Shooting wedding with primes only

Started Aug 7, 2011 | Discussions thread
thomo Senior Member • Posts: 1,302
Re: Shooting wedding with primes only

kormendi_adam wrote:

I wonder if any of you pros think it is possible to shoot weddings with primes only.
I ask this strictly from curiosity.

Yesterday I attended a friend's wedding and had my D300s with me, with 35 and 85 primes. I took 4 photos in total (so I really did not intend to 'play the pro' there).

I had the feeling that, if I had been the hired photographer, I really would have a hard time changing lenses and I think I would have missed a lot of shots.

Do you think it is possible to use primes only for weddings?
From what I have seen yesterday, I would say it does not make any sense...

Thanks for posting such an interesting and topical question.

I've read the whole thread on this one - and I have to say that both sides have their merits an I don't think that this discussion will change the view of any of the advocates but here's my take on it.

Having shot weddings in the film days (1980's and 1990's) I have to say categorically - YES you can shoot a whole wedding with prime lenses. That's what we did in those days.

In the modern digital era (although I've not done a wedding photography for maybe 3 years), did I shoot mainly primes? A definite NO!

The modern DSLRs and f2.8 zooms can produce quality images, the equal of most primes.

Can some primes produce superior images - certainly some can.

Can the average customer tell the difference - a definite NO. (that's why there are so many mediocre photographers shooting weddings so cheaply).

In the film days I would take an aluminium trunk type case with:

  • Two Hasselblad 500ELX (each with 80mm/2.8 lenses and flash gun brackets) plus a 50mm and a 150mm plus 4 spare roll film magazines
  • Two Metz 45CT-4 flash units for the 'Blads (the Hasselblad 500ELX was one of the first to do TTL flash metering which made fill-in flash much easier) plus TTL adaptors for ELX and Nikon F3
  • Two Gossen Mastersix digital ambient/flash meters and a Profi-colour colour temperature attachment plus a Pentax digital spot meter.
  • Two Nikon F3HP with 50mm/1.4 lenses and MD-4 winders and 20mm/2.8, 28mm/2.8, 35mm/1.4, 85mm/1.4, 105mm/1.8 - all manual focus Ai-S lenses.
  • Nikon SB-11 Flash with SC-12 TTL sensor cord and SD-7 battery pack plus a SB-12 TTL flash.

All that was attached to a 4 wheel trolley that also held a tripod. The case and trolley doubled as a platform to get higher angle group shots.

In more modern times with digital, this was all reduced to:

  • Two Nikon D700 with MB-D10 grips, one fitted with 24-70mm/2.8, and 70-200mm/2.8 VR, plus a Black Rapid dual harness.
  • Nikon D90 with 12-24mm/f4 and a telescopic pole (for elevated group shots)
  • 14-24mm/2.8, 50mm/1.4 and 85mm/1.4, 105mm/2.8 lenses
  • Two SB-800 flash units and one SB-900 flash.
  • Gossen Ultra-Pro ambient/flash meter (the US version of a Mastersix)
  • Tripod, light reflectors and flash diffusers

All the camera gear fitted into a soft camera bag which was attached to a two-wheel trolley. which also carried the tripod.

Probably only 20-30 shots would be shot with a prime - mostly low light stuff of the bride, shot at her home. (All brides love the 85mm/1.4 shots)

I think one of the main factors that influences the use of primes is how many photographers are covering the wedding. Shooting a $10k wedding there's no question but a sole shooter doing a $2k wedding is another proposition.

Given the current economic climate, more weddings seem to be done at the budget end of the scale. Hell - I've seen adverts for $600 weddings that include 2 photographers plus a video photographer and full coverage from home - ceremony - formals - reception anda complete set of images and video provided on the night. My guess is it probably doesn't include much (or none) post-processing

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