film vs. digital a side by side comparison

Film vs. Digital: A Photographer’s Journey

film portrait of Heather McKay in BostonThose of you stalkers out there who follow McKay’s Photography on Facebook already know that I’ve had a hankering for film portraits for a while. Coming from decades of working with film, I was one of the last holdouts to switch over to digital with my wedding work. and-I-miss-it.

Don’t get me wrong, digital capture has it’s perks and pluses, yet not the ones you’d think.

Ya see, photographing digitally opens a world of possibilities and also a world of variables. I love that it has pushed me to really master on and off camera flash, totally hone in my exposures, photograph in full manual mode most of the time and it really keeps me on my toes. What I don’t like, is the inconsistency of exposure and color rendition, the sheer amount of hard drives, all the sitting in front of a computer, upgrading computers AND cameras every 3 years, and my biggest complaint: with the sheer amount of technology in my cameras and flashes… they never work quite right or do their damn job. I take all of that technology and ‘smarts’ and then I photograph totally in manual modes. LAME. And I don’t even photograph in RAW. What is the point of spending $3500 on a camera body if I’m just saying “Nope, I don’t care what you think I should do, Camera. This is what you need to do instead.”? Oh, and don’t even get me started on Chromatic Aberration!

film lifestyle photography

So, if I’m going to photograph completely on manual and using my own brain the entire time, I might as well do it with film. Ya see, film cameras are built to last, will always work, need no new software or computers, frees up my time to photograph MORE, consistently produces professional results, doesn’t destroy highlights in a scene, offers a creamy/dreamy quality to an image and is a hell of a lot more fun to work with on the job. Plus, I giggle every time I press the shutter. For reals. Check out this tree pic … with digital capture, there would be no shadowy trees in the distant background without tons of flash to fill the foreground tree. Ugh, I have tons of examples of this sort of thing.

MyVintage Film Portrait Fridays has been a way to dip my feet back in and also highlight someone in my life that inspires me. who adores me. who deserves a giant shout out themselves….

this has been a LOT of fun.

There is my Ginger Beard Series (which turned into just red heads in general)…

There has been my capturing other amazing small business owners like Erika Sorbello-Schramm of the Gallery Salon

and a true ‘geek out’ day with some of Rochester’s finest Photographers, Danielle Zielinski and Steve Craddock

Well, now I was thrown in front of my vintage camera for a one-of-a-kind, fine art film portrait. Special thanks to Kiera Slye for taking it for me!

Here is a comparison with a picture of me both with digital capture ($5500 gear) and analog capture ($350 gear + $15 in film/processing/scanning):

picture of Heather McKay of McKay's Photography

I’m so happy to be regularly photographing on film again, that I’ve decided to cross an item off of my bucket list and buy a Hasselblad! You heard it here first!

film portrait of Heather McKay in Boston

All of my family, baby, pregnancy and commercial portraits have been transitioned over to medium format film portraits. High School Senior Portraits will still be photographed digitally.

So, what questions do you have? Do you have an old film camera sitting around somewhere? Have you used it recently? Compared the results? Do you prefer digital? Why?


2 thoughts on “Film vs. Digital: A Photographer’s Journey”

  1. I am the ultimate stalker!!! But then again, I think Heather is worth stalking <3

  2. Eek! I love you and that we were able to capture these fun photos of you. I am so inspired by holding a film camera again and that butterfly feeling I too got when I pushed the shutter and advanced the film. There’s something about not knowing what your image looks like instantly, that makes it that much more fun! Can’t wait to see what that Hassablad does for you! xoxo

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