I love getting new camera gear. Who doesn’t; especially when its something as exciting as the long anticipated Fuji X-T2. While I’m happy to admit that I am suffering from at least a small degree of GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), purchasing the new Fuji has also a practical purpose.
I’ve been shooting weddings for years now, and I was happy to shoot whatever style my customers requested, but I realised now that a documentary style is what I actually enjoy the most. I can shuffle guests around for a group shot, I can pose the bride and the couple to get a good portrait; the thing is, I don’t really want to.
I don’t want to pose people at their own wedding. I don’t want to direct it for them, I don’t want to fictionalise it for them. I don’t want them to remember it the way I arranged it for them. It’s THEIR wedding. Who am I do decide what they should be doing, how they should be walking, smiling and which direction they should be looking, on the most important day of their lives.
From now on I will just be an observer. A fly on the wall, capturing moments as they happen, and not staging them for a photo opportunity. I can still shoot a portrait session if they request, but I will target brides who want the photo journalistic style, brides who don’t want to hear from me or even see me their entire day, but who expect to receive images that captured the essence of their day and help them remember how they felt that day.
How do I make myself invisible? Well, I don’t have a special cloak, but if I blend myself into the crowd and not stand out that much, not make a noise, people may just see me as another guest; the grooms cousin twice removed.
I can’t very well blend into the crowd if I walk around with a massive, white 70-200mm lens. That one screams photographer. Actually, pretty much any full frame professional level lens will make me stand out. The cameras are huge, the lenses are huge, the flash on top of them is huge too.
How about a Fuji X-T2 with a pancake 27mm f2.8. A 40mm FF equivalent. The setup is so small, it will be smaller than most guest’s cameras at the party. Not many would suspect that I am the hired photog. That alone will give me the chance to capture unposed images. No more awkward smiles or contrived expressions. Actually, some will still be awkward, but in a cute way, not in the try-hard way, where the photographed person tries to impress the professional photographer with some weird poses.
I always considered myself a second shooter. I don’t want to capture the group arrangements. My partners always did, I stay back and capture the poses and the expressions that people have 2 seconds after the official photo was taken. That will be an honest look, that would be a true pose. I love these. I often get caught by the guests who were unaware of my presence when the official picture was taken and point out the cheekiness of my behaviour, but these are often the images they like the most. And that is what matters to me.