Weddings with a Leica M9? Yep!

I have always been one to say that you can most certainly shoot a wedding with a Leica M9. Yesterday this site was low on the updates due to me being out shooting a wedding and yes, I shot it with my M9! I also brought along the 35 Lux and the 50 Summicron. In my bag I also had the E-P2 and Noktor lens on hand to give that a go, but the real winning images were taken with my M9. From the bright sun to the low light reception, the M9 did not let me down.

At the reception I shot ISO 2500 with B&W JPEG’s. Amazing results! Of course I also shot RAW so I do have the color versions as well but the camera did so well in B&W at ISO 2500, and my whole plan was to shoot in Black and White anyway so it worked out perfect.

Many of the M9 bashers say that you can not use an M9 to shoot a wedding, and that is pure nonsense. I have been told to not even attempt it by a few of my DSLR toting wedding buddies. OK, I will be realistic…the M9 and weddings would not seem to mix to well when you look at it on paper. No auto focus, no 8 FPS, funky center weighted metering..the list goes on. But yes! I am here to tell you that not only can you shoot a wedding with the M9, you can do so with more style and pizazz than you can with a DSLR! Bold statement and maybe I am biased but shooting this wedding was so fun with this camera and with a DSLR it would have been a pain. My results would have been different as well. Yes, I was in that “M9 state of mind”  while shooting 🙂

Now I admit that I am not a wedding pro. Hell, I have not shot many at all recently (it’s been a long time). But today I had fun and just wanted to write this post for those out there who say it can’t be done or that it’s not ideal. It can be done, and it can be ideal depending on your style.

If you want a documentary style to your wedding images and want to shoot black and white then an M9 may be just what you are looking for!

Leica M9 and 35 Summilux at 1.4 – I added grain to ALL of the shots shown here

I was simply amazed at the 35 Summilux when shooting in the lower light areas. I shot the lens at 1.4 ALL day long and never stopped it down one time. My ISO range was anywhere between 160 and 2500. The best part is that not one of my images were out of focus. Not bad for a manual camera huh? My guess is that if I had a DSLR I would have had MANY out of focus images AND Missed a few shots due to focus hunting. Sure, something like a Nikon D3s would have been awesome but it may have scared those kids above and they probably would not be so relaxed, ha ha:)

35 Summilux, 1.4, ISO 640 – vignetting and noise added

With the M9 I found it easy to grab quick moments. It was 2 hours before the wedding and I just walked around and snapped away. No one even realized I was there to photograph. I probably looked like a relative taking family snaps.

35 Summilux, 1.4, ISO 640 – vignette and noise added

This wedding was actually shot by someone else. A girl was hired for the job but the bride was a friend of my niece and she asked me a couple of weeks ago if I could shoot the wedding. I turned it down at the time because I felt I did not have fast enough lenses. When the 35 Lux arrived I decided to give it a shot so I called and said I would do it. I was too late 🙁 I was told there was a girl hired but to come along anyway to shoot some behind the scenes type of stuff. I thought it would be fun and besides, it would give me a chance to test out the M9/35 Lux combo 🙂

35 Summilux at F2.8 – ISO 80 – vignette added

I only snapped a few shots outside because the hired photographer took care of the posed shots. I admit that I  am not a fan of posed shots anyway. I prefer to document the day as it happens…real life.

When we went inside I thought I was in for trouble. It was 5 o’clock and the sun was going down, so the light inside the church was getting  lower and lower. An ISO bump here, an ISO bump there..all was good. Remember, these images have all had noise ADDED to them as part of my B&W conversion!

35 Summilux, 1.4, ISO 320

Next two shots…50 Summicron, F2, ISO 1250

Since I was not the “official photographer” I did not want to intrude on the girl who was there shooting but I have to say, during the kiss she did not get out of her seat to get the image. I went center aisle and squatted down to get the one above just in time.

I also wanted to stay in the background and be unnoticed. Again, I did not want to intrude on the hired hand so I kept my distance for most shots.

Next two shots, 50 Summicron at F2

Once the wedding ceremony was over it was time to head over to the reception. When I walked it I was like “WHOA!, It’s dark in here!”. Yep, it was any NON Flash photographers worst nightmare. I set the M9 to ISO 2500 and did a test shot with my niece with the 35 Lux wide open.

