One of the most beautiful things in life is falling in love and getting married. It is our job as a photographer to capture the beauty of those moments by way of engagement and/or wedding photos. Still, on those special days, all we have is the light, the couple, the moment and our cameras. We do not choose the circumstances, nor the background for making attractive images. Nor are the people we shoot professional models; they are mostly ordinary looking people with ordinary lives.
When working with the available light, I am often confronted with a lack of light within rooms, even when they seem well-lit by natural or artificial light. Unfortunately, I am not eager to use a flash and destroy the joy of the moment, flashing the present light away, and claim all attention. As a matter of fact, I try hard to be invisible so that the couple and their guests are not aware of my presence and their movements and expressions are natural and relaxed. In preparation, I also like to get to know everybody first so I can anticipate a special smile, spontaneous eye contact, a look of surprise or genuine emotion. That is what makes me able to get the images I like most.
Several years ago, I started using Leica equipment. It assists me to make an excellent composition and to frame, focus and press the shutter button at the right moment. This works very well combining the Leica MM (ccd) and M (typ 240) with the Noctilux 0.95 and Summilux 35mm.
At first I was not a big fan of using the EVF on the M. Though last year, as I noticed some difficulties using two magnifying loops upon the viewfinder, I switched to using the electronic viewfinder on the M, which is now working out fine. Now that I am using the SL and EVF, my camera is a perfect tool which helps me with focusing and framing, speeding up my work, and shooting the better moments without missing the best of them. Actually, what I like best about my Leica equipment is that I have the impression it is telling me bit by bit how it likes to be played with.
I love photographing with the SL + Noctilux or Summilux 35mm because of the speed and clear viewfinder, knowing I can perfectly see what I shoot before I finally do. That way I can make the frame, light and sharpness of the image even more perfect. Technically, the colours of the SL and M go perfectly together, while the combination of the SL+Noctilux and a M+ Summilux 35mm or Elmarit M 28mm on a MM (ccd) gets me razor-sharp results.
During wedding ceremonies and family get-togethers, I change to the SL and Elmarit 24-90 AFs, while during the reception, I prefer to use a Summicron M 90mm. During those moments, the focus peaking on the SL is my greatest help in chasing spontaneous faces. Because of the manual focus and speed of 11f/S of the SL in High ISO’s there is no flash needed.
The few flash moments of the wedding day I preserve for the evening party with lots of harsh artificial light. For the party pictures an Elinchrom pro-head quadra helps me out fine before I finish my day by grabbing a beer of my own, venturing a few steps on the dance floor, and finally heading home to my wife and kids.