I first met Lisa when my wife and I were photographing the Maryland Craft Beer Festival in Frederick, MD in 2013. Steph also did their family portraits that year. Then in 2016, we photographed her brother’s wedding and learned how talented a make-up artist Lisa is. So it was my absolute pleasure to photograph Lisa’s own wedding this passed fall.
I shot Lisa and Jason’s engagement photos on my Leica M6 TTL .85 with 1934 Leitz 9cm f4 Elmar lens, which is fabulous for portraits. After photos, we met the couple for drinks at Rockwell Brewery. I switched to my 1950’s Leitz 5cm 1.5 Summarit which is one of my low light staples.
Over drinks, I showed them the lenses and explained a little bit of their history. Jason was really wow’d that I was using such old equipment. We talked about his interest in maritime history which tied in quite well. I love using vintage gear that inspires people and carries on a legacy with each use. I think that when people see my passion for my equipment, they also see how personally important their photos are to me. And I also love clients with whom I can enjoy a few pints!
Jason and Lisa were married at Breaux Vineyards. It’s an sprawling, photogenic property in Purcellville, Virgina which I highly recommend for a wedding or just a fun day trip! I spent probably a good 20 minutes just photographing the grapevines on Kodak TMAX 100 with my Nikon FM2n and 55mm 2.8 Micro. You can just get lost in the out of focus area of a good macro!
Lisa’s gift to her new husband was a beautiful bottle of Johnny Walker Blue Label. Niiice! The start to a perfect marriage! I shot most of pre-bridal, including this image with my M6 TTL. The cliche is true; rangefinders are perfect for capturing the height of the moment and blending into the background.
I covered the ceremony, as I tend to, with a Leica body and a Nikon body. One long lens and one short lens. I wear both together and this allows me to switch focal lengths rapidly, since I only use prime lenses. For the ceremony, the camera type doesn’t matter to me too much so long as it’s reasonably quiet!
The ceremony was, as I’d expect from these two, personal, emotional and heartfelt. I think everyone teared up at some point or another but we made it through, together!
Stephanie and I took the couples’ posed photos following the ceremony while guests enjoyed cocktails. This was all M6 TTL and 90mm Summicron on Tri-X 400. I use this Cron for any portrait work that may require very large prints because it’s resolving power and bokeh are just phenomenal, with life-like compression too.
The reception was insane, thanks to a fully stocked bar, great music and Lisa and Jason’s amazing friends. I tend to switch out to all Nikon and a 50mm 1.8 or 1.4, depending on my mood, for receptions. Rangefinder focusing takes me a moment longer than SLR focusing in very dim, flickering light. I can work it fine at a concert where there’s a cadence to things but for a wedding reception where action can be a little more unexpected, SLR’s just work better for me.
The FM2n is a terrific low light camera because it has a super bright split screen and simple, responsive meter display. These features allow me to focus and expose very rapidly.
Despite my camera’s amazing feature-set, you’ll note that I still mange to miss my focus and exposure! Before digital photography, a professional wedding shooter would never attempt images like these without matrix metering and auto-focus. And for that matter, nothing but candids would be handled on 35mm. In today’s digital age, however, I feel that hazarding modern style images with small, fully manual film cameras brings so much character and expresses the moment organically. Yes, you’ll note these are far from technically perfect, but I think, and hopefully my clients think, these images express something more elusive; soul.
I am endlessly grateful that my talented wife shoots digital, which allows me to get away with shooting unconventionally like this! You can see more of her and my work at MartyrAndLeePhotography.com.
Thanks so much to Lisa and Jason for including us in your Big Day, and for appreciating the very personalized effort that I put into every one of my photographs.
And many thanks to everyone for reading. Please check out more of my wedding work on Flickr too. If you shoot weddings on film or are interested in it, I’d love to see your work or discuss any topics/questions.
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