Tag Archives: wedding photography

Zooms vs. Primes for Wedding Photography

Photographer Chichester

Zooms versus Primes is one of those topics that seems to really divide photographers. Some people swear by prime lenses and would never use anything else, others say they couldn’t do without the flexibilty that a zoom offers. So what should you choose to ensure you can do the best possible job for your clients on their wedding day? Rather than stick slavishly to one type of lens, I have found that certain types of lens are best used in particular situations.

Consider your own circumstances.

Nobody knows what challenges you face day to day better than you do. A Californian photographer who shoots in beautiful sun drenched vinyards has very different circumstances to a British wedding photographer who works mainly in gloomy old churches. Likewise, venues and officiants vary as to how strict they are with photographers. In my area I know that registry offices are usually very relaxed about you moving around. Clergy can be very strict, putting you at the back of the church and not letting you shoot for large parts of the ceremony.

Over the years I have built up a collection of zooms and primes. I switch what I carry in my primary bag depending on where I am shooting and the weather on the day. I keep another bag with everything else in the car. So you shouldn’t lured into copying photographers you admire whose shooting environments don’t match yours.

A Short Note about Fatigue.

A really important thing to consider and rarely talked about. When choosing what to put in your camera bag think about its weight. How easy it is going to be to carry that bag around all day? Putting too much into your bag will mean you start to flag after a few hours. Managing fatigue is an essential part of succesful wedding photography. Carrying a heavy bag also means you run the risk of a chronic back injury. It takes a second to lift something awkwardly and injure your back. Recovery can take weeks and there are few things less fun than shooting a wedding with a bad back. So when picking what lenses you need, always remember there is a limit to what you can carry.

Zoom vs Primes Round 1 – when is a zoom lens best?

When you are stuck in one place.

Wedding Photographer Sussex

The one time I find really can’t do without a zoom is if I am shooting a smaller civil ceremony. These are usually in a town hall or similar venue. Invariably with these types of wedding you are stuck behind the registrar, and there isn’t space to move around. The ceremony is short and all the key moments happen in about 5 minutes. To get any kind of variation in the shots you have to have a zoom. I prefer a 24-105mm as I feel that a 24-70 doesn’t have enough reach for ring shots or close ups on faces. It also opens up the possiblity of shooting the kiss on about a 50mm and then quickly zooming out to show the room while they are still kissing. These quick changes won’t work with primes, even with two cameras. 

When you need to be fast and flexible.

Chichester Photographer

There are large parts of a wedding where events are unpredictable. You have lots of shots to capture in a short amount of time. You can move around, but things happen so quickly that you can’t necessarily get to where you’d like to be in time. These sort of situations are all about framing and reacting fast. It’s not so much about bokeh and lighting. I work quickly and try to keep myself aware of as much as possible as events unfold.

Zooms vs. Primes Part 2 -When is a Prime Best?

 

Chichester Photographer

Low Light

Shooting in low light is the number one reason why I wouldn’t leave the house without a prime lens. There are so many situations in the average wedding day where light isn’t ideal. You want to get the shot without sending your camera’s ISO into the stratosphere. There are occasionally shots that you just can’t get unless you are shooting at f1.4 AND sending your camera’s ISO into the stratosphere. Ultimately you never want to get into a situation where you just can’t get the shot with the equipment you have in your hand.

You could counter that when it get too dark it’s probably best to start using flash. Any wedding photographer who has been around a while will tell you not everywhere permits flash. If that happens in the wrong venue on a gloomy day could find yourself in serious trouble if you don’t have a fast prime.

A note about image stabilisation.

In theory, image stabilisation should give you the ability to handhold a zoom in similar levels of light to a prime lens of much wider aperture. There is of course one drawback – people move. So even if you can handhold your zoom at 1/15th of a second, any movements from your couple will be blurred. You can counter this by waiting for still moments. However, this isn’t going to help you when the bride walks up the aisle. As a general rule I don’t like to go below 1/125 when shooting people.

