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Macy and Zachary

Dustin Abbott

April 9th, 2018

Macy and Zachary got married on an unseasonably cold day in April, but despite the blustery weather, it was a warm and happy event.  The couple had a beautifully decorated church and hall along with a few Star Wars themed moments.  Particularly poignant moments were when Macy’s father sang to her before giving her away, and when Macy sang to her husband to be before the exchange of vows.  It was a large wedding (over 400 guests) and reception (ditto), and a large wedding party – with nearly 25 moving parts in the bridal party.  The wedding took place in Flint, Michigan (near Detroit).

The bride was lovely, and the groom had a quick and easy smile, and both were easy to work with.  I wish them the very best for their future together.

Gear and shooting notes for photographers:

The major challenges for this particular wedding included very challenging lighting in the church due to both a strong green cast to the lighting and the fact that the lights cycled color temperature, meaning that the color temperature was not consistent and that using anti-Flicker technology was important.  Sony’s tech in this area is not as good as Canon’s, meaning that I had to do more post work on the Sony images (the great sensor on the a7R3 helps give a lot of latitude for recovery in post with little destruction to images). I got some odd looks when I was using my windbreaker (a perfect medium grey) during the rehearsal by draping it over key areas on the platform and taking pictures of it.  What people didn’t know is that I was creating custom white balances that would help me the next day.  Between that and some correction in post (I always shoot RAW for weddings), I was able to (mostly) overcome the extremely difficult lighting.

I used the newest Metabones adapter (Metabones fifth generation) and the amazing Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II, but while the photos are fantastic, I would only use this combination if absolutely necessary again in the future, as there were moments where focus pulsed rather than quickly locking on, meaning that I was scrambling to get some shots.  It was my first wedding shooting with Sony (playing a meaningful role, as I’ve shot some “B roll” shots with a Sony body in the past with two Canon full frame bodies doing the heavy lifting.  I came feeling that using native Sony glass on the a7R3 would produce better results for a wedding situation.  This leaves me in a quandary, as I love the 35L II for weddings, but may have to consider replacing it with a Sony lens if I continue in this scenario.

Upside is that while I felt that focus wasn’t as fast and intuitive as what I would like, the focus accuracy was awesome.  I got better results than what I’ve gotten with 5D Mark IV and the 35L II, ironically.  The high megapixel count of the a7R3 also makes cropping easy due to have a lot of pixels to work with.

I used the Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 VC G2 lens on my 5D Mark IV, as, after some time with the Tap In Console, it produces very consistent focus results for me.  The improved autofocus speed on the G2 version is a boon for wedding situations, particularly when tracking couples moving down the aisle in low lighting conditions (I prefer to shoot with available light in the ceremony to minimize disruption).  During those sequences I was often at ISO 10,000, but modern cameras allow for very clean results even at these ISO levels.

Another practical challenge was how cold it was outside (about 34 F with occasional gusts of wind).  It meant that the outdoor photo period had to be both abbreviated and carefully managed.  I cycled bridesmaids and groomsmen to allow them time to warm up in the shuttle in between takes, and gave my jacket to the bride to keep her warm in between shots.  Other than some mild complaining, however, every played along, and the overcast conditions allowed for nicely diffused lighting.

I had been concerned about my remote flash triggers (Yongnuo YN-622C units) and command unit (Yongnuo YN-622C-TX) not working with the Sony body.  Fortunately, I tested in advance and found that while TTL didn’t work, manually setting output levels through the command unit (which is what I often do anyway) did work, so I could trigger from either the Sony or Canon body without issue.  I used Metz 64 AF-1 units due to their high power output and excellent coverage.

I can certainly saw that the quality of my gear helped in some of these challenging situations, as did an understanding of lighting and technical challenges.  I would encourage you to learn as much about light, strobing, and color as possible, as often wedding venues can play some nasty tricks!

The Photos

And now, without further ado, here are a few highlights from the day.  A huge congratulations to Macy and Zachary, and the very best wishes for their future together!

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