2017 – a year of wedding photography

2017 wedding photography - a year of weddings

2017 wedding photography, began for me, in the first week of the year - in a cold Norwich and ended with a wedding on the last day of the year, in London. In between, a myriad of weddings. Apart from Norfolk, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Herefordshire, I've been shooting mostly in London and Sussex. From Lord's cricket ground to an east London pub. From a cathedral wedding to a castle wedding. From The Gherkin to a bombed-out chapel. All for clients wanting natural reportage. Most of my work comes from couples who've seen my work at previous weddings, often as wedding guests. So, naturally, previous couples were wedding guests at many weddings I shot this year. In one case the best man swapped with the groom, the bridesmaid with the bride. Also nice to meet several parents again too - some of my most loyal Instagram followers! This is a pattern of connections between weddings set to repeat in 2018.

A few coincidences over the twelve months too. Like the caller of the ceilidh band, Francesca, at this wedding at Buxted Park, back in May. Three weeks later, she was the bride...at another Sussex wedding. Then the school, that doesn't usually hold weddings, but where my wife worked, many years ago. Then there was the referral to a specialist by my GP, for a small lump on my head - only for the specialist to step into the hospital corridor to call me in - a bride from a wedding I shot in 2016!  Small world (the lump was cut out and harmless).

The perfect wedding camera? The Sony A9

As I've mentioned before, I've shot weddings with many camera systems. But in that time, I always owned some Nikon kit - turning completely back to Nikon, in 2011, with the sublime D3S. A real workhouse, with a remarkable sensor. Small, by today's standards, at only 12MP, but what a camera. It's only fault - it's the weight. The lighter D750 solved that. I used it for over two years. Looking for the ultimate lowlight camera, I switched back to the Nikon D5 towards the end of 2016 - but soon the weight became an irritation again. I did think it might. Two D5's on your shoulders all day ain't ideal. I wanted a light camera with real responsiveness, reliability, a good sensor and great glass. I've tried the Fuji X system, over the years - but never fell for it, for the way I work and what I want from a camera. I had also tried the Sony A7 series but it wasn't there yet - then the Sony A9 appeared.

I bought one in late May - amongst the first in the UK - more out of interest than any plan to switch. The failings of the A7 seemed to have seem solved - if the early reviews were to be believed? I'm not a fan of camera reviews and this isn't one either. So many came out in those first few weeks... I only mention this here, as features of this camera are key to how I shoot reportage at weddings - being as unobtrusive as possible. I still owned some great Sony/Zeiss glass, like the 55mm, along with an A7S and A7RII. So thought I'd try it and if still no good, sell the lot. I didn't have time to really play with it, so shot much of this wedding with my Nikon D5s. It wasn't until the evening when I gave the A9 a shot - the meal, speeches, evening reception and dancing. I was amazed. It shot like a Nikon and was completely silent - no noise at all. Quieter than a Leica no less. The battery lasted - one of the main failings of many mirrorless systems and the camera responded quickly. Could this be the best camera yet for shooting wedding reportage? It's not perfect but felt like an advance.

The following weekend, a wedding in the Sussex countryside wedding - I shot with a Nikon D5 and the A9. I was so conscious of the shutter noise the Nikon made, especially during the ceremony. Both cameras delivered but one was heavy and noisy the other light and silent. I ordered the second A9 when I got home. (It's been two Sony A9's ever since). This silent feature of the A9 has let me take images during two ceremonies, where no photography was allowed, because of the noise of the camera shutter. No noise, no problem. It's a game-changer. Of the images below, a selection from the year - only 16 are from my Nikons - the rest are captured on the Sony A9. (The bulk of my weddings were from June onwards) I've still got some Nikon kit, enough to cover a wedding - some of the glass, like the 105/1.4 is unbeaten. Still great cameras and lenses. But for now, I'll be shooting weddings on the Sonys. It'll be interesting to see Nikon's response with their own mirrorless camera system? When they get around to it. Exciting (if very expensive) times.

So, 2018. The weddings start for me in March this year, all the way to December. Certainly no holiday time in August for me...I look forward to another year capturing the stories of each wedding day. So here are a few images from weddings in 2017.....

Some of my images from 2017...

Reportage wedding photography getting ready images
Wedding photography in 2017
Ceremony Wedding photography in 2017
Wedding photography in 2017

Wedding Photography award

Wedding photography award 2018

(In November I gained a Highly Commended Award in The Wedding Industry Awards 2018. A joint second place, in effect, in the Regional Final for the South-East (inc London), out of 31 finalists. These awards aren't just based upon your work, as judged by other wedding photographers, but the votes and comments of couples throughout 2017. Thank you to all my clients who voted for me! After my success in these awards in 2015 and 2016 it's nice to gain some recognition for my style of reportage wedding photography again.)

One last wedding photograph from 2017 though. One where I wasn't the wedding photographer. Shot as I waited in the corridor of Islington Town Hall, for a wedding in the Mayor's Parlour. My first with two Sony A9's. This was another wedding, starting in the main chamber - if you know the couple (wedding in June) get them to contact me and I'll send them a copy of it!


Some of the comments from my couples who voted for me in the Wedding Industry Awards...

