The British Royal Wedding with an X1, M9 and Noctilux by Edmond Terakopian

The British Royal Wedding with a Leica X1, M9 and Noctilux 0.95

By Edmond Terakopian

It’s not everyday that there’s a Royal Wedding and the last time there was this much excitement was when Price Charles married Lady Diana; actually, I think there may have been even more excitement this time round as Prince William is much loved and the nation seems to have taken to Kate Middleton rather well!

What all this meant was that pictures from the event would be sought after and the pressure was on. It soon became apparent that it was going to be a logistical nightmare; accreditation, the cost of some of the spots, geographical distance between locations and the hundreds of thousands of spectators meant that it would be impossible for one photographer to cover everything. The prime locations would be the domain of the papers and agencies.

I needed something different; I was shooting for Polaris Images and my pictures were headed more for the magazine market. I needed to find a way of telling the story. My decision was to photograph the reaction of the people and the atmosphere. I started my story with memorabilia, went on to the super dedicated fans who camped out nights before and then onto a good old fashioned British street party; all about atmosphere.

I was caught off-guard though! I had put aside an evening as i was invited to the World Photography Awards, followed by the exhibition, drinks and networking gathering. Halfway through the awards ceremony I saw an email from Polaris letting me know that campers had shown up at the Westminster Abbey and they needed material. I make it absolute policy to always have a camera with me no matter what. However, I was a bit worried if I could shoot a feature assignment properly on a pocket camera. Well, I must say that the Leica X1 rose to the challenge beautifully and I shot the entire set of night camping pictures on it. At 800 and 1600ASA it performed beautifully and I managed to get a few good shots.

I went back to the camp during the following day. This time I was properly kitted out. In my little Fogg b-laika shoulder bag I had my Leica M9, 21mm Elmarit, 35mm Summicron ASPH, 50mm f0.95 Noctilux ASPH and 90mm f2.5 Summarit. On my shoulder I also had a Canon 5D MkII with a 135mm f2L lens for the more distant and tight shots. Having worked the scene for around an hour or so I decided to leave and go to Buckingham Palace to see what was happening there.

Whilst at the Palace I shot a set of rehearsal type shots with the guards and also found more fans camping. It was wonderful; I had found fans from Zimbabwe, San Fransisco, Sweden, Australia to name just a few places. I made more pictures here and then shot off home to edit and file my pictures to Polaris.

For the day of the wedding, after several weeks research, I had found what I hoped would be the perfect street party and it turned out to be so. This lovely small road had been shut with a pub at one end and a row of tables filling the street to the other end. Taking pictures inside the pub whilst people watched the TV screens to the party outside gave me a nice range of atmospheric imagery. After around five hours I was done and I went back home to edit and send.

What surprised me about this assignment was just how much of it I shot on the 50mm Noctilux; I’d shot around 75% of the entire project on the Nocti. When I looked through my work, I realised that I could have shot the entire thing with just the M9 and the 50mm Noctilux!

On a technical note, I did all my editing, captioning and image processing on Apple’s Aperture 3. For the black and white images you see here, I also used Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro 2.

To see more of these pictures, please visit:

and for colour:


I also have a short blog post at:

My website is at:


Lastly, you can follow me on Twitter – @terakopian

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  1. A nice way to cover an event that was about so much more than two people getting married. A technical question; did you shoot these in color/RAW from the camera and then convert in Silver Efex or were some out of camer monochrome jpegs? I use the same software that you do although an M8, and am wondering which path is better? Your opinions would be helpful. Thanks in advance.

    • Thanks Chris. I shot in RAW (therefor colour), did the initial colour processing in Aperture (getting things like WB right makes a much better BW) ad then exported the picture to Silver Efex Pro 2 where I did all the BW work.

  2. Fantastic set of images. You have captured the essence of the humanity of the day.

  3. Edmond,
    Beautiful images! Like another comment above, my favorite is also BW 029. I favorited it and left you a comment on that photo on your flickr page as well.

  4. Great reportage, Edmond! I love your unconventional approach and emotions of the real people that you show so well.


    Greg Shanta

      • Edmond, this was my way of showing that I am of an Armenian descent. Unfortunately, ‘thank you’ is about all I know in Armenian. My grandfather wanted to teach me the language but I was too dumb as a boy (I still am, I’m afraid…), so I resisted it.


  5. man these are superb. between your images and Steve’s my Noctilux envy has grown beyond controle! I just ordered one! Superb Edmond!

  6. I like how you captured emotion in these photographs. These are wonderful.

  7. Nice, crisp B&W images and great moments. What ISO did you use on the M9? Another great article that makes me want f0.95. ๐Ÿ˜‰ D!RK

    • Thanks Dirk. All the outside shots with the M9 were at 160 ASA. The pub interiors: with the kids was at 320 ASA and with the group of young adults was at 640 ASA. The Noctilux just swallows up light! I’m constantly finding myself having to dial down the ASA as it’s too bright! It’s such a wonderfully useful lens.

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