First Wedding of 2015!
Matthew Osborne – Leica Wedding Photography
Wedding Venue – Ellingham Hall, Northumberland – http://www.ellingham-hall.co.uk/
Couple – Mike & Caroline
My first wedding of 2015 took me south of Edinburgh to Ellingham Hall in Northumberland. When I accepted the wedding job I didn’t check quite how far north it was and thought maybe 2-3 hours from Coventry. It took me over 5 hours each way and that was with very little traffic so I felt very lucky. Next time I will check a map more closely in advance! 🙂 That said, it was an amazing day and I felt very lucky to be asked to cover Mike and Caroline’s big day. Caroline never stopped smiling despite hating being in front of the camera and Mike was also smiley resulting in some of my happiest looking wedding photos to date.
The plan for 2015 is to do more analogue film wedding photography rather than just the usual generic digital wedding photos. Even though I call myself a Leica wedding photographer I am happy to give the Leica M3 and Leica M2 film cameras a helping hand with other make film cameras. In the past I have normally taken a medium format film camera along and this wedding was no exception. I also decided to take my Nikon FM 35mm film camera for a change as I can focus closer with that camera than with a Leica rangefinder.
My digital Leica M9 was my main workhorse cameras with various Leica, Zeiss and Voigtltander prime lenses being used. I supplimented the digital photos with 2 1/2 rolls of colour film and 1 1/4 rolls of black and white film from the Leica M3, Leica M2 and Nikon FM. The wedding venue halls were too dark inside for most of the day for much colour film photography so I found myself using digital. It certainly challenged my lighting skills even with digital!
I use manual lenses, manual cameras and manual lights not the usual TTL auto everything camera so it keeps me on my toes. If the only cameras available in the world were Canon 5D Mk III s with no manual options and TTL speedlights on the hotshoe I would stop photography tomorrow. Really. I like the problem solving aspect and enjoy the challenge and creatively of doing things the hard way. It makes every wedding fresh and I never get bored or have time to become complacent. That said a Canon 5D Mk III or Nikon D4 in a low light church or venue would make photography a breeze with their high ISO capabilities so sometimes I wonder why I make life so hard for myself! 🙂
In normal circumstances I would have shot a lot more black and white film at the wedding, perhaps 3-4 rolls film and less digital but the couple asked me to do mostly colour so I did. It is hard for clients to visualise what is possible with film and limtations of various camera formats. Going forward I will take a selection of wedding photos in colour and black and white but use my knowledge and eye to decide when to use colour and when black and white.
As with a quite a few of my recent weddings the old Leica cameras became a talking point again. I was taking a photo of the wedding cake with the 1950s Leica M3 and one of the more elderly guests said –
“That looks like a Leica camera. My friend used to have one. Very good cameras they were”.
I replied yes it is a Leica and probably similar to the one your friend had. I sat with him so he could have a look through the viewfinder and look over the M3 and the M2. It’s funny how people remember them.
It was really cold outside so we only had time for some rapid group photos on the hotel steps and then maybe 5 minutes for wedding portrait photos not far away. As such I didn’t use the Mamiya 645 Super medium format film camera but hope to for the next wedding. It was a shame and I had a head full of creative shots and Ellingham Hall is a beautiful building for a backdrop. Next time!
Wedding days are always a mad rush. That is why I love pre-wedding engagement shoots so much as you really have time to get creative. For anyone looking to get married I cannot recommend highly enough to book an engagment session before your wedding day even if you don’t like photos of yourself. If the photographer is good you will like them I promise.
After shooting no film at my last wedding of 2014 in Florida I feel I am now back on track for my 2015 goals. I will develop my own black and white film as usual once I have finished the second roll and send the colour film to a lab to be developed.
I would have loved to take the large format 4×5 Speed Graphic camera but I knew the small light window of UK winter months and near freezing temperatures would not have been ideal. That will be something to look forward to once the days get longer and it warms up a bit!