Black and White Wedding Photography – Leica M9

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Coventry Wedding Photographer
Coventry Wedding VenueThe Saxon Mill, Warwick

Anna & Vici’s Wedding Photography – January 25, 2014

Yesterday I had the pleasure of providing Anna and Vici’s wedding photography for their wedding in Warwickshire, UK. The day started for me at the Coventry wedding venue, The Saxon Mill, where we had the ceremony and wedding breakfast once everyone had arrived. Later we moved onto the Warwick Arms Hotel in Warwick where the evening guests joined us.

Anna and Vici had opted for my Black and White Wedding Photography Package so I was already super happy before the day had even started. I tend to see all my photos in B&W and as shadows and highlights and use my cameras in B&W JPEG mode (JPEG fine + RAW so have the colour negative if required). Black and white photography lets me use light as a major part of each image as there is no distraction of colour. B&W photography also places more emphasis on texture, shape and form and this simplicity helps viewers relive the memories of the day.

Leica wedding photography captured in black and white tones gives my clients a set of timeless looking film like images. The B&W tones really suit my documentary wedding photography style. I like to photograph by available light where possible as I can see my images more easily however if the light levels are too low I will use additional artificial lights to mimic the effect of sunlight. I then balance the ambient light and strobe lights in camera to get the desired look and exposure.

Yesterday was a typical British winter day being mostly overcast with heavy rain at times. Both venues were dark inside so I knew I would need additional lighting. New for 2014 I used a combination of studio lights and speedlights to increase light levels.

A quick mention and a huge thanks to Gary at Lencarta UK for resending me two studio lights next day delivery on Thursday January 24, 2014 after the first package was lost in the post. I can highly recommend the Lencarta light products. I have used a few different models and all are very well made and offer excellent value for money. They can be described as a UK equivalent of the US Paul Buff Alien Bees in terms of cost but that is where the comparison ends. Technically they are far superior and the build quality is superb.Β  Gary also offers exceptional customer service which is priceless in situations like these!

My Wedding Photography Camera Bag

If you follow me on Flickr or Facebook you will know I have quite a few lenses to choose from for both the Leica M9 and Nikon D800 cameras. I always take two camera bodies and tend to have one camera with a wider lens and one camera body with a short telephoto lens. I found in the past that if you take too many lenses you miss photos as spend more time trying to decide what lens to use than composing or anticipating a photo. I try to learn from each wedding so to keep improving year on year and with each shoot. As a result, yesterday I packed the camera gear with an approximate usage in brackets –

Leica M9 body (40%)
Zeiss ZM Biogon 21mm f2.8 (90%)
Voigtlander Nokton CV 35mm 1.2 ASPH ii (10%)
Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 (0%)

Nikon D800 body (60%)
Nikkor 35-70mm f2.8 (80%)
Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AI-s (15%)
Nikkor 135mm f2.8 Pre-AI (5%)

The Nikon D800 DSLR with the 35-70/2.8 covered most situations and was the most used setup on the day. I tend to use the D800 for fast action photography, low light photography (>ISO 800) and group photos where I may want to crop yet retain a large file size. I use the Leica M9 for reportage style photography working close to my subjects, often in tight spaces with a wide angle lens as people notice the smaller Leica camera less so I can capture natural looking expressions more easily and within a meter of my subject.

If I take off my Leica hat for a moment to give honest non-bias feedback, the most enjoyable lens to use was the Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AI-s for night photography. It gives subjects a magic glow yet it still sharp if you zoom in on the images. In second place was the CV 35/1.2 for the same reason. Both lenses render photos beautifully at f1.2 and seem to capture more light that visible with the naked eye. A joy to use for night photography without flash.

Warwick Wedding Venue - Warwick Arms Hotel

My most enjoyable part of the day was the downtime between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast. No pressure and a time to play and get creative. Working in the very ‘cosy’ confinements of The Saxon Mill and using an off camera studio light strobe as my light source I was able to mingle amongst the guests with the Leica M9 + Zeiss ZM 21/2.8. I used the single source of light to illuminate my subjects all around the room working the camera settings to get the desired exposure. I like high contrast black and white photography and the artificial light source gave me a similar look to low afternoon sun. A great feeling as the rain battered the windows from outside and thunder rumbled overhead.

Zeiss ZM 21mm f2.8 Biogon
Zeiss ZM 21/2.8 Biogon Wedding

Here is a wedding portrait looking over the water at the Saxon Mill

Coventry Wedding Venue - The Saxon Mill

As with every wedding I wish I had done a few things differently but on the whole a great start to the 2014 wedding photography season. I was pleased with my choice of equipment and my new Zeiss ZM 21/2.8 was a worthy addition to my camera bag complementing the 35mm and 50mm focal lengths nicely.

A separate wedding photography gallery post will follow once I have gone through all the images. A big thanks once again to Anna and Vici for the invite and to all the guests for making me feel so welcome. – Leica Wedding Photographer


Author: matthewosbornephotography

Coventry, UK studio based Model and Wedding Photographer offering both Medium Format Film and Digital Images. 1-2-1 Photography and Lighting Tuition also available.

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