Hmm, looked good to me. The above image has no NR and was shot in camera B&W. So away I went to finish off what I could before I had to leave. I could not stay the whole night and since there was another photographer there I was not really needed anyway. For the cake cutting I had to crouch down under the other photographer but like this shot anyway 🙂

Rest of the images were shot with the 35 Summilux at 1.4, ISO 2500 and in camera B&W JPEG.

Also, while the other photographer got this shot…(they were looking at here)

I got these…

I had a blast shooting my M9 at this wedding and came away with about 50-60 keepers. Oh, and I only shot 100 frames. Again, not bad for a manual camera! Now, if your style of wedding photography is different than mine, the m9 may not work for you. If you want bright, colorful, noise free images a Nikon D3s or big Pro Canon with some nice primes would do the trick. But for those who say an M9 can’t shoot weddings I have to disagree and say YES IT CAN! The last 9 images were all shot at ISO 2500 with B&W JPEGs in camera. No noise reduction! Focusing was easy and I did not miss any moments. My only wish was that I had a 50 Lux ASPH because in this kind of light, you will need all the speed you can get. Actually, the Noct 0.95 would have been simply AMAZING. I know of a few guys who shoot weddings with film M’s and digital M’s and at least  two of them shoot with the Noct 0.95. Their images are among the best I have seen and no, they do not use a DSLR.

Who knows, maybe I will start to take more wedding jobs. I had fun with this one and all I had one me was one camera and two small lenses and I was there as a guest really, not the official photographer. 🙂

Also, as of this writing B&H Photo is now taking pre-orders for the M9! Order now and you may be able to get one within a couple of weeks. A bunch of you have been asking me where to get one and B&H is my recommendation for the quickest way to the M9 right now. You can pre-order the black one HERE, or the grey one HERE.

I hope  you have enjoyed my little M9 wedding story. I also want to thank the bride and groom for allowing me to shoot and to also share these images on my blog. Thank you! Oh, and BTW..I also shot a few frames with the E-P2 and 50 Noktor…I will be posting those later today in my Noktor review diary!

UPDATE: Due to some e-mail requests asking me for color samples I am posting a few here. Keep in mind that the B&W samples above were not really processed. These were just out of camera B&W. Below are some processed color shots but still, no noise reduction was done on any of them. Yea, they are small size but they print nicely, even the 2500 ISO images.


  1. Steve,
    Just ran across your old article. Great article. It’s good to be reminded that once upon a time long ago we shot weddings with film and manual focus. In those days we didn’t take 1000 exposures like today. A big wedding shoot might be 10 or 12 rolls of 120 film. It makes me want to shoot a wedding with a couple of Leica M9’s and even perhaps with some soft bounce flash. That is, if I could find a bride who wanted an olde photographer with an old school style.

    Lee Poe

  2. PS

    One patiently awaits for a new “Leica” article to be posted by Steve……one forgets that he has BOAT LOADS of older articles……..I could argue my new iPad is for Steve’s site alone……..haha.

  3. Wow….just dug this article up after a random google search on something else.

    Super nice Steve. Gosh but we get caught up on gear these days don’t we? Witness those sports images shot with an M3. Just brilliant.

    Truly Steve, you need to get back to your roots – M9 plus premium lenses, 50 lux, 35 lux, nocti etc.

    I played around with a 2.5? 90mm recently which was a load of fun. They didn’t have the f2.

    My D3 + associated gear is now officially on ebay. Yee-ha!

  4. FYI – “a girl” wasn’t “there shooting the wedding.” A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER was HIRED to shoot the wedding. Might want to fact-check this article 🙂

    • Well, what I was told was that a “girl” who “wasn’t really a pro” was hired to shoot the wedding – more of a “friend” situation. That is what I was told, so this is what I wrote. BTW, are you the “girl”?

  5. I was a dslr guru I was tired of bringing all those enormous lenses on weddings (I shot weddings only). I was coming with 2 D3 bodies, then upgraded to D3s with 14-24/2.8 , 24-70/2.8, 70-200/2.8 and all those primes from 35 to 85/1.4 not forgetting off-shoe flashes (sB800 + su800). The pics was certainly awesome but I cannot tell so much for my back…

    Few weeks ago I switched everything for a M9P and a Noctilux 0.95. (I was looking at it since December 2011!). Everyone said It will be a nightmare and I should carry at least one dslr. The other ones just said it will be impossible.

