When I began photographing weddings around the year 2000, I started shooting 35mm film. Within a few years I made the change to digital. I created this page back when there were still occasional questions that would surface as to the benefits of using digital vs. film. Now, so many years later, practically every wedding photographer is using a digital camera!
When I updated my website in 2018 I brought this page over. However, I still need to work through and update this page.
Digital images do not require "film" processing
Processing film was always a risk (not to mention expensive). I am not aware of any lab guarantees the processing of film without damage. Obviously, professional labs have a better track record than consumer labs, but, there is still risk. With digital files, there are no film negatives to have ruined in a processing machine full of chemicals!
Now, granted, there are factors that must be kept in mind to safeguard digital files. With digital cameras and high-capacity memory there can be a lot of eggs in each basket. If that "basket" is lost, gets stolen, or is corrupted, irreplaceable images can be lost. This is a reason why I use multiple memory cards at each wedding (rather than just one massive-capacity card) and will often shoot with an assistant. There are other safeguards I have in place as well.
Total control over images
Film is printed at photo labs by technicians. These technicians print hundreds and thousands of images every day. Professional labs are supposed to adjust each image for the best color and exposure output. However, even using the best labs in the country, I have never received the quality results that I am able to achieve myself when I process my own digital files. I have control over the images. In fact, I can brighten all the colors in an image, adjust just the reds, lighten the dark spots of an image, brighten the whole image, add contrast, etc.
What's interesting is that these days, if a photographer chooses to shoot film at a wedding, the film is generally just processed and the negatives are scanned. This results in digital files that can then be post-processed and retouched - giving greater control before prints are finally made.
Instant review of images
A second after taking an image, my camera will display the image on a 3-inch LCD located on the back of my camera. I am able to instantly double check lighting and composition and is one of the biggest advantages to digital I have experienced yet!
More images per "roll"
Instead of using film, memory cards are used to capture and store the images. Film needed to be changed every 36 images - digital enables me to shoot several hundred pictures before changing to a new memory card.
Better image resolution
My first digital camera was a 6-megapixel camera which made great 8x10, 11x14, and even 16x20 enlargements. My next digital camera was a 12-megapixel camera that captured higher resolution and a greater tonal range. The current digital camera I'm using is a 36-megapixel camera which is amazing!