Film photography is a two-stage process. I take care of the first part, which involves choosing the film stock, handling my equipment, composing and exposing the shots. I use professional 35mm and medium format film cameras and I generally load professional grade Kodak and Fuji films. I use a light meter to help me choose the right camera settings. A professional film lab takes care of the second part of the process and most of the best labs are currently found in North America. I work with Richard Photo Lab in Los Angeles. The team there develops my film, scans the photos into a computer and creates high-resolution photos that can be edited and printed.

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Wow! Does all that mean it takes longer and costs more for wedding photography?

Contrary to what you might expect, it doesn’t take me much longer to get images ready than with digital. I get film scans back within a week of sending them off and, after some basic editing, they are usually good to go. Film and lab costs are something to keep in mind – around a £1 a shot!  I budget to shoot 300+ shots on film and I believe it really is worth it.

Is it possible for the untrained eye to tell the difference between film and digital images?

I’m going to sound like a cosmetics ad, but in a film image your skin will glow and appear smoother than it does in real life! More generally, it can be obvious which is which, although with good editing the untrained eye will have difficulty. In my free download Why Film? I show side-by-side comparison images shot on film and digital cameras, so why not visit my website and have a go for yourself? I hope you’ll agree that film photography is gorgeous.  Often, black and white film works best and you can create a wonderful motion blur with film that’s almost painterly.

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Your images are so light and airy! But what happens if you’re not getting married outdoors, or if the venue doesn’t have lots of natural light?

The lighting on your wedding day is important regardless of whether your photographer shoots film or digital. Outdoors is always the best light and golden hour – the hour or so before the sun sets - is the prettiest. When I plan the photography for my clients I always make a note of the sunset time, and, if the weather is changeable on the day, I insist on breaking away from the schedule to incorporate those beautiful portrait shots. It may make me unpopular at the time, but you’ll thank me afterwards!

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I usually advise couples getting married indoors to hire in event lighting.  Film can be exposed perfectly with artificial light if natural light isn’t available.  White light is the best as it mimics natural light. Tungsten gives a strong yellow tint (on film or digital), which is hard to remove. Black and white film is the best way to go in this case.

I’m sold, but surely it’s risky given that you can’t preview an image on the back of your camera?

You would think that film is riskier, but there are no guarantees with digital either. At least 80% of my film images are consistently spot on, whereas I am likely to discard 50% of my digital shots before I even get to editing. Ultimately it all comes down to the skill of the photographer!

 

Liz is a fine art wedding photographer based in the south west of England, but she works throughout the UK and Europe. Her work has been featured in major wedding publications in the UK and internationally, including Magnolia Rouge, Love My Dress and Perfect Wedding.  She is also an exclusive handpicked vendor for Wedding Sparrow, the world’s biggest fine art wedding blog. If you’d like to download her free guide to film photography, or find out more about the services she offers, visit her website www.lizbakerphotography.co.uk.

 

Introducing... Sanni Sorma, wedding hair and makeup artist

I had the pleasure of meeting Sanni Sorma at a photography workshop last year. You know when you just click with someone? Well Sanni is one of those people! Her warmth and bubbly personality make her a joy to be around and she is so good at what she does that I honestly cannot recommend her highly enough.

I caught up with her recently to find out more about her approach to bridal hair and makeup and I also asked her for her take on the big trends for 2018. Put your feet up and enjoy!

Hi Sanni! Tell us about what you do.

I’m a freelance hair and makeup artist. I work mostly on weddings, but I also do TV and some fashion shoots. I'm so lucky that my work takes me all over the world! This summer I have a few weddings in Italy and I also travel extensively in France.

Photo credit: Ian Holmes

Photo credit: Ian Holmes

Have you always been a makeup artist?

No - I originally studied Fine Arts and after graduating I worked in advertising as an Art Director. It wasn’t what I loved doing though. On shoots I would always end up chatting with the makeup artist because I thought their job was so much more interesting than mine! My heart has always been in makeup and 7 years ago I decided to retrain. I was living in Paris at the time and that’s where I started my career.

You're absolutely passionate about what you do - what is it about makeup that you love so much?

For me it’s much more than just putting makeup on a pretty face. In fact, I love doing makeup on ‘real people’ more than models. My favourite jobs are weddings because I enjoy working with the bride to make her 'look' one she’ll love forever. 

Do you have a favourite bridal look, or do you like to experiment?

