PROFILE

Carmen and Ingo Leitner

A black and white image, shot from behind, of a bride walking down the aisle of a church in a dress with a very long train.

Wedding photographers and Canon Ambassadors Carmen and Ingo Leitner took this beautiful black and white image of a bride walking down the aisle at the Abbey of San Galgano in Tuscany, Italy in May 2018. "This dress by designer Ralf & Russo is special in so many ways. It weighs more than 60kg and has a six-metre train with about 350,000 Swarovski crystals attached," says Carmen. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM lens at 1/1250 sec, f/2 and ISO100. © Carmen and Ingo Photography

Destination wedding photographers and Canon Ambassadors Carmen and Ingo Leitner have travelled the world to capture couples in some of the most spectacular settings imaginable. They are renowned for producing beautiful backlit shots, often illuminating newlyweds in the golden glow of a sunset.

"Backlight is a signature of our images," explains Ingo. "We mostly shoot couples in evening light if possible, and we want to capture the emotions between them. We try to highlight the joyful mood. A wedding is such a happy event, and we want to portray that in our images."
The husband-and-wife team know a thing or two about love. They have been a couple since 2003 when they met on a beach in Italy. After discovering they shared a passion for cameras while travelling the world together, the Austrian duo began photographing friends' weddings before setting up their business, Carmen and Ingo Photography, in 2006.

"We were both working in different professions when we met," says Carmen. "Ingo was a technical engineer and I was in creative jobs. I was a makeup artist and trained in hairstyling. When we met, we both loved to take photographs and be creative together.

"The first people who asked us to shoot their weddings were friends who had seen our travel photos," Ingo adds. "That's how we got into weddings. We began shooting for friends of friends and then suddenly you're shooting people you don't know anymore. That's how our hobby became our job."
Canon Ambassadors and wedding photographers Carmen and Ingo Leitner.
Location: Austria

Specialist areas: Wedding, portraits

Favourite kit:

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM
A close-up of a bride and groom gazing into each other's eyes, backlit by the setting sun.

This joyous image was captured by Carmen and Ingo in Switzerland during the Covid-19 pandemic. "We worked with masks to get close and capture the sparkles. Our clients gave us more time to shoot than we would have needed because they recognised how excited we were about the incredible backlight," says Ingo. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM lens at 1/2000 sec, f/2.2 and ISO320. © Carmen and Ingo Photography

The pair, who are entirely self-taught, have since photographed more than 300 weddings across the globe. They got married themselves in New Zealand in 2014 – their favourite destination from their worldwide travels.

"We didn't want it to feel like work, so we decided to do it completely differently and have a really small, intimate wedding," says Carmen. "We are really lucky to travel. We have worked in some amazing locations, but the most important thing is the people we get to spend the day with and photograph."

The couple agree that working as a team gives them a huge advantage. "When we started, it wasn't typical to do full-time day coverage and come as a team, where I was with the groom and Carmen was with the bride," says Ingo. "It was happening in America, but we were among the first people in German-speaking countries to educate our clients that they wanted that.

"I've always been the technical, business side and Carmen is more creative and passionate," he adds. "She sees images in a different way."

Carmen agrees. "On the day, we always know what the other is doing," she says. "Certain things need to be covered and we don't even need to talk about it. We also shoot photo and video in parallel, which is another advantage of working together."
A bride and groom kiss under an umbrella on a small pier at the edge of a lake.

Two newlyweds kiss in the rain at Lake Zürich in Switzerland. "We always seize the opportunity whenever a couple is open to shooting outdoors. We all got completely drenched, but we took some great images," says Carmen. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III (now succeeded by the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV) with a Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM lens at 1/2000 sec, f/1.4 and ISO250. © Carmen and Ingo Photography

The duo host workshops for aspiring photographers and, in 2011, set up Wedding Meetups to connect those working in the industry. "It's a community of wedding suppliers across Austria, Germany and Switzerland," explains Carmen. "Often, people are working alone and don't know others in the business, so it's good to help each other grow and share advice."

As for the future, the couple hope to continue to live out their dreams. "When we started, we always said life is too short to do something we don't like," says Carmen. "We just loved the idea of travelling together, working together and enjoying the locations with our family. When we quit our regular jobs, we decided we wanted to do this as a couple. It worked out to be the best decision ever."
How would you describe your photography style?

