Hi there! The best way to get consistent results on film is to use a meter and meter consistently. When you “get it right,” do the same thing over and over.
Hi Mary Anne, thanks! We mainly shoot Fuji400h, Kodak Portra 800, and Ilford 3200, in that order. Sometimes I (Mike) also shoot Kodak Tri-X 400 for fun, too. For most of what you see on our website and our blog, it’s Fuji400h 120mm film.
12. Emily asked: With being film shooters do you ever take images into photoshop or do you do it all in the darkroom? What is your best advice for getting gigs as a second shooter?
We do some post-processing digitally to our scans when it’s necessary in Lightroom or Photoshop, but barely, and it is mainly limited to retouching skin or a slight adjustment in temperature. Communicating with our lab scanners and exposing properly helps us get most of the work done before we get our film scans back from the lab. Our best advice would be to reach out to another photographer local to you or to a community of photographers and ask. Ask in the spirit of genuinely wanting to help the other photographer; don’t simply go along to build your portfolio, but to genuinely support the other photographer and learn. Building your portfolio is important but building long-lasting relationships with other photographers is equally important and can even lead to referrals for your business (not to mention friendships with like-minded photographers).
13. Michelle asked: I love your wedding photography! Do you use mostly natural light?
Hi Michelle! Thanks! We love natural light and use it whenever we can. We also feel it’s really important to be experienced with artificial light sources, even if you choose not to let them define your style. At wedding receptions, we use a mix of flash and video lights. But yes, we love natural light and especially love it at sunrise and sunset.
14. Alicia asked: Ooo this is so awesome, lots to ask! 1. What, if any, portions of a wedding day do you shoot digitally and why? 2. When getting your film developed, do you have a color profile you typically request or have you developed your own? 3. This one might not be clear, but I’ll give it a go: When I am shooting film and am using a light meter, should I ever change the exposure compensation on the actual camera? Or would I only need to do that if I was trying to use the meter within the camera body. I just cannot find any information if that actually affects the film or is solely for metering purposes!! Thank you guys SO much — this is the perfect Christmas gift.
Hi Alicia, awesome questions! 1. We try and shoot film whenever and wherever we can, but sometimes digital is just the better medium to convey the story of the day. Scenarios include wedding receptions after dark, extremely dim churches, or dark rooms on dark cloudy days with very little window light. 2. We definitely developed our own color profiles. The best way to develop your “profile” with a lab is simple communication. Labs – Photovision, Richard Photo Lab, The Find Lab, etc. etc., all have extremely communicative staff that work with you to try and nail the look you’re going for. If you’re getting back scans you’re not satisfied with or find yourself editing them a lot, give the lab a call and try to communicate what you’re not satisfied with. As you work more and more with a lab, the scanners working on the other end will know better and better how to nail the look you’re going for as long as you are exposing consistently. 3. If you are shooting in manual mode and using the meter, then you shouldn’t have to change the exposure compensation on your camera. We pretty much ignore the in-camera meter on our Contaxes and rely on the Sekonic l-358. Some 35mm cameras have more reliable meters though, so if you’re shooting with an EOS 1-v and want to try shooting in AV mode, we’d suggest erring on the side of overexposing with your meter.
15. Kat asked: I’d love to know about the feathers in your logo. Is there a story behind them?
Hi Kat, the logo is made up of two quill pens, which represents how Carina and I began the adventure our love story has been. 11 years ago we, after 6 months of writing each other as teenage pen-pals, I called her up in Germany from across the Ocean in the USA and asked her to be my long-distance girlfriend. Luckily, she said yes! Our correspondence didn’t stop there though… we still have boxes and boxes of handwritten letters we wrote to each other.
16. Kelly asked: My question isn’t related to film, but I’d love to know how do you best network or what do you do to reach your target audience?
Hi Kelly, we found that the best way to “network” is to simply be genuine, helpful people with fellow wedding professionals, in so far as we are able, and never take advantage of anyone. It sounds cliche, but it’s just that simple. The best way we have reached our target audience is by sharing sessions, real and styled, that reach our target audience rather than sharing “everything.” Selectivity is one of the hardest lessons to learn as a photographer, but it’s also one of the most liberating.
17. Robyn asked: Tell us about the Leica M6. What is it exactly and what are the advantages over the Contax, etc? What lens have you shot with on it?
Hi Robyn, The Leica M6 is such a fun and amazing little camera. I borrowed one recently from a friend for a session (it was my birthday present from him and my wife, who organized it), but I am not familiar with it enough to offer any real advice. I will relate our first impressions: it was a LOT of fun, it’s extremely quiet and unobtrusive, and paired with the right lens it has incredible bokeh. It takes some getting used to as far as focusing goes, but once I got the hang of it it was easy to focus. I shot a 35mm summilux on the m6 body. It will probably be our next camera purchase.