I would say my signature look is big eyes, lots of individual lashes, glowing skin and ‘your lips, but better’ lips. For bridal, it’s best to keep ‘experimentation’ to a minimum!

What's your design process and how do you work on the wedding day? 

After a bride books me, I’ll organise a Skype call so that we can get to know each other a little better and discuss her bridal look in detail. I always encourage my brides to gather lots of photos of looks they like. I find this really useful, as one person’s smokey eye is somebody else’s daytime look!

If we’re having a trial, I will usually reserve three hours for hair and makeup. It might seem like a long time, but it’s better to have too much time than to be rushing. I have had brides who had their hearts set on a specific hair style, but when they see it on themselves, they realise it’s not what they want after all! I like to have time to try out other styles too.

On the day itself, I like to arrive early and get everything set up. I always try to create a relaxing atmosphere. As I see it, my job is not only to make the bride look incredible, but also to keep her calm, make her happy and most of all FEEL beautiful!

Photo credit: Le Secret d'Audrey

Photo credit: Le Secret d'Audrey

What are the three makeup products you couldn't manage without?

Easy! Illamasqua Hydra Veil and Skin base foundation; Hourglass blush and RMS Beauty Living Luminizer.

Can you give the brides reading this some advice on choosing their hair and makeup?

For hair, the most important factors are the texture of your own hair, the style of your dress (especially the neckline) and how you feel most comfortable wearing your hair. Look at lots of styles and collect images you like on Pinterest.

For makeup, something that looks great on Pinterest might not necessarily look good on you. If you’re unsure about your makeup or hairstyle, have a trial and take a lot of photos in different lighting.

For those brides who are getting married soon, do you have any tips on how to look after their skin and hair?

First of all, if your wedding is less than a month away, DON'T change your skincare! Drink lots of water everyday, try to get rest and stop worrying about your skin. The more you stress, the more it will show up on your face.

If you have a bit more time, let’s say 6 months, you can consider having a few facials and switching up your skincare. This way your skin will have time to adjust.

I’m a huge believer that what you eat makes a big difference. Cut down on processed foods and especially sugar and dairy. This has certainly made the biggest difference to my own skin.

What do you think will be the most important bridal hair and makeup trends in 2018?

For hair, the up-dos will be bolder and higher. Think topknots and high sleek ponytails. If the hair is down there will be a lot of natural texture and not ‘too perfect’ waves. Big and bold plaits will also be very in.

For makeup, the ‘no makeup’ look will be big. The skin is the major focus with this look and strong brows look great with it too. I’m so pleased that the overly contoured look will start to go out. For photos, it’s great to do a bit of contouring, but I think it’s gone way too far!

Photo credit: Le Secret d'Audrey

Photo credit: Le Secret d'Audrey

When you're not busy working, how do you like to spend your time?

I’m an aspiring minimalist so I constantly have a de-cluttering project on the go. I love to experiment with vegan cooking and of course I love to shop for makeup!

 

For more information about Sanni and her work, please visit her website www.sannisorma.com. Sanni has a brilliant YouTube channel (@MissMai27) where you can watch her giving makeup tutorials.

Image credits: Ian Holmes and Le Secret d'Audrey

Find your dream dress at Luella's Bridal, Wimbledon Village

It has been a joy getting to know the team at Luella's Bridal and I'm really excited to announce that I'm offering their brides 25% off my planning services throughout this month.  Give the ladies a call on 020 8879 7744 to book your bridal appointment and to arrange a free consultation with me.

You're in for a real treat when you visit the boutique! Climb the stairs and a haven of bridal beauty awaits. I chatted to Rachel, Owner and Creative Director, about the new dress collection she has designed and what it's like to be a Luella's bride. Enjoy!

Tell us a little bit about Luella's Bridal

Inside Luella's Bridal
Beautiful dresses at Luella's Bridal

Luella's is a unique bridal boutique located in the heart of London's beautiful Wimbledon Village. We sell a variety of gorgeous bridal products, including wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, shoes and accessories. We are the exclusive UK stockists for the majority of our products, the exclusive London Stockist for Charlotte Mills shoes and we also have our own wedding dress collection. 

Your 2018 Collection is absolutely stunning! The pictures are still top-secret, but we'd love to know what we can look forward to...

