Budapest Models (II)

Budapest Models (II)

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr Leica

Budapest Models

November 2016

I managed to fit in another model photography trip to Budapest before Christmas after a successful trip there back in June. For the last visit I had just purchased my digital Hasselblad H3D-31 so took the Hassy together with my trusty Leica M240 camera. As such I had no space for any of my analogue film cameras. After the initial digital Hasselblad honeymoon period I was soon back to my love of film.


For this trip I had lots of cameras I wanted to take but as usual I was limited by my hand luggage capacity. The first must pack camera was of course the digital Leica M 240 so I could capture digital images to give to the models and model agency. Next was a 35mm film camera so I packed my Leica M2 with Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.4 lens. For the M2 I took colour Kodak Vision3 200T motion picture film and some black and white film, Fomapan 100 and Kodak T-Max 400. Next camera was my newly purchased Fuji GA645 medium format film camera. My first GA645 developed an electrical fault so I bought a replacement. It packs small and has a super sharp 60mm f4 lens. Lastly I was split between my 35mm Nikon FM SLR or my Fuji GF670 folding camera. I wanted to give my GF670 another chance so chose that as like the Fuji GA645 it packs small and has a super sharp Fujion lens. For 120 film I took black and white Kodak Tri-X 400 and Fomapan 100 film.


I like to be busy so booked 11 model shoots over my 2.5 day stay.  It was a mix of agency models with international experience and model friends with a similar interest in photos. Overall the standard of models looked to be some of best I have yet to work with and it included two recent Miss Universe Hungary winners! NumberOne Models Group model agency kindly provided all the new-to-me models for this trip. Excited!


I booked an apartment in central Budapest to use as both a base and also for photos if needed. November in Hungary is pretty cold and temperatures were not forecast to exceed more than a few degrees Celsius. That said, it was at least forecast to be dry so better than the current wet weather we have been having in the U.K!

Model Photography – 3 Days

I bring it on myself but day one was fast and furious. I had arrived into Budapest late so had not had chance to go food shopping then the first models arrived Sunday morning before the shops opened. I shot five models back to back the first day and managed to dash out quickly at 5pm between models to buy a quick Burger King late breakfast/lunch/dinner rolled into one. The weather was indeed cold so nearly all the photos were taken in the apartment. This really pushed my creativity limits, trying to use the same space to make different pictures for each model.  It was also dark by 4pm so I had to use a speedlight for the evening photos.  The light levels even during the day were really low inside so I was using both Leica cameras with their Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm and 35mm lenses  wide open at f1.4 and with shutter speeds of 1/15-1/60 handheld. I had high hopes to use my medium format cameras more but there was just so little available light I couldn’t. I did try a few photos with the lenses wide open at f3.5 / f4 and again with shutter speeds as low as 1/15 and shooting ISO 400 film at 800 and 100 speed Foma at 400. What little daylight I had really was beautiful and I loved every minute of shooting on location and being out of the studio. If money was no object I would be a 100% location shooter.  I find it much more stimulating and inspiring.

Day two was pretty similar to day one in terms of when I was shooting inside the apartment but the pace was more relaxed having only four models not five. The upside was I got to shoot outside with two of the models so it was really  nice to see beyond the four walls of my pad and some of the local area. I also got to play with colour a more after mostly black and white photos inside.

For my last day I had to check out by 10am so we shot inside first then outside. For the inside photos again there was some overlap of styles I had shot with other models but the models themselves hopefully got some nice pictures. I think I had used every inch of available light space by the end of the trip!  The last photos of the last day were perhaps the most crazy.  We climbed out the luxury apartment window of the city centre model agency head office onto the scaffolding platform outside. I proceeded to shoot a series of images whilst the model smoked three cigarettes in quick succession and then we clambered back in through the window we came from.  All in the name of art! Surprisingly after the initial shout of I guess ‘what are you doing?’ in Hungarian from the workmen we simply said “jó reggelt” (good morning in Hungarian) as the workmen manovered past us on the scaffolding planks as they just smiled went about their work.

Pushing Forward

I always strive to improve my photography with every shoot I do. I realize this is not always possible but I like to be constantly learning and pushing myself to keep it interesting and fresh. For me a good photo, in model photography terms, needs three key elements. A beautiful model lit with beautiful light positioned in an interesting location (just my thoughts) and the forth would be some kind of feeling, story or emotion capured in the image. The standard of models for this visit exceeded all expectations and the beauty before me was so mind boggling at times I think I giggled like a small child.  I tried to use the window light we had inside to excentuate this beauty yet further and make model / pose fit the surroundings.   There was only so many angles I could shoot at to use this light but I would like to think I tried most of them!


