Markus Morawetz takes every wedding photography job personally. A master of candidly capturing intimate moments, he allows himself to get caught up in the emotion of each wedding, building a deep connection with his subjects. He calls his signature brand of wedding photography "soulful storytelling", aiming to encapsulate raw emotion in each image so that people viewing his photographs in years to come will understand how it felt to be there on the day.
Austrian photographer Markus is a member of the worldwide Fearless Photographers collective, and a Canon Ambassador. His work stands out for its authenticity and for his use of creamy bokeh around the subject to pick out what really matters. He describes photographing weddings as "reportage of true moments that play back like a beautiful movie" and likens the experience to adventure photography, embracing unpredictability but being prepared to capture every exciting moment.
What's more, Markus documents each wedding while making himself as invisible as possible. "I don't want to distract anyone, so I try to be as stealthy as a ninja," he says. Here he explains what weddings mean to him, how he approaches each job, and why choosing the right kit is extremely important for getting candid wedding photographs.
"I always meet a couple before shooting their wedding. I have to get to know them for real, rather than just by email or over the phone. I don't work with everyone – I turn down couples who have a very clear idea about how they want their wedding shot, if it's not my style. If they show me Pinterest boards and give me a predetermined shot list, I'll tell them I'm not right for them and recommend someone else. People are often surprised by this because they assume it's just another job for me, but I need to feel a good connection with everyone I work with. They have to trust me to do a good job in my own way."
"Doing justice to a wedding day means capturing the whole story, including the private moments, while remaining invisible to the guests. It's about noticing the true emotion of a granddaughter laughing with her grandmother and documenting that interaction without interrupting, because it won't be lived again.
"It's also about getting caught up in the moment, feeling a big part of the wedding and experiencing goosebumps just like a guest would. Establishing a connection with the people at the wedding is much more important than capturing 500 pictures of people posing for the camera."
"I pack two Canon EOS 5D Mark IV bodies and one Canon EOS R. I've never had a camera fail on me, but being prepared is the mark of a professional. People pay more for a wedding photographer because they expect to be delivered a glitch-free service. Having three cameras means I can also switch seamlessly between focal lengths."
"The Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM and Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM are my go-to lenses for weddings. The 35mm is generally wide enough for an entire church and great for creative pictures of couples, while the 85mm acts like a zoom lens, picking out details but ensuring I don't get in the way. If the church is small, I'll switch to the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens to achieve the same effect, but this doesn't happen often.
"I'm generally three to four metres away from the couple, but if I have to stand further away I'll switch my setup to the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM and Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM, fixing one lens to each of my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV bodies."
"Part of being a good wedding photographer is being good to everyone involved. I want to be invisible to the couple and the guests, but also to the priest in the church and to anyone else performing a job. I don't want to distract anyone, so try to be as stealthy as a ninja. The absolutely silent shooting on my Canon EOS R helps me to stay unnoticed.
"The automatic electronic viewfinder is also a big plus when shooting in dark rooms or using tilt-shift lenses, such as my Canon TS-E 50mm f/2.8L Macro lens. It means I can move around more naturally and stay aware of what's going on, instead of becoming engrossed in my camera."
"I rarely use flash, working with natural light and high ISO in darker spots. The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV's native ISO range is 100-32000 and the Canon EOS R's is 100-40000, with both extendable down to 50 and up to 102400. This is one of the biggest considerations for me when it comes to picking a camera. It's so important for wedding photography to be able to push the ISO up and still guarantee a crisp image."
"The Canon EOS R is nice to have in my bag because it has a vari-angle flip-out display. A lot of professional photographers will tell me that a pro doesn't need a flip-out display, but if they could see me working, they'd understand. I always say to my couples, 'Don't be surprised if you see me standing in bushes, climbing a tree or lying on the ground – you may think it's strange, but you'll love the photos.' A flip-out display allows me the freedom to get into more creative positions."
"Prime lenses complement my personal style. My preferred focal length is 35mm as it really makes me think about image composition. How can I best isolate my object, merge it with the background and tell a whole story with just one photo?
How can I send the viewer's gaze exactly towards the journey I have planned out for them? I use centre focus exclusively, setting the focal length and then playing around with the composition of the shot while holding the back focus button.
When I've clicked the shutter, that's how the photo remains. I never crop anything out."
"I always use my prime lenses under f/2. It's perfect for weddings because the extra bokeh really makes the couple stand out. Shooting at a low f-stop can make it harder to get sharp images, but it's not all about sharpness.
"Some people expect me to stop my f/1.2 lenses up to f/2.8 to make the images crystal clear, but I find that working at the lowest possible f-stops can add more emotion to the image."
"Don't disregard everything you've learnt as a photographer just because you're new to weddings. I found that I could apply lessons learnt in adventure and sports photography to wedding photography to create a distinct style.
"That said, I'm still learning. I'm open to new ideas and new equipment such as the fantastic new RF lenses for the Canon EOS R. The new Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM and the never-seen-before Canon RF 28-70mm F2L USM with continuous aperture are simply a dream to work with. They feel like real milestones and give me the confidence to be creative."