    I’ve never shit with a M before. Ok I agree that I did it for a week end with a 35 summicron from a friend. But no more.

    So, got my M9P + Nocti 0.95 a Friday and went to the wedding on Saturday.
    I just was amazing how you can get a jump in learning curve when you just have in mind “I cannot miss this shot”.

    And yes, I can tell now, shooting weddings is OK With a M9 and even only One Lens !


  6. What a fantastic way to shoot a wedding and what fantastic results. Any Leica M has limitations but a real photographer should be able to overcome them, which has been proved here. Brilliant. 🙂

  7. Great pictures, but why you complicate your life as a weeding photographer with leica equipment ? You can have pro Canon or Nikon for less less money.

  8. Hi Steve

    On recently being hit by the “shutter”bug mania a photographer friend of mine suggested me to go through pictures shot by others in order to improve my skills besides experimenting things on my own… i obediently followed what he said and after going through a few websites based on photography, i came across this page where you shot some candid moments of a wedding with your M9.. trust me i was simply gaping at the pictures.. for the next 30 minutes and its been three months now that i check your posts everyday but i just can’t stop myself from re-visiting this page again and again.. though getting an M9 is a far fetched dream at present.. but am looking forward to share my fun clicks with my FUJI Megapix J27 (its a point and shoot) soon on your page. Till then happy clicking

  9. I came upon this post because I was looking to buy a Leica M9. Great points by various contributors in regards to it’s practicality as a main camera for weddings. It is all up to the photographers style and approach that will determine if this camera will complement his style. If the client reviewed the work of such a photographer who shoots primarily with M9 and appreciates that style and look, then both the client and photographer should face no surprises. There are advantages and disadvantages with both SLR’s vs Rangefinders but it all boils down to what you are comfortable shooting with. I will certainly be using the M9 on my weddings and who knows, I may just be shooting the M9 fully. Great post Steve.

  10. Where can I find samples of fashion shots taken by the M9 using studio strobes, or even outdoor professional shoots using strobes.
    Thanks for the post! amazing

  11. I shoot weddings exclusively with Leica M series cameras. They are reliable, discrete, small and fast, which sounds perfect for a wedding to me.

    Anyone who has an intimate relationship with an M knows how to adjust the focus, shutter and f stop before the camera is even lifted to the eye. This makes them faster than even the fastest auto focus camera. Hyperfocal settings with a flash are great for capturing the dance set. Most everything else can be captured with fast and sharp Leica lenses and available light.

    Congrats on your M9 purchase!

  12. I have not been able to shoot with Leica M9 only grab it in the store.
    But I did get the same feeling like with my old Olympus OM-1 and 85 mm f2 that I absolutely loved working with.
    A small light weighted total manual combination that works without compromises to give “focus” to the photo scenario and of composing the picture.
    I learned to “read” the light and did not need to use any light measurement – i did turned it on sometimes only to check if I was correct – moving close to the subject to get a “spot” measurement. I was correct 9,5 of 10. Indoors, outdoors, in sun, shadows etc.
    Also learned the focus area from different distances and apertures I could have camera near pre set of both light and focus.
    Only compose the picture and small adjust of focus to be sharp from the apple of the eye.
    Not only faster to taking the picture – usually a greater picture. Taking the time to give optimal composing and only waiting for gestures or smile to give the photo that unique character that make it just great.

    I can see this in your pictures here as well, Steve – the pictures appear more natural.
    I see this “feeling” in most of your other photos of M9 on your sites.

    Shooting with DSLR don’t give you same sense that you are in control of the scenario, I believe.

    Your DSLR friend maybe only been using automatic SLR or DSLR and they can not understand the the feeling of ability to handle the scenario situation as if you have been working with great manual camera for a long time and feel how the camera truly is an extension of yourself.

    Have you given this aspects some thoughts some times or maybe other readers?

    Thank You for a great contribution in testing camera equipment and others.