Adding a bit of Magic

Sussex Wedding Photographer

Although modern zooms and primes are very close in overall quality, good primes can have that extra bit of magic that really makes a picture. This can make a real difference to your most important photos. From couple shots to the first dance, I rely on primes to give me that extra something special. I tend to use primes for all of my more set up shots. Not only does it give me that extra little bit of quality, it makes me think in that focal length. I can visualise 50mm shots or 135mm shots and that helps me pick out locations.

When you need to Tidy up the Background.Sussex Photographer

There are a lot of situations where the backgrounds to your photos will be less than ideal. Cluttered hotel rooms or tables covered in plates and glasses are recurring challenges. While it’s always best to tidy things if you can, sometimes it’s not possible or there is no time. In these situations, being able to blur your background is a godsend. The wider the aperture of your lens, the more you can get away with.

Conclusion – Why you should have Zooms and Primes in Your Arsenal.

There are certainly situations in a wedding day that are better suited to either a prime or a zoom. Another compelling reason to have both is that you can back up you most important lenses with a different lens that can do the same job. So your 50mm prime can back up your standard zoom, or you 135mm prime could back up your 70-200. This way you can back up your lenses without actually having to buy two of anything. It also offers more creative options and flexibility. I tend to work with two cameras. Often with a zoom on one body and a prime on the other. In critical portions of the wedding, my back up is on my shoulder, ready to shoot. There is no point having a back up in the back of your car during the ceremony!

More important still you should priortise your lenses to suit your style. I don’t own a wide angle prime as I am not a huge fan of shooting people with anything wider than 50mm. I do have 16-35mm zoom that covers part of my standard zoom in case of failure though. If you favour zooms, you might feel that buying cheaper primes gives you cover without breaking the bank.

And Finally.

Remember the golden rule. Never get into a situation where you can’t take a useable picture of what’s in front of you. I have had a few equipment breakdowns over the years. I don’t think my clients ever knew. Put together a kit that ensures you can do the same.

Toby

I am a Wedding Photographer in Sussex, UK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in advice for new photographers, Equipment Reviews, Hints and Tips, Lens Reviews, Wedding Photographer Chichester, West Sussex Wedding Photographer Also tagged , , |

Canon 135mm F2L Lens Review – A Wedding Photography Favourite.

Canon 135mm F2L

A shot the really shows where the Canon 135mm F2 shines. Smooth bokeh, fantastic colour and a wonderful depth to the photograph.

The Canon 135mm F2L is one of the older lenses in Canon’s line up, but is still an excellent performer.

I had come to that time, usually at the end of a busy summer wedding season, when it’s time to decide what gear is due for replacement.  My 85mm had been in my bag for a good few years now, and while it was still working perfectly, it had seen a LOT of use. So, I decided to put it into semi-retirement. I was generally happy with it and used it for most of my formal couple shots. However, one frustration was it was not long enough to shoot from the back of a very dim church. My mind turned to the 135mm F2L. Could this lens work for my couples shots and work for inside the church?

Image Stabilisation vs. Large Aperture.

There are two ways of approaching low light photography. Once you have gone as far as you want to in raising the ISO, you can either open the aperture up, or drop the shutter speed. Both have their downsides. If you open the aperture up you risk having too shallow depth of field to keep everything you need in focus. If you drop the shutter speed too far you lose the ability to freeze movement. Canon users generally have the choice of fast unstabilised lenses, or stabilised ones that are generally one stop slower.

Personally, I don’t like to use shutter speeds slower the 1/125 when I am shooting people. I find that you can’t freeze spontaneous gestures at slower speeds, so I would always favour a wider aperture over image stabilsation. I also thought that a Canon 135mm could replace BOTH my 85mm and 70-200 in many situations. These could be demoted to my stand-by bag I keep in the boot of my car and save some weight. I am not fanatical about weight saving, but weddings are always long days, and anything you can do avoid fatigue is worthwhile. So I took a deep breath, got out my debit card, and bought the Canon 135mm F2L.

Zooms vs. Primes for Weddings.

