Enthusiast Photographer? Been asked to shoot a friends Wedding or family? A bit scared? How do you get the Professional Photographers Look? Well its actually quite easy!
It is all about bokeh or more importantly a fast lens with a very fast aperture like f1.4 of f2.0. f2.8 is great also and at medium telephoto (135mm) f4.0 is ok too. First step, throw away that kit lens! It is f3.5-5.6, plastic and crap. Its built to a price and it shows. Yes throw it away, or take $20 bucks on ebay for it at least.
Second step, invest in a fast optic….. well this costs serious money right? Yes and No. You can purchase a Canon or Sony or Nikon 50mm f1.8 for as little as $150-$200 to get started. My recommendation? Buy the Sigma 35mm f1.4 for $800-$900.
So 35mm on Full Frame, won’t I have to zoom? Yes, but thats what your feet are for! You will not believe how much better your photography will get with a prime lens! Think about it, your either shooting the bride and groom on location or doing group shots or candid shots. All medium to wide angle and the f1.4 will give you the bokeh that a Professionals photo has.
My favourite trick with this lens is putting something in front of the subject because I know the f1.4 will do its trick and blur the foreground while keeping my subject tack sharp. I got mine for just $700 so compare that to investing $2,500-$3,000 on a 24-70 f2.8 or 70-200 f2.8. Take a look at these shots, all on the 35mm f1.4 Sigma and you’ll be racing down to the store to order one!
For tight cropped close up details, you can get away these days with simply cropping in. Most Full Frame cameras are 20 – 24mb, so if you have to crop a fare bit from photos you have taken with the 35mm f1.4 you’ll still end up with a 12mb equivalent photo.
Here’s a few more I have taken recently with just the Canon 6D and Sigma 35mm f1.4. The only other tip you need is to move off Program and put the camera in Aperture Priority Mode. Select f1.4, let the camera set shutter speed. All you have to then is control the ISO setting. Good photographers will learn what the light is doing. You end up with a feel for when you need ISO100 or 400 or 800. Don’t be afraid to use the higher ISO settings like 1600 or 2000. I regularly use this ISO indoors (Church or Reception) with f1.4 and natural light. I personally hate the effect a Flash puts on a photo so I avoid it at all costs.
These simple tips means you concentrate on what you love, and thats photography, framing the shots, directing the subjects, making sure the sun (your light source) is in the right place. Go ahead create something beautiful!