When busy wedding and portrait photographer Chris Smith went looking for a lightweight travel camera, he found a new way of working. [Olympus Promotion]
It was just over a year ago that professional photographer Chris Smith bought his first Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. ‘I had been shooting full frame for so many years and while the cameras kept being updated, not a huge amount would change with them,’ he says. ‘I was after something smaller, that I initially wanted to take travelling ““ instead of lugging all my full frame gear around. After exploring a few options, the Olympus system stood out for both its technology and build quality. It was smaller, lighter and the fold-out flip screen with live view was really exciting. I also liked the idea of not standing out in a crowd or intimidating people with some massive full frame system.’
After using the E-M5 Mark II for long enough to become completely familiar and confident with it, he said, ‘I started by using both the Olympus and full frame systems together, focusing more on the portraits with the Olympus system where I had more time and control over the environment.’ But it wasn’t long, he said, before ‘I ditched the full frame system altogether and now shoot exclusively with the two Olympus bodies. I’m thrilled with the results I’m getting and looking forward to the wedding season starting up again.’
When asked which features of his Olympus cameras were particularly useful to him as a wedding photographer, Chris says ‘the main feature I love is the live view; being able to control the exposure compensation and actually see how the shot is going to look when I press the shutter button saves so much time in ‘chimping’. I’m able to spend more time capturing what is going on rather than checking my exposures are right. There’s some other super handy features like face and eye tracking, as well as being able to tap on the touch screen to pick the focal point instead of having to focus and then reframe. One more thing I noticed a big difference with is how fast and accurate the focus is; I end up with so many more usable shots at the end of a wedding, where before I was getting a lot of missed focus with the full frame system.’
Chris doesn’t take a pile of lenses and camera bodies when he covers weddings, in fact, his kit is pretty pared back. ‘I’ve mainly been using the E-M5 Mark II with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm F2.8 Pro along with the E-M1 Mark II and the M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm F1.2 Pro lens,’ he says. ‘I also like to use the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm F4.0 IS Pro lens for the ceremony as it allows me to get a range of shots without intruding too much.’
Becoming a sought after wedding photographer requires more than strong photographic skills and great gear, says Chris. ‘I’m a big believer in “you attract what you put out”; I have a pretty relaxed shooting style with weddings (which is actually the same for how I shoot everything) and I’ve been very lucky with my clients also being relaxed and “go with flow” type of people.
‘I like to have fun at weddings; everyone is there to celebrate and party, the atmosphere is always filled with love and happiness. I’m a people person and I think this is a must when being a wedding photographer. I like to make the couple laugh, like an actual genuine laugh. This is when you capture people at their best. I don’t like to ‘fake’ or ‘mock’ any kind of shots, I tell the story of the day as it happens. I also enjoy getting a bit creative with the portrait shots by incorporating a bit of fine art into them ““ which comes from the portrait work I do. Just like when I’m shooting with models, the more relaxed and comfortable the couple are, the better the shots will be.
‘I’m always trying harder to get better at telling stories, but it’s not an easy thing to do. I connect with images on a range of different levels, whether it be the composition, the lighting, the mood, the models expression or body language. It happens differently with different people.’