18. Michele asked: Oh, so so so cool! Recently, I took your advice from April (this blog) http://www.michaelandcarina.com/tag/canon-elan-7/ and snagged an elan 7 off ebay for $30 shipped with some cheap film. I am going to get it developed quickly so I can see if it works. However, I want to get some better film. What would you suggest to purchase? If things go well, could I then upgrade to another Canon for a little higher quality camera that I could still shoot my my L series lenses in autofocus? And, thank you for being so open and fabulous. Merry Christmas!
Hi Michele, What a neat gift for yourself! That’s great! There are tons of great choices out there; I’d recommend experimenting with them to find what works for you. Kodak Portra 400 and Fuji400h are good places to start. Also Portra 160 is a beautiful film to shoot as long as you have enough light. Portra 800 has noticeable grain, but it is not as bothersome as digital noise. My favorite black and white 35mm film is Kodak Tri-X 400. A better Canon film camera that will work with your L lenses? The best Canon film SLR is probably the EOS 1V. Merry Christmas to you too!
19. Payal asked: Awesome idea. How have you grown your business since the beginning?
Hi Payal, just trying to give the best service we can to clients and other wedding professionals while never losing sight of why we do what we do – a passion for the art of photography.
20. Heather asked: Your work is beautiful! Best tip for getting the wedding party to interact?
Heather, thanks! Try giving them actions to perform, in succession. For example, “Bridesmaids, look at the bride, linking arms,” (feel free to step in and with permission, make adjustments), and usually they start laughing naturally because they are staring at each other. Then, “Everyone look at the camera” while they are still smiling and laughing. Then ask them to walk towards you while linking arms and holding their dresses. If you do this with confidence, and in succession, your subjects usually can react well to your direction.
21. Lindsey asked: I love this idea! I’d love to pick your brains. 1) What advise do you have for a photographer struggling to bring in a clientele in a small town (pop 8000) with so many other photographers available? 2) Marketing. How. What. What works, what doesn’t. How do you reach your target market and plant it in their heads that they want you? 3) Education. What online workshops, if any, do you recommend? Thank you so much for your time and I look forward to your replies!
Lindsey, that’s what this blog is for! 1. You’ll find that no matter where you are, and no matter how big or small your town is, there will be other photographers available. And that’s awesome. You’d drive yourself crazy really quick if everyone in your town wanted to book you! Instead of concentrating on what others are doing, first consider: Who is your ideal client? Then: Does my portfolio reflect the client I want to attract? Does the experience I offer reflect the type of experience my ideal client expects? Make your portfolio, your brand, and the experience you offer irresistible to your ideal clients. Establish positive relationships with other local professionals, including photographers. Also, don’t limit yourself to your town. There might be a nearby city (I say nearby, one of our favorite places to shoot is almost a 3 hour drive) with tons of clients waiting to connect with you. 2. The best marketing is word of mouth, and that is generated by giving clients (and fellow professionals) amazing experiences from consultation to delivery, not only on the day of the shoot. 3. Education: we actually offer online mentoring sessions! We are also planning a major workshop for 2015 – more on that coming soon! Aside from that, there are tons of great resources on Creative Live or you could reach out to a photographer whom you admire and ask their fee for mentoring.
22. Maya asked: Thank you for doing this! really appreciate it. Love your work. I – How do you work with your lab and establish a color profile? 2 – Do you mix film stocks ? How do you achieve your consistent look? 3 – What are you rating your film stocks?
Hi Maya, As we said, communication with the lab is important as is properly and consistently exposing your images. When you shoot something and it turns out pleasing to your eye just keep doing that over and over again. You’ll gradually get better and better and develop a unique style. We mainly shoot fuji400h outside, Portra 800 indoors. Fuji400h we rate at 200, Portra 800 at 500-640, Ilford 3200 at 1250.
23. Evo asked: What’s your style?
Hi Evo, In three words, elegant, timeless, and natural.
24. Daytona asked: What’s the most important investment you’ve made in your business?
Hi Daytona, as for the most important investments, probably education first, and brand second. (Note we also consider investing in film = investing in our brand).
M E N T O R I N G
We currently have 5 spots available for Skype or in person mentoring in February 2015. Book by December 31st, 2014 and save $100.
Mentoring session includes intensive Q & A, portfolio review, and business coaching.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot.
W O R K S H O P
U P D A T E
There’s an announcement coming soon about workshops in 2015 with Michael and Carina Photography. Keep an eye out at the beginning of the New Year!
Until then, M & C