    Regards Magnus, south Sweden

  13. Hey Steve
    As i already told you i was impressed ,these pics are so different from all the usual wedding pics we often see. I am from Israel and i have been to quite a few weddings in my life. Never saw any pro photographer shoot with a non DSLR or a Leica, so you probably started something nice and interesting here. Your pics have a kind of Leica look but not only,Unlike ordinary wedding pics you managed to bring us “ordinary pics” not smiley glamorous where all the guests try to show their best side.I felt you were not there like a fly on the wall . I liked the BW version more
    good job

  14. Hey Steve
    Great shots especially the B&W version , so different from the ordinary wedding shots you see everywhere. (I am married for 34 years but if i’ll ever divorce and remarry i’ll definitely give you a call…hehehe)
    I am also happy to see you used the 50 cron which is a great lense and relativlely small
    I dont think i have seen wedding pics shot with the M9 and i must say they all look great
    I also read your S2 review , would you prefair it to the M9 ? if money wasnt the issue?

  15. Well being an amateur I say they are beautiful pics. I love the black and white. They have a sensuousness that you do not find with color.

  16. Yep, unfortunately size in an issue..especially for those in the Canon camp who want good AF. Lets hope that sometime in the future we can get those lovely fullframe sensors in smaller bodies..something along the size of a d90/7d would be great. Those things coupled with a small prime would be a dream to shoot with.

  17. Ashraf, sorry I massacred your name by inadvertently telescoping the first syllable of your first with the final syllable of last.

    I’m not saying you can’t get some optimally candid shots with “big ol’ honkin’ dslr’s”, but mostly that’s exactly it: their fuckin’ size and weight, especially when combined with whatever ancillary equipment you need to cart along.

    Hey, this is not a matter of turf. It just good debate. Nice talking with you, really. Thanks to Steve for providing the channel.

  18. I wonder who this Ashlan fellow is.. 🙂

    Jeff Ascough, and a countless of other pros don’t seem to have a problem capturing candids with their big ol’ honkin’ dslr’s. Really though, there’s more to dslr’s than it’s fps advantage, but alas, I guess there’s really no point in explaining..this is and will always be the M9’s turf 🙂

  19. Ashlan, the typical DSLR wedding photographer is using flash because he prefers its results to those that come from what his camera produces at high ISO . So if a Leica Digital-M photographer also uses flash, what’s the difference in that respect? And as far as satisfying a client’s and her guests unreasonable expectation of always looking like movie royalty, both types of photographer go through the torture and perhaps even humiliation of having to overwork a large portion of their photos in post production.

    The only real insuperable advantage here for the DSLR is its ability to produce a rapid fire of multiple frames, which could be of some large importance in getting the best rapid-movement dancing images or instantaneously moving on from one scene to another. But is this not compensated by the Leica M’s higher potential for achieving such wonderfully candid images as Steve’s of the two excited children outside the church amongst all the ribbons and confetti?

  20. Michael Lehnert – I definitely agree, I’ve heard a lot of horror stories from close friends who do weddings. A recent one was how one of their CF card decided to become corrupt for no apparent reason, luckily they shot with a D300s which had a dual the files were safely backed up in an sd card.

    Jeff – Dslr’s won’t necessarily make you a better photographer, but it will make the actual process of photographing a wedding much easier (and safer). Also, you can’t deny that having really good ISO performance allows you to capture photos not typically possible with older sensors, or those found in the M8/M9. Think of it as technology finally catching up to the photographer’s skill and vision. No one complained about the M9’s improved noise performance, and I doubt anyone will complain if the M10 does have 250,000 ISO capabilities 🙂

  21. I have been at a couple of weddings as a guest where I had opportunity to use my M7 (I also had my D700 with me) and my conclusion was that I don’t like to shoot weddings! The big problem I found is that everybody at the wedding judges the quality of your photography by whether or not they look good. They don’t care about the pictures being artistic or catching a ‘real’ moment. The bride is the worst when it comes to this. Unless you soften the pictures afterwards, add some glow, make her look good, she is not a fan.

    Normally when I shoot street with my M7, I develop, scan and upload without touching the pictures. Try that with wedding pictures!

    Anyway, my point is that if you want to shoot weddings, you had better get ready for many hours of post processing in Photoshop/Lightroom. I imagine it must be heartbreaking for a lot of wedding photographers to alter their photos so much in PP.

