I resisted the film filter craze for a long time. Sure I played around with them from time to time and I even went on a couple casual dates but I never said I love you and I always listed my relationship status as “it’s complicated.”
The first set of filters I used years ago were fun but they were a bit overdone for my taste and I got bored with them quickly. I would give a small selection of bonus filtered images to clients but they didn’t seem too excited about them so I stopped. I thought the fad was dead but I kept seeing more and more beautiful VSCO filtered images on industry leading wedding photography sites like Junebug Weddings or Fearless Photographers.
I caved in a few months ago and purchased the VSCO Film 07 packet and loaded it into Lightroom and I started experimenting. I fell in love right away, so many different creative options. No, these filters aren’t going to make a bad picture great but they can add to a great image when used properly. I like many of the filters as they come but I found I get best results when I add a filter and then make my own modifications on top of that.
Simply put the filters are awesome, you just have to discover your style, figure out which ones to use, when to use them, and how you like to tweak them to create your own distinctive look. I think they work especially well for wedding photography. Many our of our clients are having rustic or vintage themed weddings, add a filter that matches their theme and you have something really special.
Our photographers have all started to experiment with them and more and more film-filtered shots are finding their way into our portfolios. We haven’t completely switched to delivering clients filtered images but we are currently offering a bonus folder of the best shots also done with a particular look that fits the style of the photographer and the client’s taste. The next step for us might even be to have our clients pick a certain look from an assortment of options and our team will apply it. We will still deliver our original style of toning and I don’t see that changing any time soon but having both options is a nice bonus for our clients.
For all your brides and grooms out there wondering about this film filter craze here are a few words of advice. Filters are fairly easy to apply in post-production and any photographer with a computer or a phone can apply them. Don’t pick your wedding photographer based on their filter style, choose them based on their overall photography style, reputation, and the way they tell stories and capture moments. VSCO doesn’t yet have a filter that can change your photographer after your wedding day, and god help us all in the industry if they do develop that. Every photographer will be different but if you like the film look, have a discussion with your photographer and talk it over after the wedding. I’d ask their opinion on which filters suits your wedding look best and have them show you a few options of different looks on the same photos.
Lastly, a certain look might go out of style in a few years so I definitely wouldn’t recommend getting all your images toned with a distinct look especially if you didn’t purchase the RAW files. You can’t go back so if you are getting a film filter package do so in addition to your wedding images with a more neutral look. Every photographer will be different in the way they approach pricing and deliverable so just ask them up front.
Here is the way we do things. Our packages for weddings range from 400-800 color-corrected images and in addition to that we give our “Wedding Story” edit that is typically around 100 of our favorite images sequenced to tell the story of your wedding day from start to finish. For those images we do a second round of light retouching. For now while we experiment with the film packages we are going to give our clients a sample of 10 bonus images filtered the way the photographer feels suits the style of the wedding. The next step for us is we will offer the option to have their “Wedding Story” film filtered and will give our clients a sample of filters to choose from. This way the client will also have the same pictures with a more neutral toned backed up in their 400-800 pictures and they aren’t married(see what I did there) to a certain look forever in good times and bad.
For all you photographers out there, sorry I’m not going into detail saying which filter I used for which images. I feel this is something you should explore on your own, find your style and experiment.
I’m not sure if the film filter craze is here to stay or not but I dig it and so do our clients so we will experiment some more and see where this goes. I’m not ready to marry you yet VSCO, but I can openly say “I love you” and I have changed my relationship status to “In a relationship.”
Here are some of my favorite VSCO film filtered images from recent weddings all over the world.
We recently photographed a gorgeous destination wedding put on by Hoi An Events and the great team and venue at Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula. The couple stayed in the penthouse and they had the ceremony near the beach and the weather fully cooperated. The reception was done at the amazing fine dining restaurant of la maison 1888 within the resort. The great thing about ICD is the beautiful architecture makes for gorgeous backdrops throughout the property.
Congratulations to the couple Kris and Olive and thanks to Hoi An Events and the whole staff at Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula.
Justin Mott has recently been featured on Net Viet Channel sharing his thoughts and love for Hanoi, Vietnam. Net Viet Channel sharing his thoughts and love for Hanoi, Vietnam.
Sarah and Christian’s boho chic styled Buddhist wedding felt like an intimate oasis for just them two. The couple exchanged vows under a wedding arch that was covered in white linen, took part in a Buddhist tradition, and shared beautiful moments walking the gorgeous island streets of Song Saa in Cambodia. Mott Visuals Weddings captured breathtaking views at this casual, boho wedding in Cambodia.
Sarah and Christian
Song Saa, Kaoh Rung, Krong Preah Sihanouk, Cambodia
Considering the location and the style of Song Saa Island we were looking for a sophisticated outfit which can be worn barefooted – casual and simple but elegant, with some typically local elements. My boho chic style wedding dress went perfectly with the vintage Chanel bracelet that I got from Christian as engagement gift. There were a lot of lotus flowers, who are an important symbol of buddhism, used for decoration and the flower bouquet as well.
For the two of us the monk blessing was the main reason to come to Cambodia, so it was a a very special moment being blessed by Buddhist monks at this absolute unique location.
The Couple Recommends:
Looking for an intimate wedding venue for just the two of us and additionally having a blessing ceremony with buddhist monks we came across the wonderful island resort of Song Saa. Being fascinated by their style of promotional imagery, we found out that it was all the work of professional photographer Justin Mott. Fortunately he was around and had time for a shooting with us – we couldn’t have been any happier having him capturing our special day. He is a professional, talented and creative genius and furthermore such a great person, working with him was pure fun. We got a lot of really amazing pictures to keep as memories and to show our relatives and friends. So if you need a professional photographer and Justin is around and available – don’t hesitate, he is the best choice you can take! The whole team of Song Saa was just amazing as well! The ceremony at the beach and the monk blessing on the deck were just perfectly arranged, just like the beautiful decorated pavilion where we had our romantic dinner.
The Wedding Team:
Photography – Mott Visuals Weddings
Event Planning – Song Saa
Venue – Song Saa
Floral Design – Song Saa
Catering – Song Saa
Officiant – Bradlie Goian of Song Saa
Wedding Dress – YolanCris
Groom’s Apparel – Etro
Rings – Engelbert Stockholm