From the Leica M240 LCD preview I am hopeful I captured some nice images that are sharp enough to share.  It is fingers and toes crossed for the film photo results as I was pushing both the film and my hands to limits taking photos frequently as slow as 1/15 and 1/30 second.  I was disappointed I could not shoot the medium format cameras more, especially the Fuji GF670 where I only shot one roll and even then had to finish it at the airport. I did use the Fuji GA645 a bit more but a lot of it was with the speedlight so I think the results will be less dramatic than those shot using only available light.  I was happy with both the Leica M2 and Leica M240.  I found even the 40mm Voigtlander too telephoto at times so I have certainly become more of a 35mm man than a 50mm shooter.  I didn’t miss a 50mm once and I even wanted to go wider such as a 28mm or 25mm.  Next time maybe!


A huge thanks to all the models who gave up their valuable free time for photos and to Andrea at NumberOne Models Group who helped facilitate everything and even modelled again.  Models Tamara, Natalia, Niki, Kyra, Dora, Petra, Rebeka, Eszter and Francesca, THANK YOU!

New images coming soon!


P.S. To put in perspective quite how much I was on cloud 9 after this trip, I managed to completely miss my flight home and worse still didn’t really seem to care. It wasn’t going to spoil my day. I just wrote this article while I waited and had a coffee. 🙂

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Hasselblad Love

Hasselblad Love – First impressions of the 501C

Matthew Osborne Photography / MrLeica
September 2015

Hasselblad Love !

My Hasselblad journey so far..

After getting my first Hasselblad camera a few weeks ago it has been a bit of roller coaster ride.  I had the usual pre-arrival excitment and research phase, then the eagerly awaited arrival and just sheer appreciation of the form, feel and build quality.  What followed was real disappointment.  I tried to take some test photos using the Hasselblad 501C kit WLF (waist level viewfinder) and found that I really struggled to see to focus using the nice and bright acute-matte cross hair focus screen. I thought perhaps I was going mad so compared to my Mamiya RZ67 WLF and I could focus fine on the RZ. Hmm perhaps my Hasselblad love affair was going to be short lived.


With a wedding fast approaching and where the client wanted me to photograph some images with a Hasselblad I was already starting to consider alternative film camera options for the day.  I thought perhaps my Fuji GF670 rangefinder camera to capture equally sharp 6×6 images on film. I then started researching the various Hasselblad focus screens options and reached out to forums for help.  I looked at the focus screens with the central split image spot but that is as far as I got before wedding day.


I took both the Fui GF670 and the Hasselblad 501C to the wedding as the groom said I could try his 45 degree PM prism viewfinder. I tried the prism finder and hey presto, I could see!   So happy and relieved all mixed into one! Since then I have never looked back and am loving my Hasselblad.   It has quckly become one of my favourite cameras (together with my all time favourite, the Leica M3 (s))

What do I like about the Hasselblad V series cameras?

  • Build quality seems up there with Leica. Everything just feels exact and precise.  The Hasselblad really is a joy to use and at the opposite end of the spectrum from the equally sharp Fuji GF670 which to me lacks the fun factor and emotion that makes you want to use a camera.
  • Loving the 6×6 square format. I think Leica should make an M3 square crop camera! I have tried to like square format in the past and struggled but this time I have Instagram instilled in me so square format composition seems to come easier.
  • I like the almost 3D pop from the out of focus background yet sharp subject.  Without doubt the Mamiya 645 Super can create dreamier images more akin to the famous Contax 645 look but with dreamy comes softer focus.  The Hasselblad images are less dreamy (even ar wide open apertures) but appear much sharper.
  • The Zeiss lenses for the Hasselblad V series do indeed all seem super sharp. The Zeiss Planar 80mm f2.8 and Zeiss Sonnar 150mm f4 that I have used so far are both among some of the sharpest lenses I have used. That said the Mamiya RZ67 can create perhaps equally sharp yet more dreamy images from the results I have obtained so far with the backdrop melting away behind the subject.  I would compare the Hasselblad to the Leica Summilux ASPh 50mm f1.4 lens.  They are clinically sharp.  The Mamiya 645 Super can look more like the Leica Noctilux lens with a softer dreamy look.  I think the Mamiya RZ sits mid way between.  **Please note this is only based on the very few photos taken so far to date so I will update my conclusion if and when I see different.
  • Interchangeable film backs on the Hasselblad as also found on my Mamiya RZ67,  Mamiya 645 Super and Rolleiflex SL66E are great for weddings where I can pre load 2+ film backs or if I want to shoot a mix of colour and black and white film side by side.   For 35mm film cameras I need two bodies to cover this approach hence I use two Leica M3s for weddings.
  • The size of the Hasselblad “rig” with lens, lens hood, prism viewfinder and on a monopod is no discrete Leica M3 camera yet somehow it is purposeful and also get only positive remarks when out on the street.  It is a real head turner (and conversastion starter!).  I think people really appreciate seeing the older film cameras in action.

