© 2015 Cat Hepple. All rights reserved. CHP small no logo 007477-R1-011-1

Goodbye sugar, hello film. – Film wedding photography.

I’m quitting sugar.

I’ve realised in the past few months I’m addicted to its effects and sweetness without even noticing. It’s in so much food that I didn’t realise, and I use it all the time to pick me up when I’m having a mid afternoon energy slump, or I need a bit of boosting. So I’m starting an 8 week programme to reduce it in my life to virtually nothing.

Now the reason I’m sharing this is to help me explain why I was in a store of Krispy Kreme on Saturday. You can see there’s a bit of a contradiction here right?! Well as a last hurrah to sugar, I decided to hit it one last time with a truly extravagant symbol of sugar, and a whole lot of it. I’d barely heard of krispy Kreme unil recently, much less eaten any of their delicious doughnuts, but this seemed a suitable way to wave goodbye to my sugar addiction, in style. So that’s where I was, when I saw something that really made me think about pictures, photographs and our relationship with them.

The queue in this shop at 4pm on a saturday was extreme. You had to be a dedicated doughnut lover to wait the 15 minutes or more to get served. But fortunately, the store has an open bakery which you can look at through the glass and see the whole doughnut process being carried out step by step. It’s actually mesmerising watching the little balls of dough disappear into the fryers and turn over going slowly golden and puffing up, being filled with the creme or custard or jam, being rolled in sugar or icing, and sprinkled with more sugar or chocolate and candy.

The teenage girl in the queue ahead of us, pulled out her phone, opened up the camera app, slid the camera in front of her face, aimed it vaguely in the direction of the bakery action, hit the button, and put the camera away. She barely gave the image a tertiary glance. She hadn’t even noticed what she had taken an image of. It mattered that little.

Would this be an image she was likely to revisit and look at time and again? Eh, no. Would she recall why she took it? What for? I doubt it. She’d not even looked to see what image her camera was capturing, she’d just held it up, pressed the shutter and satisfied herself she had taken a photo.

And it made me think. Really think about how we view and regard photographs. Everyone has a camera phone these days, we can all reach for it to record a moment, even on automatic pilot we can take a photo. We don’t need to stop, consider what we are taking, how it looks. What it means, what it’s significance is. We still usually manage to grab something.

Now as a professional photographer you would expect me to say that’s not how I see photography. Of course not. There’s a huge amount, a ridiculous amount of skill needed to be a wedding photographer and care and attention to detail is central to that. Shots need thought, composition, balance, an understanding of light. It certainly isn’t about pressing the shutter and hoping for the best.

And this leads me to where I am today, a film photographer. Why film? Because film has slowed me down even more. With a digital camera I can take an image and immediately see on the back of the camera if I’m happy with it. With film of course, I can’t do this. I have to actually stop far more and consider what I’m seeing BEFORE I hit the shutter and commit the image to film. I’ve found film has encouraged me to really ask myself what am I shooting this for? What is the emotion, the memory, the feeling, the mood I’m trying to capture and preserve for my couple? It’s tuned me in far more to the importance of time.

On a wedding day moments, memories, emotions are gone in a flash. Any wedding photographer knows those fractions of a second are fleeting and capturing them is a real skill. The day flies past, there’s so much going on, so much activity and emotion. It’s my job to record that. With film I find I am more tuned into that, am more grounded and more thoughtful.

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Film takes time. I don’t mean you miss moments I simply mean film is a time rich process.

All my films have to be processed, and I send mine to whats widely regarded as the best film lab in the world, in Los Angeles. Hollywood actually. ( I love that bit, sort of a sprinkle of glamour just for good measure) My wonderful lab work with me on every roll. They know the tones, skin tones, colours, look and feel of the images I want. We discuss the developing and scanning process together so that we are all clear on the required results. It takes time, skill, care and consideration and I LOVE film for that. If ever there was a beautiful way to have artisan photographs from your wedding it’s this. Film.

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Film also has the most amazing colour tones to it. Soft, romantic, gorgeously pastel. It’s a dream for wedding photographs. It just sees to feel so completely right.

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So I’m shooting more and more film alongside some digital imagery on wedding days. I want my couples to know the amount of time and care that goes into creating their gorgeous sets of images. it’s such a long way from grabbing a phone and hitting the camera icon.

My love affair with film is really only just beginning but I’m certain it’s never going to end.

Unlike my love affair with sugar, which is now SO over.


Little black book of suppliers;

Cinematography: Story Of Your Day | Wedding Dress: Truvelle | Stationery:Nice Plume | Bridal Skirt: The Mews | Cake, Macarons & Desserts: Chef A Domicile | Coordination, Design & Styling: French Wedding Style | Farm House: Belfonds | Floral Design & Decor: D’Amour Et De Déco | Grooms Outift: Stephen Bishop Suiting | Hair & Make Up: Victoria Farr | Model: Lisa Franklin | Model:Michael Jon Dawson | Planning: Laura Dova Weddings