Styled wedding shoot for the Jen Huang Photography Workshop, by Jen Huang.

      Real-life Couples: Melissa + Jeff, Naysa + Whitney | Venue: Central Park Zoo, NYC
      via Gabriella Bridal: Reem Acra on Naysa, Claire Pettibone (lacy back) on Melissa
      Styling: Jackie Weppner, Merci New York | Makeup: Kerry Crawford | Hair: Linsey Synder,
      Jewelry: Rent the Runway | Wedding Cake: Sugar Flower Shop | Cake Toppers: Figs and Ginger
      Flowers: Saipua | Calligraphy: Paperfinger

      Shot on Nikon F100 35mm camera | Fuji Pro 400H & Fuji Pro 800Z film
      50mm & 85mm lenses | photos developed & scanned by Richard Photo Lab


      I purchased a used Nikon F100 just before Jen’s workshop and used my existing prime lenses. The controls on the SLR are similar to my dSLR’s so no problem navigating the manual modes there. I only needed someone to help me load the film, ha ha blush. The last time I shot film was in the 90’s using my Canon Rebel SLR and kit lens, and I loaded it with the cheapest film I could find at the drug store, set my camera to automatic mode and to be artsy, I photographed things like tree roots and my friends looking out over there, then had the film developed at the same drug store and probably used a coupon to get doubles for free. Fast forward a million years to Jen Huang’s May 2011 workshop and her meticulously, beautifully styled wedding shoot at the Central Park Zoo. Things were definitely done a little differently. I mean my goodness, look at what all these talented vendors whipped up just for our cameras to eat! I was especially excited to come face to face with creations by Saipua, my favorite florist EVER, and of course Bryn of Paperfinger who did some lettering for my logo. Jen had clients and real-life couples to model for us and they looked amazing and were perfect to work with – patient, confident, so nice and game for anything you suggested. There was no reason for me to be shy but I was. I directed them each a few times but I do wish I had done more…while I had the chance…everything so beautiful…

      Some small technical notes: I shot manually and between f/1.4-2.0. I metered everything in-camera and for both 400 and 800 film speeds I metered for the skin and overexposed by a stop. I meant to meter for the shadows but forgot. Baby steps. I should probably learn to use an external light meter. Baby steps. I shot 2 rolls of 400H and for one roll I rated it at 400 iso. For the other I rated it at 200 iso, still metering for the skin and overexposing by a stop on both. So far I can’t tell which image belongs to which roll but I will keep experimenting. These photos could probably have been overexposed some more…if I were the “light and airy” type of photographer. Am I? Maybe I am the “dark and moody” type. I think I’m somewhere in the middle…

      What I do know for sure is that I want that Claire Pettibone wedding dress badly, I like things simple and romantic, and I’m officially Hooked on Film! When I received the scans back from RPL I nearly threw up from shock. So this is what all the fuss is about! This is what a non-drugstore photo lab can do! (Many apologies for the comparison.)

      Oh and none of the images above were re-touched in Lightroom or Photoshop, EXCEPT for the one of the couple embracing, slightly obscured by the hanging yellow flowers. There was a guy in the background and I cloned him out. And the one of Naysa sitting on the ground in a billowy pillow of white. I cropped that some. But no color corrections on anything. The skin tones are beautiful of course, but I also really love how film renders greens. It’s an aspect of digital that I battle with constantly.

      All of this was kind of a crazy (perfect) way to get reintroduced to the world of film, don’t you think? Now I have more boxes of Fuji Pros and Kodak Portras 160, 400 and 800 coming my way. I’m so excited to see what I can do with them. Thank you to Amanda of Ruffled blog for your talk on getting photos published. That’s going to be one of my goals this season! Thank you to Brian of Richard Photo Lab who flew in and gave eye-opening insights into the business of photography in general, film or otherwise. I really enjoyed that and I’m very sorry the first thing out of my mouth to you was to suggest opening an East Coast branch. I am sure you’re sick of that question and you’re right, you ARE local. And the best.

      And of course a huge Thank you to the amazing Jen for sharing all her trade secrets, for introducing us to so many talented and smart industry pros, and for coordinating such a wonderful workshop that was a feast for the eyes and the brain. It’s recalibrated the way I think about photography, especially wedding photography, and so now it’s time to take my biz to the next level!

      See photos from the shoot by Jen here, here and here on Ruffled.


      These look great, Li! You rocked it. I’m so happy I got to know you a bit better in NY!

      Sooo….. FILMY!!! I love what you captured and how you captured it. Perfect and still “you”, and I look forward to seeing more now that you’re back home with more boxes of film!

      I love the look of these. I agree with you that the way film renders greens is just superb

      Who knew the zoo could be such a stunning backdrop?? I love NYC :-)

      ps: love the ghost chivari chair

      Lovely work as usual – I probably would underexpose with film (as I do with digital as well!) but love these as much!

      D700+Alien Skin Exposure 3>Film!