"It's very bright and happy; emotional images with amazing light," says Carmen. "We love sunset and evening light and like to play with this. We are always smiling and laughing, so it would be strange for our images to be moody. It's just how we are. Our house is very bright, and we like to portray that light, joyful feel in our images."


What's the proudest moment of your career to date?

"For me, it's that we've made it to a point where we can make a living from our passion. We have a family and are doing what we really love," says Carmen. "Our plan was to see if this would work, and if not, go back to our regular jobs. We put in everything we had. We are so proud it worked out and that we are where we are now."


What has been the most valuable lesson you've learnt during your career?

"In the beginning, we always tried to please everyone and do everything for everyone, but sometimes you need to do that to realise what you don't want to do," says Ingo. "A great lesson was to discover what we wanted to specialise in. Don't try to do everything."


What is next for you? Which ambitions remain unfulfilled?

"We are living our dream now," says Carmen. "We have come back to live near to where we grew up, we have a beautiful house and a wonderful daughter. There are people who earn more and have a better career than us, but you have to define what success means for you. Think about what you want to achieve and then try to get it."

One thing I know

Carmen and Ingo Leitner



"We always say that when you start out as a photographer, most of the time you focus on the creative side. You do workshops to improve your photos, and we did that too, but we started to realise it's not just about photos; it's about the business sense behind that. You need to know how to communicate with your clients, how to sell your work or service. It's important to work out pricing and profit if you want to make a living out of it. It's not common to talk about those things, but we would have ended up back in our regular jobs if we hadn't figured out how to do that properly."

Facebook: carmenandingo

Instagram: @carmenandingo

Twitter: @CarmenandIngo

Website: www.carmenandingo.com

YouTube: Carmen and Ingo Photography

Carmen and Ingo Leitner's kitbag

The key kit that the pros use to take their photographs

The key kit that the pros use to take their photographs

Cameras

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

The EOS 5D Mark IV is a thoroughly accomplished all-rounder that captures every nuance, every colour, every detail. "It is amazing in poor lighting conditions. The first sunset photos I took with this, I thought, 'Whoa!'" says Carmen.

Canon EOS R5

Whatever you shoot, however you shoot it, the EOS R5 will let you be creative in ways you simply couldn't before. "I like that we don't need to carry another video camera in our bag. This allows us to work fast and be discreet," says Ingo.

Canon EOS R6

See and shoot subjects in completely new ways and add a new dimension to your visual story telling with the Canon EOS R6. Carmen says: "We love to shoot people as they move and this camera is amazing for that."

Lenses

Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM

The ultimate in fast aperture wide-angle lenses, with a f/1.4 maximum aperture that allows hand-held shooting in low light. "Wide open it's tack sharp," says Ingo. "We also use it to create images with negative space."

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM

The EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM has an outstanding f/1.2 maximum aperture and also performs fantastically in low light. "The Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM is a great portrait lens, but I also love the look of the 35mm. I like to be close and to have that connection with the couple," says Carmen.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Exceedingly fast when shooting in low light, the EF 50mm f/1.2L USM also provides fine control over focusing, enabling shallow depth of field for creative effects. "This has been a great lens over the past 10 years," says Ingo. "We absolutely love it."

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

A professional short-telephoto lens, precision-made for low-light shooting and those situations where extremely shallow depth of field is required. "It offers the possibility to get a cleaner background. Used with the Canon EOS R5 and Canon EOS R6 at f/1.2, it is a fantastically sharp lens," says Ingo.

Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II USM

With its independent rotation of the tilt and shift mechanisms, this lens is perfect for photographers who want to experiment with their images. "We know that this is not really a portrait lens, but we still like to use it for portraits," says Ingo. "Using it with backlighting creates the most beautiful circular lens flare."

Canon RF 28-70mm F2L USM

The RF 28-70mm F2L USM offers the kind of image quality you'd expect from a prime lens, and adds an f/2 maximum aperture for more creative control. "A killer lens. We mostly use it to shoot video handheld on the Canon EOS R5 and Canon EOS R6 if changing to prime lenses isn't an option. It covers a great range of focal lengths, and it's super fast from wide to tele," says Ingo.

Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM

The RF 50mm F1.2L USM delivers a new kind of optical performance in full-frame photography. Outstanding clarity and sharpness means you'll see noticeably more detail, even right at the edges of the frame. "No adaptor is needed and it being tack sharp when wide open is great when working with a shallow depth of field and moving couples," says Ingo.

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