June 9, 2019
Every photographer has a different style and we’re on the “bright and airy” side…something you’ve probably seen a lot of if you’ve been browsing wedding photographers! It’s becoming an increasingly-popular style, and while the saturation of that market niche can mean more competition it also forces those of us who are categorized in this group to grow into areas that set us apart. Things that make us different. Identifying what makes your style unique is critical in this modern world where it’s so easy to access an overwhelming amount of information! One thing we have been committed to since the beginning is quality. We believe this is one of the things that sets us apart in the industry because we haven’t compromised the quality of our work even when it really would have been convenient to do so!
Five years ago when we first started learning about the business and began building our portfolio with second-shooting and free sessions, we had very little equipment because, let’s face it, the stuff is ridiculously expensive. What we did own was a Canon Rebel t3i (a crop sensor camera) and two kit lenses…not something we were comfortable using for a paid shoot. This is where we first began our commitment to quality. Refusing to provide our clients with anything less than the best, we rented the very top-of-the-line equipment every single time we shot. And this was far from convenient. Honestly, for the past few years, we have made very little profit because of this…but it was WORTH IT.
By being sticklers for the best equipment, we ensured that we wouldn’t have focusing issues, distortions, quality shortcomings, etc. We could take better images, faster. We learned to use our cameras in Manual Mode immediately and have never gone back. And when it comes to lenses, we use almost exclusively primes (with the exception of the magnificent Canon 70-200mm f2.8 II L IS). Our reason? Quality.
All zoom lenses have a certain focal length where they are the most accurate and sharp when focusing. This is generally at the longer end of the focal length, for instance, the 70-200 will perform better and produce sharper images at 200mm than at 70mm. However, because it’s an L-lens and is top-notch, it has VERY little difference in this regard throughout it’s focal length. However, other zoom lenses aren’t always as consistent, and, as you might have guessed, prime lenses DON’T HAVE THIS PROBLEM! That’s right, obviously, prime lenses are fixed at the exact focal length where they perform absolutely perfectly!
There are also a LOT of moving parts in a zoom lens which affords a multitude of opportunities for something to go wrong…or for small distortions in the lens to appear. Overall, the quality of a prime lens is superior to that of even the most expensive zoom lenses!
In addition to the image quality, prime lenses offer another advantage over zoom lenses: aperture range. While expensive zooms like the 70-200 have an impressive wide-open end of f2.8, an average prime can open up to f1.4 or even f1.2! This is huge for style! We are notorious for our wide-open shooting style, another thing that sets us apart, and we accomplish it by using the extreme open-end of our prime lens’s apertures. (This is a tricky art, though, and is hard to accomplish with good results…we’ll be posting soon about this too!). To get extreme compression and shallow depth-of-field, we use the aperture range from f1.2-f2.5 almost exclusively. This is another reason we are committed to using the best of the best…you can only accomplish consistent, accurate results with this kind of photography if you are using the best equipment!
Because prime lenses have wider apertures, they let in more light, which in turn allows us to operate with either a higher shutter speed or a lower ISO…meaning that we have less risk for blur or compromised image quality when working in lower-light situations! Again, quality is everything to us!
Not only do we use prime lenses but our cameras are always full-frame cameras that have high performance in low-light situations. If quality is important to you, you’ll know that using a cheaper camera with a crop-sensor can lead to an overwhelming amount of “noise” in your darker images, which makes editing nearly impossible and destroys the details in your images. Sure, you can use “noise reduction” in Lightroom, but when you do you lose detail. We use two Canon 5d Mark IIIs for our weddings, and have never had any trouble!
Again, it has been expensive, but we believe that committing to the things that set you apart will always pay off in the long run…and we have seen it! Your style may be different than ours, and that’s great, but we encourage you to be a stickler for quality…your business will thank you for it someday!!