While there are photographers who will argue strongly for either primes or zooms, the reality is you need to have both. Personally I favour primes, but in the day to day reality of a pro’s life you will find yourself in situations where you can’t move around and zooming is the only way to control composition. On the other hand, primes have that bit more character that can just make a shot special. So I have found myself with zooms and primes to cover all my favourite focal lengths. 

The Canon 135mm has been my go to lens when I want a telephoto lens that has a bit of magic, and it has always provided it in spades. It has a certain look that is very individual. I can easily pick out shots made with this lens in my own work, but it is isn’t a gimmicky look.

I’ve found it to be fast and accurate to focus, very flare resistant, and built to Canon’s normal good standards. The focus ring is large and nicely dampened. It is small and light compared to its zoom cousins. It just churns out fantastic photos and never gets in the way. One of Canon’s all time classic lenses.

 

Toby

Wedding Photographer Sussex and Hampshire

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Posted in advice for new photographers, Chichester photographer, Chichester wedding photographer, Equipment Reviews, Hints and Tips, Lens Reviews, Uncategorized Also tagged , , , |

Ede’s House Wedding Photography – Ed and Erin

 

Ede’s House is a very popular wedding venue right in the middle of Chichester. It is ideal for smaller weddings of up to 80 people. Many of Chichester’s hotels and local attractions are just a short walk away, great if you have family and friends coming who need accomadation. They can turn your wedding in a fab mini-break!

The History of Ede’s House

Ede’s House was built in 1696 and has served many purposes thought its long history. Starting life as a residential property, this stunning Georgian Mansion was bought by the County Council in 1916. It served as offices until the construction of County Hall in 1936. Ede’s house then became the County Library from 1938 until 1967 when the Library moved to its present location in Tower St. In 1967 it became the Records Office until 1989 when a new purpose built records office opened in Orchard St. It was at this point the council fully restored the house and it became the beautiful venue it is today. As well as weddings, the venue is available for private hire and there are historical tours of the building around once a month.

The Wedding

This is one of the wedding venues closest to me – it’s less than five minutes walk from my house. So I often find myself here, and it’s always a pleasure. The ceremony rooms are lovely, and the rear staircase is a godsend for large group photos. Best of all I don’t have to worry about parking for once! Ede’s House can cater for anything up to 80 guests for a wedding ceremony, and a booking is normally two hours. Most couples I have worked with have gone on to have their wedding breakfast somewhere else, with many couples opting for one of the reception venues that Chichester Cathedral runs in its properties like the Vicar’s Hall or 4 Canon Lane.

Ed and Erin’s wedding ran to this format with the Wedding Breakfast being at The George in Eartham.

It was a fantastic day and with good planning we were able to cram a lot into their  4-hour Essentials Booking. I covered from bridal preparations to the speeches, and left before the wedding breakfast was served.

I really enjoyed shooting this wedding, Erin and Ed were a fun couple and it was a very special day.

If you would like to see more of my work visit my Featured Weddings gallery. Check out my Packages and Pricing or if you want to check availability contact me

 

Toby

Sussex Wedding Photographer

 

 

Posted in Chichester photographer, Chichester wedding photographer, Customer information, Sussex wedding photographer, Wedding Photographer Chichester, Wedding Venues Also tagged , , |

I need a wedding photographer – but I don’t like having my picture taken!

It probably comes as no surprise that with  many of  the couples I work with, at least one of them will be nervous about having their picture taken.

Perhaps the main skill of a wedding photographer is putting people at their ease, or at least making them a bit less nervous! You can have all the photography skills in the world, but when you’re working with people, especially people who are not used to posing for photographs, interpersonal skills are even more important.

Building a good relationship with my clients is essential to building trust, and if the people I working with trust me to do a good job, it helps them to relax.

If you are getting married soon these are my top tips if you are nervous  about being photographed.

Enjoy your Day

The simplest and best tip of all. You’ll love your wedding day and that joy will be written all over your face. Every couple I’ve photographed has had this particular glow about them, a combination of happiness and excitement that photographs really well. Your wedding is not just another day and the photos you receive will reflect that.

