I made it through my first two weddings of the year. It’s always hard to get back into the swing of things after the few slow winter months. It’s hard to believe it’s almost April again and it will soon be the summer. My first wedding it rained the entire time, but we were still able to work with it and they had a nice indoor backup location. The second wedding was also inside because they were afraid of the weather, but it turned out to be beautiful and we got some great pictures after the ceremony.
I think I’ve really stepped up my game this year by starting to use prime lenses more (prime lenses are fixed and don’t zoom but offer other advantages). For a long time now I’ve used very expensive top of the line Nikon zoom lenses, but even though I had a 50mm prime I didn’t use it often enough. Now with my new Nikon 85mm f1.4 lens I’m doing probably 90% of my wedding shooting with prime lenses. The look is just so wonderful even compared to the very best possible zoom lenses.
There are a lot of tricks I’m getting better at when using a super shallow depth of field (really blurry background) like you see in most of the pictures below. If you notice the point of actual focus is very small. The problem with shooting like this, as you see for an example in the first image, if I was to accidentally focus on the tip of the bride’s nose, the eye would be out of focus. There is such a small focus area to work with that if I mess up, the picture is ruined. Now with a subject that doesn’t move it’s pretty easy to do this. But the big trick I’ve been learning is to rely much more on the camera’s continuous focus mode. Nikon’s high end cameras have excellent predictive focus, if a subject is moving towards or away from you they will actually predict where the subject will be for the next shot. I’ve found that, for example during dancing, using continuous focus is the only possible way to do this. I could spend a while explaining why, but I really don’t think the shots I’m doing would be possible with a camera from just a few years ago. At least not with the overall consistency across large numbers of images I’m getting.
I hope that didn’t get too geeky. Just looking at the pictures below you can see how cool using a prime lens can make a picture look especially when there are small lights hanging in the background. It turns them into beautiful rounded discs of light. Also, with even a boring hotel background, it turns it into soft blurs of color that look almost like a painting. I think as I get better at using prime lenses my photography will really improve this year and hopefully I can keep making images that clients really love.