Tim MoolmanX-Series

Tim Moolman on Documentary Wedding Photography

The last few months have found me busy presenting documentary wedding photography workshops across South Africa. It therefore feels only right that I post some photographs from a recent wedding and the story behind their making. Think of it as a ‘proof is in the pudding’ post where I get to share the story of a recent wedding I shot, discuss some tips and talk about the gear used.

My approach to documenting a wedding is to fit into the day as seamlessly and effortlessly as possible. I want to become a guest and have everyone accept my presence and then forget about me as soon as possible. This may seem strange, yet this enables me to document the wedding from the inside out. I tend to use just two or three focal lengths to tell the day’s story. They are the Fujinon 16mm f1.4 (24mm equivalent) on the Fujifilm X-E3, the 23mm (35mm equivalent) on the Fujifilm X100F, and the Fujinon 56mm f1.2 (85mm equivalent) on the Fujifilm X-Pro2.

I often listen to conversations and jokes among the bridal party and strive to place myself in the right position to capture the punchline. What I’m looking for is the silly expressions and quirky moments, everything that makes us different and just as beautiful as everyone else. After all, your best smiles are reserved for your loved ones and that’s what I want to capture. 

Every person that is in attendance is there for a special reason and I have to fall a little in love with everyone there and photograph them as such. By setting my cameras to use electronic shutter where possible and by using available light I can make photos inconspicuously. This is where I have found the Fujifilm X Series to be a game-changer for me. 

The rangefinder style of the X-Pro2, X-E3 and X100F bodies are low profile cameras capable of capturing beautiful images in all lighting conditions. Using my Fujifilm Instax SP-2 printer I also make prints straight from my camera as the day progresses. That way, I am able to deliver 20-30 photos by the end of the day for the couple to take with them on honeymoon.

There you have it, my inconspicuous approach allows me to become one of the wedding gang and tells the sincere story of a couple’s wedding day adventures almost from the inside-out. Here are some images from Kate and Matthew’s wedding held recently at the brand-new Thunder Walker venue in Johannesburg. Drop me a comment or question if you’d like to know more.

An interesting breakdown shows that out of the 871 photos I delivered to the couple, the gear I used the most was: Fujifilm X-Pro2 with 56mm f1.2 (312 photos), Fujifilm X-E3 with 16mm f1.4 (252 Photos) and the superb X100F (283 photos). The other 24 photos were made using the Fujinon 90mm f2 and the Samyang 8mm Fisheye.

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