Hasselblad negative scans (all with Ilford HP5 plus film)

  • Here are some sample images from the first roll of film testing the Hasselblad

Hasselblad Wedding Photographer

Hasselblad Macro Photography

Hasselblad Film Art

Hasselblad, 80mm + 21mm extension tube

Hasselblad 501C Test Photo

  • Here is a photo taken at the wedding

The Bentley Hotel - Hasselblad Wedding

  • Lastly here are a few images from a model photography workshop the day after the wedding

London Photography Workshop

Hasselblad Model Photography

Hasselblad / Sonnar Portrait


My wishes before the Hasselblad arrived were, I quote (my previous post)..

“The Hasselblad 501CM is by no means the perfect system but I want to try it as part of my quest for the ‘perfect’ camera.  I hope I can love it as much as my Leicas.  My biggest wish is reliability and sharp images and that alone will make me use the camera more than some of my existing ones.”

It is very very early days but I think the Hasselblad ticks all my boxes and is a keeper! 🙂

Coming soon..

More new Hasselblad images coming to Flickr (and here) soon.  I was shooting in London today with a male model in the morning and with an array of exciting (and new) Hasselblad lenses in the afternoon. 🙂

Related Posts

New! Hasselblad 501CM

Hasselblad 501CM + Zeiss Planar 80mm f2.8 CFT

Latest Purchase! 🙂

September 2015

Matthew Osborne Photography / Mr

Hasselblad 501CM :)

After resisting buying a Hasselblad 500C back in October 2014 I finally gave in and purchased my first Hasselblad 6×6 medium format film camera today.  I have owned and tried many film cameras but I have never tried the famous Hasselblad.  At my Zurich model photography workshop last weekend I got to see a Hasselblad in action and the shutter sound and camera form reminds me so much of my much loved Arax-CM (Kiev 88) camera that at one point was my most used film camera.

Back in October 2014 I came up with a list of reasons why not to buy a Hasselblad and so instead bought into the Mamiya 645 camera system. (Link to original post below).

As I have quite a few medium format film cameras here are my thoughts comparing the Hasselblad 501CM to some of the most used to help me with my purchasing decision.  As you will see each camera system brings it’s own advantages and disadvantages.

Hasselblad 501CM vs Mamiya 645 Super

  • Both cameras have WLF (which I love) and interchangeable film backs
  • Mamiya 645 Super focuses closest at 0.7m vs 0.9m for the Zeiss Planar lens
  • Mamiya 645  has faster glass available – f1.9 vs f2.8 Zeiss Planar lens
  • Mamiya 645 has 1/60 flash sync speed only vs 1/500 on the Hasselblad
  • Mamiya 645 has maxium shutter speed of 1/1000 vs 1/500 on Hasselblad
  • Mamiya 645 has hotshoe for speedlights / triggers vs PC sync ports only on 501CM
  • Mamiya 645 Super is smaller and lighter than the Hasselblad 501 so great for travel
  • Mamiya 645 lenses are cheaper than Hasselblad lenses as without leaf shutter
  • Hasselblad is 6×6 format so I can shoot portrait orientation using WLF with ease
  • 6×6 square format captures more detail but less frames per roll of 120 (12 vs 15/16)
  • Square format is somehow more arty (instant Instagram ready images!)

Hasselblad 501CM vs Mamiya RZ67 Pro II

  • Both cameras have WLF (which I love) and interchangeable film backs
  • Mamiya RZ67 has bellows and focuses all lenses super close vs 0.9M for 501CM Planar
  • Mamiya RZ67 is a 6×7 camera with rotating film back but can use 6×6 backs also
  • Mamiya RZ67 requires a battery to operate all shutter speeds vs no battery in 501CM
  • Mamiya RZ67 has 1/400 flash sync speed vs 1/500 on the Hasselblad 501 CM
  • Mamiya RZ67 has maxium shutter speed of 1/400 vs 1/500 on Hasselblad 501 CM
  • Mamiya RZ67 has hotshoe for speedlights / triggers vs PC sync ports only on 501CM
  • Mamiya RZ67 is bigger and heavier than a Hasselblad 501CM
  • Mamiya RZ67 lenses are cheaper than Hasselblad lenses as without leaf shutter

Hasselblad 501CM vs ARAX-CM (Kiev88)