  22. The B&W still of the two flowergirls is very Diane Arbus, very “The Shining”…

    Respect to everyone who dares to do wedding photography as a breadwinner job… I cannot think of anything scarier than that. I have heard from a colleague that the wrath of the clients when things are not satisfactory or worse, go wrong, is beyond unleashing hell upon earth (incidentally, that colleague’s husband worked as embedded war photographer for AP in Helmand Province… now there a couple of perspectives…)

    It would be interesting to see if the wed-phot market – which is all about glossy romanticism – is open for raw black-&-white ethnography… I guess the only way to find out if people take out credits, buy M9s and test the water…

  23. Awesome shots Steve…

    By the way… Jeff Ascough does NOT use a RF for weddings as his primary equipment. He used Leica for some time, but nowadays shoots with Canons (he’s even a big Canon sponsor, I think).

    Totally agree with what some people are saying… the M9 seems to be an awesome tool, but if the only photog had M9’s.. (s)he would really need to me in top if the game to cover both artistic and documentary images with the Leica.

    Keep up the awesome work Steve!!


  24. Want a new challenge? Get an adapter and shoot the wedding with all those Leica lenses, but on the E-P2 and see how it compares. Now I know there will be situations where there is no comparison (I would hate to see the E-P2 version of ISO 2500), but in areas of good lighting (outdoor shots), I wonder how the little micro fours thirds would stack up given the same glass.

    BTW, I stumbled upon your site recently and color me a fan. I check for updates often. Keep up the good work!

  25. First of all I want to a apologize to Steve Gross for even mentioning him here. I thought this site was above this incredible pointless debate about what you can or can’t do with a Leica. If you think it’s $5k and zone focus, you’ve never seen Steve Gross work or looked at his work. He gets paid because the images are incredible, he sees things no one else sees, and he IS having a good time.

    My point and I believe Steve’s(Huff) is to use the tool you know and love and also to have a good time. I mean geez, the focus comment, are you kidding, look at the images, is it a nice picture and a fun memory? Yes. End of statement. Steve(Huff) might have been on to the second glass of champagne, he WAS a guest remember, having a good time.

    If you think you need a DSLR with 250,000 ISO so be it. But if you think have to have this type of camera to be a better wedding photographer, I’d say that is just sad.

  26. steve, thanks again for sharing your great pics. i’m really not sure why people get in such a bind about the gear you use to shoot weddings. different photographers have different vision of how to capture a wedding.

    btw, you think using the 50 summilux would’ve given you more possibilities or found the 50 ‘cron sufficient?

  27. IMO the M series are great for “reportage style” wedding shoots, you can get real candid shots. Sean Reid of Reid Reviews has some good tips/tricks on this, also the wedding photos on his review pages are absolutely fantastic.

  28. asraf azlan makes some very good points, and has done so in a reasonable and clear style. yes, there is a world of difference between being a guest and getting some ‘wow!’ shots, and being the paid photog whose first duty is to not miss a single one of hundreds of required shots. they simply aren’t comparable.

    some wedding pros already use leicas, so of course it can be done. steve did put in the caveats about whether it fits your style and skills; whether the market will bear an influx of m9-frame-of-mind wedding pros is an open question.

    certainly weddings terrify me to the point that i’d rather use a d3s or even 5d2 as my primary camera. but at this point i would also bring along the m9.

  29. ya know, I am really diggin’ the color ones….some of them have more pop! Lovely, Steve. You show that it is quite possible to successfully capture a wedding with the M9…

  30. Frank – With enough dedication and experience, I’m sure that someone would excel well in wedding photography using Leicas 🙂 If anyone can do it, I’m sure Steve can.

    Bruce – I don’t think I ever said Steve was “pimping on the back of the official photographer” 🙂 I merely pointed out that shooting as a guest is a totally different experience than shooting as the main photographer, something which I hope Steve takes into mind and prepares for should he choose to pursue a career in wedding photography. And no, I think you can take perfectly good photos with practically any camera. The difference is whether that camera makes the job easier for you, the photographer. Weight and discreetness is only one aspect of photography, and in wedding photography you have a million of other things to worry about (Getting guests in focus, automatic backup to two cf/sd cards at once etc)

  31. Steve Huff@39 – obviously I didn’t, heh. Thanks for the correction!

    That being said, would anyone who invested in an M9 and requisite lenses shoot in-camera JPEG, ever?