I’ll take Pictures, and Most of the Time you Won’t even Know 

The majority pictures I shoot at a wedding are not posed pictures. I’m taking pictures while you’re doing something else, little things like declaring you wedding vows or walking down the aisle!  Generally, you are not even aware of being photographed, so the photos are natural . These photos are also more ‘real’. nervous grooms look nervous, emotional mums cry and children try to take it all in. The fact that I’m telling a story rather than trying to create too many posed images means there’s less onus on the bride and groom to pull a happy face and pose for the camera. It’s a win-win. You get to enjoy your wedding day and get great pictures in the process.

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You are Going to Look your Absolute Best.

Remember that this isn’t just another day. Everyone will dress to the nines, hairdressers and make-up artists will groom you to perfection. You are going to look fantastic. On a day when you are going to look so great it isn’t it important to have a record of it? That’s what I am there for.

I’m Here to Help you.

New clients tell me that they are nervous about being photographed all the time. Many couples will have never hired a photographer before. They don’t realise that being photographed by a professional photographer is very different to being photographed by friends or family. I know how to help you look your best and will offer advice and help where needed. 

I have photographed people of all shapes, ages and sizes, so very little throws me and I have plenty of experience of making all sorts of different people look their best. From experience, I’ll be familiar with my local venues and where the best photo opportunities are. I have literally hundreds of weddings under my belt. I am here to help. If you hve a good side or a feature you’d like minimised, just tell me and I’ll oblige. Woken up with a spot or blemish on the big day? That’s what Photoshop is for.

Make sure you get a shoot before your wedding day

I always like to shoot with my couples before their wedding day. It can be an engagement shoot or a pre-wedding meeting at your venue.  That’s where can understand of how they are in front of the camera. From there I’ll know I have to do to make you look you best. I can coach you and offer advice that I might not have time to do on your wedding day. If we arrange an enagement shoot, I can show you how to stand, what to do with your hands and all the other things that turn an awkward photo into a great one. 

If a couple works with me beforehand, they can see what I can do to make them look great, so they’ll trust me to do a good job on the day. They’ll relax a little bit more and worry a little less. That in itself makes the pictures better.

 

There is no reason why even the most photo-phobic bride or groom can’t have brilliant photos of their wedding day. It’s all down to the skill of your photographer to put you at ease. The main thing is to communicate those fears to your photographer so he can help you. There are lots of things he can do to make your experience less stressful, and help you look your best. Remember photographers want the photos to turn out well, just like you do.  They’ll always be happy to help.

Posted in bride portraits, Chichester photographer, Sussex wedding photographer, Uncategorized Also tagged , , |

Jos and Sam’s London Engagement Shoot.

Portrait Photographed on the South Bank

I met up with Jos and Sam on the South Bank. They got engaged there a few months earlier. Sam had expressed her nerves about being photographed on her wedding day. An engagement shoot was a great opportunity to put her at her ease. The area was very crowded, so I must admit I felt a little as if I throwing them in at the deep end. It can certainly be quite intimidating to have your portrait made with so many people around.

One advantage of shooting in a big city is that even though it is often swarming with people, everyone pretty much ignores you. So in lots of ways it’s easier to work here than you might imagine.  I am originally a Londoner myself and quite familiar with the area. We soon found some great spots to take pictures.

An Engagement Shoot is a great way to boost your confidence if you are nervous about having your picture taken.

An engagement shoot is a great way to spend time with clients, chat with them and get to know them a bit better. I think it really help the whole creative process if you build a bit of trust and develop an understanding. As wedding professionals we can easily forget how daunting a wedding day can be. That’s not made any easier by having someone you’ve never met before take pictures of you while you are getting ready, or repeating your vows. So getting to know my clients first is a must for me, and I think it really helps them. Posing for photographs is definitely something you can improve with a little guided practise, and is always something I recommend.

