Looking back…first weddings (shot on film)

There was a recent thread in an online forum for photographers asking about the first weddings that everyone had shot and how they compared to their current work. There were some shockers! 🙂  Work that was a million miles away from the imagery some photographers were now shooting. Much of that must be experience, some of it due to the advantage technology now allows, but it got me thinking, how has my work changed and has it?   ( I can’t post a link to the debate as it’s a closed forum for invited photographers only ).

Then last week, as I was clearing out a hard drive, I found some images from some of my first weddings, from about fourteen years ago. They were all shot on film – digital was still in it’s infancy and cameras with the capabilities of the Canon 5D MKII and Nikon D3 were fantasy land. I say some of my first, but I had actually shot several for friends, colleagues at the newspaper and even some readers – but these mark the time of the real gigs. ( Although the last one is from a friend’s wedding where I was a guest, but it’s funny, and it’s still the way I shoot )

All shot on either colour or black and white film, with two of my favourite SLR’s ever – the Nikon F4S and Nikon F5. Thirty six frames per film cassette, no compactflash card capacity of 1000+ images. No changing the white balance midflow, or the film speed (ISO). In fact no incredible high ISO performance but plenty of grain in the images. Whereas now my flash rarely comes out of the bag, except for the dancing maybe, then it had to used more often – you could just not shoot in the low light that my Nikon D3S’s eat for breakfast now. You were also mindful of not overshooting. A wedding would rarely exceed 24 rolls of film. That’s less that 900 frames at the most – no machine gunning the shutter and looking at the LCD on the back of the camera to see what you got. Once shot on colour or black and white, they had to stay that way. No having the digital option of each image as both. Digital has brought advantages along with the disadvantages.

But here is a selection from that time. They are not the best files – I found these in a forgotten folder in which they were little more than thumbnails which I have upsized, so the technical quality isn’t the best.  (In amongst there is an image from St Bartholomew the Great church in Smithfield, London – I’ll be back there, twice, this year.)

But they still give an idea of the way I shot then. The question is though, have I got better or worse? ( feel free to comment 😉 )

Close up of bride's eye reflected in mirror, shot on film
Bride has her makeup applied prior to the wedding
page boy covers his eye in excitement before entering the church
Bride and her father walk down Charterhouse school chapel aisle
Wedding ceremony at St Bartholomew the Great church in Smithfield
Elegant wedding ceremony
Signing of the register at a wedding
BBC newsreader Matthew Amroliwala's zoroastrian wedding ceremony
Happy bride leaves Charterhouse school chapel
Couple excit church to loads of confetti
Bride throws her wedding bouquet towards the guests
Groom is manhandled by his ushers
Grrom wipes his glasses on the bride's dress
A flowerfirl hits her sister with her flowers

What did you think?


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  1. Great images Martin, I especially love the 3rd one of the boy closing his eyes. Looking at these shots, you would never know they were taken 14 years ago – the B&G’s must be thrilled to have such natural images as memories of their day!

  2. I love all of them Martin.. What’s interesting is that they are timeless, yeah maybe the outfits change over the years but the technical ability and timing is better than a lot of work being produced today, and considering the equipment that we are all blessed with today, that is a mighty feat. Your style has not changed which is testament to your ability.

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