Heartfelt thanks

After all the hard work of planning a wedding and then the hustle and bustle of the big day itself has died down, there is still one big task to accomplish.

Thank you cards.

When faced with expressing your gratitude to the friends and family who joined you and supported you on your very special day you may be left with lack of words. A photo card gives you more options for making a card unique. Here are some ideas for photos to use in your thank you card.

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Make a plan with your wedding photographer to get a shot on your wedding day of the two of you holding a Thank You sign. It can even be handmade in your own writing – it still gets the message across.

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Take a moment during your honeymoon to take a picture for your Thank You cards. Something as simple as your handprints and wedding bands in the sand make a charming card photo.

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Getting married is a big news but moving to a new address after the wedding is big too! Share your new address with everyone in your thank you card and feature a photo of you in front of your new abode.

Photo thank you cards help you express how you feel beyond words. These creative ideas will help you design a card that will make the recipients want to hold onto it. And photo cards aren’t hard to create. You can even use a photo you snapped with your phone when you were on your honeymoon. With the My Kodak Moments app, you can make prints, collages and these Thank You cards right on your phone.

The app can be downloaded for iOS or Android here.

How and Why I Shoot Kodak Professional Film at Hawaiian Weddings: Guest Post By Wendy Laurel

Wendy Laurel is a film photographer who shoots weddings, families, and lifestyle work on Maui, Hawaii.  She was selected as a PDN winner in the annual Top Knots wedding photography competition for 2015 and her work has appeared in many wedding publications and blogs, such as Pacific Weddings, Style Me Pretty, Snippet and Ink, 100 Layer Cake, Green Wedding Shoes, and many more.  She lives on Maui with her husband and four children.

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Why I shoot film at weddings here in Hawaii is something I get asked all the time.  All. The. Time.  The simple answer is easy — I shoot film at weddings because I love how it looks. I shoot Kodak Professional film and I find that it gives me the colors of Hawaii that I see with my eye here and does it in a super pretty way.

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I am not a super technical person. They way I can explain what I see with film that makes me want to shoot it exclusively is Kodak Professional films’ colors, the depth in the image, the way film handles light.  Film images always draw me in.

I also have fallen in love with the process of shooting film.  For me, the simpler my process is, the freer I am creatively.   With film, I am freed from looking at the camera back, from worrying about the camera settings beyond the basic aperture and shutter speeds.  That simplicity keeps me in the moment with the people in front of my camera and inspires me creatively.

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People sometimes wonder how I shoot film at weddings as if it was a harder process than digital. But I don’t think it really is.  Here are my go-to’s for shooting film at weddings.

  1. KEEP IT SIMPLE

For the majority of the wedding, I shoot with mainly my medium format camera – the Contax 645.  I also carry a 35mm camera – the Canon 1v with a wide-angle lens, which I use for photojournalistic type shots, movement, and some fun portraits.  I also pack 2 back up cameras just in case.  You never know at a wedding what will decide to break.

I have a ton of film cameras that I love to experiment with.  I love my Rollei sl66 and my toy cameras (Holga and Lomos) and fun and different lenses.  But I pick only one “extra” camera to bring with me to a wedding. And I preload that camera with the film it will need and I usually shoot only 1 or 2 rolls through it during the bride and groom portrait time.  I have found that in older cameras and lenses, using Kodak Ektar film works really well.  The strong colors and contrast from Ektar help work against older lenses loss of contrast.

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  1. MY FILM BAG

I use an old shoulder carry camera bag as my film bag. It has three compartments, which I use for the three different speeds of film I will use during the day.  In each compartment, I have a zip lock bag of unwrapped 120 rolls of film.  On top of each bag is a replacement insert for my camera (Contax 645) loaded with that sort of film.  For me, that’s one compartment of Portra 160 and Ektar 100 mixed (my daylight outside films).  The second compartment has Portra 800 (my favorite inside or nighttime color film). And the third compartment holds Kodak Tri-x 400 (for nighttime reception shots).  There is also an empty Ziploc bag that I use to put in all my shot film.  I also put a couple of spare batteries in my film bag.

On the outsides of my bag are two pockets. In one is Kodak Ektar 35mm film, in the other, Kodak BW400CN and Tri-x in 35mm.  Those are for my 35mm camera- Canon 1v.

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  1. MY ASSISTANT/SECOND SHOOTER

I love to shoot weddings with someone by my side. It makes the day go smoother and I love having someone to chat with and bounce ideas off.  My assistant carries my film bag and reloads the spare inserts for me. When I finish a roll of film, I just turn around and open my camera back, he hands me a new insert and I hand him the insert with the finished roll.  Then he reloads that for me while I’m shooting.  Easy. Peasy.  He also shoots here and there as inspiration hits him.