  • Both cameras have WLF (which I love) and interchangeable film backs
  • ARAX-CM focuses closest at 0.6m vs 0.9m for the Zeiss Planar lens
  • ARAX-CM has 1/30 flash sync speed only vs 1/500 on the Hasselblad
  • ARAX-CM has maxium shutter speed of 1/1000 vs 1/500 on Hasselblad
  • ARAX-CM has hotshoe for speedlights / triggers vs PC sync ports only on 501CM
  • ARAX-CM (Kiev88) is a Hasselblad clone so similar size and weight to the 501CM
  • ARAX-CM (Kiev88) is Russian and not famous for reliability and quality control
  • Hasselblad originate from Sweden and have a generally good reliability track record
  • Nether the ARAX-CM or Hasselblad require a battery and are 100% mechanical

Hasselblad 501CM vs Rolleiflex SL66E

  • Both cameras have WLF (which I love) and interchangeable film backs
  • Rollei SL66E has bellows and focuses all lenses super close vs 0.9m for 501CM Planar
  • Rollei SL66E lenses can be reverse mounted to become macro lenses vs can’t
  • Rollei SL66E has tilting bellow for selective focus images vs standard look of 501
  • Rollei SL66E has 1/60 flash sync speed only vs 1/500 on the Hasselblad
  • Rollei SL66E has maxium shutter speed of 1/1000 vs 1/500 on Hasselblad
  • Rollei SL66E has hotshoe for speedlights / triggers vs PC sync ports only on 501CM
  • Rollei SL66E is bigger and heavier than a Hasselblad 501CM
  • Rollei SL66E is like an Italian sports car.  When it works it is a dream but not often
  • Hasselblad 501CM was thought to be reliable enough to go to the moon so the opposite

Hasselblad 501CM vs Fuji GF670

  • The Hasselblad 501CM has a WLF and interchangeable film backs vs Fuji without
  • Fuji GF670 and Hasselblad 501CM Zeiss Planar kit lens both focuses closest at 0.9m
  • Fuji GF670 and Hasselblad 501CM both have a flash sync speed of 1/500
  • Fuji GF670 and Hasselblad 501CM both have a max sync speed of 1/500
  • Fuji GF670 has hotshoe for speedlights / triggers vs PC sync ports only on 501CM
  • Hasselblad has interchangeable lenses vs. fixed lens only on the Fuji GF670
  • Fuji GF670 offers 6×6 or 6×7 format vs 6×6 only for the Hasselblad 501CM
  • Fuji GF670 is a folding rangefinder camera so more compact than a Hasselblad
  • Fuji GF670 and Hasselblad 501CM are perhaps a similar weight despite the shape

Hasselblad 501CM Wish List

For me the there are three things I really wish the Hasselblad camera system offered –

  • Faster glass (Perhaps an f2 Planar lens as found on the Contax 645)
  • Closer focusing lenses (0.6m would be perfect) (8mm extension tube is an option)
  • Hot shoe when using WTF (easier to work with wireless triggers than sync cables)


The Hasselblad 501 C/M is by no means the perfect system but I want to try it as part of my quest for the ‘perfect’ camera.  I hope I can love it as much as my Leicas.  My biggest wish is reliability and sharp images and that alone will make me use the camera more than some of my existing ones.


When looking to buy a Hasselblad my mind was boggled by all the various camera bodies and lenses.  Here is a few things I found out during my research.

Hasselblad 501CM vs 500CM

  • Hasselblad 501CM (1997 – 2005) is newer than the  500CM (1970-1994)
  • Hasselblad 501CM is said to have a new internal lining to reduce internal reflection
  • Hasselblad 501 has new Acute-matte brighter focusing screen (can buy for 500CM)
  • Hasselblad 501 has gliding mirror system so less screen vignetting with longer lenses
  • Hasselblad 501 film advance crank lever is not removeable. 500CM one is
  • Hasselblad 501 has no body ready indicator than was found on the 500CM

Hasselblad CB vs CF lenses

  • Hasselblad Zeiss CF lenses are said to be of superior build quality
  • Hasselblad Zeiss CF lenses are normally more expensive than CB lenses
  • Hasselblad CB lenses are the cheaper budget lens line like the Nikon E Series lenses
  • Hasselblad CF lenses are said to be sharper than CB if pixel peep but not that dramtic
  • 16 different Hasselblad Zeiss CF lenses available vs only 3 CB lenses
  • Hasselblad Zeiss CB lenses were released after CF lenses and has 6 elements not 7

Related Links

*Above facts based on my best knowledge and reading material only.  Comparisons include some of the camera features important to me rather than every feature.  Light meters not mentioned for example or the benefits of 6×7 vs 6×6.

