The Importance of Capturing the Authenticity of Your Wedding Day

When it comes to planning a wedding, the abundance of inspiration can be both a blessing and a curse. With platforms like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, and Pinterest at our fingertips, the options seem endless. As a wedding photographer in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, UK, I’ve noticed a trend among brides-to-be. They are increasingly overwhelmed and unsure where to begin. This is where my role becomes crucial – to offer guidance and support during this overwhelming process.

I have been thinking about this entry for a while, and I even consulted a friend, a professional stylist by trade and passion. Interestingly, our discussion quickly shifted towards managing client expectations regarding their wedding photography. It made me realize that not only wedding photography, but also the entire day’s experience is often overlooked in the preparation process.

The thing is, as a wedding photographer, I am often approached by couples with specific ideas for their special day: the colors, decor, venue, music, you name it. And that’s perfectly alright. I would probably feel the same way. However, sometimes the harsh reality is that these compiled ideas need some adjustments to ensure that the couple leaves their wedding day feeling happy and fully satisfied. I believe the key to achieving this is quite simple: Your wedding will be unique to YOU. It will not be a staged, and more often than not, a fake event created for the sake of satisfying an algorithm-driven social media platforms where we all gather our ideas from. And I aim for exactly that: a uniquely documented wedding day that represents all moments; those the couple would have missed as well as those vividly remembered and cherished. 

Wedding photography is changing. People are changing. Ultimately however, we all look for the same outcome and something we can return to and say “This was me back then, and it was all amazing!”.

Planning a wedding? Let’s chat!

Wedding Photography short break in Malaga, Spain.

I love this part of the year not only for the aura winter can bring to wedding photography, but also for a fresh, new start and outlook on things as I tend to take a short break within this time. Just before weddings restart properly very soon here in the midlands, this time round I was lucky to escape for a few days and meet up with my friends in what now happens to be one of my favourite southern european cities: Malaga, Andalucia, Spain.

This trip was quite important, it appears; the busy Christmas period brought plenty of photography and writing work, which I would never complain about, however, it’s trips abroad and change of scenery I tend to recharge best with. Plus, the different canvas I can put subjects on is always extremely welcome. As a lifestyle wedding photographer, I tend to always look for inspiration when I travel: after all, how different wedding photography really is in its pace from documenting life on streets and in busy environments? I absolutely love that element, both at weddings as well as during the escapades to those new places.

Why Malaga? Well, one of my friends I met up with lives in Gibraltar and it was an easy trip for him. For me, as I’m based in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, flights from East Midlands, Nottingham, UK are frequent and easy. The other two friends had no problem getting there either from Poland so it was a done deal. We knew we wanted to go somewhere warm too, just to break the winter blues a bit with a solid hit of vitamin D – and Malaga doesn’t disappoint! The warm days were very much welcome and strolling around this magnificent, rich in history and beautiful Andalucian culture city was exactly what we all needed. 

This is by no means a travel blog – I could write a short book, I feel, about Malaga and everything there is to see and do there. Instead though, I wanted to record the photographs I took during my short trip to remind me about a couple of things: namely, how important it is to take a break and that documenting life around me wherever I am is the best practice for what I bring to wedding photography during a busy season. So here’s a note to self among the the photographs to view below, the passing moments I already love returning to: keep your camera on you wherever you go, observe and create, and never stop! Well, unless there’s that smell of a sea-food paella or tapas in the air you just need to stop for. 

Where to next time?

Leica M10 | Wedding Photography and Personal Projects

Roll the intro!

OK, I think I’m ready. I think I’ve arrived at a point where I’m comfortable giving my honest opinion about the Leica M10. Disclaimer first: this is not a tech specs review. Instead, I will discuss my experience with the camera—things I love and things I wish were better.

I’m a lifestyle and wedding photographer primarily, and so my thoughts (and examples) will be based around those areas of reportage. Want a short premise? The camera is great, and I love it, but this cannot be divorced from discussing the experience of using (what I believe is) the best implementation of a range-finder in digital photography today—although I haven’t tried the Pixii camera, which also uses that system, however in an APSC sensor.