Of course he doesn’t always have to stand right there with me. In slower times of the day, like the getting ready, I might be with the bride and he will be with the guys and I reload the film myself.  But in the busiest times of the day, its especially handy to have his help reloading the film.

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  1. BRING LIGHT

I shoot film all day and all night. So the reception is shot on all film as well.  For nighttime shooting, I like to bring a variety of lighting tools — 2 video lights and 2 flashes.  The video lights work great for first dances and cake cutting.  I set them up on nearby tables, or one on top of my camera and one held by my assistant while I shoot black and white film.   I have flashes for both the Canon and the Contax and I use those also. Flashes work well for dancing shots and candids.

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For me film is all about both the look I can achieve in my images and the process itself. I find myself being much more creative and artistic with film in my camera.  I love experimenting with things done in camera — double or triple exposures, light leaks, super wide angles or older cameras and lenses.  Its really the fun I have with shooting film along with the images I get back that keeps me committed to film.

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Guest blogger: Pro Photographer Elisa Bricker

“Film allows me to book more and spend less time at my desk!” – Elisa Bricker

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Most photographers I know didn’t get into our field because they love spending time in the office. When I talk with other photographers, they share their love of people and stories, of documenting and sharing their work – not their love of editing! I share my love of film because I want more photographers to know how inviting the process is. I want to share how I was able to leave my desk to shoot more, without needing to reinvent my business.

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When I started photographing my clients using a digital camera, it was easy to over commit. My workweek was a mix of business tasks and hours spent at my desk culling and editing digital images. I loved the work I was doing, but I needed a better process, and I wanted to spend more time doing the work that really mattered to me – shooting!

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Film photography is an invitation to create with your subject. It’s an opportunity for thoughtful and intentional creativity, and it’s a way to streamline your workflow. The move back to film was an obvious one for me. It allowed me to book more work because I was spending less time at my desk. It freed my schedule for more personal projects, and simplified my week – meaning I had more time and energy for my clients and our work together.

To start 2015 we have an exciting opportunity to share our work, our lives and our love of film. We’ll be at Imaging USA, in the Kodak Alaris booth (#726). I’ll be in the booth twice: once on Sunday, February 1 at 2 pm and again on Monday afternoon at 1 pm. I’m looking forward to seeing you there.

If you can’t make it to the Kodak Alaris booth, then Edward and I (my husband and owner of Contax Rental www.contaxrental.com) are teaching a workshop in France.

This workshop is designed specifically for film photographers because we recognize both the allure of film photography and how intimidating it can be to try shooting on film without training. Learning film on your own can be a tedious and frustrating experience. Learning to use film with others is a liberating one.

For more information about our upcoming workshop in France this coming fall visit: http://elisabricker.com/workshop/

I cannot wait to meet you at ImagingUSA.

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Wedding season and Kodak Picture Kiosk

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It’s wedding season and I was fortunate to attend two so far. The first one was my little sister’s. Of course I show up with my camera. Now both of the weddings had a professional photographer. You don’t want to leave the pictures of an event like this to your sister who might get distracted by the cake *ahem* and miss the big shot. Always invest in a pro photographer who will make sure every moment is captured beautifully for you to remember for years to come.

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I like to take pictures myself so I have something to post to Facebook and make prints for the fridge right away.

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This past weekend I went to the lake-side nuptuals of my friends Taylor and Andrew. What a great backdrop for photos of the bride and groom!

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I especially like taking photos of the wedding details… flowers, table settings, cake, dresses… even the bride’s nails and shoes! I think it’s because I know how much work goes into making those elements of the big day special.

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Again with the flowers. I like to get close ups of these beauties.

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Sometimes I can’t wait to get home and look at the pictures I captured of the happy couple! I pick the best for Facebook and then I start printing! Kodak Picture Kiosk has lots of choices for creative ways to use those wedding photos.

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I made a collage of pictures I took at my sister’s bridal shower. You can choose to let the Kiosk auto fill all the spots or fill them yourself. Either way you can still move them around and edit each picture until it is just right. I love these for framing or hanging on the fridge or at the office. It looks much tidier than nine separate photos.

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Our grandmother couldn’t make the wedding so I made prints in order for to see all the activity. You have the option to add a border to your prints which make them frame-ready or just add a little extra something to where ever you might display them. There are plenty of borders to choose from so it can compliment the photo.

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Naturally photo books are great for remembering a wedding. My sister is moving overseas and has a lot to pack so I made her a wee little photo book that won’t take up much room.

