Heritage Plantation wedding photography at the Clubhouse and the new Nikon D810

A few weeks ago I photographed another beautiful wedding at the Heritage Plantation clubhouse in Pawleys Island, SC.  It’s been a few years since I’ve been there, it’s a great location so hopefully I can get on their vendor list and get some more weddings at the club. A couple of fun things about this wedding, they had the Clemson Tiger mascot come in as a surprise to the groom at the reception.  Whoever was wearing the outfit was a lot of fun and livened up the evening.  They also had a live band which did a great job.  The groom had a twin brother as his best man, I had some trouble trying to keep straight which one of them was the groom.   The couple was very nice to work with and gave me plenty of time to walk them around and try out different spots around the clubhouse grounds.  Heritage Plantation has a really nice entrance with oak trees and hanging moss as well as some pretty areas near the golf course.  We even had a little time at the end to experiment with some sparklers. Overall everything went really well.

I’ve heard it said a lot that it’s the photographer that makes a picture good, not the camera and gear.  That is only partially true, when you are trying to shoot weddings handheld, many times with moving subjects at wide apertures in low light, no amount of skill is going to get you accurate focus without a really high end camera body.  That’s why I’ve really been enjoying the new Nikon D810, I’ve used it for about 4 or 5 weddings now.  The quality of the image is almost the same as the D800, the low light performance is slightly better, and it might be slightly sharper since they removed the AA filter.  The reason I wanted the upgrade was almost exclusively for the improved auto focus system. The D810 has vastly improved the accuracy and speed of the focusing over any previous Nikon camera I have used. The new group area autofocus takes a number of different focus points and focuses on the closest object inside that selected area.  This makes it much easier to make sure you focus on a subject and not on the wall behind them.  Also, if someones face is close enough, the camera can magically lock onto the closest eye even if you aren’t aiming perfectly at it.  It’s also better at predicting where a moving subject will be and focusing almost perfectly, even when they are walking towards the camera.  You can see some of the results of this in the pictures below.  I did have a little trouble with some recent bridal portraits with some soft focus shots at a distance, I’m going to look into if I need to adjust the lens calibration a bit or something.  There are plenty of reviews of this camera, I just wanted to add that I’m having a pretty great experience with it as well.

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