Initial experience

For years, I’ve been using Fujifilm X cameras for both my professional and personal work, and I can honestly say that the company has come a long way ever since they introduced their first, and much beloved still, X100 and X-Pro1 line of cameras. There is no hiding from the fact that I’ve been drawn to these because of their nod to the past in terms of the design and functionality: the timeless placement of tactile dials, knobs, and settings—you really do have access to everything you need without diving deep to the menu. Leica is, of course, the other company who prides itself on the classic and photographer-first design approach. This, combined with the choice of materials the cameras are built with (brass/aluminium) and the weight they carry—both metaphorically and literally—truly make you feel that you’re operating a tool of pure intent. I do realise this sounds like the cliché we all heard so many times surfing through countless pages and reviews online, yet it needs to be said. I’ve got a comparison for you though, just to be a bit different, here goes… When I was a young boy, my grandmother owned a Singer sewing machine. I absolutely loved that thing! The turning of the wheel and its dampened movement while the needle would go up and down, and down and up again. The smell of oil she would need to apply onto the parts to keep it smooth, the foot-operated pedal that started the motion, the heavy weight of the parts and their off-colouring of brass. I could spend hours pretending that I’m not only a specialist operator of this astonishing tool, but also a pilot, a racing driver, submarine officer, a radio operator on a bomber, or anyone required to operate specialist machinery to achieve amazing things—my imagination went wild! And inevitably, I get a similar feeling when picking up the Leica M10. It’s all in here too: the dials are reassuringly heavy to use, yet not uncomfortable, the focusing mechanism and the ability to distance yourself from the screen is brilliant. I even love the fact that I don’t need to get to the menu, even more so than on my Fujifilm cameras—something I thought is the ultimate photography-focused approach. And so, to sum up, the quality that went into producing it is remarkable, and I appreciate it every time I pick it up.

The not-so-great (let’s get it out of the way, shall we?)

Having said all that, my initial experience with the camera was very discouraging, as I was very unlucky to receive a copy that came with the focusing arm stuck upon using the rangefinder mechanism. You can imagine my disappointment. I was gutted, and it quickly turned my first photo walk into an online research of the problem, which appears to be not only the case with the M10, but all Leica M cameras. Fortunately, just like with the aforementioned Singer machine, all that is required in such an instance is lubricating the parts and servicing the camera. And so I sent it back and had it fixed in no time. A word of caution though: although this can be done by yourself with some knowledge of parts disassembly and care, you would be invalidating your camera’s warranty and so it’s better to exercise patience and hand it over to someone who knows what they’re doing. In my case, the camera was bought from Aperture London store, whereby their resident Leica technicians handle the gear with care and relevant knowledge. And should the issue return, which has been reported online to have been the case with some copies, you’ll know what to do.
Another minor issue I’ve been experiencing with the Leica M10—again, my copy—is the dust gathering on the sensor. I’m pretty convinced it is the case with my unit mostly. My friend, who’s also an avid Leica M10 shooter and a lifestyle photographer, hasn’t experienced the issue for the past 4 plus years, pretty much ever since he bought his camera. My copy, however, seems to have some dust trapped in the body itself, and it shifts itself, thus resting on the sensor. No biggie here; I know how to clean a camera sensor and have the tools for it. And if I’m too lazy, the tiny spot I’ve got resting in one place on the sensor is easily dealt with in post; my starting point in editing is always setting white balance and automatic dust removal in Capture One, which works great.
Next, a slightly bigger problem may be if you come from another camera system, and one that spoils you with producing files of even dynamic range, though it must be said I mean here ‘right out of the box’. Comparing the Leica M10 DNG files to my Fujifilm RAW output, I instantly see more perceived dynamic range in the latter. The files are great and require less work to get to where I want them to be. With the DNG files from the Leica M10, however, this isn’t the case at all. The files need to be massaged, treated and carefully considered during and after shooting if you want to get the best out of them. For starters, there’s the unforgivable and archaic (by today’s standards) metering system, which produces files where (if you’re not careful) highlights are blown beyond recovery. You just have about a stop of light recovery beyond ISO 400. Oh, and don’t shoot ISO 100, it ain’t pretty. In my early weeks of using the camera, this came somewhat as another disappointment. I persevered though and lead myself with a thought that great images can be produced even with the M8, M240, M9 and the M10, of course. Therefore, decided I’m going to go all-in and meticulously learn my way around it. And I’m glad I did that because boy, oh boy, the results surprise you! Once I applied one, then another method of thinking and utilising what I know about the environment, the light, the camera, and the technique of making, not taking, photographs, I’ve been rewarded with images I cherish and love. What are those methods? Well, for one, shoot either -0.3 or -0.7 underexposed, as this will preserve highlight information (in most scenarios). Two, learn to evaluate the environment, take a step back, do some research or take a light meter with you if you have one (or download a light-meter app like “Lightme”) and start using manual ISO with the light meter mode set to Multifield in-camera. This, so far, has given me the best results, and I’ve been continuously rewarded with the experience of the Leica M10. Just one note here: don’t rely on the LCD screen for preview after your shots, as the images will be underexposed. However, you’ve got all that data ready and waiting for you to salvage on your computer. And there, you will be surprised how far you can go! And that’s mostly it when it comes to the cons. For some, these may be enough to deter them from spending their hard-earned money and investing it into a camera that doesn’t come without its issues. But then again, hardly anything ever does, and for me, the pros hugely outshine the cons. Let’s have a look at those next.