2014 Wedding: Sarah & Mike

Highlights from Sarah & Mike’s Wedding at the Saxon Mill, Warwick. Photo with a digital Leica M9 plus analogue film cameras, Leica M2, Leica M3 and Fuji GF670

Leica Wedding Photographer (

Wedding: Sarah & Mike
Coventry Wedding Photographer – /

October 11th, 2014
Wedding Venue – The Saxon Mill, Warwick UK

The Saxon Mill Wedding Venue

Leica M9 Colours

Sarah and Mike’s Wedding was my second Saxon Mill wedding and it was great to be back. The building has great character and even better surroundings with the views across the River Avon to Guys Cliffe.  The day actually started in the morning at Chesford Grange Hotel for Sarah’s bridal preparation photos.  From there we moved onto the Saxon Mill for the wedding ceremony that was held upstairs.  It was not a huge wedding so the room worked well for the number of guests.  After the ceremony we did group photos and wedding portraits outside then back upstairs to sit down to eat for the wedding breakfast, speeches and cake cutting.  My day finished after the first dance and it was then time to pack up and drive…

View original post 118 more words

London Workshop – Aug 2014

London Photography Workshop – August 2014

Matthew Osborne Photography


London Photography Workshop – August 2014

Mr Leica Workshop


Team photo from the August 30th, 2014 portrait photography workshop in Central London finishing with St. Pauls Cathedral as a backdrop (again!). Left to right on the photo, Rachel, Trang (model), Adam and Gurnek. I had not worked with Trang before but she was recommended to me by another model.  Trang had no modelling experience but was interested in trying it. As for all my model shoots I worked closely with Trang during the week before the photo shoot to advise, clothes, make up, location, expectations etc etc.


The importance of learning how to direct portrait poses

I was almost glad Trang had no experience as I meant I had to work harder directing every pose on the day.  I feel it is better for photography students to learn how to direct posing, here by shadowing me, so when they have a shoot of their own they can use some of the same skills to prep their model.


For example

If a photographer works with a very experienced model for their first model shoot they may find they have to give little direction and get great looking photos.  They will probably pat themselves on the back once they review the images and say i’m good at this.  Then, on their second shoot they get to work with another very pretty subject but this time they have no experience.  The ‘model’ may assume the generic ‘bus stop’ stance, feet together and arms by their side and say “what do you want me to do?”.  Now the same photographer suddenly becomes unstuck and it is highly likely the images will not be as good as either the photographer or subject has hoped.  They might scratch their head after and say what went wrong this time when I was so good the first time?

Answer.  You need to know how to pose a subject to get the best from them.


A good portrait is more than just the pose

The pose is only the tip of the iceberg it terms of getting a nice image when working with a model/ subject but you will get to pick up other little tricks when shadowing me for the day.  Examples: How I communicate to my subject.  How I use light, available light and artificial light. How I select my location and choice of clothes and styling.

Photography Workshop


Here is a link to the Flickr group I have setup to share the photos taken by everyone attending –


The next portrait photography workshop in London is on Saturday September 13th, 2014.  There are still places available for this day if you are interested.


Here are a few photos I took during the workshop and you can see photos by others in the group on the Flickr link above:

(All photos are taken with a Leica M9 camera + Leica Summicron 50mm f2 v5 lens as an in camera black and white JPEG processed via Lightroom 3. No Photoshop as awaiting new computer).

London Portrait Photography Workshop
Portrait Photography Tuition
How to pose a model
Photography Workshop
Available Light Portrait


Medium format film photography

In addition to using the Leica M9 I also took my new Fuji GF 670 medium format film folding camera to London.  I had the GF 670 camera in the 6×6 film format (can also select 6×7) and shot two rolls of black and white C41 Ilford XP2 Super 400 film (to use up the old film (from the fridge) and to get it lab developed with my other colour C41 film).

Leica M9 photos are now the norm for me so I get far more excited by my film photography, whether the new GF670 (4 rolls of film now waiting to get developed!)(very very excited as the first photos from the camera and include two rolls shot in Poland), the 35mm Leica M2 film camera, the Mamiya RZ 67 or any of my other film cameras.  I used to favour 6×6 film format when I first discovered film photography a few years ago using a ARAX-CM (Kiev 88) and a Pentacon Six TL so it was great to compose my subjects in a square frame again.  It’s like Instagram but 1000x better and real! 🙂

#fuji gf670 & #Leica M9

Photography Workshops Autumn 2014 dates:

  • Saturday September 13th, 2014 – Model: Lauma (Lativian)(see my Flickr stream for example images)
  • Saturday October 25th, 2014 – Model: TBC but possibly Katie or Trang.

Hope to see you there! 🙂

More details..


