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18.01.2019 Kevin Mullins

Personal Best vol.10 | Kevin Mullins

Kevin Mullins

Kevin is pure documentary wedding photographer. He started shooting weddings professionally in 2008 and since then has photographed weddings right across the UK and Internationally.   Shooting in a documentary style he strives to tell the story of the wedding through photojournalism, rather than "traditional" contrived wedding photography.
He has been shooting with Fujifilm equipment since 2011.

The Image

This image is one of my favorite images photographed at a recent wedding here in the UK.
Shot on the FUJIFILM X-T2 with the XF23mmF1.4 Lens with an exposure of: F1.4, 1/500th Second, and ISO 200.

It’s an image that I’m very proud of and one that the client mentioned as one of her favorites throughout the day too. This is the story of the image.

The Story

When my clients approach me to shoot their wedding, they want an honest and sympathetic set of images that tell the real story of their wedding. They are not the type of clients who want staged images, nor are they the type of clients that want to be directed. They appreciate that their wedding day is a once in a lifetime event and they want images to look back on that replicate events that happened, naturally, throughout the course of the day.

With the 23mm lens attached to an X-Pro2 or an X-T3 I can remain reasonably discreet but still get in very close and shoot the emotional type images that I like to produce for my clients. The XF23mmF1.4 is a relatively old lens in the line-up but mine has held up over the test of time. I’ve used it extensively since I’ve had it and it’s probably been my primary lens in well over two hundred and fifty weddings. I couldn’t be without it.

Although the XF23mmF2 lens is now available, I still find myself leaning towards the 1.4 version. This is primarily down to the fact that I am an available light shooter and often find myself shooting at very high ISO where the extra stop of light is imperative. Some of my favorite images have been created using this lens.

This image came about during bridal prep photography at the clients family home. This is actually a very important part of the day, and is often littered with humorous moments, tender moments and anxious moments. As I mentioned, I never stage my images, but part of my role is to watch and anticipate moments as they unfold.

For each image, there is almost always a set of supporting images. All these images combine to tell a story within a story. For example, this room is fairly large, but the main light source is from a window which is facing the bride. This is good, as my primary subject is bathed in light. However, it presented me with a problem in that the bride was very close to that window. There is very little space between myself and the bride in the image below and you can tell by the angle of the this shot that I’m shooting from my hip.

I don’t want to raise the camera to my eye here, because the bride is lost in her own contemplation and by bringing the camera to my eye, I run the risk of disturbing that moment – which is the absolute antithesis to what I want as a documentary photographer. Using the flip down screen on the X-T2 has allowed me to frame and shoot this photography without the bride even noticing,

As the moment evovled, and remembering I want to tell a “story within a story”, I moved myself away from the bride and to her immediate left. This gave me a wider frame, and within that frame I can build the story and fill in some context for the viewer. Notably that the bridesmaid is now part of the story and is helping the bride fasten her dress.

Allowing the moment to unfold, I find the scene moves quickly and I’m presented with the problem of the bridesmaid being in shadow, but the bride being bathed in light. This is where the incredible spot metering of the FUJIFILM X-Trans sensors works so well. I can lock my focus very quickly and with a simple manipulation of the camera I can get a meter reading, and lock it in that gives me a pleasing light falloff on both the bride and the bridesmaid.

At this point, and somewhat unexpectedly for me, the bridesmaid lifts the veil and starts fastening the buttons from within. Straight away I realize this is a picture within its own right. It’s a scene that will be part of the “story within a story” but also a moment that would stand on its own as an individual frame within the wedding album.

My first attempt at the shot, below, was a little tight. It works as it throws the viewers focus now directly on the bridesmaid and her important role at this part of the day. I love the concentration on her face and we can see that she is taking this job very seriously.

However, it wasn’t the final picture that I wanted.

Once I’d captured the shot of the bridesmaid, it was time to link everything together. I wanted an image that showed the bride in full, as well as the activity that the bridesmaid was doing and that’s how the final image presented itself. It’s a sequence of images I love, and really the final image is the one that tells the full story in it’s own right.

Inside My Bag

The XF23mmF1.4 is a constant in my camera bag, along with the XF56mmF1.2. Both of those lenses, combined, allow me to shoot everything I need to at a wedding.

The 23mm is the close, very quick lens that I use for a vast majority of my more intimate photojournalistic work and the 56mm is the lens that I use for longer, impact type images where a narrow depth of field is more critical.

Extra

This image was the one I chose to use when demonstrating how to use FUJIFILM X RAW Studio. In this video, I walk through how to use X RAW Studio and the various Film Simulations on the FUJIFILM Cameras:

Read more on “Personal Best”

Vol.1- Flemming Bo Jensen
Vol.2- Pieter D’Hoop
Vol.3- Santiago Escobar-Jarmillo
Vol.4- Stefan Finger
Vol.5- Xyza Cruz Bacani
Vol.6- Christian Bobst
Vol.7- Tomasz Lazar
Vol.8- Eamonn McCarthy
Vol.9- Faruk Akbaş
Vol.10- Kevin Mullins

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