Bridal portrait created by Dallas Headshot photographer Alex Cena at the Eldorado Country Club in McKinney, TX using a Canon EOS 1D Mark IV with a 16-35/2.8 and lit with a Quantum QFlash Turbo 5D with a bare bulb.
Early this fall, I photographed Kristina and Brian’s Wedding as a thunderstorm approached the venue. Someone up above must have been watching over us as the showers held off until seconds after we completed the formal photos and were safely inside the reception hall.
All the images were created with a Leica M9 Rangefinder or a Mamiya AFD-III with a Leaf DM33 digital back. The post production color correction was done by PWD Labs.
It probably would not be good for business for me to tell brides that I enjoy shooting in bad weather. Not just when the weather looks threatening but I also do enjoy shooting in a torrential downpour or even a snow storm. When it is just very hot or very cold, I don’t like to be out and about shooting but precipitation of any sort adds a lot to an image in my opinion.
This past weekend I photographed Kristina and Brian’s wedding, which was held at the Stroudsmoor Country Inn in Stroudsburgh, PA. There was a 60% chance of thunderstorms, but the venue made the call to continue with the wedding outside. While the skies remained completely clear during the ceremony, it was very evident that rain was well on its way toward us. In fact, you can see the rain falling across the valley. While the bridal party was still at the receiving line, I quickly set up a pair of Dynalite Uni400s powered by Jackrabbit batteries and mounted my Mamiya 645 AFD-III on top of a tripod. I also metered the light though it always comes out at f/8 at ISO 100 with the strobes at half power. I could’ve boosted the strobes power to stop down to f/11 but I probably would’ve lost detail in the background which may have gone black and I did not have time to try any light tests.
As soon as I was about ready, Dave the videographer was kind enough to gather up the bridal by letting them know we have a short amount of time to get this done. We were able to rush through all the shots needed. After the first image, I stopped looking at the camera’s LCD and just went through my mental checklist as opposed to referring to a cheat sheet. The image above was the last one we were able to take before the rain came. In fact, I just had enough time to place my camera into a Pelican case, while my strobes, stands and pocket wizards were tossed in the back of my car without disassembly before the rain came down in buckets.
While I was not able to include rain in any of the images, the clouds provide in my opinion provide a much more interesting background than a clear sky. Yes, portraits in the shade with scattered clouds during a sunny day in a beautiful setting is the background of choice for brides. But, you have to go with what mother nature gives you and she always gets it right.
I photographed Lara and John’s wedding this past weekend. As is now my modus operandi, I shot RAW and JPEG black and white using me Leica M9. The RAW files I shipped off to PWD Labs for post production, which I have now completely outsourced to minimize the impact of that never-ending upgrade cycle of hardware and software. Not to mention all that time wasted color-correcting images when someone who does it all day everyday can do it significantly better and faster than I can ever hope to do.
I shoot color as well as black and white for two reasons: 1) when I look at the LCD on the back of the camera, I can evaluate the composition and exposure much easier in black and white since I do not have all the distraction of the color around me. If it works in B&W, I’m sure it likely will work in color as well; and 2) the black and white images straight out of my Leica M9 is perfect. So much so that I wished I had a Leica M9 Monochrome. I generally do not touch the B&W images out of the camera other than to crop the image. The look is already what I want. Here is a quick sample from the wedding. All shot with the Leica M9, which is now my go to camera for just about any project but sports.
I had another opportunity to shoot my Leica M9 at a wedding over the weekend. It still was not my primary camera but served secondary to my trusty Canon EOS 1D Mark IV. This time I set the M9 to shoot both RAW and JPEG in vintage black and white. The strategy was interesting since the RAW was in color and the JPEG was in B&W, but I can only replay the B&W version until the images were finally downloaded to my computer. I think the strategy allowed me to work better because when I reviewed an image on the LCD in B&W all I can see is mood and composition without the distraction of color.
It was such a pleasure to shoot and the images right out of the camera were so wonderful that I ended up using it for creating half the images. I just wish I had a second M9 as it is always a pain to switch lenses so I ended up relying on both the M9 and the Mark IV. The shooting style is very different with each camera. With the M9, you want to be more methodical. After all it is a manual focus camera and it is easy to bump up against the buffer if you are shooting RAW. When I shoot the Mark IV, I tend to run and gun more because of it’s fast frame rate, huge buffer and fast auto-focus. Next time, one of the bodies has to just stay in the car. In fact, I have a small wedding coming up where it will be held in someone’s home. There will only be 20 people there so it will be a perfect time to go Leica all the way.
Here are some more images from the day. No processing was done with these images other than cropping them and running them through a sharpening preset.