Today we have guest bloggers Zach and Jody Gray hosting their free, weekly Tuesday Tips & Tricks on our blog here at Lensrentals! Zach & Jody are Nashville-based wedding photographers who have taken the industry by storm since their business began back in 2007. They have a huge heart for teaching and inspiring other photographers, and we are proud to have them as our customers. But enough from us—here are Zach & Jody!
Hey Everyone! We’re so glad to be able to share on the Lensrentals blog! We love this company, and it is by FAR our favorite rental company to use. 🙂 Let’s get started on today’s Tuesday Tips & Tricks!
Lens choice is so much more than just getting a different look on an image. Using the right lens for the job can make—or break—the story that you are trying to tell. It can bring attention to—or completely distract—your viewer from what should and should not be seen in an image. So instead of talking about tons of lens choices and tons of options, we are going to talk about just one of our favorite lenses that we use for photographing weddings and the perspective that this particular lens gives us. Without further ado, let us introduce you to one of the greatest lenses ever produced, the Canon 85mm f/1.2L II.
This lens is considered a “portrait” length lens, and let’s first talk about what that means. Portrait length lenses are usually between 85mm and 105mm (depending on who you ask), and the reason a shorter lens (like say the Canon 50mm f/1.2L) is not considered a portrait lens is due to the perspective that it gives.
A 50mm lens (on a full frame censor camera like the Canon EOS 5D Mark III that we use) gives a “normal” perspective, meaning that things through that lens look similar to what your naked eye sees. Things look average and normal on a 50mm. So if you want an image to look like you were standing right there when it was shot, then a 50mm would be a good choice!
If, however, you want to start altering reality, you can go wider than 50mm, or longer than 50mm. An 85mm lens actually compresses reality in a tight, neat little box. It makes everything look closer together, and it gives the viewer the feeling that someone was peering into a moment rather than standing right there in it.
This is a great lens for shooting many parts of a wedding because as a wedding photographer, when shooting the moments that are happening during the day, we want the feel of the images to seem as though we were not there at all. We want it to feel like someone happened to be looking in on a private moment, and this lens does that for us!
If we had used shorter lenses or wide angle lenses like a 24mm or 16mm, the images would not have the feeling of intimacy like they do in the above shots. We also love using it for portraits for a few reasons.
1. For portraits, this lens gives us that compression that we talked about earlier. It also helps us as the photographers to not seem as though we were there but rather that someone just happened to see a great moment between two people.
2. Longer lenses help throw the background out of focus which helps put the focus on our client and not what’s going on around them.
3. It helps eliminate distracting elements by pushing out elements around our client through compression. When you use a longer lens, you can make an area of a few small parts come together as one by compressing reality and getting rid of things you don’t want to see. Take for example, the two images below. The first was shot using our Canon 24mm f/2.8.
And then, look at the difference! How a different look is created by simply shooting with a longer lens (the Canon 85mm f/1.2L II) and framing the distracting background out.
We were recently demonstrating this idea at one of our IN-CAMERA workshops that we host around the country. At the workshop, we were taking a simple portrait of a model we had hired for the day. We had this building about 150 feet away from where we were standing that made for a super cool background. So we shot it with two different lenses to show what the perspective could really do and what impact using the right lens at the right time can have.
Long lenses will make distant objects in the background look larger than they really are and can play to your advantage in the right situation when you need to include some things and get rid of other distracting elements. In the below image (taken at 30mm), you can see how small the building in the background appears to look and how distracting all the elements around our subject are.
Now, in the final images you can see what a huge difference using the 85 to compress the sides and top/bottom of the image did and how big the background now looks in comparison. Also, using the lines of the railing adds further enhancement to the overall composition and style of the shot.
So to give you some perspective on our shooting style, we take most of the portraits and moments that happen throughout the wedding day on the longest lenses we can to give them an intimate feel and look. We make boring and even bad locations look great by including what works and cutting out what doesn’t. We do shoot wide images—and we love the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L to show the story of what is happening—but our go-to lenses for portraits are the longer lenses.
If you don’t have any (and before you spend a bundle of money) rent the lenses you’re interested in. See how you like them and get a feel for them before you invest your hard-earned money! And what a coincidence, Lensrentals just happens to rent whatever gear you need. 😉
Thanks so much for checking out this blog post, and let us know in the comments what YOUR favorite lens is and why you love it!! Feel free to join us every Tuesday on our own blog for more free photography tips & tricks!
Thanks Zach & Jody!
In case this is your first time exposed to Zach and Jody Gray, they have been aiding photographers for the last 4 years with free tips and tricks on their blog and newsletter. Zach & Jody go beyond just teaching you the photography, but teach you how to nurture, develop and grow your business. They have just launched their brand new business DVD “Harvest”. This DVD is NOT about photography—it’s about your business. It teaches you the tools to make serious money in your business and how to attract, court and keep your clients re-selling your services through word-of-mouth and word-of-mouse marketing. To check out more info and to purchase the DVD, go to www.HarvestDVD.com.