Film Friday: Weddings by Michael McFaul

Film Friday: Weddings

by Michael McFaul

Hi Steve!

Happy Friday! And with that being said, I’d like to, once gain, contribute to one of my favorite segments on your site, Film Friday. ‎Last Fall you posted a Quick Shot I submitted titled ‘The Breakup w/ the Pentax Spotmatic’, and I wanted to share some images from a wedding that I had the opportunity to be a part of.

I’d say that I truly do love black and white film. To me, it just feels a bit more artistic, photojournalistic…from the grain, to the different tones of black to grey and white that film conveys…I love it. This is all subjective, of course, but it’s what keeps me inspired. 🙂 And the funny thing about b&w film, is that in the past year, I’ve really utilized the darkroom for printing and toying with different methods of making the print…contrast filters, dodge and burn, etc…which in turn have helped me appreciate LR a lot more, cause I loathed PP.

These were edited a bit in LR with dodging, burning and slight cropping, if at all…I think. Hope your readers enjoy them.

Also, if I can add…I love the simplicity of film. Before I got into investment finance (my current FT job), I was in the golf industry as my first FT job straight out of college. Doing golf course management, giving lessons, grounds maintenance, the likes…and while there, I had access to Taylormade golf clubs at times either for free, or at cost. And as you’d might imagine, I’d be switching out clubs 2 to 3 times a year. Always trying to find the next great club and feeling like the current club was never enough…so I burned out and left. Golf was a passion of mine from my first job as a kid, to competition, amateur tournaments, and was a part of my daily life. Yet I walked away from it.

For a while, digital photography was doing the same with me. I went from a simple p&s, to the Panny GX1, then onto the Oly OMD EM5…and yet in between them, non-stop research. Should I go FF, stay with m43rd…Sony, Leica, Fuji…Aaah! Out of a bit of desperation, and to reconnect with my late father, I bought a film camera. And for me, I’m better off for it. I still love the Oly and use it often for family functions…but film has really slowed me down, work more on the artistic side of photography, focus on composition, seizing the moment, and all the other clichés that have been said in the past. And to be honest, they’re somewhat true. Yet at the same time it really allowed me to appreciate the OMD, and realize that it is a capable camera, has everything I need, and to instead focus on acquiring more m43rd lenses…and appreciating PP in LR, too! 🙂

Sorry I went off topic, but hope this tidbit of info can help others who are going through the same thought process. ‎As creative individuals, the biggest doubter/critic, can often times be ourselves. Constantly questioning the uses of our tools, and trying to find new products/methods/whatever that IT is to convey our expressions. If anything, give an old SLR a try. 🙂

As for golf, I’ve probably played 4 full rounds in the past 5 to 6 years. It’s but a distant memory.








  1. It can be nerve tacking at times, for sure. One thing I always confirm is that I’ve properly loaded the film, and the film rewind wheel is turning with each advance of the film lever. For the film, if it’s shot at 1600 or 3200, I’ll develop the film myself to control the grain. For 400/800 film speeds and all remaining scanning, I’ll send to a professional lab. (I’ll 15 to 20 rolls of film, and too long to scan manually) The scanning capabilities of these labs are fantastic, and I use Little Film Lab based out of San Francisco. If it is a route you go, utilize the Noritsu scanning option for B/W. As for personal work, I use a Nikon Coolscan…as in the post from last Fall with the link provided.

    By nature, there’s a lot of trial and error with film. Def stick with it. You’ll only get better.

  2. From my point it’s very courageous to shoot a wedding on film. Your photographs speak for themselves. The one with the painter is my favorite. The scene, perspevtive, grain and even a little bokeh in the back..
    I am just getting into film and would like to know how you scan your negatives?

    • Thank you, Massimilano. In the wedding industry, film is particularly strong in 120/medium format…especially with the Contax 645. As for this wedding, the couple did have a primary digital photography for the usual group shots, portraits, etc. I was there for more of a documentary styled theme.

      • Thanks Mike. Sometimes I also enjoy to be the friendly unpaid photographer :-). What I like is that sometimes my (as yours ) shot are better that the pro wedding photographer . 🙂 Just kidding but in Italy I have seen so many wedding picture all with the same style that somewhere shall be a secret manual on wedding photography that all read.

  3. Thank you for an interesting post, I agree the mono shots do convey the atmosphere well. Two things, what film iso/shutter speeds were you using? And I am fascinated by the artist Painting the event……..

    • Thanks, Mark. Film used was HP5…I’ve gotten to know the film over the past few years and really feel comfortable with it. It’s been really consistent for me when pushed, which is it’s greatest quality.

      The 1st photo may have been at 800 or 1600 ISO with the shutter speed likely at 60s. And for the remaining 3, they were taken at 3200 ISO and 30s, with aperture likely being at 2.4 or 2.8. As for the painter, she was a huge hit at the wedding. She’s one of 4 across the US that specifically do this form of medium at weddings.

      • I’m awestruck by the painter. She did that during the wedding starting with a blank canvas? If so, then wow!!

        • That she did! She was the perfect subject to convey a sense of time…got a shot of her prior to the wedding starting. Just her and an empty room…no tables, linen, etc.

  4. Lovely images Michael, irrespective of the capture medium you choose to use. You’ve a great eye for lovely moments – the first thing that struck me 🙂

    • Thank you for the compliments, Tom. A lot of it is anticipating the moment and pre-visualizing the moment in my head. And hoping they don’t blink! 😉

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