Steven Branstetter

Film photographer Steven Branstetter shoots weddings in San Francisco.
Steven Branstetter
475/hr (USD)

I have always been drawn to what’s authentic, what’s real. I love 60’s soul music — because those people kept it real. Jazz guitarists: the real deal. I love my wife for who she really is. And I love film photography, because to me that’s authentic art that stands out from cellphone snapshots and selfie sticks.

It may seem kind of retro to be a film photographer in this digital age, but for a wedding, it makes perfect sense. The emotions are so real, they bounce off the walls. But the chaos of a wedding finds its quiet calm in the look a father gives his daughter before they walk down the aisle, or in the eyes of a flower girl seeing an actual bride up close for the first time. You don’t capture moments like that by accident, even in a flurry of shutterbursts. And I don’t want to be checking a camera’s LCD screen to see the last shot I took, missing the better one I won’t.

My fascination with photography has always been about that heightened awareness of perspective and time. As a boy, I couldn’t wait to get my prints back from the lab to see how I’d stopped time. I learned a lot examining my own results from shooting in different light using wide or short angles. Today I still use film because it forces me to stay present to the people and the environment, and the payoff is always to my artistic satisfaction and the couple’s happiness with the end results.