Shooting Weddings with the Fuji GFX 50S

North West-based photographer David Stanbury reckons he has the best job in the world. For the last 20+ years, alongside his wife Jane, he has run an award-winning wedding & portrait photography business that grew out of a simple passion for photography & creating images that he loved.


In 2013 David was given the highest honour of being awarded a fellowship in the British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP) and the Society of Wedding & Portrait Photographers (SWPP) – the highest qualification a photographer can receive and to date has received over 200 International, national & regional awards for his photography.

Earlier this year, David was approached by Fuji, who were looking for professional photographers to test their GFX 50S. A longtime Hasselblad user, David already knew the benefits of medium format for his work and jumped at the chance to road test the then unreleased camera.

We recently caught up with David to talk photography and to hear his views on Fuji’s latest medium format camera.

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This must be a busy time of year for you, so thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into photography?

I think it’s more a case that photography found me. My parents bought me a camera for my birthday and my Dad said “now go to college & learn how to use it” at the time my reply was why? But that push really sowed the seeds for a passion that is still as strong nearly 25 years later. My break into wedding photography was just as chaotic. Whilst at college I had really fallen in love with the darkroom and hand printing B & W images. A friend of a friend was looking for a wedding photographer but at the time the Pros would only shoot colour and the couple wanted B & W only, so we were introduced and my first wedding I shot, processed and printed the images. As no ‘pro’ photographers seemed to be shooting in B & W I received a steady infux of enquiries and bookings; it seems crazy now but my USP was that I shot B & W photographs. My move into Professional photography was again just as chaotic. I worked for a company and they went bust overnight and with a new home and young family, I found myself out of work. So with £500 of my redundancy money we struck a deal with a local landlord giving me 3 months free rent on a studio, bought a couch, a desk and with 4 16 x 20 prints, opened our first studio…. Yes I still have the couch 😉

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[gdlr_quote align=”center” ]We both are the luckiest people in the world, not only do we have the best job in the world travelling all over the world photographing gorgeous people happy & in love, but also being at the beginning of their new journey & documenting with our images two peoples lives change forever.[/gdlr_quote]

What equipment do you use?

In my bag at the moment is my Hasselblad H3D-31 II and a Canon 5D Mk III. Lens-wise I have an 80mm ƒ/2.8 & 28mm ƒ/4 for my Hasselblad (I love the 28mm and use this the most). On the Canon it’s a 16-35mm ƒ/2.8, 24-70mm ƒ/2.8 & 70-200mm ƒ/2.8.  I use the 70-200mm the most as I shoot my main images on the Hasselblad and candid on the Canon.

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Did you always want to be a wedding photographer?

I have always been the sort of person that if I did something I had to do it ‘properly’, so from the start I wanted to pay for new kit and pretty much from day one, was shooting portraits and then asked to shoot weddings and this then grew. I pretty much fell in love with weddings from my first one – I just loved the adrenalin rush that you get from working under the most intense pressure and then seeing the couples faces when you showed them their images. I’m also very much a people person, I love to socialise and as a wedding photographer you get to meet so many people who are always happy and its just such an addictive career.

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You’ve used Hasselblad alongside your Canon gear for many years. How did you find the GFX compared to the Hasselblad?

For me its unfair to compare the two as I’m shooting with an H3D and the jump from that to the GFX is immense. What I can say is that I’ve always wanted a medium format camera that has high ISO, low noise and is light enough so I can carry all day and the GFX certainly ticks these boxes. The GFX has so many features that I feel makes it the perfect medium format camera for wedding photographers, the touch screen is sharp, fast and the ability to tilt makes it easy to get those high and low angles. I really fell in love with the EVF and the lenses I found fast & incredibly sharp. I’ve pretty much used them all but the GF32-64mm ƒ/4 & GF110mm ƒ/2 are my favourites and could pretty much shoot a full wedding with just these 2 lenses.

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Do you get involved in video with your wedding work?

I’ve just recently resurrected my YouTube channel (David Stanbury) to show Behind the Scenes footage from our personal shoots, weddings & workshops and am just as excited about getting ‘moving images’ into my workflow and think this is going to become a much bigger part of our shooting style.

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Do you shoot any personal projects or do the weddings keep you busy?

We are always busy with weddings, but I’m very much an advocate of ‘practice makes perfect’ and personal shoots are a perfect way to keep my brain ticking and my photography creative – It’s my testing ground for new ideas, styles and approaches to our photography. One thing I’m very mindful of is I NEVER want photography to become a job, so stepping out of my comfort zone, trying different things and creating new images is my hobby and what I do to relax.

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You offer 1-2-1 training for wedding photographers. Is it rewarding to give something back to a business you obviously enjoy?

Yes,YES,YES!!!! I have seriously the best job in the world, people pay me to be part of the biggest day of their life, they pay me to travel the world to photograph their day, photography companies have asked me to be a part of their future plans and new products, photography has given me so many amazing memories but mostly amazing friends and I feel its my duty to give back to an industry that has given me so much. One thing I’m most proud of is that I hope people now see wedding photographers with the respect they deserve. We have the hardest job in photography, we have only one chance to get it right whilst working in the most demanding of situations, we don’t have the luxury of reshoots or 8 hours for 1 image, we HAVE to deliver the goods fast and consistently week in week out, and this is what I want to get across to new photographers on our workshops who come to learn how to create their signature images in this demanding world.

