It's Not Just The Megapixels

You might have heard the saying “Bigger is better!” but when it comes to wedding photography it’s not always true.  Just because  a camera has a high Megapixel count, it doesn’t mean it’s the best camera for shooting weddings. Similarly, just because it’s a Digital SLR, it doesn’t mean it will do a good job of shooting weddings. Why is this?

There is a perception amongst people who aren’t interested in photography, that Digital SLR cameras are professional cameras. Whilst it’s true that that professional photographers use Digital SLR cameras, they use professional grade cameras. However, many people starting out in a photography career are not using professional equipment, but entry level Digital SLR cameras. Some of these entry level cameras have a Megapixel count as high as 24 Megapixels, but while they have a high pixel count, they lack the professional features that ensure high quality images in all conditions. Modern DSLR cameras rely on many things to give great results.

You can buy an entry level Digital SLR for under £300.00 today. However, whilst it will be a decent camera outdoors, in low light indoor situations, such as a dimly lit church, it’s a different story.

Entry Level models tend to have lower sensitivity focus points with just one high sensitivity point (known as cross type) in the centre. By contrast, more expensive cameras use the more sensitive cross type points for all points, and there are many more of them. The points lock onto focus much faster, and are more reliable. Much more of your image is in sharp focus. In churches and poorly lit buildings the resulting shots are usually much sharper. They also have better metering systems, which means you have less chance of your indoor shots coming out dark.

Speed between shots is also a major factor as well. Better cameras have faster image processing times (the time it takes to write the image to the memory card). Whilst this is probably only half a second in an entry level SLR, it will mean it can only capture 2-3 images per second, as opposed to 6, 7 or 8 images a second for a much more expensive camera. This means more photo opportunities are captured on your big day, and important moments like throwing confetti or tossing the bouquet are not missed.

The other big advantage of professional/semi-professional cameras over entry level models is image noise. Noise is the speckles on an image that spoil the picture when printed at large sizes. Professional level cameras have much lower levels of image noise. If you plan on having canvases printed, or an album of prints made at A4 size or higher, you don’t encounter noise problems with a much better camera.

The most expensive cameras for wedding use cost around £4,500, but these are usually used by photo journalists who often specialise in sports photography, or for fashion photography. They can be used in all weathers, but for wedding or portrait photography it’s like sending Usain Bolt to catch Sleeping Beauty, it’s just not needed, and the expense isn’t justified at this level of work.

Another thing to note is that the more expensive the DSLR, the more features there are to learn, and you want a photographer who knows how to use his tools properly, to their full ability. But all the technical knowledge in the world won’t make up for a creative eye that can spot the fine details on a wedding dress, the engraving on the rings, the bow on the bridal shoes, the radiator grille on the wedding car, the feather detail in the Bride’s mothers hat…..  The list is endless. And every good photographer has plenty of ‘Signature Shots’ that lesser photographers simply wouldn’t even think of. And it’s not just specific shots, some couples like candid style photographs, some like the fun shots, whilst others prefer more formal images. If a photographer can blend all three styles skilfully together, then he’ll go a long, long way.

Finally, there’s the editing. Photos can be edited with many different looks or styles, and the better photographers will have their own particular editing style or styles to suit the happy couple’s personality.

All of these things need to be taken into consideration when choosing a wedding photographer.

If you want to ensure you tick all the right boxes, choose Colin Anthony.


In Colin's Kit Bag.

Main Camera:

Canon EOS 70D. 20.2 Megapixel sensor,19 Cross type focus points with Dual Hybrid Autofocus system for fast focusing, latest Digic 5+ Image Processor as used in the top of the range models, 7 frames per second shooting (Ideal for bouquet tossing and confetti throwing), High Dynamic Range (for more shadow and highlight details being recorded in your images instead of solid blocks of colour), touch screen display for faster and easier direct access to settings to speed up the picture taking), Multi Image blending to get the most possible detail in your images, Built in Wi-Fi direct for upload to social media at venues with compatible Wi-Fi access so images can be shared on the day. (Venue must have wi fi access for me to use this facility, and images will be unedited).

Backup Camera: # 1.

Canon EOS 600D.  18 megapixel sensor, 9 focus points, Digic 4 image processor, 3.6 frames per second.

Backup Camera # 2/ Close up detail/ Panorama camera.

Fujifilm HS20 EXR. 16 Megapixel sensor, 1 cm close focusing range for bigger close ups of small objects such as wedding rings, dress details etc, 360 degree panorama sweep for wide shots of the wedding party or Country house. 30 x Optical Zoom lens.

Lenses:

Cannon EF-S 18-55mm STM: image Stabilised (for sharper shots) zoom lens with fast near silent Autofocus For wide angle and short zoom photos.

Canon EF-S 18-55ii: Backup lens covering same range.

Canon EF 55-200mm mkii USM: Mid range telephoto lens,

Cannon EF 75-300mm mk iii: Long telephoto Lens.

Tamron 28-80mm: Backup lens,

Pentax 50mm f1.8 lens (with adaptor): Non zoom portrait lens with wide aperture for beautifully blurred background to make the in focus areas stand out. Non zoom lenses are usually much higher quality than zoom lenses.

Flashguns:

Metz TTL flash: German engineered for quality, TTL measures the light through the lens and adjusts for the perfect amount of power needed for the perfect exposure – not too light or dark, Yongnuo YF 560: high powered manual flashgun with long range for illuminating larger areas.

Tripods:

Hama Star 63: Tall, sturdy main tripod.

Velbon DF 41: Compact, sturdy Tripod.

Table Top Tripod: Compact but strong for in venue use on tables for photographing table details.