  32. i’m interested to know how many of these ‘professional’ photographers have ever actually used a leica m before. then to come onto steve’s website and say ‘pimping on the back of the official photographer’ is down right disrespectful.

    the bottom line, you can do it with a leica. steve has done it, and DONE IT WELL!! as far as i was concerned for my wedding photos, if the prints look great, then job well done. if you think you can’t take as good photos with a leica, then maybe you can’t handle a leica like steve can.

  33. Roland, did you not read where I said TWICE that I shot DNG/JPEG? I have the DNG and have a full color set of all images. The last 9 posted HERE were from the in cam JPEG B&W to show you guys how the M9 will do with ISO 2500 B&W JPEG.

    I always always always shoot RAW and JPEG. The RAW is color, the JPEG is B&W.


  34. Why in the world would you choose to cripple yourself by using the in-camera JPG/B&W option? Your excellent B&W shots would look 100x better, had you shot in DNG and been able to post-process in Lightroom and Sliver Efex Pro with the full, uncompressed DNGs.

  35. In respectful response to Ashraf’s comment:

    But lets say that for a couple of weddings or so someone satisfactorily served a self-apprenticeship as (range-focused?) guest Leica-M photographer with off-camera bounced flash so as to permit use of low ISO without overly low shutter speed. Wouldn’t that someone then be able to reach a realistic
    decision upon the feasibility of setting up as a Leica-M wedding professional in the manner of Steve Gross ?– even though not quite in his league, neither successfully able to demand anywhere near the same big bucks nor the condition of only black and white.

    This question has some importance, given the space-saving, non-backbreaking Leica M’s immense potential for shots of the most candid nature with hard to beat IQ .

    Or have I just whiffed too much loco weed?

  36. Steve – you say you added grain to the B&W shots. were you doing this with the camera by increasing ISO or did you do it through software afterwards (i.e., Silver Efex)?

  37. Beautiful photos, really amazing! Seems like the M9 would be a dream wedding camera…thanks for sharing!

  38. If you’ve ever been in the position of the main wedding photographer, you’ll know that it’s incredibly stressful and hectic. Weddings are all about repetition, and any tool that eases the photographer’s burden is appreciated. This means zooms, fast af, good iso performance (i’m not talking m9 good, but d3s good) and if you can’t afford that, excellent flash systems. There’s no place for strong ideals regarding equipment in a wedding, you’re not doing it to serve your ego but to serve your client. People nowadays expect both color and bw images, and if the camera can’t deliver both in less than ideal lighting conditions, then it’s really not the best tool for the job. I could go on all day on the advantages of modern dslr systems (dual card slots, live view etc)

    Really though, i’ve got no problems with those choosing to shoot weddings with leicas. They’re great tools, and those who do make a living with them have years of experience doing so. And I mean no offense to Steve. His wedding photos are great and I admire his enthusiasm, but i’ve seen way to many people get in over their heads about becoming wedding photographers just because they had a nice experience doing so as a guess shooter. It’s one thing to shoot a wedding as a bystander, and another as the main photographer, where all the burden and responsibilities of delivering lies on your shoulders.

    • Just as photographers have different opinions on what constitutes a good photograph, so do clients. It might be unwise for one who feels he does his best work with a Leica to shoot paid assignments with a DSLR because the photographic community in general holds that DSLRs are the tool of the true professional.

  39. Sorry, Steve, I forgot to congratulate you before on your beautiful and highly effective photos.

    I’m puzzled about the difficulty that some here seem to see in doing weddings with a Leica M, especially since there’s at least the famous wedding pro Steve Gross who gets enormous daily fees for range-focused, one- handed candid shots with the aid of off-camera (bounced?) flash held high in the other hand. Since absolute razor sharpness is not an issue here, what’s the problem. I have very little experience in this, so would someone please enlighten me?

  40. Very nicely done steve I will definitely hire you as my wedding photographer! I’m an aspiring Leica wedding photographer too! But I have to be honest a DSLR is more versatile at documenting but making pictures that are truely worth a lifetime a leica fits the bill much better because it is so unintrusive/ un-intimidating. You need a partner in crime to use the M9 / M’s to document a wedding.

