This is not a debate on film vs digital. I shoot both and am happy with the results from both. They are two different mediums and I appreciate the different characteristics I get from each one.
I’ve only been shooting film for the past couple of years. I’ve spent most of that time doing a lot of street shooting, getting used to working with analog film cameras, developing film, etc… For my paid work, my clients are typically interested in digital photography. A lot of that is product photography, corporate headshots, some architecture, stuff like that. For those situations, digital is a very practical way to go.
But… recently, for my portraiture shoots I’ve been mixing things up, using both film and digital cameras. I’ll get a few shots with digital, then switch to film and will end up switching back and forth as the shoot goes on; wardrobe changes; different styling, etc… This has been working great. The person I’m photographing can get the digital experience, being able to review images as we’re shooting; but it also gives them something they’re not so used to. The look of film.
Some of the people I shoot with are really surprised when they see the film shots and find it uniquely beautiful; something different. Others will admit that, to be honest, they just don’t see the difference, they like both the digital and film shots equally. As long as they’re happy.
My personal preference for portraiture is usually film. I love the built in nostalgic feel and tones it gives my photographs. But I have to admit, the more I’ve been shooting with the Leica M 262 (digital body) I’ve been loving the results so much that I’m really happy shooting either medium.
In the end, what’s important is what’s in the photo, how much feel or interest it has; how much emotional impact.