Diary of a Wedding Photographer - To zoom or not to zoom?

I am lazy, or getting lazy, or both perhaps. I have been looking back at previous work and I think that one of my problems is zoom lenses. I have always been a zoom man, 24-70 and 70-200 my standard wedding equipment but I think it is time for a change.

Zooms are great, from a single position you can shoot wide and tight, landscape and portrait - loads of different looks, Or are they? The problem is you end up with different looks from the same perspective. You could almost just shoot wide and crop in post - well not quite but you get the gist.When you shoot with a specific focal length you need to think seriously and creatively about your vantage point.

You also get to understand your choice of weapon. Where you stand with a 20mm is not the same as a 70mm so why do we assume it is ok with a zoom? I will tell you why, laziness, complacency and of course convenience. Easy to say I know and I do understand as a wedding photographer that there are no second chances. Things move quickly and having a zoom certainly gives you more than a fighting chance to get the picture not necessarily to make the picture.

Shooting primes has always looked like the dark-side to me - it comes with it's own form of pitfalls. Shooting everything wide open, like driving all day in third gear, like painting your whole house magnolia, as creative as a 'Congratulations' as a first dance.  Joking aside, the wide open prime lens look certainly makes some images and can be fantastic when not overdone.

For weddings I have always found the zoom option safe and efficient but I seriously believe that creatively it is a bad move. I am a clumsy clot and don't like shooting with two cameras - apart from looking like an idiot I find it uncomfortable and restrictive. I will bump into doors, people, anything really and generally get myself in a tangle, I also seem to forget that my cameras don't automatically synchronise settings - a shame really.

So one camera and some nifty lens changes for me.  How long before I drop something mid lens change and go back to zooms? I was once in a church during a ceremony hiding behind a column changing lenses. The rear cap slipped from my clumsy fingers hitting the stone floor as the Priest paused for breath. The noise this little piece of plastic made was deafening - well it seemed like it. It then rolled across the floor out of arms reach and into full view of the congregation and did that noisy little spin thing before coming to rest. "If it is ok with our photographer I will now proceed with the service" - boomed the priest.

I will keep you updated on my rehab progress - wish me luck :-) Alan

Photography by Kent Wedding Photographer - Alan Langley