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Wide Open

Posted on Mar 23, 2012 by in wedding photography | 1 comment

What happens if you shoot a fast lens wide open in full sunshine? Really neat pictures, if you find the right situation. The picture above is with a Canon 35 1.4. . .the camera settings by default will be the lowest ISO and around 1/4000th or 1/8000th of a second. Photographers typically have “fast” lenses for low light situations, but they create some neat results in bright sunlight. One benefit is separation between the subject and background – they are sharp and the background is out of focus, but still visible. Both of the above pictures are with a 35 1.4Sometimes it works well to include backgrounds, but shooting wide open also is great for hiding clutter in an image that would otherwise be distracting. The two pictures above are at Railroad Park, which is packed with people on a spring day. I love how the light and shadows look in the picture above. Most wedding photos need to be sharp, but it’s fun to have some artsy, storytelling images as well. 85 1.885 1.8The picture above is with a 70-200 at f/4, 200mm. Shooting at 200mm and f/4 gives a similar shallow depth of field as an 85 1.2, but there will be a narrower field of view in the picture (you see a smaller slice of a scene at 200mm than at 85mm).As the main photographer, I often have to shoot at normal apertures because having sharp pictures is very important. My second shooter gets the freedom to shoot wide-open as often as they want. . .some pictures will be out of focus, but some will be amazing, and I’m looking for some really awesome, unique shots from my second photographer. Arianna took the picture above. 35 1.4 Does this picture “need” to be taken wide open? Not necessarily, but I love the look. We made a large canvas out of it that turned out amazing! 85 1.2 – the lens and shadows work together to hide the clutter in this picture – it was taken in a church parking lot right after Kelly & Jason’s ceremony. 85 1.2 – perfect example of what this lens can do in normal, soft light. I love this look, but it is tough to nail the focus! (2nd shooter Kevin Roberts). I love what happens when I don’t nail the focus as well! 85 1.2 – typically with 1.2, you’re looking for soft light and rad bokeh like this. Shooting in full sun means you don’t get the bokeh that is created by backlight, so sometimes (i.e. most of the time) it’s good to take some traditional pictures as well! (2nd shooter Kevin Roberts) 200mm at f/435 1.4 at the Sonnet House35. 1.4 – exact same location as the picture above, but the angle is a little different. The closer you are to a subject, the less depth of field you have behind them. Wide openf/22 – the opposite of wide open. . .that’s what produces the cool starburst in the sunshine. I have found that shooting wide-open or just in general in full sun is much easier later in the winter – December through the end of February. Unfortunately that’s slow wedding season for most people, but the light is stellar! 17mm at f/4 – you still get a lot of depth of field, generally, with this lens, but the foreground is out of focus on this picture, which I think is pretty cool! the problem with shooting in full sun is that you have to deal with squinty eyes. So you can have them look away from the sun, close their eyes, wear glasses. . .some people do pretty well with bright light, but others are really sensitive to it and it’s tough. these three images are what I came up with for my challenge day. Shooting widen open in the sun is not the sort of thing that always works. Most of this shoot was at normal apertures and camera settings, but I love how these pictures turned out.

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1 Comment

  1. ohhhhh david, i am so excited for you to shoot my wedding. these are magical. !!!!!

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