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. The Clemson Tiger mascot came in as a surprise to the groom at the reception. Whoever wore the outfit was 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 was the groom.   The couple was pleasant 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 nice entrance with oak trees, hanging moss, and some pretty areas near the golf course. We even had a little time, in the end, to experiment with some sparklers. Overall everything went well.

I’ve heard it said a lot that the photographer makes a picture good, not the camera and gear. That is only partially true. When trying to shoot weddings handheld, many times with moving subjects at wide apertures in low light, no skill will get you accurate focus without a high-end camera body. That’s why I’ve 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 marginally sharper since they removed the AA filter. I wanted the upgrade almost exclusively for the improved autofocus 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 several different focus points and focuses on the closest object inside that selected area. This makes it much easier to focus on a subject, not on the wall behind them. Also, if someone’s 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 walking toward the camera. You can see some of the results of this in the pictures below. I had a little trouble with 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 great experience with it.

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