  41. Don’t try this at home if you don’t know what you are doing… Better use at least a couple of DSLR’s especially if you are the official photographer and you are getting paid. Steve of course knows what he is doing and pulled it off brilliantly, the shots say it all…

    I tried this once with my M8.2 as an experiment at an event even though i wasn’t getting paid for the shoot, also in B&W JPEG, thank heavens 95% of the shots were done with 3 Nikon bodies and the works… I would have been right up S*** Street.

    I love the grainy effect too, classic!

    Nice work Steve!


  42. When people ask me what my camera (Leica m8) does that the SLRs do not, I say, a little tongue-in-cheek, “Those cameras create photographs, mine creates art.” I really am mostly joking, but I do notice that my images are more artistic and less generic when using my m8. I see this in your wedding pictures. They are very nice. Another thing I have noticed, is they will look even better when printed. I used to worry about shooting my m8 at 2500 due to all the noise on screen, but when you look at the prints, they look great.

  43. Frank: Yeah. He’s having a good time and getting paid to zone focus. LOL!

    Steve: Thanks for the compliments.

    Xavier: I agree with you!

  44. RE COMMENTS 14 &21: I notice from some on-line cited journalistic report on Steven E.Gross that,smiling, he simply whirls through the wedding preparations and festivities with his Leica held out in one hand and a flash held up high in the other and snaps without even using the viewfinder. So he must simply rely on range- and/or hyper- focus to get his shots (?), for which he receives more than $5,000 plus $30 per print plus expenses. Any comments on this?

  45. I did a wedding for a friend of mine with my M6 and the TMAX 3200 film in the 90’s.
    It was one of the best assignment I ever did and my friends still talk about it !
    If you know how to use this camera, not much should stop you from doing just about anything, even sport !
    I think people who only use auto everything SLR criticize Leica M because they do not want to bother to learn photography. After all, tons of worldwide known shots from worldwide known photographers have been done with Leica M or even Rolleiflex which is another “strange” but fun camera to use !

  46. Who is Steve Gross?

    I love your shots, Steve. It would be the look I’d want for my wedding. I hate the usual wedding shots though. That’s me. I like a different approach. I like documentary style shooting better.

  47. Hey G, thanks for looking and the comment. These shots are not about “sharpness” and I was not going for the sharp look with ANY of these. Also, yes I am proving a point. Not everyone knows Steve Gross. This all comes down to personal preference and style. Some like the super sharp style, some like black and white and me, well, when I look at wedding shots I much prefer the more B&W grainy style. As stated, I am not a wedding pro but to say these are not sharp?? SO WHAT! That is not what they are about and most photographers would know this.

    As for some of these being done better? I agree! I was NOT the wedding photographer here so I just did what I wanted and that included experimentation.

    Thanks for the comment though, I appreciate your enthusiasm for sharp shots 🙂


  48. The first two shots are sharp and the sharpness goes downhill from there.
    Steve, the Leica is a great camera system but IMO these could have been done better.
    To just prove a point to M9 wedding naysayers, what’s the point? As stated above, Steve Gross is one of the top wedding shooters and has been shooting weddings with Leica for decades.
    No offense, I appreciate your enthusiasm for photography.

  49. Dear Steve, keep rocking, your work is so enjoyable and inspirating!

    About a documentary style to wedding images i find that Jeff Ascough work is terrific. I do recommend his web.
    I´m not Jeff Ascough nor one of his relatives or friends, by the way, ha, ha
    I´m just a spanish guy who teaches spanish in Shanghai and one who is on the way to get a M8.2…. and thinking about buying a 35 summilux for my first Leica combo ever.
    So excited!!!
    Of course, some of this is because of you, Steve… you have push me so nice with your web.
    You have reminded me one of my truly passion: photography.

  50. Is it a 35mm lux pre-asph? There seems to be some “glow” to me in some photos.
    Oh. Between, those are some very nice shots.

  51. Steve Gross, a follow Chicago native has shot weddings for years with M cameras, and you cannot argue with his style and success. You should see if he is using the M9 and interview him. Great guy, interesting stories I’m sure. Tell him I sent you.