Central London


Meeting Place:


Start time:
TBC depending on attendees but normally 11:00am

What equipment do you require on the day?
As a minimum you will require a camera with manual settings (even if you use the aperture priority or shutter priority settings to take your photos) and ideally a camera body with interchangeable lenses. I will bring a speedlight with Nikon triggers. You do not need a speedlight (flash) but feel free to bring with you if you have one. Please bring whatever lens you would use for portraiture for you style. This can be wide angle through to telephoto. I will bring a 5-in-1 reflector but again if you prefer to use any other light modifiers please bring them with you if not too bulky.

Previous experience required?
No experience of portraiture required. If you have some photography experience that would be beneficial but be no means essential.

What is included on the workshop?:

I give you the opportunity to shadow me on a location model shoot in London photographing a model on the street. I will teach you how I see light and shadows and use these to enhance your portraiture photography. We will use Central London as a backdrop to our portraits and I will show you how to get the best from different light sources. Lighting will include daylight only, daylight + reflector, daylight + speedlight (on camera and off camera flash), artificial light sources such as tungsten lights and any other light source we come across. I will teach you how to pose a model, tips as to how to work with models and what are the do’s and don’ts when working with models for the first time. I normally include some street photography as we move between locations so if that is your thing I will also show you how to zone focus and focus easily on moving subjects with manual lenses. I normally break up the day for light refreshments in a reputable coffee shop. This gives us chance to talk techniques and rest our legs over coffee and gives the model chance to change outfits ready for the second half. Please review my images on Flickr before signing up to the workshop so you understand the style of images I will be teaching. Thanks.

£150 per person.
Deposit of £25 payable in advance to hold you place. Balance payable on the day (or before).

Birmingham workshops and Coventry photography studio workshops:
If you cannot make it to one of my London workshops but would like to book tuition, I run 1-2-1 evening and weekend workshops from my Coventry studio at £35ph. I have had visitors from Alaska, Switzerland and Italy to name a few so if you are not UK based please do not rule it out. I am also looking to run workshops in a second city, Birmingham and also perhaps Poland if the demand is there.

If you would like book a day or request more details on any of the above please contact me at



Leica Fashion Shoot Poland

Leica M9 Location Fashion Shoot
Matthew Osborne Photography
Sopot, Poland, August 2014

Sopot Beach, Poland

I recently returned from another three day location shoot in Poland, this time at the beautiful beach resort, Sopot. I stayed at a hotel on the beach so it was perfect to use as a base for beach shoots.  When I last visited in June 2014 I stayed in the city of Gdansk and took model portrait photos with an urban backdrop.  The photos had a soft natural look using little or no makeup for most of the girls and each wore their own clothes.  It was just me working alone with one model at a time, and six girls over three days. Malwina at Malva Models supplied me with all the models.

For this visit to Sopot I worked closely with Malwina beforehand to organise makeup/ hair stylists, some new models and wardrobe (stylist to provide clothing).  I wanted to give some of the photos more of a fashion look and this to me is a result of a good model, strong poses and hard lighting (not always), enhanced further by a great makeup artist and hair stylist.  When shooting Leica fashion photography in the UK I rely heavily on lighting as this is one of my strengths. I have various strobes, speedlights and light modifiers and use these to light models both in the studio and on location. I believe available light can always be enhanced by artificial light in every situation if done correctly. I often keep my model photo shoots simple, relying on lighting and a strong model and then directing the clothing style, hair and makeup (and assisting with all three if needed!).  When there are fewer people involved we can work fast and efficiently.  That said, sometime I need the help of others to help to try to take my photos to the next level.  This was one of those occasions.  I communicated in advance the clothing styles I wanted to shoot, the location, the makeup style, and selected models with the look I wanted. The more effort you put in before a shoot the better results you will achieve, right down to details such as the choice of shoes and accessories.

I was traveling light to Poland from the UK again with just a 10kg hand luggage allowance.  This would really restrict the amount of camera gear I could take.  I wanted to pack at least one speedlight but in the end decided to rely on just a reflector as though as it was a beach location so there should be plenty of available light both direct light and diffused light (from above) and reflected light reflecting off the sea and sand, regardless of whether a clear sky and sunshine or an overcast day.  (My preference is at least some broken cloud cover, especially when shooting with speedlights in the UK).

