50mm Challenge by Isabella Norman
Imagine, seeing a couple exchanging heartfelt vows only a few feet in front of you, at a view only the vicar normally gets to see. I know, it sounds extraordinary. That’s because it is. On the 19th November, this was exactly what I got the chance to experience with Kathryn of Capture This Moment. This was a view which I have never seen from before, as this was my first time shooting at the front of a church as a wedding photographer. I was using a 50 mm lens (as part of a challenge set by Kathryn, which was to shoot a whole wedding with just a 50mm lens all day ), which due to its low aperture gave me the ability to blur out the rest of the congregation and just focus on the bride and groom. This was an effect which I think showcased exactly what did happen at the church: the bride and the groom had blurred out the rest of the congregation, to them it was just the two of them.
In this situation the 50mm was a great lens. However, when it came to group shots the 50mm did prove to be a bit difficult. Due to the nature of the lens it doesn’t give a very wide angled shot as it’s mostly used for portraiture and so this could cause distortion to the face. This meant that trying to fit large groups into one shot was very hard and so I had to really distance myself from the group. However, due to a tip Kathryn taught me I didn’t need to up my aperture as everyone was on the same plane and so would remain in focus. This allowed me to keep my ISO low and my shutter speed fast, on the grey wintery day it was.
So the 50 mm was a challenge when it came to group shoots but when photographing details on the dress, shoes, the bouquet and other small bits it was perfect. The 50mm was perfect for blurring out the background and adding light to pictures which possibly could have been quite dark, as the bride’s house wasn’t very well lit for photographs. Photographing the little details of the dress was great fun and the long buttons trailing form the top of the dress to halfway really lent its self to some truly beautiful photographs. These long trailing buttons also made for some beautiful pictures when they were being done up by one of the bridesmaids. A few other unique features this winter bride had was a fur bolero and lace boots, which Kathryn and I arranged and took some very glamorous photos of. All the little details of a wedding can often be forgotten with time but they are all of great importance. As on a wedding day, everything has been chosen for a reason, a reason you might not understand but the Bride and the Groom do and so that’s all that matters. So being able to admire these seemingly insignificant details and appreciate them you really begin to understand the couple, which in turn allows you to connect with them and this is crucial as a photographer.
The bride and groom, once the rest of their family and friends had disappeared back to the venue, had a few photos of just the two of them. Kathryn had brought along a prop: a red heart shaped umbrella. The umbrella was the cause of a few more creative shoots. The red of the umbrella added a vibrant pop of colour to the otherwise grey winter surrounding. One shot with the umbrella, which Kathryn posed was of the bride and groom stood behind the umbrella their faces hid by the vivid red heart. I really liked this shot as I thought it was rather different to the usual Bride and Groom shots and so made their photos unique and different, which every couple wants.
In the evening, the Bride and Groom had requested some sparkler shots, which I think I got a little bit too excited about, to say the least. Kathryn had brought some umbrellas, a plain white one and the red heart shaped one and a speed light to light the photos, as well as sparklers of course. Just as the photos were about to be taken it started to rain, normally this would be bad but due to the nature of wedding photography but actually it helped to create a more romantic feel to the photos as the rain glistened as it fell from the umbrella around the couple.
The 50mm challenge was hard to say the least; it was hard not having the option of a wider angle and it took a while to get used to not having the ability to zoom in and out like I can usually do. Although, I think the challenge helped me to improve as it made me move and think and not just allow the camera to do so for me. Something I probably have been to inclined to do. So if you’re looking for a challenge, then try shooting a whole event with just a 50mm. Just a little warning though, you may get a bit frustrated but if you want that dreamy blur behind and beautifully lit photos then it’s definitely worth it.