Shooting wedding with primes only

Started Aug 7, 2011 | Discussions thread
calson Veteran Member • Posts: 9,434
Re: Shooting wedding with primes only

Anything can be used to photograph a wedding. The question is how effective is a given piece of gear. I could use flash bulbs instead of a strobe but I would be changing bulbs instead of taking shots. Same applies to primes where I would need a 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 60mm, 70mm, 85mm, 105mm, 135mm, 180mm, primes or I could use a 24-70mm zoom on one camera and a 70-200mm lens on the other camera and not do a lens change all day long.

Not only are many pictures missed with changing lenses, there are shots missed from having too wide or too narrow a field of view when something occurs. There is also more time spent cropping in post production.

There is the incredibly inane comment often made that "I zoom with my feet". I can do that as a landscape or product photographer, though that ignores the effect of focal length on image perspective. A small crop of an image taken with a 50mm lens is not the same as the perspective provided with a 200mm lens and no competent photographer would think otherwise.

It is even more ludicrous in a wedding environment where one is not able to run around and zoom with their feet during the ceremony or even during the processional. At most receptions my ability to move quickly is not possible as the venues are too crowded and I need to be able to have 24mm for a group shot and then have 50mm to 60mm for a couple followed with capturing a candid moment across the room with a 200mm focal length setting.

When I see the work of people who use primes I see results that lack breadth and there is a sameness that is very evident when looking at the results from an entire wedding. It is quite different to produce dozens or hundreds of images for an album than to produce a single image for a website or a print.

I do use a 16mm fisheye for weddings but with today's cameras' autofocus capabilities and high ISO performance I can use f2.8 zooms with no technical issues and produce a far greater variety of strong images than would be possible with prime lenses. 10 years ago I needed f1.4 primes to compensate for the poor high ISO performance of Nikon cameras which did not change until late in 2008 with the release of the D3. Time change and no reason to go backwards in time.

An important side benefit is that with outdoor weddings the fewer lens changes I make the less dust and dirt and sand can get inside the camera and onto the sensor.

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