Steffanie and Derrick at the Old Saybrook Inn, Old Saybrook, Connecticut

YAY! It’s been a little while since I posted some new wedding work so I am EXTRA SUPER EXCITED to debut Steffanie and Derrick on the blog!  These two had a fantastic, spirited and super fun affair on Saturday at the Old Saybrook Inn in Old Saybrook, Connecticut–a fabulous little inn right on the water. Weather called for rain and clouds on Saturday but once again I brought my good weather luck with me and the sun shined it’s lovely warmth on us all day. It was an absolutely perfect day for an outdoor wedding. Here are my faves from the day:

Oh, and, before we get started, for all you photo  enthusiasts nerds out there,  be sure to check out my report at the end of the post on shooting with all prime lenses!


Oh hi! Yeah. This was a wicked fun party 🙂

Also, I want to extend a BIG FAT THANK YOU! to my dear friend Mark Stern (Stern Imagery) for second shooting with me on this one.  Mark was one of my very first friends from NESoP and we’ve remained good friends ever since.  I’ve shot with Mark several times before, and while our work is quite different (he’s a sports and music photographer) I love having him along with me because we have so much fun together. That and he tends to be a big hit with the ladies:

HUGE thanks to Stef and Derrick for having us along to this incredibly fun, spirited wedding! You guys are the best! Also big thanks to Ms. Bridget Tivnan, the adorable pregnant lady, for referring Stef and Derrick to me last year. Referrals from trusted sources are absolutely priceless and I can’t thank you enough for your support of Lorenz Photography. I owe you a big fat beer–or maybe a decaf coffee?

And finally: Unabashed Photo Nerding AHOY!

On a somewhat (un)related note: This wedding was actually my first run at shooting all prime. I brought all my zooms with me as usual, but left them in “the big bag” (ie, the back with all the backup equipment which I keep nearby but not on me at all times) in case I needed them, but otherwise shot with my 85mm 1.2, my 50 1.8 and I actually rented the Canon 35 1.4–a lens I’ve been curious about but never tried. I thought this would be a great opportunity to try it out and see what happens.

So, how did it go? Really? I didn’t even miss my zooms.  Even my 70-200 which is pretty much every photographer’s (this one included) favorite lens–both for the versatility of it’s range and for the lovely delicious out of focus back rounds it creates when you shoot racked out to 200 wide open. Some of my fave fave fave images are images I made with my 70-200.  And really? I never found myself itching for it. The 85 1.2, while not as long as the 70-200, provides the focal length one might crave while shooting the ceremony and/or some of the more elegant/sophisticated portraits as well as the delicious creamy soft back round when shot wide open.  But for me, the kicker for the 85 1.2 over the 70-200 is it is just so. damn. sharp. Sharp as a damn tack. Sharp as a razor blade. Sharp as Ron Burgundy’s lapels. In the few months I’ve had this lens I have been amazed at the minute, crispy/creamy detail that is produced (that is, as long as you nail the focus–shooting at 1.2 can be rather tricky and I’ve found shooting on al servo helps a bit when photographing a moving subject). It might not be as long as the 70-200 but I’m willing to sacrifice focal length in favor of the incredible detail, resolution and pop that I’m getting from the 85.

The 50 1.8? Eh. It’s 1.8.  While this experiment proved to me that I definitely want to go all prime, I realize that I do need to get the 1.4.  The 1.8 is sharp (seriously, this $100 lens is sharper than the 24-70. Gah!), but not nearly as sharp as the higher-end 1.4.  If I’m going to go all prime I’m going to have to do it right.

And (drumroll please) the 35 1.4. You guys. You guys…you have…no idea. This lens is the sex. It gives me the feelings. My friend Andrea Servidone was just telling me the other day that she once rented the 35 1.4 and ever since, she always reaches into her camera bag absentmindedly thinking/wishing it was there, and now I can see why. Like the 85, the sharpness is unbelievable. I seriously had no idea what I’ve been missing all these years. The series of four portraits of Stef about a third of the way down this post were all shot with the 35.  Those–eyes. Amirite? The sharpness right on her bright jade-green eyes contrasted with the creamy soft back round just–well, it punches you in the face really.  It renders beautiful sharpness on the focus point, stunning skin tone, and just enough wide angle distortion to create some drama. I thought that the 85 1.2 would be my forever ultimate love, but I think I may be taking the 35 as my mistress….

One last thing about shooting all prime on Saturday: Ordinarily the lenses I carry on me are the 70-200, the 24-70, the fixed 50 and the 16-35. I have one lens on the camera, and then three in the bag.  I generally shoot as much  natural light as possible, so I leave my flashes in my backup back until the reception. Now for those of you who don’t know me personally, let me tell you, I’m not exactly a delicate flower. I’m tall, I’m freakishly strong and I’m actually in pretty good shape athletically.  I can rock the 5dMII with the battery grip, the 70-200 and a flash with absolutely no strain on my arms or shoulders.  But despite all that, I tend to have horrible, horrible lower back pain when shooting.  This isn’t anything new, nor is it anything specific to being a photographer–I’ve always had trouble with my lower back when on my feet for too long, but add to that a bag full of heavy glass and a 10lb camera (at least it feels like 10lbs with the battery grip, the 70-200 and a flash) and I’m in rough shape after a while.

So when I was packing my bag for Saturday, knowing I was going to shoot all prime, I started with the 35 on the camera, which left only the 85 and the little 50 to go in the bag. I threw in a flash mostly because my bag felt so sad with only two other lenses in it.  Much to my delight, I found that I was having almost no pain at all throughout the day, despite lots of walking, up and down steps, and very little sitting.  It wasn’t until right at the beginning of the reception that I started to feel the urge to do my awkward hunch and stretch act in reaction to the sharp pinching that started creeping in. I stuck it out in discomfort throughout the beginning of the reception (first dance, toasts), but once dancing starts I usually put my bag down altogether anyway, so it wasn’t much of an issue.

The punchline?? In addition to an extreme increase in image quality, I found shooting all prime to actually be more practical for me physically as well. Yes it involves lots of lens changing (usually the first thing people say when I tell them I’m experimenting with all prime), but I change my lenses constantly anyway so it doesn’t feel much different.  Better pictures, less physical pain. NO. BRAINER. All prime, here I come.

Of course I can’t bring myself to totally give up on my zooms altogether. My 16-35 and my 70-200 are still amazing lenses and I plan to bring them to all of my weddings anyway–but I think I’m ready to let that damn 24-70 go. It’s just not sharp enough, and while it is the work horse of the wedding photography industry, it’s  just not cutting it for me anymore.  So! It’s onward to bigger and better things! Sharper, faster, sexier lenses! More creativity! More fun! Better pictures! Happy clients! Happy Abby!

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