The jolly good stuff (a point of no return?)

Ahhh, the Leica look, right? Quite possibly (if you’re still here) you’ve been reading through the ramble above just to see it. Well, as cliché as it may be, and without much of a surprise, there _is_ a distinct look to the files produced by the files that come out of the Leica M10. Undoubtedly, when viewing the photos I am always drawn to the warm, yet not overly saturated colours, the texture, and tonality of the scenes (be it tighter portraiture or wider scenes), and the beautiful (micro) contrast that you can arrive at in post. And yes, if sharpness is your thing, the photos produced by the sensor are very sharp, though you need to nail focus to get there—this one’s on You! The magic is definitely there if you’re willing to devote time and effort to learn how to edit the files, too. I only shoot in RAW, and so I won’t have anything to elaborate on here on the JPEG front. When did try it a couple of times, I was positively surprised with the Leica high-contrast monochrome output. In terms of colour JPEGs, I’ve not experimented much due to the aforementioned limits of in-camera metering (not specific to the M10 but to all cameras, mind you).
I would quickly run out of synonyms to describe how great the photos from the camera are. Or perhaps, they are _likely_ to be once you master the art of handling this specialist photographic tool, which I treat it as such. You see, I doubt that this is the camera for you if your’e looking for a point-and-shoot. You’ve heard all the good stuff about it and have deep pockets? Do you think it’ll be an instantly gratifying experience? Think again. You will be disappointed. But hang on, this section was to be about the positives. Let’s circle back to it.
I would package this into the following stages, in short: the handling of the camera, deciding on how to capture the scene (and its traits regarding setting it properly), and finally, editing. This may sound like too much for some folks, but I know where I stand when I say I adore the process of making photos with this system. It really is incomparable to anything else out there, and perhaps it is why Leica are bold enough to charge so much for the _experience_. Don’t get me wrong, I still think their pricing strategy is super crazy. Yet somehow, the madness works for them, and dare I say it, makes sense(?)
The image quality is great, just in case I missed that part. So far, I’ve had a chance to shoot the camera with the Leica Summilux 35mm 1.4 ASPH, Leica Summilux 50mm 1.4 ASPH, Voigtlander 35mm f2 Ultron VM II, Leica Summicron 35mm f2 (V4) and Voigtlander 50mm f2 APO-LANTHAR. Personally, I own only one of the above lenses: the Voigtlander 35mm f2 Ultron VM II and while it is not the best out of them all, it proves to be a wonderful companion to the M10, with its character and peculiar image characteristics. The colours are rendered very well too, and I love what the lens does in monochrome—more on the lens in a dedicated post later, which I’ll link to this blog entry. Standby… Back to image quality.
I was always intrigued by the output Leica M shooters swear by—the infamous _Leica look._ It really beats me to say this (because any camera is a tool and tools are there to do a job) but having shot with Canon, Nikon and Fujifilm systems over the past 10+ years, I haven’t encountered anything that is this good. Well, maybe what comes close is Fujifilm, especially when shot with the new lines of lenses, out of which the Fujifilm 33mm 1.4 R LM WR produces photos with such pop that it’s easy to get confused which system the image came out of. I’m biased, mind you… Going back to the Leica M10; the files are rich, organic and _meaty_—not in their file size but in the ability to push them. I shoot RAW only and, out of the box, the images are flat and almost uninviting. However, upon the very first adjustment, you start to see the magic happen, and you are instantly open to experimenting more with the edits. Dare I say, the files encourage you to continue to massage them to a stage where you initially might have not envisaged arriving at. And I love that about the photographs the Leica M10 produces, as they seem to always reward me with the joy of the process of making photos. For example, when editing raw files from my Fujifilm X system, I very rarely opt for contrast that would exceed +7 value—either by using the Contrast slider or whilst editing with Curves/Levels. With the Leica M10 DNG files, that value is comparable to +35! And even then, the files aren’t _destroyed_by an extensive amount of texture added. To the contrary, as more and more texture is revealed. This gives me so much room to decide on the final look. It takes time though and, depending on who you are, you might or might not enjoy it if you’re looking for a quick and one-click edits.

