While I’ve posted this content on GetDpi in a shorter form, I thought to expand on my comments and provide more detail.
This is my first season using the S2 for professional wedding photography. I’ve been using it for portraits and some commercial photography as well as personal work since getting it, but this blog is specifically about on-going experiences shooting weddings with a S2 and all four currently available Leica S optics.
Initially, I viewed the S2 as the “go to solution” for the more controlled parts of a wedding shoot, the so called fashion/portrait portions that are more likely to be printed large and framed. While my primary wedding style is photojournalist which is usually done with either a Leica M9 and/or a Sony A900, in my market it is inevitable that I must take at least some posed or structured images. Previously, I had occasionally taken a Hassedlblad H kit with me for this more formal shooting … and can say with certainly that the S2 promotes “take with” more readily than the more bulky H system does.
Shown are typical posed portraits as done with the S2, which is NOT specifically what sells my approach to weddings, but is what I call a necessary evil in order to get the job in the first place. It isn’t a reason to select me over other shooters, but without these samples it is a reason to not select me … again, in this market.
Specifically, I use the S2 for “environmental type portraits” which fare best when printed larger … 17″ X 22″ or larger. NO screen view can do justice to how detail and tonally rich these S2 images are when printed. The shots shown here where the environmental surroundings is the dominate element are examples of this.
After a few weddings I ventured out into more spontaneous candid type shots that define my style, and will continue to do so as I become faster and more versed with using the camera while shooting in such a hectic, “you get one chance” environment that the typical wedding represents. Most of my weddings include multiple locations and everything is on crushing schedule. If something doesn’t work then and there without fussing with it, it gets an immediate vacation in the SUV in lieu of something else.
So far, the S2 seems up to the task, and my goal will be to shoot primarily with the S2 and M9 which IMO produce very similar looking files and assures a certain continuity to the look and feel of the over-all client wedding portfolio.
At each wedding I take three S lenses, one on the camera and two in a Think Tank Lens bag. This keeps me mobile while moving from one “environmental” location to the next. Typically it is the 35, 70 and either the 120 or 180 depending on where we will be shooting. The most used lens is the 35mm for groups and for shots that include a lot of the place we are at. The next most lens is probably the S120 macro … the ring shot shown was done with the 120, and it should be noted that this was not staged but real time during a ceremony … you step in, Bam! and get out. The 120 focused quick enough to get this shot.
I have experienced some perplexing AF situations that I am trying to track down before my next wedding shoot. Some images shot at more of a distance with the 35mm using quite high shutter speeds and even stopped down to 5.6 or 8 are inexplicably soft.
So, the point of this blog is to report the progress I’m making in slowly bringing the S2 on-line as the main shooting cam. It took me a whole season of weddings to swap over from Nikon to Sony before trusting the Sony as the solo camera system. Obviously, the S2 will have to be backed up by something else … for now that is a Sony A900. It is far to expensive to back-up the S2 with another S2.
NOTES: For me it is VERY important that Leica alter the ISO choices on the S2 to allow more refined selections … jumping from 320 to 640 to 1250 limits the ability to select what is needed and not any higher than needed.