I photographed a wedding on my Leica
Ever since I got a Leica M240, I was wondering how it would feel to photograph an entire wedding on this old, manual camera with very limited features. There’s something about using a Leica that makes me feel more creative and more excited about capturing moments. So I had to challenge myself to see how using this camera can affect the photos I take at a wedding.
Leica is not really a wedding photography beast. It’s a very limited camera - you have to focus manually, there’s no EVF, the metering doesn’t work that great, there’s just one memory card slot so you don’t have your a back up of your photos. Not to mention the rangefinder system is really slow to work with in a hectic setting such as a wedding event.
Cons of using Leica for Wedding Photography
As I mentioned, working with Leica slows you down. That can be a good thing in photography sometimes, but not necessarily at a wedding. I felt really stressed at first and I’ve definitely missed few moments that I would easily capture with any other camera.
At one point right after the ceremony I wanted to give up and just grab my Fuji because I was so scared to miss all those hugs and high fives. But I didn’t. Instead, it forced me to think ahead about my positioning and be smarter about what moments are worth capturing. Which brings me to the good stuff...
Capturing what really matters
Knowing I had to focus manually and frame the shot before the moment even happened turned out to be really helpful. We’re so used to take photos of everything from every angle and only then select the good ones later. Sometimes we don’t think enough and just slam that shutter button, spray and pray style, burst mode, autofocus, no framing (I can just crop later, right?) and that can really kill our creativity.
I’m not saying that’s always the case but our cameras these days definitely allow that approach to say the least, sometimes it feels like cheating. Now back to shooting with manual Leica camera - I had to work extra hard for every photo, I had to anticipate the moment, focus manually, frame properly and then, click the shutter button only once when the moment felt just right. It made me more patient and intentional about which moments are truly worth capturing instead of capturing it all and deleting most of it later.
And here’s the best part. I only took around 350 photos over the course of 4 or 5 hours of shooting. I delivered 290 of them, that is an insane keeper rate. I believe it’s because of all the work I had to put in “on the floor”. I really enjoyed taking all the details photos on Leica, I envisioned the shot first, found the angle I like and took the photo. First try, no need to try five angles if you already know what you want to do. Similar approach with candids.
I’m not planning to only use Leica for my weddings, no. It felt too risky and I’d need to get really comfortable with the rangefinder. I’m not there yet. But I’ve learned a lesson. I really like the idea of shooting less while being more intentional about everything. It can be more exhausting at first but I truly believe it can make me a better photographer. If there’s a takeaway from this experience, it’ll be this:
anticipation, not burst mode, is the key to capturing great moments
more work you put in while shooting, less time you’ll spend behind the computer
just because a camera has all the features doesn’t mean you’ll take better photos using those
If you want to see full gallery from this wedding, click HERE.
My LKO Presets are available HERE.
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