Wedding Photography With The Sony A7s
This blog post is one for the photographers out there. I’ve not done a blog post about my gear before. As my brand name suggests, I’m rather attached to one camera! Due to the documentary style of wedding photography I practice, I feel it’s more important that I know my camera inside out, rather than upgrade constantly to the latest model on the market. I put being able to react quickly and “get the shot” above all else. Having said that, last year I decided to add the Sony Alpha 7s to my bag (or should I say hip). I’m still shooting with an SLR, but when I began to research the Sony mirrorless system I found that there were a number of features that would allow me to shoot where I had so far been struggling with the SLR.
For me, one of the key features of the A7s was the silent shutter. I wanted to be able to shoot much more freely during the ceremony, without drawing attention to myself, and get shots when it would otherwise be inconsiderate to start snapping away. The other key feature of the A7s, and why I chose it over any of the others in the A7 lineup, was the high ISO performance (I’ve highlighted two images below that were shot at particularly high ISOs.) Other features that I’ve really started to appreciate since shooting with the camera, include it’s size and weight, the electronic viewfinder, the Zeiss lenses and the articulating LCD screen, all of which I’ll write about in a bit more detail later in the post.
The images below are just a small selection from my first year of wedding photography with the Sony A7s. If you enjoy this post, but you still have a few questions about switching to the Sony mirrorless system, then I’d love to hear from you.
Seeing in the dark | High ISO performance of the A7s
Much has already been written online about the incredible high ISO performance of the A7s (and it’s all true). While I’m not averse to using flash later in the day, the ability to shoot in such low light without it, has certainly added another dimension to my photography. It both allows me to shoot more frames without the subject becoming away of my presence, and creates a more harmonious transition between images from earlier in the day and those taken after dark. The two images below were shot at ISO 40,000 and ISO 51,200 respectively. The only light on the boy’s face is coming from the DJ’s lights while the illumination in the second shot comes from the firework display that the guests are enjoying.
Discrete shooting | Keeping it real!
One of my primary reasons for choosing to shoot wedding photography with the Sony A7s was how discrete I could be with it. Shooting in a documentary style as I do, the last thing I want is to draw attention to myself and make people camera aware. The five shots below are some of my favourite candid moments of the year. The small size of the camera and the silent shutter option have been a blessing, as has the articulating screen. I’ve been able to shoot from the hip when even raising the camera to my eye might spoil the moment.
Using an EVF for the first time
I have to say that the only thing that made me a little nervous about shooting wedding photography with the Sony A7s, was the electronic viewfinder. I wondered if there would be any lag and if I’d be able to see the minute changes in people’s expressions as I was shooting. In practice, I had nothing to fear, and I very quickly began to appreciate seeing as the camera sees as I was shooting. Although the shots below would be achievable with any camera (and a bit of skill!) they do illustrate how, even in the trickiest of lighting situations, the exposure can be got spot on with the help of the EVF.
The Zeiss Batis 85mm
So impressed was I with the Carl Zeiss 35mm f2.8 and 55mm f1.8 lenses that soon after the Batis 85mm was announced, I decided I wanted to add it to my kit. As if by magic, it arrived just before a run of winter weddings when the maximum f1.8 aperture and image stabilization turned out to be real lifesavers. The last of my wedding photography with the Sony A7s in this post are all shot with the Batis 85mm over the Christmas period. All were shot at either f1.8 or f2.
So the big question! Can I see a time when I ditch the SLR and shoot wedding photography with the Sony A7s alone? In a word, YES. I love the ergonomics of the camera and the dynamic range delivered by the full frame sensor. When I bought the camera a year ago, the lens options, notwithstanding the ability to use lenses with an adapter, was a little limited. That’s no longer the case though, and with even more Zeiss lenses rumoured for 2016, I’m not regretting my move to Sony for a minute!