Using the rangefinder (Do you need autofocus?)

I assume you know what zone focusing is and how it works. If you don’t, please stop here and familiarise yourself with it to understand what I’m referring to. A basic Google or YouTube search will easily get you there. I would argue that for most of the subjects I photograph, I no longer need autofocus. But with varied effects. After devoting time to practice and learn to use a rangefinder and zone focusing, I can comfortably shoot almost entirely without autofocus. Let’s talk weddings, where the main goal is to deliver professional and timeless photographs without compromise. One area I still think it wouldn’t be wise to abandon in-camera tech (subject-tracking autofocus) is when shooting a couple walking, the confetti shots, for example, where I aim for a shallow depth of field with the newly wedded in focus. This, although not impossible, would simply be very difficult to achieve consistently, and at f2 or f1.4. Therefore, I use my trusted and main camera for weddings, the Fujifilm XT-3, which tracks and maintains focus very well. For documenting life on the streets or my kids, travel, portraiture, the material for articles and photo essays, the system is a joy to use! Even with moderately moving subjects, it is possible to achieve great results by predicting distances. You simply do, and it’s enlightening how you forget that a shallow depth of field and sharpness take the back seat—you focus on the scene and the moment more, and without thinking about it! You even get to embrace motion and blur. That is not to say I abandon shallow depth of field and sharpness, not at all! I am simply more selective when it comes to those elements and perceive the scenes through a different set of spectacles. I wish I could be more clear on this, but I really think that the bottom line is: by having so much tech assisting us, we forget about the process occasionally. We get spoilt. Exception: nature and sports photography at the highest end. Yeah, you need that tech! I hear you! I agree. I haven’t had the experience with earlier iterations of the M-system and so I can’t compare the focusing patch and the optical viewfinder with those. What I can say is that the one found on the Leica M10 is a joy to use. The patches are clear, and it’s fantastic to be able to see the composition whilst looking at the ‘real world’, and not through an EVF—there, another cliché. Using hyperlocal distance (zone focusing) has been a learning curve but a pleasant one at that. I very quickly stopped over-thinking manual focusing and relied on muscle and brain memory to evaluate where I am against the subjects. It simply works, but you need to be prepared to put the effort in it. The rewards are there!

Who, where and when (should look at the Leica M10)?

Who shouldn’t? Well, it’s quite simple, actually. If you think that the M system is too expensive for what it offers—and you’re right, by the way—then it’s not for you. You will get frustrated if you’re used to modern, in-camera technology that always has your back, be it low light, motion, speed-capture. One of those? Don’t do it! You also shouldn’t buy this camera if you’ve heard it sang so many times that ‘_this makes me a better photographer, slows me down, blah, blah, blah’—in my opinion, that’s clickbait at this stage. _Don’t listen to them. Please. If your craft is not_ there yet_, then consider opting for a system that will limit you technically but not financially, and you’ll achieve the same result. Opt for film even, as by developing four rolls of film per month, say, you’ll be paying what you’d be seeing gone off your bank account for a Leica M for the next four years (min. depending on the model and price vs the number of rolls you shoot and develop). But know what? You’ll learn more by the former and by shooting less you will be more selective, concise, pre-determined, and you will love your photos more! More importantly, you will not limit your experiences, which matter more. Instead, invest in travel, explore your local areas, the people you haven’t met, things you haven’t tried… Anything, but please don’t spend all that money on a tool that you think will ensure you’ll get better photos. It really isn’t true. Oh, and then you’ll want lenses, accessories, batteries. Down the rabbit hole…
So, who should? Well, I would argue that there is a crowd of purists, established photographers who would not only benefit from experiencing the M system, but also enjoy it tremendously and expand their photographic skills. If you know your craft and are tired of using a camera loaded with tech so much it feels like a computer, if you’re after a digital solution that pays homage to the past masters of diligently creating images (albeit at the expense of time and money), then the M is for you. If you can afford it, or if you can justify the expense because you rely on a camera as a tool to generate profit, then the Leica M is for you. Or perhaps if you love, live and breathe photography, like a crazy petrol-head longing to own a classic car, and you want to satisfy the itch, and create photographs through a specific and goal-oriented processes, then the M is for you.
Additionally, Leica do not update their cameras every year and so there is an element of continued dedication, both from the company and the client, to continue and master operating one of the most enjoyable photographic tools out there—I appreciate that approach a lot.
I’m excited to continue using the Leica M10 both professionally and for personal work. It breathes fresh air to my creative endeavours while creating images, sticking to the past methods of photography. And the end-result is always a highly rewarding photograph I cherish because time and effort was taken to create it. If you got this far and have any questions, and you’d like to continue the conversation about the Leica M system, drop me a line here, and we’ll take it from there. 

