Renaissance St Pancras Wedding
There are certain locations that immediately lodge themselves in your mind as a special place. St. Pancras Station is one of those for sure. It is considered Britain's grandest railway station - a masterpiece of Victorian design - and early in October was the second time I had been at this beautiful venue creating wedding photography. It is a venue that many are familiar with from the outside, being such a stunning and recognisable piece of neo-Gothic architecture, or indeed know from the platforms right outside the windows as a modern day gateway to Europe via Eurostar (as I did earlier in the year for a photographic trip to Brussels - that will follow soon...).
For Minauti and Robert, it will remain in memory as the location of their wedding. Drawing together family and friends from around the world, with a particularly strong showing from the US (where Minauti hails from), the day started in the sumptuous, elegant, jawdropping - I'll run out of superlatives here - rooms of The Renaissance Hotel. With an elite team of makeup artists and stylists, and of course friends and parents on hand, Minauti was the picture of calm and control. Combining beautiful traditional Indian jewellery with a stunning contemporary red dress, she looked incredible. Robert was equally calm and either coolly smart or smartly cool in his blue suit waiting for his bride before their intimate family ceremony took place.
After the ceremony, drinks were enjoyed at the Booking Office bar alongside the train platforms. We used this architectural backdrop as the beautifully lit, unique setting for some stunning portraits of the two of them together. I love the images we produced here. City weddings are wonderful for the variety of locations they can provide, and St Pancras is pretty exceptional.
Later in the afternoon, a Routemaster bus ride to Fulham's Harwood Arms where the rest of their celebrations were taking place. Some incredible food - a real feast for all with superb service, it's definitely worth a visit if you're in the area. Robert finished the speeches with an awesome adapted version of the theme tune to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, with altered lyrics to suit the occasion and his bride. It was great to watch and as they say, the crowd went wild! They continued the wildness with tunes played by Deanne aka DJ Blonde Ambition which was about the right time for me to say my goodbyes and leave them in the capable hands of our PhotoBooth team for more fun into the evening.
A stunning London wedding and one that - as always - I was proud to produce the photography for. Click the button to go large and enjoy the images in the gallery below.
Techy stuff that some photographers sometimes read
I had been loaned a brand new Nikon D750 DSLR with the new 35mm f/1.8 FX lens for the weekend from my friends at Castle Cameras in Bournemouth (best camera shop in the land), so I was putting that state of the art camera through it's paces during this wedding. To recap, I sold all of my previous full frame DSLR camera gear (2 x Canon 5D3s and lots of L glass) earlier in the year, and have been 100% mirrorless with Olympus E-M1s and an E-P5 for this entire wedding season. I used a Nikon Df for fun at a wedding in May, but other than that, all mirrorless.
So this was the first time I'd used a DSLR for a while, and certainly the most I'd used a typical Nikon model. Other than the day with the Df I mentioned, all of my wedding DSLR work for the previous two seasons was with the 5D Mark 3. It was a simple and smooth transition to use the D750, which leads me to praise Nikon's excellent ergonomics which I'd always thought were a step ahead of Canon.
The Nikon D750 is technically impressive, well made, and a great deal lighter than the previous generation of DSLR I was using (Canon 5D Mk3), whilst easily being the equal of that camera in terms of image quality, and in some ways exceeding it. The processing latitude is exceptional (better than the Canon) and low light performance really good as well (about the same as the Canon, which is to say - really good). It's a few years since I've used Nikon, and all the traits I remember - and loved - such as beautiful skintones and exceptional handling were there still.
I did however find it a little strange going back to a DSLR with optical viewfinder having used exclusively mirrorless Olympus cameras for the previous six months, even though by OVF standards, it is a good one with full coverage. I enjoyed the camera, but didn't have any moments of "Wow this is great to be using an SLR again!". I really missed the electronic viewfinder (EVF) and instant confirmation of exposure and image I was used to with my Olympus cameras. I've mentioned this before, but EVF technology now is so good, so advanced, that I prefer it by some margin to optical in many situations. Checking the LCD for exposure, focus and dynamics rather than the WYSIWYG element of EVFs was a real limitation. I also missed the incredible, unequalled 5-axis stabilisation of the Olympus E-M1s. This is such a superb (and until recently, unique) feature, which is why I am all the more frustrated about Olympus' stubborn, frustrating refusal to improve the video capabilities of the E-M1, but that's a different story (and separate blog post - I've ranted publicly and socially about this already).
Both systems have advantages and disadvantages. The bigger DSLRs undeniably have better noise control, ISO performance, file processing latitude, and resolution. On that last point, it definitely feels like 20-24 megapixels is about right for full frame; a great balance of resolution and low-light performance. On the other side of things, the smaller mirrorless systems - be they Olympus, Fuji, Panasonic or Sony - have many advantages including size, weight, speed (yes speed - autofocus with mirrorless cameras is capable of outperforming pro-DSLRs in some situations), and of course the stabilisation which up until the recent announcement of the Sony A7Mk2 was unknown in a full frame camera. Given the aforementioned stubbornness of Olympus to embrace video with even the simplest of options, the Sony model mentioned is a strong candidate for me going forward. Full frame sensor and all the benefits that brings, in a smaller, lighter model with sensor stabilisation and access to a huge amount of vintage, classic, fast glass (albeit manual focus). Yes please.
Most of the images (37/60) here are from the D750, but it's testament to the E-M1 that there are images here which blend seamlessly with Nikon's latest and greatest flagship product. I think all but the most analytical pixel peepers most would be pushed to identify which were which when viewing on the web. I've definitely learnt to get the best from the camera - from capture to processing - and I'm still really pleased with what it can do in challenging conditions and low light. There's some images here it would have been impossible or difficult to achieve with the Nikon (ie, handheld long exposure shot at the station), but not many that the E-M1 couldn't have done although admittedly perhaps not quite to the same level.
It would take something really special to make me want to switch systems. If Olympus sorted the video options out (and recognised this is something that should be standard now even on 'stills' cameras, I'd be onboard for some foreseeable time, but I have a feeling that something more compelling (for me) may be on its way thanks to Sony. We'll see. Whatever happens, it's a changing and exciting time for imaging technology.