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Here is something you can make the newlyweds that they will really love. Use photos of their wedding to make a calendar. I made this one page calendar which is nice for pinning to a corkboard message center. A twelve page monthly calendar would be really nice too. Fun for the couple to look at throughout their first year of marriage!

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This is one of the coolest things I think you can make at a Kodak Picture Kiosk… a canvas print! These turn out super cute and ready to hang, no need for a frame. It has a painterly aspect to it. I can’t wait to give this one to the newlyweds!

To make any of these photo gifts check here to find a Kiosk near you that makes that particular product.

I have also pinned lots of great wedding photo projects on Pinterest that you can repin too!

Josh Moates and Indie Film Lab

Josh Moates, photographer and founder of Indie Film Lab in Montgomery, shares why he got into the film processing game and how a business decision has impacted his art.

I’ve been taking pictures since my mom gave me a 35mm camera for Christmas when I was in high school and for the last 10 years, it’s how I’ve made my living. When I re-discovered film in 2004, it changed the way I thought about photography, and then it changed my business.

A big chunk of my work is weddings, which I love shooting. But in Alabama, I couldn’t charge enough to make shooting film for my clients a truly cost effective option.

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Still, I couldn’t shake my belief that shooting film for an occasion as special as a wedding was important to me and to my clients. We all know the quality of film photos outshines that of digital, and for me, the quality of my composition is better when I’m shooting film.  It stokes my creativity, and not just when shooting happy couples. I have been a 100% Kodak shooter for years because of the new PORTRA line and the classic look of TRI-X.

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When shooting weddings, I use Kodak’s PORTRA color negative films because how easily they scan and how amazing the colors are. The skin tones are truly the best of all the other film brands I have shot. Especially the new Portra 800 – it’s super awesome for lower light situations.  Thank goodness for that film, it has saved me in so many hard to shoot situations.

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And I love, love love TRI-X for black and white; it has the most classic look of any black and white film. When I look at a TRI-X photograph, it almost looks like it has a soul. I keep it loaded in my Leica M6. Not to mention it is the most versatile film ever. It can be shot at pretty much any speed. I mainly push it to 1600, but I have shot it at 3200 with great results.

I enjoy photographing anything that relates to Southern culture and history—landscapes, architecture and people. But my favorite subjects are always people. Trying to capture someone’s personality in a split second and then share that moment is a challenge that keeps me coming back.

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When I look into the faces of my portrait photos done on film, I see an added layer of depth, a layer that enhances and underscores what I’m trying to express.

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The point is I wasn’t going to stop shooting film. Instead, I decided to find a way to make it work for me. So I took a leap, gathered some partners, and we bought our own lab equipment and scanner. Kim Box, my partner in my photography company, came onboard, as did my shooting assistant, Asheley Willet, who is absolutely integral to the process. He has a degree in chemistry from the University of Alabama and is the technical guru who makes everything come out just right.

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The original intent was to just process our own film and let the equipment pay for itself. Once we started, we were really happy with the results and shared some shots on a Facebook film shooters’ group. “Who did your lab work?” kept popping up in response to our posts. When I told those asking that we did, they wanted us to process their film too. The light bulb turned on overhead, and I saw a void in the film-processing market just waiting to be filled.

To process the film, we use Kodak Flexicolor chemistry in our color processors and Duraflo RT in the BW machines. The chemistry has been consistent and very stable and we depend on it to deliver top notch negatives for our clients day in and day out. We figure why not use the best chemistry we can get.

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In response, in 2012, we created Indie Film Lab, and in less than a year, it has grown into one of the largest film-processing labs of its type in the world. We had some growing pains initially, but we’re moving full-steam ahead.

Indie Film Lab is more than a successful start-up company. It began as a business decision, but it has moved far beyond that for me. Now, it is my way to play a part in the film community and in the renaissance of film, and as a huge film fan, that’s just cool.

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Shooting film again has re-awakened my passion for photography, and I suspect it has done the same for many others who started in photography when digital was “king”. I love that now my company is a resource for other artists that shoot film and that we give them a great product. There aren’t many things that give me more satisfaction than doing what I love, on my terms, and being successful doing it.

So I guess the morals of my story if you’re looking for some, are: Don’t be afraid to walk through the doors life opens for you; if you’ve got a great idea, push to make it happen; and never underestimate the value of good partners.

Indie Film Labs road tripped to Vegas and WPPI the 2nd week in March, documenting their adventures with Kodak film. You can see the team’s journey on Instagram, Facebook and on Twitter @IndieFilmLab1

Click here to find more information on Indie Film Lab online.