My Favorite Wedding Photographers

Yeah ok, it’s probably a little weird for me to be naming favorite wedding photographers. I’m basically giving potential clients some links to my competition. But hey, I’m a firm believer in the more you give, the more you get. If a bride ends up hiring one of these instead of me, then I wasn’t the right photographer for her to begin with. Oh and most of these photographers are insanely expensive. 🙂

These two brothers in Los Angeles are probably unaware that they caused a massive sea change in my photographic work. The Brothers Wright, with their wedding photo blog Twin Lens Life, got me shooting film again. When I first started shooting professionally (about six years ago?), I used a mix of digital and film cameras for my client work. This had everything to do with the fact that, prior to ‘turning pro’, my all-consuming photographic hobby was centered almost entirely on film-based cameras. And since at the time I only had the one digital camera, a film camera was a must, as “back up”.

But as I got all fancy and stuff, I dropped the film use for clients, and was about 100% digital. I still shot film for personal work, family snapshots, the odd ‘arty’ moment etc. I found however that the film images moved me way more than the digital ones ever did. So I started playing around with adding film back into the mix, specifically in my fashion work.

Then I stumbled on their blog about a year ago. And I realized that film was something worth sharing with my clients. Sure there’s a higher hassle factor, but now that I’ve been shooting (almost) exclusively film for awhile, I can say: it’s worth it.

Oh but this post wasn’t about me, was it? Back to the Wright Brothers. It wasn’t just that they were shooting film. It was the WAY their images looked. Completely 180° to what I was doing, but with a feel that I want to evoke with my images as well. They’re darn good shooters, and they have a whimsical sense of humor. And it helps that they seem to have my same love of vintage and oddball equipment. If I were getting married again, I’d save my pennies and hire these guys. Assuming I wasn’t available to shoot my own wedding, of course.

Oh and you’ll notice all the photographers I list here shoot primarily or exclusively on film. Coincidence? NOT!

Lisa Lefkowitz, one of the current ‘rock stars’ of wedding photography, is based out of San Francisco. Her style is a little more feminine, and perhaps a tad more serious. But very light and happy, if you know what I mean. I see she has some digital cameras listed in her virtual camera bag, but I believe she primarily shoots on her Contaxt 645, burning through medium format film like it was on sale at Walmart (which it most certainly ain’t).

Jose Villa is another wedding photographer inhabiting the stratosphere of wedding photography. He’s just down the street from me, relatively speaking, in Santa Barbara (I’m in Ventura). He’s an avid Contax 645 shooter as well. He has in incredible sense of color. If you scroll through his wedding blog posts quickly, you’ll notice each wedding seems to be completely color-coordinated. Given the chaotic nature of weddings, how does he do this? No doubt it’s because of some really heightened editing skills. Both after the fact, i.e. selecting the images for display, and actually in camera: editing out the parts of the scene that don’t work. I don’t know if he walks around a ceremony site mumbling to himself “pink and moss green, pink and moss green…” But the results speak for themselves.

And finally (at least for this post), there’s Utah-based Jonathan Canlas. He seems to currently be building an empire around his use of film for wedding photography, with workshops, e-books and private instruction. And it’s well-deserved! He’s got a very strong opinion about things, and he’s often right. And he backs it up with very strong images.

These are the wedding photographers who inspire me. Go check ’em out!

3 thoughts on “My Favorite Wedding Photographers

  1. Thanks a lot for that post.

    I mostly use film for my unpaid work, however, still relying on digital for my paid events… Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. You’re welcome! If you’re using film when it’s just for the joy of photography, don’t your clients deserve that too? That’s the reasoning that got me to make the leap. Good luck!

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