‘I’m certain that there is no couple in the world that I can’t create incredible wedding photos for. If the couple believes in what I do, we can capture something genuinely beautiful and unique’ says Marcis Baltskars, who is regarded as one of the best wedding photographers in the world.
Like many other photographers, Marcis’ start in photography came from a desire to escape from the 9-5 work life.
© Marcis Baltskars | Sony α7R III + FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS | 1/250s @ f/2.8, ISO 100
“I applied for lots of photography courses run by some of the leading photographers in Latvia. I learnt how to work with professional models, stylists and make-up artists. The images I took during this period attracted some attention on social media and I started to receive offers of work. It wasn’t long before something in my mind clicked and I realised that I could become a professional photographer, so I took a risk.”
“When I look back over the last 10 years, it’s a story of being in the right place in the right time. I didn’t specifically search or do anything on purpose, it all started so randomly, and then it felt like a huge snowball falling from the hill. It was never my intention to specialise in wedding photography - there just seemed to be a high demand for it.”
© Marcis Baltskars | Sony α7R III + FE 85mm f/1.4 GM | 1/125s @ f/2.5, ISO 2000
A lot of photographers have a love/hate relationship with weddings. There’s a lot of pressure - you can’t go back and take the images again another day, but Marcis thrived on the importance of the occasion.
“I like the positive emotion that dominates the wedding day. It’s amazing to be present in such a beautiful moment. There’s something special about every single wedding!”
“People are so different,” he continues, “and the photographer's task is to be on the same page as the bride and groom. It’s important that the couple trust me and believe in my ideas. Often these ideas are spontaneous, because the weather and the light constantly changes.”
© Marcis Baltskars | Sony α7R III + FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM | 1/2500s @ f/4.0, ISO 100
“Usually we have two or three locations planned, but everything else is improvised. Sometimes the most beautiful photos are taken on the side of the road next to a forest or meadow which we’ve noticed when passing by, and the natural light is just perfect.”
“I like to use natural light whenever possible - I rarely use flash. I shoot with the Sony α7R III and the dynamic range and its high sensitivity performance means that I can shoot in very poor light conditions and still get images that are astonishing. The key is to see where the light is and then use it to your advantage.’’
© Marcis Baltskars | Sony α7R III + FE 12-24mm f/4 G | 1/200s @ f/4.0, ISO 100
“Last year a couple chose to get married in a hot air balloon. We had to wake up at 2AM and the ceremony began at 5AM during sunrise. Fate took charge and the balloon landed in a real fairy-tale meadow, full of dew and magic lights, which is where the wonderful photo shoot took place.”
© Marcis Baltskars | Sony α7R III + FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM | 1/125s @ f/18, ISO 1000
“My main reason for using the α7R III is the size and quality of the image. It gives me so much information to allow me to edit the shot with freedom. When I’m shooting my reportage style wedding images it’s not always possible to get as close as I would like, or there may be something unwanted in the edge of the shot. With the Sony α7R III I have 42 million pixels, so I have the resolution needed to crop slightly and still have a high-resolution image.”
© Marcis Baltskars | Sony α7R III + FE 12-24mm f/4 G | 1/125s @ f/4.0, ISO 500
“I can also shoot at up to 10fps to capture the perfect moment, I have also used the Sony α9 which enables me to shoot at 20fps - I can pick the moment that captures the light and emotion of the moment perfectly.”
“Something else that is vital,” he continues, “is the Silent Shutter- this enables me to shoot a wedding without disturbing it with the ‘click, click, click’ of my camera.”
© Marcis Baltskars | Sony α7R III + FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS | 1/125s @ f/2.8, ISO 400
“Finally, the autofocus is fast and reliable, and I love the ability to select the focus point by using the touchscreen. This allows me to shoot at different angles where it may not be possible for me to look through the viewfinder. It’s such an advantage.”
© Marcis Baltskars | Sony α7R III + FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM | 1/500s @ f/2.8, ISO 160
At the end of the day a wedding is a story to be told and remembered amongst family and friends, and it is Marcis’ job to capture and tell the story of the day, and of the couple’s relationship.