My path to becoming a Leica-wielding wedding photographer in Savannah, GA.

A very happy me - shooting the Leica SL (Type 601)

So, I wanted to share a little story with you about how I became a Leica wedding photographer here in Savannah, GA.

I’ll try to keep this short and sweet. I’ll skip the part where one of my most trusted friends shoots and loves Leica. I’ll skip the part where the Leica representatives are the nicest camera reps I’ve ever met. I’ll also skip the part where some of my favorite photos ever produced were taken by phenominal photographers – using Leica cameras. I’ll also skip the nitty gritty details and specifications of Leica’s (amazing) history, build quality, and lens characteristics.

Some of the most breathtaking photos I’ve seen in the last few years as a wedding photographer have been taken with a Leica. Now, you and I both know that doesn’t mean Leica is intrinsically going to make anyone a better photographer. It’s like telling a world class chef that his notoriety is because of his cutting board or frying pan. BUT. There is definitely something to be said about working the highest quality tools available. Ever try to hammer in a nail with anything other than a hammer? Sure, it can be done. But was it the most efficient? Probably not.

So after enough research. Drooling. Day dreaming. Praying. (And truthfully, loads and loads of research, and actually using the cameras a bit while hanging out with my friends) I bit the dust and dipped my toes into the world of Leica with a Leica M (Type 240).

Bud holding a Leica M (Type 240)

Me shooting the Leica M (type 240)

This was my first Leica, my first Rangefinder, and honestly – it felt like it was the first real camera I’ve ever held in my hands. Sure, I’ve used world-class cameras for a long time now. I shoot with amazing gear that I trust will work hard and keep my clients happy. But this; this was something brand new … and I loved it.

Every session now – this small but formidable camera comes with me. Every chance I have, I’m shooting with this new system, and It’s as much fun to use, as it is gorgeous. Well, remember when I said the Leica Representatives are the nicest ones out there? Fast forward several months and lo and behold, my buddy John Kriedler graciously lets me take the Leica SL (Type 601) out for a spin. Not only that – but he hooks me up with the Leica Summilux-SL 50mm f/1.4 ASPH to go along with it.

Oh. My. Gracious.

No – this wasn’t a rangefinder like the m240. This was a full-framed, mirrorless monster of a camera that has completely blown me away. In fact – I REALLY want to share some of the photos I took at a recent wedding with this camera.

Savannah wedding photographer shooting at the Jekyll Club

The gorgeous River Club at The Oldfield in South Carolina!

Savannah wedding photographer shooting at the Jekyll Club Savannah wedding photographer shooting at the Jekyll Club

Yes – I REALLY put this camera through it’s paces. This is a hand-held free-lens shot, cheating by pulling the lens off the body. Doing this, I made the focus plane different than the normal plane, and moving the lens from the body acted a type of magnification, turning the 50mm into a macro lens of sorts!

Savannah wedding photographer shooting at the Jekyll Club Savannah wedding photographer shooting at the Jekyll Club Savannah wedding photographer shooting at the Jekyll Club Savannah wedding photographer shooting at the Jekyll Club Savannah wedding photographer shooting at the Jekyll Club

The files are some of the cleanest I’ve ever seen – this shot was taken in near total darkness (aside from the candles and fire in the background) at ISO2500 and I only had to boost the exposure a half stop to an acceptable range!

So. Do I use Leica EXCLUSIVELY? No. (not yet? =p haha) I personally use a bunch of different gear to make sure I capture the look and feeling my couples deserve captured on their wedding day. One of my favorite things about being a wedding photographer in Savannah, is that every square inch of this city is stunning. The only downside to living in such a beautiful city, is that I want to PHOTOGRAPH every square inch of it! And to really to this city justice, I use every camera system in my disposal, both film and digital included.

Will I ever put away my monster Mamiya RZ67? Never in a million years. No idea what I’m talking about? I guess you’ll just have to wait for my next gear blog 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Again, a very special thanks again to John over at Leica Camera USA. I sincerely appreciate you sending the SL my way. I am throughly addicted now.

A very happy me - shooting the Leica SL (Type 601)

A very happy me – shooting the Leica SL (Type 601)

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    Todd Barnett
    January 2, 2018 at 12:14 am

    Right, Savannah is a photographers dream come true! Great post and CONGRATS on being sponsored by Leica. If you recieve any gear you don’t want, I know a guy! lol

  • Reply
    Neil van Niekerk
    January 2, 2018 at 5:53 am

    Wonderful! Confidence in the photo gear you use, is a great part in being able to not worry about the technicalities, and just get into the groove of shooting. Leica is a legend for a reason.

  • Reply
    Megan Kuethen
    January 2, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    Love your photos, as always, but you’ve definitely given me Leica lust. Which I guess is the point of coming onboard as one of Leica’s ambassadors. That ISO 2500 photo is pretty unreal. Have you ever seen Henri Cartier-Bresson’s work? He was using a Leica back. in. the. day. and I’ve always been a huge admirer of him and his work.

    • Reply
      bud@budjohnson.com
      January 2, 2018 at 9:35 pm

      haha the leica lust is REAL. I still have it hard core. I’m still dreaming about the m10 and the 50 ASPH combo… one day 🙂
      Seriously – how rad would it be to get on with Leica? Like Neil said, they’re a legend for a reason!

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