Martin has captured our wedding day in a beautiful storybook of images and emotion, the excitement, the nerves, love, laughter, joy, tears, fun, and the wonderful unexpected moments (one younger brother managed to push his 6 year brother in a pond) great stories, beautiful moments all captured. We are literally blown away by the photos, they are beyond stunning, there is an intimacy to his work, every photo evokes an emotion, a reliving of the moment, the day.

Martin is a truly gifted photographer with an ability to see and capture a wedding in a way that I have never seen before. All the photos are very unique moments in time, and simply worth every penny. His capture of emotion and event is phenomenal, and every picture makes my wife and I relive that day as if it were today. The best thing about Martin though, beyond the photography skills, is that he kind, patient, funny, calming and yet invisible on the day allowing you to enjoy the moment.

We absolutely cannot recommend or thank you Martin enough for the beautiful photographs he took of our special day. Every photo perfectly captured the laughter and smiles, of not just the wedding party but the guests too without ever being intrusive to our day. My mum even said she didn't realise he was at the front of the ceremony room when she saw the photos! We have had so many lovely comments, and I wouldn't be surprised if we saw Martin at one of our friend's weddings in the coming years.

Martin lives up to his portfolio. The photos captured the day perfectly, you can see exactly what is happening in every photo, the moment, the emotion, the relationships. Never an obstruction, seamlessly integrating himself into the day. The photos are all absolutely amazing. I know that we will be able to look back at the photos in years to come and be transported straight back to the day. We could not be happier with the outcome.

We had been searching for a photographer for a while, looking at the same sort of wedding photos that could have been taken 30 years ago really didn't appeal, My (then) fiancée and I discussed what we wanted from our photographer, we wanted something fresh, unique, to let the day flow, capturing the real feel of the day. I came across Martin's work, I immediately knew this was our guy, his photos were exactly what we were looking for, capturing real human emotion on one of the most important days of our lives. He delivered beyond our expectations.

My wife was incredibly keen to have a wedding photojournalist and after a little searching came across Martin's website. Following a brief call with Martin, it was quite clear that this was someone who was an expert in his field, with a personality that simply gels with us (and I would imagine most), and with a portfolio that is standout. His previous photos were stunning. Needless to say after the experience we have had, I would recommend Martin to anyone.

We booked with Martin because we loved the images he had from previous weddings and we wanted more candid pictures than posed. Martin was able to do this superbly. Additionally, we thought the pricing was very reasonable. Honestly, I do hope you consider Martin to win, as I didn't have enough space above to give all the reasons I think he did such a good job. The day goes so quickly but the photos last forever. We now a fantastic set of memories that truly capture the feel of the day.

We chose Martin because of his 'reportage' style photography, no group shots, no set up shots, just pure in the moment magic!! He did not disappoint, we were astounded by the photographs and have had so many compliments from guests. He is fantastic.

We are keen amateur photographers and wanted a comprehensive record of our day. We are both clergy, too, so needed to make sure that our photographer understood the parameters (we didn't want obtrusive photos during the religious ceremony, for example). We were very keen on the journalistic style. Martin ticked all boxes and, despite our fussiness (especially during the service), got amazing photos that portray both the grandeur and intimacy of the day. We were really impressed, as has been everyone who's seen our photos. There are some really stunning images.

Both I and my fiance dislike having our photograph taken and hate staged, uncomfortable wedding photos. We decided we didn't want to spend half the drinks reception posing for photos and would rather have authentic photos of our guests/us enjoying the day. This was exactly what Martin offered with his portfolio of beautifully shot reportage photographs. On meeting with Martin it was clear he understood what we were after and so we didn't hesitate to book him.

I've been a professional Cameraman for many years so the photographer choice was given to me. I poured over 100s until I found Martin. His wider angle style and positioning are something you just have or you don't. It was clear that he was getting 10-20 exceptional shots per wedding and 80 great ones rather than 1 brilliant shot and a lot of coverage. In short, his portfolio was knockout and I knew he'd deliver us something amazing that I wasn't expecting.

Having seen the gorgeous wedding images that Martin created for a couple of our friends, we really couldn't imagine having anyone else photograph our day. Artistically, he is in another league, and professionally, an absolute pleasure to do business with.

We wanted documentary-style photography for our wedding and did a fair bit of research to understand the photographers available and the sorts of pictures they took. Quite simply, we chose Martin as we liked his pictures the best. He has an incredible ability to capture interesting moments. We didn’t want loads of posed pictures of us, we wanted photos to remind us of the day as it happened and as we experienced it - and that is exactly what we got. He has an impressive array of photos on his website, and his background made him sound perfect to capture the wedding in the way we wanted.

Martin was absolutely fantastic! I cannot speak highly enough of his photography. I'm incredibly awkward in front of a camera and even I have to admit he made me look good. In addition, he made me feel comfortable on the day which is so. All of our friends and family LOVE the pictures he took (even my mum's friend was upset because Martin's pictures of her were so much better than the ones from her son's wedding).

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  1. Always enjoy your work. If you could take 2 lenses to shoot a wedding using the Sony A9 which would it be?

    1. Cheers Amit. Tough call – I shoot with 3 as a minimum. So 25mm 2.0 (Batis) the 55mm 1.8 and a 135mm (currently the Batis but waiting on a faster Sony version, particularly for the winter months.) But if just one lens, the 55mm.

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