Zeiss Batis Wedding

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Zeiss Batis Wedding

I shot an entire wedding with Zeiss Batis Primes, and here's how it turned out.

When shooting a wedding there are so many things to think about, all the way from “what should I wear” to “will I have enough SD Cards” to “where is the sun going to be when they exit the church at 3:15”? So many parts of shooting a wedding are flat out unglamorous. For every beautiful, dreamlike, “blog-able” photo, there are a couple hundred where you’re just trying to pull some sort of beauty from documenting the day. The world of wedding photography is starting to change. Thanks to the advancement of technology, bigger isn’t necessarily better anymore. One thing I always try to maintain in all my shoots is a low shooting profile. I like to be light on gear so I can maneuver to get any shot, whether I’m standing on a bench or laying on hot asphalt, if I see a creative opportunity to get a beautiful shot, I’m going to take it. If I have cameras and lenses strapped all over me, that will slow me down, and I can end up missing great opportunities for creative shots. Ever since I shot a wedding almost 2 years ago with only a Sony a7ii and a Zeiss Loxia 35, I have been converted to the idea that sometimes less can be more.

On my most recent wedding, I shot with a Sony a7rii and the entire Batis line of lenses from Zeiss, the 18mm f2.8, 25mm f2, 85mm f1.8, and the brand new Batis 135mm f2.8.

I have to say, after shooting a whole 12 hour wedding day with this setup my wrists and hands couldn’t have been happier, I’m so used to the fatigue and soreness that comes with carrying around a monster DSLR with heavy lenses. Being able to shoot for an entire day without feeling sore and worn down by my gear, but still retaining the image quality I’m used to was a breath of fresh air. For the entire day I walked around with my a7rii with a batis lens, then had my 3 additional lenses in a shoulder bag, that combined, weighed less than my Larger bodied Milvus 85mm.

The a7rii holds massive amounts of data in every image, and the Batis lenses rise to the challenge by rendering pristine image quality and accuracy in every photo. The way each of the Batis lenses transport light to the sensor is beautiful for many reasons, but the most notable of qualities comes from the sharpness of the images, perfect bokeh, and accurate color.

When looking at the line-up for the Batis series, there is admittedly a sizeable gap where there is nothing in-between the 25mm and 85mm focal length. Since 35mm is traditionally my favorite focal length for its real-life, documentary feel, I rented a Sony/Zeiss 35mm lens just so I would be covered for the gap. Now here’s the kicker… I didn’t even use it! I was so happy with the performance of the 25mm f2.0 that I used it as my primary lens for capturing the day. I’d say 60% of the wedding was shot with the 25, and I am extremely satisfied with the outcome. I’ve found there is very minimal distortion to the 25mm images, this allowed me to get close to my subjects while still showing some background to tie in more story. In most of my shooting I prefer to use manual focus, but whenever I use the batis lenses, I let go of my fear of missed focus and let the AF gods take control. The Batis 25 has an insanely fast and accurate AF that has never let me down. There’s no hunting for focus, even in low light situations. Speaking of low light, the ceremony for this wedding was in an ultra dark Catholic church, so having the low aperture was a huge help in allowing as much light into the camera.

Normally the Batis 85mm f1.8 is my portrait powerhouse, with its ability to be razor sharp exactly where I want it, while delivering the bokeh I’d expect to see in a $5000 cinema lens... this lens is a dream. I literally am in love with this lens, especially for how heavy it is on quality while being light in weight. For this wedding though, the 85 was a little overshadowed by the magic of the new Batis 135mm f2.8. The Batis 85 definitely served a purpose throughout the day, and I would never leave home without it, but when you have new toys in front of you the first thing to do is push it to the limit. I have always looked the other way when it came to anything over 100mm. “is it really necessary?” is what I would ask myself. In general, I like to stay close to my subject and shoot with a wider lens, but this 135 opened my eyes. The detail in every image is what caught my eye first, then once I realized that this was a bokeh machine even at f2.8, that’s when I was hooked! The color detail, and really just all the detail in general, that I saw from this lens was more than I have ever seen in my photos. Combining the a7rii image resolution with the unequated quality of the Zeiss Batis glass, I can honestly say I have never created “cleaner” images before now. I could go on forever about the beauty of this lens, but I really think these photos speak as proof to everything that’s already been said.

 

 

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Pure Maternity

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Pure Maternity

Making Magic on the San Onofre Cliffs

There are those moments as a photographer when you feel so drawn to certain people, that you just kind of blurt out "You should have me shoot your maternities" I end up saying this to a lot of our pregnant friends, and it never comes out smooth... Actually its almost always kinda weird. Having 2 kids of my own, I loved everything about my wife's pregnancy, I'm drawn to the power and beauty in a woman's ability to fully transform to bring new life. That being said, I am obsessed with ensuring that everyone I know has adequate documentation of this short and beautiful phase. 

Technical: For this shoot I wanted wide open nature, no visible buildings, cars, or people... Just an exclusive moment for my clients to just BE. For digital I used a Canon 5d mkiv with Zeiss Milvus 35, 50, and 85mm lenses. Using the 50 as my primary. I also shot a roll of Fuji Color 200 film on a Canon 1V with the same lenses. The light was stunning and I played into using the light as a character in every shot, always contributing to the mood and feel. I shot most of it at 2.2 so the greenery would have a nice blend and so my subject would stand out razor sharp. I edited These photos with Mastin Labs Fuji 400h preset, Literally clicked the preset and that was it. No other tweaks necessary! 

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Hawaii Elopement: Bridals in Paradise

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Hawaii Elopement: Bridals in Paradise

Big Love on a Little Island

Some shoots are easier than others. There are certain elements of magic that can make any situation extraordinary. I had two major things going for me at this bridal session, one was obviously the location, and second was the magnetic love between these newlyweds. Its not hard for me to tell a beautiful story when the couple is doing all the work without any direction from me. This beautiful couple brought the party with a care free vibe and a desire for adventure. Here's to more Island weddings in the future!

Technical: I wanted to shoot the scene with a wide perspective as the island and ocean were just as much a character in the story as the couple themselves. With this in mind, I relied on the Zeiss Milvus Lenses on a Canon 5Dmkiv; prioritizing 21mm, 35mm, and 50mm focal lengths to always be showing some form of background to compliment the scene. Most of the time I used f2.8 as my go-to aperture to separate the couple from the background to make them the primary focus. In post, I edited all photos with Mastin Labs Portra 160 Pushed Preset This gives me an incredibly clean edit with accurate colors and a nice pop of contrast, similar to how my film photos look. 

COMING SOON: Hawaii Elopement, Ceremony on Film

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