Wedding photography at Worthing Town Hall
A new wedding venue in Sussex, the old town hall in Worthing. Built in 1933, much of the Council offices and employees had moved out of the building some years ago and it was decided last year to utilise the large building for civil ceremonies. Fiona Burn, at the events team, based across the road at Worthing theatre, contacted me to see if I could help with images to promote this new venue. So we spent a couple of hours, one sunny Saturday morning, working with three models and some members of staff, to come up with some images. A case of faking the reportage wedding photography, but keep it faithful, to how I would shoot there. Faking the unstaged… The idea to recreate the sort of images I’ve shot before in Town hall venues.
Town Hall weddings
I’ve shot in a several town halls, mostly in London. Venues like Islington Town Hall (a real wedding factory powerhouse, with some of the nicest registrars you will meet). Big weddings in the vast council chamber there, civil partnerships and more intimate weddings in the Mayor’s Parlour. Others like Hackney Town Hall or Bethnal Green.
Council chambers, mayor’s parlours, committee rooms – Worthing has them too. The council chamber may not be the biggest but it offers that ‘in-the-round’ intimacy that many churches or hotel venues can’t. It’s admittedly a bit rough and ready in areas. Some of the seats have certainly seen better days. Not just worn away by decades of councillors’ backsides but in places, split upholstery. Some even look as they’ve been slashed…? But as the venue grows in popularity for Sussex couples, so the investment in the furniture will be paid for. For now it’s part of it’s charm. Like the nameplates, on the drawers in front of each seat, with the names of the couple, rather than the local Tory/Labour/Liberal/UKIP (et al) councillor’s name.
Images shot on the Fuji X-Pro2 – 14, 16, 23, 35, 56 and 90mm Fuji lenses
So, a promo shoot for the town hall and a strange experience for me, setting up the sort of shots I just capture, as they happen, at a wedding. But also, that morning, a chance to play with a new addition to my photo cupboard…a new Fuji.
Fuji X-Pro2, a wedding camera
Many will (with much justification) accuse me of G.A.S. Gear Acquisition Syndrome. I shoot mostly with Nikons but also with Fuji cameras. The latter has some impressive lenses, just a question of the cameras matching them. Bit by bit, they are evolving. I’ve been reluctant to sell off this glass so instead watch how the cameras improve. My first Fuji was the first X100, back in 2011. Although I took it to a wedding then, I dismissed it within minutes. I lent it to the bride’s father to play with during the wedding reception. I needed to understand the camera and for the way I shoot weddings, it had too many weaknesses. I really like this camera though, now the X100T version. A small, quiet, unfussy camera. It’s my go to travel/family shot/dog walk/holiday camera. I’ve even used it for the odd editorial and corporate reportage assignment but I would usually fall back to the Nikons for most professional work.
With weddings, I shot several over the last two years on the excellent X-T1’s but…for me, the Nikons still gave me more of what I wanted for the way I shoot and for many of the situations I would encounter. Particularly as my work features minimal flash work, shooting in very low light. That is key, how you shoot, how you want a camera to perform, record and create. Step along the X-Pro2? This promo shoot was a chance to try the camera out, at a ‘wedding’ (I actually used them for real a couple of days before)
This is not a review! More than enough of them on the X-Pro2. Just a few musings of my own. It’s a work in progress, to see if this camera becomes my goto for reportage wedding photography going forward. Fuji has the glass. The 90mm*, for example, is what Nikon’s 135mm should be, but Nikon still show no sign of upgrading glass like that lens. (It’s Canon’s killer lens too).
So, quickly….plus points…dual memory card slots (finally), the retro ‘rangefinder’ design (nice), the joystick to control focus points (excellent), and clearer menu (finally). A 24Mb sensor (good), slightly better AF performance and high iso (getting there, work to be done), battery life indicator (almost, needs to be an accurate percentage readout not bars). But the cons….the batteries! A D750 battery lasts all day. These NP-W126, well, they don’t. It’s annoying but not a complete killer. The button positioning is odd again. Switch the AF-L (what is it doing there?) and the AE-L buttons for back button AF, add a bit of rubber (the makers of Sugru must love Fuji!) and it’s better.
But so quiet. So, so quiet. ‘Quiet mode’ on my Nikons….well, it isn’t. In a church or at a small wedding, the lack of shutter/mirror noise is so useful for ‘unobtrusive’ wedding photography.
But the files? Well, I’m waiting to see what they can really do, as and when Capture One finally supports this camera. I’ve been using C1 for almost two years now and going back to Lightroom felt painful. But Fuji progress. They respond – sometimes quickly. As people say, they seem to be the only camera manufacturers actually interested in listening to photographers. So, let’s see where these fujis take me? Maybe until the next shiny object comes onto the market? 😉
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