compagnon of inspiration - Part 16: Marco Schwarz

compagnon der Inspiration – Teil 16:  Marco Schwarz

Marco Schwarz loves his job. Marco is a wedding photographer. He pursues this task passionately and sets high artistic standards for his own work. This standard places his name among the top ranks of wedding photographers in Europe and even worldwide, especially among connoisseurs of the genre. Since he has been relying on mirrorless systems from Fuji and Leica for his reportages, a simple, naturally black compagnon has accompanied him on his bookings. Today is your chance to shed a little more light on "the black picture":

"compagnon of inspiration" - Part 16

Short portrait

With all the competition on the market for wedding reporters and wedding photographers, it is all the more astonishing how far Marco's reputation precedes him. Couples in the USA, Canada, Cuba, South Africa, China and Lebanon also request his services. It is therefore understandable that his workshops are also in great demand. After all, he is one of those photographers who can be recognized by their characteristic style alone. When he's not taking photos, he likes to make noise with his electric guitar. Thank goodness he left it at home today, before we get a cease-and-desist letter at lunchtime.

compagnon: Hello Marco, nice to have you with us. We see and know a lot of wedding photographers. We didn't yet have a comprehensive guide for future wedding couples on how to choose the right photographer. What made you decide to offer something like this?

Marco Schwarz: I'm a guy. And I'm not the fashion king. I might like things in which I actually look like a jumping jack. My wife tells me that. Not what I should and shouldn't buy, but what basically suits me and what doesn't. It's a guide that helps me through the jungle of clothes without dictating details such as brands or styles. I thought that something like this could help a bridal couple with the "once in a lifetime" topic of wedding photographers. Therefore, as promised, a very objective article that gives orientation without judging directions and styles. Just find what really fits.


compagnon: That's a very good idea and will certainly be used by your clients. If we wanted to hear the general opinion on what makes Marco Schwarz's work special, we would certainly find countless voices from fans or even other photographers who speak out in favor of your style and your results. But what do you say yourself? Why do couples, even from overseas, end up with you? What do they expect from Marco Schwarz?

Marco Schwarz: I think it's because of my good looks and my charm [big grin]. If you consistently pursue what you like and what you like, you have the chance to improve over time in what you love. Simply because your heart beats for it. I like artistic photography and real stories. I like things that are beautiful and don't just appear beautiful. These are my photographic ideals that I am constantly chasing. And the longer you pursue a goal, the more you develop a profile and your style emerges. And if there's someone else who likes it, then it's all good.

compagnon: Speaking of photographic ideals: Expressive black and white images could be seen as a pillar of your style, or so it seems to us. At your workshops, you try to create an understanding of good black and white photos. How did that come about? What's wrong with the monochrome edits of other photographers?

Marco Schwarz: You can't say "not right", everything is always a matter of taste. I once saw an interview with Richie Sambora, the ex-Bon Jovi guitarist. "When you play guitar, your instrument has to scream". He used the word "scream". This image has stayed in my head. That's how I want my photos to be, not dull, limp and boring, but juicy, tasty and ... funky. Sorry for the confusing word pictures, but you know what I mean. To use a technical term, if I'm not careful with the tonal values, I end up with pictures like lukewarm soup. But I want an explosion of flavor, so the spice mix, the processing, has to be right. SW pictures also tell their story without any color. Only with light. They are often clearer in their message. So you have to be doubly careful that a) the message is right and b) the light guides you through the picture in such a way that this message is also emphasized. An example: Scene, champagne reception, lots of people. In the crowd, 2 kids are sitting on the floor and playing together. That's my story. That's where the light and therefore the focus belongs. That's how I take the picture and edit it accordingly. Exactly so that your eye automatically lands there. Just removing the color from an image doesn't make a good B&W photograph.


compagnon: You can learn a lot from that statement. You only recently switched to more compact equipment. Has the fact that your style now seems to be very established helped you to choose the right pieces or to reorient yourself? After all, when buying a camera you should know exactly what you need & actually use.

Marco Schwarz: I'm not a nerd who knows and pays attention to every technical detail of a camera. Cameras are tools. If they can do a few things that are important to me, that's enough for me. I only know what I need for my pictures, and that's not much. It's like with hiking enthusiasts. First the rucksack is full of cheese, then at some point they start sawing off the handle of the toothbrush (question of style [wink]) to save weight. I need 2-3 focal lengths and that's it. I'm tired of these huge 500kg photo monsters.


compagnon: That's why you're happy with the medium messenger. If you only use the essentials, you can easily put yourself in the following scenario: You're attending a wedding, but you're only allowed to take one camera, one lens and three additional items (excluding memory cards and camera batteries)?

Marco Schwarz: The Leica Q with the 28mm already on it, flash, Macbook and chewing gum.

compagnon: That really sounded like child's play. Why this particular combination?

Marco Schwarz: Showing up there without a camera would be stupid, flash for the evening if necessary. The Macbook for backing up and sorting in between. And chewing gum because I had a third thing free... Could have been a pony.


compagnon: [Laughter] Very good. With this pragmatic approach comes the obligatory "what do you want" question. You don't seem to care much about models and props. But being able to let off steam freely is certainly appealing. Money doesn't play a role. What does this shoot look like in the end?

Marco Schwarz: No, of course I think great weddings in dream locations with beautiful people are great. If they are all models, thumbs up. But I wouldn't want to hire models just to fill my website with beautiful people. That's not art, has nothing to do with reality and says little or nothing about the actual quality of a wedding photographer. But about the wish thing: there are a few countries that I would love to see: I'm still missing India, for example, that would definitely be exciting. But apart from that... I'm perfectly happy.


compagnon: We'd like to know whether you still use your camera at all outside of weddings. Do you still enjoy other genres of photography?

Marco Schwarz: I would like to, but unfortunately there's sometimes a time problem with that. I always tell myself. "Photograph for yourself again", but that often doesn't work out in the end.

compagnon: It's kind of tragic, like a star chef who just spoons a ready meal out of a can at home. Many photographers are starting out in wedding photography this year and are probably unsure what challenges await them. What does your experience say? What factors make the work of a photographer at a wedding more difficult? Predictable or unpredictable.

Marco Schwarz: The most important value is experience. If only to stay cool and act professionally in every situation, even the unforeseen ones. And you can't buy this experience, there are no workshops or presets for it. It takes time and you should take it. You don't become a wedding photography superstar from zero to one hundred, at least not in terms of skill. If you understand that, take your time and breath, only sell the client what you can do and pack in some creativity, you'll make your way.

compagnon: We couldn't have found better closing words. We had a lot of fun shedding some light on the work of Marco Schwarz and the person behind the camera. Thank you for being our guest and chatting so openly about everything. We wish you continued success with your dream job of wedding photography and your workshops. All the best and see you soon.


The pictures in this article were provided to us by Marco Schwarz. The images are protected by copyright. The sole rights are held by Marco Schwarz and compagnon GbR. More from Marco on Instagram and on his website

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