The camera equipment I finally decided on was as follows –

  • Leica M9 digital camera body
  • Leica M2 35mm film camera (loaded with 35mm Kodak T-Max 100 black & white film)
  • Fuji GF670 Pro medium format film camera (loaded with 120 Fuji Pro 400H & 120 Kodak Porta 400 colour film)
  • Zeiss ZM Planar 50mm f2 T lens (as my main lens for sharp images)
  • Voigtlander Ultron 28mm f2 lens (if I needed a wider angle)
  • Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.0 v2 (for soft portraits and to use in low light)

Why my choice of 50mm lens?
On my last trip I took a Zeiss ZM Sonnar 50mm f1.5 and the Noctilux.   I used the Noctilux for the majority of the images.  I like to cycle my lenses and dust them off now and again for a run.  I have used the Zeiss ZM Planar 50mm f2 very little since I bought it, before the Leica Summilux ASPH 50 f1.4, the Leica Summicron 50mm f2 and other older 50mm lenses?  If you read one of my older posts I wrote the Planar is too sharp for portraits.  That said I have got used to sharp by using the Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO so thought would pack it as it is both small (39mm filter thread and focuses close at 0.7m) (Noctilux and ZM Sonnar do not focus as close).

Would I chose the same camera lenses next time?
No. The Planar was great and was used for perhaps 90% of the daylight images but the weight of the Noctilux was not worth it for this style of photo shoot.  Fashion photos often look better sharper to see the clothes details so sharper lenses are more suited. Lenses that are sharp when shot wide open such as the ZM Planar just get sharper stopped down.  That said I prefer the rendering of the Zeiss ZM Sonnar over the Zeiss ZM Planar.

My lens choice needs to be a balance of weight and quality.  For this reason next time I think I would pack my current favourite studio lens, the Leica Summicron 75mm f2 APO that focuses at 0.7m and is very sharp and the small and compact Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm f1.4 for a wider low light lens. I took this lens to Ukraine last year and loved the results despite it not being as sharp wide open as some of my other lenses.

So how was my photography trip to Sopot?
Each day of the three days was completely different.

Summary –

Day 1
Two model shoots, Sara and Zuza (“Zuzanna”), and clothes stylist Marta providing all the clothes for the day.
Day 2
Three model shoots, Magda, Vicky and Marta, clothes stylist Marta and MUA (hair and makeup) Joanna.
Day 3
Two model shoots, Sara (second shoot) and Paulina only and an evening Engagement style shoot with Teresa and Wojciech.

In more detail –

Day 1
I arrived midday into Sopot so only had a half day of photos.  Sara was a new model so I was giving much more direction during the shoot. Marta kindly helped hold the reflector for some photos. We didn’t use an MUA.  Zuza had shot with me before so we worked fast and made use of the daylight we had before dark.  Everyone seemed pretty exhausted by the end so we stopped before 8pm.
Day 2
Starting at 9am, as I knew makeup always takes a long time model Magda and MUA Joanna arrived and got started. We got some music on in my hotel room and time just flew past. Marta arrives to help select clothes for each girl and we were still doing makeup. We finally got outside and started shooting and for the rest of the day I overlapped the models so would be shooting with one girl while another model was with the MUA. This meant we didn’t stop but luckily the girls ordered in pizzas for us and I provided some rounds of coffees from the hotel restaurant to keep us all going! As more models arrived it was a squeeze in the hotel room but we worked around each other.  The weather was changeable so during the showers we shot inside then went out when it stopped.  There was a cold wind on the beach so we kept the girls wrapped between photos and worked fast.  The last two changes for models Marta and then Magda were in the dark but we still got some photos.  Here the Noctilux lens became a life safer with an f1.0 aperture.  Makeup had slowed down progress vs. Day 1 but combined with the clothes and head pieces made for some hopefully strong images.
Day 3
We had no clothes stylist or MUA so it was me working alone.  This tends to be fast but it can be hard to hold a reflector and manual focus the Leica M9 camera at times.  One model was not able to attend so I got some down time to review my images.  I had Paulina in the morning that I met last time in Gdansk then Sara again from Day 1 as I knew we could get good results working 1-2-1. It is often easier on new models when there are fewer people involved. In the evening I had asked model Teresa to bring her boyfriend Wojciech for a couple shoot / engagement session styled look. Wojciech had not had photos before but they worked flawlessly together and with my direction and their love for each other it made for some really strong and romantic photos.

Fuji GF670 medium format film fashion
Despite it being a rush for much of the trip I was still determined to do some medium format film fashion photography. I managed to shoot two rolls of 120 colour film using the Fuji GF670 in the 6×6 film format to get 12 photos per roll. In hindsight as always I wish I had shot twice that number. Next time! I will share the results once the film is developed.  I also shot almost a full roll of 35mm Kodak TMax 100 on the Leica M2 for a more gritty look (to be stand developed in Rodinal (R09)).

Here are a few photos of some of the models  from the trip.  I don’t currently have my laptop so have used LR3 to process the images (without the finishing touches in Photoshop Elements).

