Jeremy Chou is a fine art wedding photographer based out of Pasadena, CA and a very friendly guy in general. We knew him as an established film photographer and liked his works so we decided to do our first interview with him.
Jeremy’s works have been featured in numerous amazing places like Style Me Pretty, Grey Likes Weddings, Ceremony Magazine and many others. Read on to find out more!
My average booking pricing has gone up more than 40% since fully embracing film into my work.
Why did you start shooting film?
I first started shooting 35mm when I was in high school; and it wasn’t until 2011 when my wife bought me a Canon EOS1V did I pick up a film camera again. I started shooting medium format cameras in 2013.
What was the most confusing thing for you when you started shooting film?
The most confusing thing for me was…EVERYTHING. From metering to picking the right film stock, to picking the lab, scanner, etc.. Everything. As far as business is concerned, the most confusing part in the beginning is to find out who I am as an artist. We are so inundated with images from other amazing photographers in our social media feeds; it’s very hard to be confident enough in our own work and say “this is who I am.”
Do you shoot 100% film and why?
Depends. For weddings, I am a hybrid shooter. I shoot both digital & film. I shoot 100% for all of my portrait sessions and personal work. I love film because of its richness in color and it forces me to be a more deliberate photographer. Each time I hit the shutter, it’s a deliberate action and not just ‘shoot & pray’.
When choosing your film lab – what should you consider and what should you pay attention to?
When choosing a film lab, first and foremost, is how willing they are to get you the look you want. All the labs use the same scanners, it comes down to the person who’s scanning and editing your work. The labs should be open to your feedback and strive to make their edits as close to your specifications as possible. A few other factors would be turn around time and cost.
How many labs have you tried out and why did you prefer some of them to the others?
I’ve tried at least 5. I ended up sticking with FIND lab for precisely the reasons I stated above. They are led by Jonathan Canlas, one of the most well respected film photographers of our industry. In addition to being amazing at what they do, they genuinely care about their clients and the art of photography. They are also a big supporter of my business endeavors!
What’s the most effective way to start getting the scans that you like from your lab?
The best way is to ask the lab to send you a ‘straight scan’. Meaning, without any further editing done outside of the scanner. Edit the image to your liking and send it back to the lab. The lab should be able to use it as a guide for your specific color profile. And don’t be scared to pick up the phone and call the lab! If you think the image is looking too warm or too cool, tell them! Their job is to help the photographers to achieve a consistent look for their work.
What problems do you think modern film labs have? How do you think they can be solved?
The problems with modern film labs do not lie with the labs; it is with the new film photographers. There are too many film photographers jumping into shooting film, and thinking the lab can just make their images look like XXXX photographer. Because they are so used to shooting digital, and you can pretty much edit a digital photo to look like anything you want. Well, here’s the truth. They can’t. The best way is still to learn how to shoot film correctly!
Did shooting film affect your financial profitability? In what way?
Contrary to popular belief, I am actually MORE profitable since I started incorporating film into my wedding photography business. My average booking pricing has gone up more than 40% since fully embracing film into my work. Partially because my work has gotten much more consistent and distinct, and also many clients now associate film photography with premium costs. While shooting film is inherently more expensive, the financial upside is tremendous.