    Jeff Van Kleeck

  52. Well, A lot of people use Leica M cameras for weddings from what I’ve seen on the web. Many of them are not in the USA. There seems to be more people using film in other countries. As for the M9 at a wedding, I think Steve did an awesome job of shooting. I like his shots much more than those posed shots. But I’m not a bride looking for a wedding photographer. LOL! I understand the D-SLR rules for wedding photography. I, however like the “look” of the M9 shots. So, I think it wise to use both. Me, personally, I would use both. As a hobbyist I would RATHER carry the M9 and 2 lenses at best. I just keep thinking of the past when I shot weddings with a Fujica ST605 and Canon AE-1 camera. Manual focus. The pictures came out fantastic. I love the Leica look much better than the D-SLR look in B&W anyway. Using the D-SLR with various lense would be easier, no doubt, but I still like the Leica look better. Hell, hire someone to use a Nikon D700, and use the Leica for fun shots. LOL! Okay, now I’m getting silly.

    If I were a Pro, I’d use a Nikon D700 with a Nikon back up camera, and a Leica for certain shots. But that’s me.

  53. I have noticed that the reception venue has low ceilings. If it were me, I would put 1 or 2 flashes on one or both ends of the room bounced it to the ceiling on quarter or 1/8 power if the case may be and fire away. Put a PW on the leica and viola ISO 400-800 would be glorious. That would be a fun experiment dont you think Steve?

  54. Oh, Alexander….

    I shot JPEG & RAW but the last 9 images above, the ones shown here, are the JPEGS from the camera. I have the RAW files as well. Thx…

  55. Thanks to all for your comments. Ashraf, I said that because I have been told many times that an M9 would be a horrible choice for a wedding. Just pointing out that it is not. Also, sure you can shoot a wedding with a P&S but what will you get out of it? Thanks


  56. As Gaz Rowlands said, theres nothing wrong with shooting weddings with an M9, plenty of wedding photographers used M’s back in the day for weddings. The question is whether the M9 IS the best tool for weddings..and for many pros who’s livelihoods depend on weddings, the answer seems to be no.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Leica’s..but saying that you can take photos with it at weddings is like saying you can take wedding photos with P&S cameras..its no big deal 🙂

  57. Great shots, Steve! I personally love the b&w documentary style and the M9 would be the perfect tool for this. It’s also nice to see you back in action with the 35 Lux…I bought this lens after your review of it a while back and haven’t regretted it one bit…worth every penny!

  58. huff some of these shots are amazing. i do want to ask you about your choice in composition for the one previous to the kiss. i find it a little off-putting although i’m pretty sure you cropped that one a little.then again i might be the only one.either way it’s amazing that with the beautiful rendering from leica glass, more wedding photographer’s don’t try it out. cheers. you fail to disappoint. as always.

  59. Hey steve,

    just perfect pics .

    I love such kind of your “M9 storys”;)

    One question: why jpeg and not raw?
    cause you wrote that a few images were taken B&W JPEG.

    from Austria

  60. Wonderful shots, Steve! I really like the authenticity in your photographs (especially the pix with the couple dancing – those are awesome!) I totally have to second that “don’t like posed shots” part, although I am glad there were also some posed shots taken at our wedding 🙂

  61. I’m a wedding pro who’s integrating the M9 into my shoots. There’s no ‘problem’ with doing so, but it does lead to a more static, less spontaneous approach, IMO. The M9 is many times more useful than the M8, because the wide aperture lenses are at the focal lengths you need them and the file sizes and image qulity allows substanttial crops.

    The 35mm Lux is perfect as the ‘standard’, but a second lens needs a second body to match the flexibility of a zoom, as was the case when I was shooting weddings with film M’s. Shooting at f1.4 is fine for someone pimping on the back of the official photographer who is carrying the responsibility for producing far more than just a creative B&W art folio. There can be a big gap between what photographers like and what regular brides demand. Nevertheless, the M9 is a fine tool for shooting weddings.

  62. Jeff Ascough a wedding photographer that use to use 4 Leica M6 for his weddings and the shots are amazing.. I’m pretty sure a M9 would be fine in weddings =)

  63. M9 Wedding …………Thats the White Frosting on Robert Franks Americans………..Go ahead cause
    in the end it was always about ones ability to See…………Vision……..

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