Leica Black and White
Zeiss ZM Planar Bokeh
Available Light Photography
Zeiss Planar Portrait
Leica M9 + Zeiss ZM Planar 50
Romantic Dinner for Two

I will post a separate selection of images once film is developed for the Leica M2 and Fuji GF670 here at, some colour fashion looking photos once I have Photoshop, and also some more of the engagement style images at

Related Posts

Travelling Light (Part 1)

3 Days, 6 Models, Poland

Fuji GF670 – BLOG – BLOG

(Matthew Osborne Photography)

One stop blog for Leica M cameras, Leica M lenses, Hasselblad cameras various other film cameras, films and film formats

Leica Noctilux Selfie

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Leica M cameras are my workhorse tools for all types of photography, both digital Leica cameras and Leica film cameras. I also shoot medium format and large format film and my appetite for analogue film photography is stronger than ever.  The majority of the blog content is either Leica M camera related or film photography.  I am a people photographer, models, fashion, lifestyle and wedding photography so most of my photography is portraits, experimenting with various cameras, lenses and films.  The digital Leica M Typ 240 camera is my current do everything digital M camera but my favourite Leica camera is the Leica M3 film camera.  I am also a huge fan of Hasselblad medium format film cameras and I use them a lot for client film photography shoots.

Mr Leica – About:

Hi, I started this blog page in March 2013 as my Flickr followers keep asking me to share some of my thoughts. To give you a brief background, my photography began in 2008 after getting a Panasonic Lumix TZ5 for Christmas.  Today I have a lot of cameras and offer Photography Tuition to those who often get paid for their work. Besides teaching, I shoot as a Wedding Photographer and Model Photographer.  I am 100% self taught so thought a blog would be a great way to share some of the things I have learnt so far.  At the end of 2012 I started to develop a passion for Film Photography and in the summer of 2013 I bought my first Leica camera.  I am now officially a Leica nut and use a digital Leica M240 and M8 plus Leica M3s, M2, M4-P and M6 film cameras for most of my photography.  This includes Leica wedding photography, Leica lifestyle photography and Leica fashion / model photography.  I also enjoy using medium format film cameras such as the amazing Hasselblad 501C 6×6 camera (my main medium format film camera), Fuji GF670, Rolleiflex SL66E, Mamiya RZ67 Pro2 to name a few and 4×5 large format film using a 1947 Pacemaker Speed Graphic and Sinar F2.  In 2014 I started to teach portrait photography and lighting in London running monthly group photography workshops. Currently I teach photography on 1-2-1 basis providing 1-2-1 photography tuition (normally with a model) on location, often in London if on location and in the UK, from my Coventry UK studio or overseas such as New York, Zurich and Amsterdam.

Destination Leica Wedding Photographer

Leica Wedding Photographer offering desination Wedding Photography both in the UK and overseas. Natural documentary style wedding photography fused with stylised wedding portraits.  As a Leica photographer I like to work quietly as an observer in the background and photograph by available light where possible.  I use both digital and film Leica cameras but my passion is film photography.

Traditional Film Wedding Photographer UK

Film wedding photographer that still prefers film cameras in the digital era.  I use 35mm Leica film cameras, medium format Hasselblad cameras and large format film cameras.  If you appreciate film photography as much as I do then I would be delighted to cover your wedding.  You may have already booked a wedding photographer but like the idea of a few special images shot on film?  I would be happy to oblige!

Engagement Sessions

Engagement photography is very rewarding and I enjoy working with a couple to create natural yet stylised images using a aray of cameras to give you as set of unique looking images.  E-sessions are invaluable for giving couples experience in front of the cameras ahead of their wedding day and it gives us a chance to get to know each other too.

Large Format Portrait Photographer

Large format camera portrait session that gives one of a kind photos.  4×5 format sheet film images and instant Polaroid photos.  I fuse my model photography experience with my passion for film photography.

Leica Lifestyle Photographer

I have realised from how I direct my model shoots that I am in fact a lifestyle photographer.  Posing often everyday people in everyday situations to look very natural.  I have not yet branded myself as a lifestyle photographer but it may be a route I take in the future as this style comes very naturally to me and I find it easy to work closely with my clients to get the best from the images.  If you are looking for new and creative photos for your social media site, blog, website or business then do get in touch.

Model Photographer

Studio based model photographer in Coventry specialising in black and white female portraiture using both digital and film cameras.  I help new models build a model portfolio and regularly collaborate with model agencies and published models in the UK, Europe and the US.

UK Photography Workshops

I provide 1-2-1 photography tuition and lighting workshops from my Coventry studio and on location.  I will help you to understand light and your camera to enhance your photography. Through 2014 I was running London photography workshops teaching small groups of photographers how to work with a professional model on location.  Currently I focus on providing 1-2-1 tuition rather than teaching groups both here in the UK and overseas.

I hope you find the content as enjoyable to read as I find it is to document.