My name is Marianne Chua. I live in London, England and shoot a wide range of events but I’m primarily known for my wedding photography.
In between Secret Cinema productions and photographing around 35 weddings each year, I’m an official Fujifilm X-Photographer and a sporadic podcaster with Kari Bellamy as Chua & The Bell.
I also organize Speak Now, a non-profit event series designed to raise the visibility of UK female photographers within the industry, and I teach workshops specifically to help flash-phobic wedding photographers embrace flash.
Before I became a photographer I obtained my PhD in Psychology, so I have unusual stamina for turning boring technical information into something digestible.
My unconventional approach to wedding photography has garnered me a few Fearless awards and Wedding Photojournalist Association awards, as well as being named one of Rangefinder Magazine’s 30 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography in 2017.
I’d summarize my photography style as both visual and semantic. I’m small and energetic by design, so when I’m shooting events my natural approach to photography is to be everywhere at all times. I’m often found crawling under or over things and people: I consider it a free workout.
Because I tackle photography like a rabid squirrel, I’ve found the lightweight Fujifilm system is best suited to my needs.
In the shot, I have one of my two Fujifilm X-T3 bodies. I choose to shoot with the Fujifilm X-T3 because I find the flip screen absolutely essential and they’re light enough for me to wave them around in one hand all day without fatigue.
I name all my camera bodies, so that’s Ruth in the photo taken by Serena. They both constantly stay on my hips with the Spiderlight dual camera holster system and I usually keep the Fujifilm 23mm f/1.4 and Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 on each body as a wide and long.
I’ll then switch into the wide-angle lens like the Fujifilm XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR for a party or a whole group shot in a tight space or the Fujifilm XF 90mm f/2 R LM for extra long needs like the back of a church or during speeches.
I use the Fujifilm 23mm f/1.4 R for 90% of my photos as I prefer the classic photojournalism length. I use the longer focal lengths to reach similar compositions when I can’t physically get closer.
I’ve also included in the shot Phillipa II, a.k.a my Fujifilm X-T30, (the original Phillipa was the prototype Fujifilm asked me to test… RIP), which serves as both a backup body and my everyday carry around. She has mostly identical internal functions to the Fujifilm X-T3, just in a smaller body, and I’m very emotionally attached to her.
For flash, I use Godox flashes. There are only half the units in the photo but I have two Godox v860IIFs and two Godox v350Fs. They’re both the lithium ion versions rather than the AA types as this really helps with the weekend-long family festival style weddings that I specialize in. I can go for several days on one charge and still have battery life left. The recycle time is also noticeably better on the Godox v350F versus its AA counterpart.
I use the two smaller Godox v350Fs for a gentle fill flash, or as on-camera triggers, because their weight balances nicely on the small Fujifilm bodies. However, if I need more power and faster recycling for something like an insanely good dance floor, I’ll use the Godox v860IIFs.
I forgot to include my flash kit in the photo, which is ironic because I am a flash teacher, but I use two Manfrotto 5001B Light Stands with two MagnetMod MagShoes attached, four MagMod MagGrids, two MagMod Creative Gels, a range of their creative and corrective gels, and two Westcott 43-inch Optical White Satin Collapsible Umbrellas.
I choose to use flash only as it’s needed according to the quality of light, so these tools collectively cover me for a wide range of needs. The shoot-through brollies tend to be kept for group shots, but the grids and gels are often useful for speeches, couple shots, and first dances. All of this is shoved into a rather sorry looking Calumet light stand bag, which I don’t think they make anymore.
Other essential miscellaneous bits that are in my Vanguard Havana 41BL rucksack include earplugs, a spanner (in case the SpiderLight pin needs tightening or removing), cereal bars, breakfast biscuits, a water bottle, and a spare pair of contact lenses. If you’re as blind as I am, breaking your face glasses is the only thing more disastrous than breaking photography glass!