Thanks for reading! 


Wedding Photographer, Market Harborough, Leicestershire (and beyond)

My recommended all things Leica store in London: Aperture UK

Leica M10 release page

Leica M system page

Colin&Mely Wedding | Leicester, UK

OK, what just happened? 

You see, usually I meet the couple prior to their wedding day twice: on their pre-wedding, elopement photo shoot day and, if required, another time to further discuss their Big Day by which time we know each other well and I’m documenting the day being a fly-on-the-wall. To be honest, I love this process and, through it, I build the images in my head already, the memories I would then capture to show the real You in my clients’ wedding photos. Things were a bit different with Colin&Mely, though, as we met on the day, in Leicester, UK, where they had flown all the way from Germany where they live. And then, some of their family and friends came all the way from the U.S. and Zimbabwe to witness their love on an unusually hot September day – 31 degrees anyone? Yep!

I mentioned getting to know couples above just because on this occasion I didn’t have the opportunity to meet Colin&Mely beforehand. But know what? It actually didn’t matter one bit! From the very first moments of their wedding day, the preparations around a house in Leicester they had rented for the day, we felt like we had known each other already for some time! Conversations flew naturally, jokes poured from the jolly faces and there was no stop to the positive vibe both they as well as their friends and family projected. And things continued into the night, still hot, with a myriad of moments and memories created… This truly was a different kind of an event and everyone involved absolutely loved it!

Colin&Mely, You are absolutely amazing and let Your L O V E shine throughout! And when you’re back in the UK, we already know a compulsory catch up is in order!

Wedding venue: Rugby Registration Office

Zuhal&John Maternity Shoot | The Foxton Locks, Leicestershire

Photographing a wedding is one thing, but to be able to reconnect with people to further capture their love and document their story… Well, that’s a blessing. I’ve never considered myself more lucky when being contacted again by couples to once again photograph their next steps in life. And this couple, Zuhal&John, these two, well, they’ve earned themselves a special place in my heart.
Things happened pretty quickly for Zuhal&John — they got married locally, here in Market Harborough in February this year, joined by their family and friends, some of whom travelled as far as Turkey ( because Zuhal comes from there originally). Then, not that long ago, I learnt that they’re expecting their first baby and I couldn’t be happier for them - I still remember the excitement and joy of my first one bringing to my life and, as Zuhal&John and I chatted after today’s shoot, you can’t beat the feeling of re-living experiences as a young human being whilst explaining this strange little thing called life to your own child. Whoever can, they’re lucky, perhaps not even aware how much.
Today’s shoot was amazing and I hadn’t anticipated the gorgeous light we’d be enjoying! Then again, it’s true that September weather here in the UK tends to be better than in the summer, and the Foxton Locks (near Market Harborough) this morning was no different - as beautiful and calm as ever, with some of the warm autumn colours starting to pop through as the summer is now officially over. I love shooting here and often suggest this location to couples for their elopement photo shoots, pre-wedding sessions as well as outdoor and lifestyle photography - you simply can’t beat nature around here with a plethora of romantic spots and beautiful, idyllic countryside views! But then when I saw Zuhal&John again, all glowing in the glittering morning sun, beautifully prepared and wearing white clothing, I couldn’t help to internally shout ‘YES!’ to myself. And the images we produced are testament to it, I think. In fact, out of all the photo shoots organised here, a number of them from this morning are easily some of my favourite ones.
It’s never only about the photos however - they’re merely a by-product of the time we spend together — chatting, laughing, making memories… And I couldn’t be happier with it all; the ability to document people’s lives whilst connecting with them, learning about their everyday dos and then, as with any art, create photographs that reflects them.
I seriously can’t wait for Zuhal&John to look through what we captured today, and equally so I can’t wait to see them again with their newborn daughter! She already is super lucky to have them as parents!

Photo shoot location: Foxton Locks, Market Harborough area, Leicestershire.

Using Format