 

I think we spent a couple of hours wandering around. My wife and children had decided to take advantage of the trip to go and see a show in the Festival Hall, so I was in no rush. There are lots of little areas around here that seem to change quite regularly, so there’s always something new to find as a back drop.

 

Enagagement Shoot

The pictures were really nice. They really showed the strength of their relationship and were full of character and fun. We managed to avoid having an errant tourist in the background, despite the crowds. From the look of the pictures you would have though we were there at 6 o’clock in the morning. But it just goes to show you can find space anywhere if you look hard enough.

Engagement Shoot

Toby

I work a wedding photographer in West Sussex and Hampshire. An engagement shoot is included in all of my most popular packages. I also shoot portrait photography and commercial work. In my spare time I am currently experimenting with large format film photography.

Posted in Chichester portrait photographer, Sussex wedding photographer, wedding photographer Also tagged , , |

David and Rhian’s Sussex Wedding

Wedding Venue: Horstead Place

Time Of Year: Spring

Wedding Package: Memento Album Package

Guests: 80 approx.

Shot with Canon cameras and lenses.

 

 

Horstead Place was a venue I hadn’t had the pleasure of visiting before.

It is a beautiful hotel converted from a stately home many years ago, and set in the beautiful Sussex countryside. After shooting a number of weddings where I had to travel to multiple venues it was great to shoot a wedding all in one place. It’s always more relaxed for everybody. Horstead Place has a large brightly lit ceremony room, ideal for photographs.  Better still, they served the wedding breakfast in another part of the hotel so there was no need for guests to stand outside while rooms were being re-arranged.

The gardens were large, beautiful and very well kept with plenty of spring flowers including a fantastic display of bluebells. The service at the hotel was excellent . They were always very attentive to David and Rhian and the wedding breakfast in particular ran very smoothly. The speeches were very funny and had all the guests in stitches, later on, the party really got going once the band began to play.

I really enjoyed the day and was very happy to be there. The album of photos was really fabulous and David and Rhian were overjoyed with them, which was really very gratifying.

If you would like to find out more about my wedding photography fill out my contact form.

I shoot Wedding, Commercial and Portrait Photography throughout Sussex and Hampshire. If you would like to know more or would like to enquire about availability contact me

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Brighton wedding photographer, Chichester wedding photographer, Sussex wedding photographer, Wedding Photographer Chichester Also tagged , , |

New Forest Wedding Photographer – Minta and Will

Minta and Will’s New Forest Wedding – a day to cherish.

The New Forest is a beautiful location for a wedding. Will and Minta were blessed with a beautiful summer’s day for their country style wedding. They both looked amazing which made my job easy as there were so many great photographs take right through the day. Everything was stunningly well put together. The horse-drawn carriage was a particularly nice touch and something I don’t see working in the South Downs – it’s far too hilly!

Minta got ready at her house before travelling a short distance to a beautiful old Church in Brockenhurst, a favourite for a New Forest Wedding. We then all returned to to the house where a beautiful marquee was set up in the garden. Cooling glasses of Pimm’s were waiting for the guests (but not for me of course!). The weather was pleasantly warm as it so often is in late Summer. Thankfully it stayed dry despite it raining both the day before and the day after. The God’s were really smiling on us!

Celebrations continued into the evening with an ABBA tribute band playing out the first dance.  Campfires were lit in the garden so everybody could stay warm as the night drew in. This was a New Forest wedding to remember.

Package Details

Will and Minta opted for the Celebration Package. This gave them plenty of coverage and the flexibility of having all of their files on USB. I met them at the wedding venues beforehand to ensure that I was fully prepared and I had a good idea of what they wanted from their wedding day. I delivered the files by file transfer first. That way Will and Minta had an opportunity to make any changes before I delivered the USB. I also put together a gallery so family and friends could order prints

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New Forest wedding

 

Wedding Details:

Time of year: Late Summer/Early Autumn

Wedding Package: 8 hour Celebration Package

Location: The New Forest

 

Toby

Wedding Photographer in Sussex and Hampshire

Posted in Chichester photographer, wedding photographer, wedding photography Also tagged , , , , , |