We designed our collection in partnership with Trinidadian jewellery designer, Sarah May. It includes five distinctly different dresses, which have been carefully designed to match her stunning collection of rings: Happy, Love, Dream, Believe and Abundance. Each ring was inspired by Sarah's original engagement ring and her subsequent life journey and can be interpreted in the wearer's own unique way. 

Our dresses reflect our beautiful free-spirited brides and include a mixture of understated and intricately beaded slip-style dresses and beautiful lace and tulle gowns. Each one has an element of sparkle, so even the simplest style still looks and feels special. They feature a selection of low plunging backs, soft flowing skirts, stunning hand-beaded lace and our signature pleated skirt.

I'm proud to say that the collection was designed by The Luella’s Team and all of the dresses are handmade in the UK using a selection of the finest French laces, silk, satin, tulle and beaded appliqué, in a blend of soft ivory, cream and blush tones. 

Feeling special at Luella's bridal

So how does it feel to be a Luella's Bride? 

We try our best to make our brides feel as relaxed as possible when they visit the boutique. We have two showrooms so we can guarantee that each bride has a completely private appointment. All of our stylists have a background in fashion and are very aware of what styles of dresses suit different body shapes; the fact that we have our own collection also gives us the flexibility to make some adjustments to the styles, ensuring that our brides can have the exact dress that they want.

We encourage our brides to come along with a small group of their family and friends so that they can really enjoy the appointment and share this special moment with people they love. 

Can you give 2018 brides some advice about choosing their dress? 

We're so excited about the wedding dress trends for 2018 and we think we have them all covered at Luella's. Our collections include everything from relaxed boho style dresses to more traditional style gowns and sleek understated styles. They include a range of off-the-shoulder, backless, deep v and high necklines, in a range of soft muted colours.

Luella's Bridal 'Una'

Luella's Bridal 'Una'

Shanna Melville 'Bella'

Shanna Melville 'Bella'

Basically, anything goes this year, and it's up to brides to choose what makes them feel special and what works for them. We love helping our brides to become a more beautiful version of themselves for their wedding day and think the most important thing to do is just enjoy the experience. 

Sally Eagle 'Genevieve'

Sally Eagle 'Genevieve'

What should a bride keep in mind when choosing her accessories?

Choosing your accessories is a very personal thing. There are so many things to consider, including the location of the wedding, the style of your wedding, the design of your dress, how you're styling your hair…

We encourage our brides to experiment and to consider mixing different styles of accessories to create a more effortless vibe. From a practical point of view, it's sometimes easier if you start with the accessory you think is going to be the main focal point - so either a beautiful headpiece, a stunning necklace, bracelet or earrings - and then work from there. 

 

Luella’s is a unique bridal boutique located in Wimbledon Village, London. It is a beautiful place to have a dress appointment, get a bit of help with your styling, choose your bridesmaid dresses or try on shoes and accessories. Discover the collection online at www.luellas.co.uk.

The Colour Purple - Pantone's Colour of the Year 2018

Last week the Pantone Colour Institute announced its hotly-anticipated Colour of the Year 2018 - Ultra Violet. According to Pantone, Ultra Violet communicates "originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us towards the future." Who knew that a colour could wield so much power!

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As the global authority on colour trends, and therefore hugely influential across design, fashion and lifestyle, their optimism is certainly welcome. But what does it mean for wedding trends? 

I think it's fair to say that the wedding industry is still processing the announcement. We all felt quite comfortable with Greenery, Pantone's Colour of the Year 2017, but Ultra Violet is so bright and - dare I say it - garish, that it's hard to see it being a popular choice. 

Instead, trendy-savvy brides will opt for hints of violet, most obviously in their wedding flowers. The list of purple flowers - wisteria, lilac, sweet peas, scabious, hydrangea, clematis - extends quite a long way and includes some bridal favourites. It is possible to use it alongside pastel shades in summer and autumnal colours like red and ochre later in the year.

There are some beautiful examples of purple being used very tastefully in this way. Take this delicate Peggy Porschen wedding cake for instance - absolutely stunning!

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Or this bouquet by Jo Flowers - vibrant, yet still whimsical and romantic.

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In the spirit of this "provocative and thoughtful" shade of purple, I'd love to know what you think!

 

If you would like more advice about choosing your wedding colour scheme, please send me an email via emma@emmajoytheweddingplanner.co.uk.

Photo credits: Georgia Glynn Smith via Brides Magazine and Katherine Ashdown via Whimsical Wonderland Weddings 

For more information about Pantone Colour of the Year, visit www.pantone.com