PHOTOGRAPHER: Alison Conklin
BASED IN: Pennsylvania, USA
KNOWN FOR: Intimate shots of weddings with natural light and distinctive framing
SHOOTS WITH: FUJIFILM GFX 50S Camera, FUJINON GF63mmF2.8 R WR Lens, GF110mmF2 R LM WR Lens, GF120mmF4 R LM OIS WR Macro Lens, Vertical Battery Grip VG-GFX1
With more than 20 years’ experience photographing weddings, Alison Conklin is an expert when it comes to capturing those intimate moments that make a couple’s special day so memorable. In this article, she talks us through four different weddings and offers an insight into how she uses the GFX system to make the very best of every situation and produce remarkable medium format wedding photography.
The beach is beautiful and the ocean is so gorgeous and moody, but it comes with some serious challenges. Like sand. Sand everywhere. Sun everywhere. And no shade.
I always approach a beach shoot knowing what lens I want to use and stick to it – there is no way I am changing my lens out in the middle of all that sand and wind. I also know that I may need to get creative to make sure my clients are the focus of the image as, depending on the situation, the beach could be filled with sunbathers.
The smartest tactic to take is knowing the sun’s position and using it to my advantage. Maybe it’s back lighting them, maybe it’s having them walk directly towards the sun so their faces are illuminated – it involves a lot of quick thinking to make it work and that’s the part of wedding photography that I love. Sometimes it will rain all day, sometimes it will snow, and some days will be bright and sunny without a cloud in the sky which can make it challenging to get the perfect shot.
This wedding was in June by the shore and it was incredibly sunny – there seriously wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The portraits I could create with the GFX 50S in those lighting conditions were beautiful. The exposures were spot on.
The GFX 50S makes for spectacular medium format wedding photography because its dynamic range allows me to keep the beautiful details in the bride’s dress in high contrast situations while producing gorgeous tones in the shadows.
Garden Mansion Wedding
At this wedding, the couple had spent a huge amount of time on their color scheme, which was varying shades of blue, and all those tiny personal details that make up a wedding, so I wanted to make sure I stayed true to that when capturing their day.
It was a beautiful April day after a pretty rainy week, so the greens in the garden were deep and lush, and the flowers were beginning to bloom as it was the start of the season.
All these colors came together to create the perfect mix for portraits. I found this blooming bush with bright fuchsia flowers and, when coupled with the bride’s beautiful hair, it became one of my most favorite portrait locations.
Each member of the bridal party was allowed to pick whatever shade of blue they wanted to wear, so when shooting them all together I sought a very neutral backdrop so that it wouldn’t compete with everyone in the image. Being mindful of your background and allowing your subject to shine is something to always keep in mind.
The rich colors the GFX 50S produces is one of the best things about choosing the camera for medium format wedding photography. Also, the fact that I can see how the image will look right in the viewfinder without having to stop and look at the back of my camera is such a timesaver and helps me capture the moment while staying in the moment.
Between the bride’s gorgeous red hair, the tones of blue that found itself mixed in the details, and the lush green gardens, I was so happy with the images and how they captured exactly what it looked like to be there.
Downtown Club Wedding
Let’s talk about my love affair with the GF110mmF2 R LM WR lens. The way it isolates the subject is unmatched. I use this as my go-to work horse on the GFX 50S on a wedding day. It is sharp and fast. The GFX 50S also keeps up with the day. Things happen quickly and I don’t get a second chance to catch the couple walking out of church or the first dance, for example. It’s my perfect combination when using medium format for wedding photography.
The rawness of the city provides such killer locations that I always have my couples pick a certain place they like and then I scout for other nearby and interesting spots we can also utilize.
Philadelphia is full of amazing architecture and the bride and groom at this wedding picked some of the city’s most beautiful locations to shoot their formals. The detail and sharpness that the camera records is remarkable.
I love embracing what is happening in the city. From the architecture to the energy of the streets, I include all of it in my photographs. I usually look for gorgeous doorways, textured walls, awesome murals or interesting alleyways as image backdrops.
The idea of keeping an eye out for awesome little spots carries through in my life when I am not ‘working.’ I am always passing by places and saying to myself ‘that would make a great photo!’
Despite the fact that it was raining the entire day for this May wedding, the bride was still game to shoot outside. At times like this I have to be ready no matter what Mother Nature throws at me, so I was thankful for the weather-resistant lenses and camera.
Let’s not forget that the GFX 50S is a medium format camera that gives a different perspective and more of the scene in any image compared to a full frame camera. That means I can get more of the fog rolling in over the bridge and more of the homes that make Elfreth’s Alley so charming.
Image quality and the detail captured is just amazing with the GFX 50S. The color is rich and deep, cutting down my editing time, because the photos feel finished and look perfect already. People’s skin tones always look great and the tones in the final images are magic. It’s a great choice for shooting weddings in medium format.
Read more about the GFX system in the GFX Gear Chooser.
Alison Conklin is a FUJIFILM-compensated professional photographer.
To see more of Alison’s work, visit her website.