David was speaking to Tim Stavrinou

David Stanbury FSWPP, FBIPP

About David

David Stanbury FBIPP, FSWPP is a Multi Award Winning Wedding Photographer based in the North West of England with a career spanning over 20 years & shooting weddings in the UK & Worldwide.

David’s accolades include over 200 National & Regional awards including UK Wedding Photographer of the Year, UK Wedding Album of the Year and a Finalist in the Prestigious Hasselblad Masters. David is proud to have received a Fellowship in Wedding Photography from the SWPP & the BIPP.

David has presented sell out workshops & seminars on all aspects of wedding photography throughout the UK, Europe and America. David is a photography consultant, mentor & Judge and has judged national & International photography competitions.

David’s style is described as stylish & timeless and is very much in demand by couples who require the very best in wedding photography. He has a passion for photography and creating the perfect image combining all the aspects of the Wedding but also understands that being a people person is just as important.


The Fuji GFX 50S is available to hire from our rental department, or for demonstration in our South London store. Call us on 020 7582 3294 or email for more info

Fuji GFX 50S | A Working Day With A New Camera System images

Fuji GFX 50S | A Working Day With A New Camera System

Paul Stewart, Night Picture Editor at the Daily Express and documentary photojournalist,  has worked in the imaging industry for over 45 years, both as a photographer and an editor. As soon as the first GFX’s arrived in our rental department, we were keen to see what working professional photographers really thought of the camera, and Paul was only too happy to oblige..

I was really interested to hear early rumours of the GFX 50S, as the idea of a mirrorless medium format camera was an exciting new development.  Having swapped my full frame DSLR kit for the Fuji X Series and specifically the wonderful X-Pro2s, I knew that FujiFilm’s evolution of digital photography was well up there with their previous take on the medium and always considered FujiFilm to be people who develop their sensors with an eye to their great history as a film manufacturer.  In fact, only Kodak, to my mind, produced high end pro digital kit with a similar quality of colour and detailed reproduction.  Having seen the GFX 50S at Fixation’s FujiFilm Open Day I was delighted when they asked me to try the camera out.

When I was the editor of HotShoe International and indeed when I reviewed equipment for the British Journal of Photography, I had a strict policy of not doing or commissioning a review unless an actual photographer went out and shot a real job with the equipment (after all if you can’t earn a living with it, it’s not a lot of good to a pro).

The first thing I noticed about the GFX was the ergonomics which are superb.  In comparison to my Phase One Mamiya 645AFD, it’s lighter (when used without the battery grip) and handles far more like a high end DSLR, making location use far easier, though it’s happy to sit rock solid on a tripod in the studio.  The next thing I noticed was that the firmware, menus and ergonomics all take a big lead from the X Series cameras that I am already used to, which meant that integrating myself into the camera system was a doddle.


This is a really well thought out camera.  The tri-axis tilt screen on the back means that you can shoot from almost any angle and still see what you are framing, making a “Hail Mary” more a matter of framing than prayer.

Likewise, the tilting view finder, which I originally thought was not going to be that interesting, turned out to be a godsend when shooting in bright light when wanting to shoot from a lower angle.

So what job did I decide to use it on?   I was asked to be the host photographer for a Royal Visit by the Duke of Gloucester, who, of all things, was meeting three Virginia Indian Chiefs of the Powhatan People, all of whom were of the descendant tribes of Pocahontas and who were celebrating the 400th Anniversary of her leaving Brentford, where she lived, to return to America.

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Sadly, she only got as far as Gravesend, where she died.  The ceremonials were being held in Syon House, so I arrived a bit early to check out the light, which, although soft, was very low outside the venue.  Inside, especially in the private green drawing room, it was abysmal but plunging on, I shot this job jpeg only to see just how good the dynamic range of this camera was.  I expected it to be good.  It was, in fact, exceptional.  I shot some portraits of the various Chiefs and dignitaries with extreme highlights and shadow within them and the detail recovery was beyond that I expected.

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The camera behaved faultlessly throughout the shoot.  I never had to go onto the second battery that I had as a back up and was incredibly pleased with the results.  Everything you see, including the grip and grin type PR shot of the Chiefs with Lord Watson of Richmond, were shot in a low level of available light.  In fact the very first shot I shot with the camera in anger was the one of the marble statue in Syon’s Great Hall.

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Looking at this just on the back of the screen made me realise just what a great camera this is.  Although, like all medium format cameras it is expensive, when compared to Phase 1s and other makes, it’s well priced.  The only down side to the camera that I have seen so far, is that FujiFilm went back to a Bayer Pattern rather than adopting their fabulous X-Trans sensor design as used in the X Series, which I find to be the best sensor I have ever used.  It would have been nice to see a larger format version of this.  However, in terms of colour rendition etc I find it hard to fault the GFX 50S.

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I don’t feel that the Mamiya would have allowed me to do the location shooting that the Fuji allowed and the only downside is that I now have to try and sell my Mamiya 645 AFD/Phase One System so I can get a GFX!

You can see more of Paul’s work here

To get your hands on the Fuji GFX 50S, pop into our showroom for a demo, or contact our rental department and try one for yourself.

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