OMD for Weddings?

Started Oct 21, 2012 | Discussions thread
sean000
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Re: the wedding photographer using just OMD or other MFT camera(s)
In reply to Alexsfo, Oct 22, 2012

Alexsfo wrote:

It seems to me that weddings are all about shallow DoF. 90% of all wedding photos I've ever seen have shallow DoF even for group shots outdoors. One of the problems with m43 is wide angle shallow DoF. This should be much easier to achieve with a FF camera utilizing wide angle bright lenses and flash. It looks like to achieve a similar effect with m43 one would need to use a longer focal length (then background will be compressed though) for which flash may not even be strong enough. I just don't understand why go through all this when FF dslrs are so readily available. If I am paying some skilled photogs to do my own wedding I want them to use FF, medium format and the like rather than consumer grade electronics.

Actually there isn't as much shallow DOF as you might think in most wedding shoots. It might appear that way, because wedding photographers like to highlight the artistic portraits they shoot. Even those are not always using shallow depth of field. If a bride and groom pay big bucks for a beautiful location, they want to make sure that location is represented in the photos... including some of the portraits. In those situations you want to make sure the background is in focus, which means you also have to be more careful about perspective and composition. Of course there are many beautiful wedding photos, both candid and formal portraits, that use shallow depth of field to emphasize the subject (in most cases the bride). But if you give the B&G hundreds of photos where just about everything is out of focus, including many of the guests in the group shots, they won't be very happy. I certainly took some shallow DOF shots in the weddings I shot, but most of the time I was stopping down to make sure I had enough DOF. Things happen fast and you don't want to miss one of the best shots of the night by getting the bride in focus and the groom (standing slightly behind her) out of focus.

In the end it all comes down to what the B&G want, and whether or not the photographer they choose takes those kinds of shots. As the photographer you need to decide what your style is. If your style includes a lot of shallow DOF wide angle shots, then you should definitely go FF (MF might be stretching it, but why not? You can charge a premium for shots that require specialty equipment.) On the other hand if your style can be accomplished using m4/3, then you will have some advantages. You will be more mobile, less distracting (especially thanks to the much quieter shutter), and you might be a lot less tired as the night goes on. It really is tiring work, and lighter gear does make a difference. If it fits your style and works better for you, then why lug around something heavier?

Well, there is the perception thing. It might not make the most business sense to choose gear that doesn't inspire confidence and awe in your clients. You could use a FF DSLR fitted with the standard f/2.8 zoom, and an E-M5 fitted with a 35-100mm f/2.8 or 75mm f/1.8. Of course it takes practice to bounce between two very different cameras, but it would sure be a lot lighter than a second FF DSLR body fitted with a 70-200mm f/2.8.

But again... it all comes down to your style, and whether or not clients are buying it. There are successful wedding photographers who shoot entire events with a couple of primes and no flash or artificial light source whatsoever. Of course you have to be very good to market yourself as a minimalist like that, and you also have to be up front with your customers about what your limitations are. There will be some types of shots you just can't get for them, but if you are good there will be other shots they will like just as much.

Sean

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