Leica M3 Bridal Session – Ukraine

Leica M3 Bridal Session – Ukraine

Matthew Osborne Photography / MrLeica.com

October 2015

Leica M240 Wedding

Bridal Photography

Bridal session photography is quite possible my favourite type of photography.  A mix of model photography, wedding photography and fashion photography with the best bits from each.  By that I mean a nice model in a beautiful wedding dress and where we have all the time we need to create hopefully beautifully crafted images without the pressures and time constraints of an actual wedding day. To then shoot it all on a film camera is then icing on the cake for me.  I prefer the look of film and hope to shoot a higher percentage of film at every wedding I cover going forward.

Bridal Fashion

Leica Wedding Photography / Film Wedding Photography

If every couple allocated at least one hour of their wedding day for me capture stylised wedding photos like this I would be a very happy man and I think the resulting images would result in a happy bride (bride and groom too depending who was in the photos).  Posing two people is often easier than one and a real bride and groom are on their wedding day high so that normally results in nice smiley natural looking wedding photos. Posing does not need to be a dirty word. It merely lets me place my bride and groom in the best possible light.

Bridal Fashion

For this bridal shoot in Ukraine I shot with available light only to be able to work quickly. I was using both the digital Leica M 240 and the Leica M3. For the second roll of film in the M3 most of the photos were taken within a space of five minutes.  It was my fastest roll of 35mm film shot to date as I wanted to make the most of the situation.  Beautiful and willing models, the flowers, the dress, the location all in a remote woodland clearing one afternoon in Ukraine after a mini road trip.  The bride(s) spoke little / no english but we still managed to get some nice photos with me directing with my hands and using body language. The first of two bridal shoots was with model Evgenia and I used AGFA Vista 200 Plus colour film (below).  I then did the shoot again with model Olga in the same dress using Kodak Tri-X 400 black and white film (not all scanned yet). Here is an example photo with model Olga in black and white.

Black and White Bridal Shoot

Hasselblad Wedding Photography

The Ukraine trip was pre-Hasselblad era so I had my Leica M3 35mm film camera, Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5 lens and was shooting 35mm AGFA Vista 200 plus budget film.  I really like AGFA Vista film at the moment and prefer the more saturated look to that of Kodak Portra that can look a little flat.  I wish there was a 120 AGFA Vista film for me to use in my Hasselblad as there seems a real gap in the colour film available for 400 speed saturated film.  I need a Kodak Ektar 400 film ideally as I love the saturation from Kodak Ektar 100. Going forward my new Hasselblad 501C medium format film camera will be with me at all my weddings. It is not as fast to use as the Leica M3 rangefinder for film photography but the results are just amazing.

Bridal Photos

Without further ado here are the AGFA Vista colour film photos from the first bridal photography session shot with my recalibrated Leica M3 and model Evgenia.

Related Posts

Ukraine Model Photography (II)

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Leica M3 – The Ultimate Rangefinder!?

Leica M3 – The Ultimate Rangefinder!?

Matthew Osborne Photography

Fuji GF670 vs Leica M3

As a follower of this blog you will know I am a Leica M9 35mm digital rangefinder shooter.  I recently decided to search for a camera one step closer to ‘perfection’ in terms of rangefinder cameras so invested in a Fuji GF670 Pro medium format film rangefinder (6×6 / 6×7 format).  A folding camera with a medium format size sensor and a super sharp lens. It produces beautifully big 6×6 negatives with tonnes of detail when scanned.  It is portable and i can use it will off camera strobes with a leaf shutter sync speed of 1/500.  I thought it was pretty cool.

I then bought a 1950s Leica M3 35mm film rangefinder with a 0.91x viewfinder.  It looks near identical to my Leica M2 and for the most part all the benefits are the same for the M2 and the M3.  The biggest plus of the M3 is the viewfinder. I have a lot of cameras and it is without doubt my favourite on any camera.  Big clear and bright with easy to see 50mm framelines and nothing else cluttering the viewfinder.  I paired the M3 with a Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5 lens with a E39 filter thread.

Film Photography Wedding – the M3 vs GF 670 Head-to-head!

This weekend I had a Leica wedding here in the UK and offered the couple the option of some film photography in addition to digital Leica M9 images.  They were interested and purchased the film photography wedding package option so I took the Fuji GF670 loaded with colour 120  Fuji Pro 400H film and then the Leica M3 loaded with black and white 35mm film, Kodak T-Max 100.  I didn’t let the three cameras (M9 + M3 + GF670) distract me from the wedding photography task so waited and brought them out for the wedding portrait images (plus a few bridal prep shots).  I then had to chose when to shoot colour and when B&W film, and when 6×6 format and when 6×4 format.  What I noticed straight away was the little Leica M3 fitted my hand like it was made to go there.  Using the M3 was intuitive and felt natural (possible because I have used the M9 so much!).  I was using natural light with the M3 but off camera speedlight for some of the GF670 shots.  It made me realise that sometimes you don’t need all the fancy lights, big lenses, and larger camera sensors, I just needed the little M3, the 50mm Cron and some available light.  It is fast and is kind of an extension from your arm / eyes.  No fuss, no electronics, just beautifully pure photography.  By keeping it simple the photos flowed, the wedding couple forgot the camera and the natural poses and relaxed smiles followed.

A ‘cute’ elegant vintage film camera is far less scary than a big DLSR with a 70-200mm lens stuck on the front.  The little M3 actually became a talking point and was a welcomed sight for a number of the wedding guests.

All the above applies to the Leica M2 if I used a 35mm lens with the 35mm viewfinder.  I have used the Leica M2 this year for various model shoots.

I wasn’t expecting the Leica M3 to have such an impact but it is letting me appreciate photography in the simplest form.  I can transfer this mentality into the rest of my photography such as using the M9 with one small lens.  It has also let me evaluate how I shoot and how I will approach future weddings when shooting film.

Despite my raving on I guess the prove will be in the resulting wedding images.  The colour film will be lab developed and the black and white film developed at home by me using the film developer Rodinal.  Once all developed and scanned I will share some samples and a follow up post.

Model photography sample images

  • GF670 6×6 medium format film

#FilmIsNotDead

FUJI GF670 Analogue Rangefinder

GF670 Kodak Moment

  • 35mm Leica film – Leica M2

Leica M2 Film Portrait

35mm B&W Film Portrait - Leica M2

Leica M2 Film - unedited

..Don’t get me wrong.  The Fuji GF670 can produce stunning negatives but you just don’t get the same flow you get with the Leica M3 when operating the camera.

Related Posts

Leica M3

Leica M2

Fuji GF670

Colour Film Wedding Photography

Colour Film Wedding Photography
Matthew Osborne Photography – Coventry Wedding Photographer

Colour Film Wedding Photography

This featured photo was shot in the spring of 2013 with my ‘beater’ Nikon FM and a Rollei Planar 50mm f1.8 lens. (Before I discovered the world of Leica but it gave me the appreciation of colour film). The image was shot on 35mm Kodak Portra 160 film and lab developed. I then scanned with an Epson v600 scanner.

This weekend I am shooting colour film wedding photography with my 1950s Leica M2. I have the M2 loaded with Kodak Portra 160 colour film and have my Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f1.4 lens fitted. I will use the M2 film camera alongside my digital Leica M9 and use the M2 for those specal shots and/ or when the light suits shooting film over digital such as photographing into the sun.

I love Leica cameras full stop but it is film IN Leicas that really excites me! The sun is shining so I can’t wait to get started! 🙂

I will post the resulting images to a new Leica wedding specific website I have set up –

http://www.leicaweddingphotographer.co.uk