I have a dream.
I have been shooting everything for the last 30 years. Portraits, events, sports, wildlife, wedding, street and everything else. Over the decades my focus has improved. I now seem to love clicking people, in groups or as lone models. So, I see myself clicking weddings, street and portraits more and more. Occasionally I might go on a safari and shoot a tiger or take up an architecture shoot but 90% or more I shoot people.
The key question while shooting people is how to portray them. There is no right answer here. You could have them methodically pose or you could just let them be themselves and click a part of their natural personality. I seem to love the latter.
Weddings, for me, get a tick on all criteria. They help you make some money, have loads of people in them and they present opportunities to click people in their natural elements.
Now back to ‘I have a dream’. I have always aspired to go back to the basics, to the time when I started. There were no buttons behind cameras, there was no autofocus, there were no superzooms. You had a solid rock of a camera and lens combination, aperture control on the lens and shutter speed on the top of the camera. The film you chose pre-determined your ISO and white balance so you were pretty much only concentrating on focusing and composing. Would it be possible to go back to that age in this digital age, using a digital camera?
Enter Leica. The inventors of 35mm photography, Leica originated as and, through their M series, have always stayed honest to the photojournalistic/documentary style of photography. Solid cameras that can take a beating through decades, tough lenses with brilliant optics and minimalism to the core. Aperture control on the lenses, manual focus, shutter speed on top of the camera, all that screams classic.
But is it possible to run and gun and shoot weddings with the Leicas? I am on this exciting journey. Here is how:
- Depending on the lens I use, my aperture is almost always pre decided. If I am using the Noctilux (50mm f0.95), I always shoot at 0.95. If I am using the 75 f1.4 Summilux, I am always shooting at f1.4. If I am using the Voigtlander 21mm Ultron f1.8 I might switch between 1.8 to 5.6. So, that’s one less thing to worry about.
- Next, I am always shooting in Aperture Priority mode so I don’t worry about setting any shutter speed.
- Three, I set ISO to auto and program the camera to give me 1/2x shutter speed. X being the focal length. So if I am using the 50mm, the camera will give me 1/2X50=1/100 shutter speed as a bare minimum and adjust ISO accordingly.
- Four, my white balance is always on Auto.
All these work like Magic on the Leica M cameras. So, it all boils down to the fact that the only thing I need to concentrate on is focusing and composing. Makes life really easy and manual focusing very simple. And of course, if you are shooting 24mm or below and are at 5.6 or above you can zone focus and forget about focusing too. So, the only thing you are doing is actually composing the shot.
I see myself totally moving towards Leica for weddings, street and portraits and have experimented with it on a couple of occasions. Here are a few pictures from an event of a bride getting ready. All shot with Leica M 240, Leica M 10 bodies and 50 Noctilux, 75 Summilux and 21mm Ultron
More to come, stay tuned. Please leave your comments below.