Using the Sony A7rII as a wedding storytelling tool by Franklin Balzan

Using the Sony A7rII as a wedding storytelling tool

by Franklin Balzan

Earlier this year I had the privilege to a photograph a rather unusual wedding here in Malta!  I was approached last year by an Indian couple residing in the UK and was asked by them to shoot their Hindu wedding day(s) and their pre-wedding in Valletta.

Preparation
After our meeting and ensuring that they liked my photography style, I was reading through the Indian wedding ceremony and watching videos online of the Hindu religious ceremony part.  I made it a point to speak to the Hindu priest, in order to ensure that we were on the same terms on what I could and could not do… and fortunately he was a very collaborative person who allowed me to shoot freely around the main four columns, where the ceremony was occurring.
CLICK IMAGES FOR LARGER!
Prior to the day of the wedding. I was not aware that the couple had brought with them from the UK a videographer, a DJ and also their expert uncle chef to cook for the indian guests…  myself and the organiser were the only local people for this wedding!  This fact transpired more confidence and allowed me to dare the couple with more creative shots and ideas.
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Since my style is one which allows me to move freely according to the events of the day, I was not too worried about the actual ceremony as knowing the main parts of the day was more then sufficient.  After preparing myself by reading on the Hindu ceremony ritual and the significance of the symbols used I felt ready to delve myself into this new culture.
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The wedding days…
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The ceremony was all held in a local wedding venue (transformed villa called ir-Razzett l-Abjad) which was setup for the occasion.   As you may know, Indian weddings are celebrated over a number of days – in this case over two days.  The traditional Hindu wedding ceremony was celebrated on the first day while the second day was reserved for the civil ceremony, a photoshoot and a Gala Dinner.
Shooting for two consecutive days is not an easy task and in fact it was pretty tiring.  To add insult to injury I also had to shoot with a sprained ankle… the hardship of being a wedding photographer! However, shooting for two consecutive days also has several advantages.  One of these is that the people in the wedding become almost a second family to you and the photography becomes much more dynamic and pleasant.  Also, this enables the photographer to have more time with the couple and guest and therefore more time to be creative and try new things.
These are just a selection of the images, the whole wedding story of the two days can be seen at the below link:
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My experience with the cameras
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The A7rii did not fail to deliver in image quality.  For my weddings I work with 2 A7rii and an A7ii (all fixed with prime lenses at 35, 85 and 18).  I do add a bit of grain in post-processing as part of my style, but the dynamic range maintained in the images is impressive.  This allows me to play around as I like with the images.  The 42 megapixels make it easy to just crop in the image as necessary.
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I have grown to be very at ease with the handling of the camera.  For all my cameras I use the JB Grips, useful to slightly extend the base of the camera for a better handling.  I do have small hands, however still the extended base is really useful.
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Shooting modes, menus and settings.  I shoot mostly in A and then switch to M mode as the day requires a higher shutter speed and light begins to fall off.  I only use flashes when shooting the dance floor and for the portraits, or in very low light situations.    I have decided to use the flashes only off camera (held in my other hand unless I am shooting portraits or group photos), with my Nissin Air controller to trigger them on. I have preset the function button to give me the settings I used most often during the day.
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The A7rii and A7ii focus speed and precision was sufficient during the day though there was an instance or two where some faster autofocus would have been useful.  However considering the good light that was available, the camera did not struggle at all.  I use the single mode autofocus with medium sized central spot focus setting.
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Conclusion
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In conclusion I feel lucky that I commenced my photography in this mirrorless era.  After two days of shooting without cessation, my back dowsnt hurt to much even though I had three camera (2 on the holdfast moneymaker strap and another in a thinktank bag) strapped around me for all that time. Eventually the A9 camera seems to be an obvious and natural upgrade for my wedding photography style.

More of my work can be seen on www.fbalzan.com

I exclusively use Sony mirrorless cameras for my photography, though I have no affiliation with Sony.  If you have any questions do not hesitate to ask or comment below.

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14 thoughts on “Using the Sony A7rII as a wedding storytelling tool by Franklin Balzan

  1. Very good shots. Great job sir. Black&white photos are especially beautiful. Saying truthly before i’ve checked this article i couldn’t think that Sony is able to take such good shots. By the way i have recently read another good article with some tips for wedding photographers on wedding-retouching.com Can anyone advise me more websites like this with different tips?

  2. Beautiful images. I’d really love to know how you processed these. I love that earthy, slightly desaturated look but can never quite replicate it. Anyway, well done!

  3. Great Job!
    Quick question are you using a flash on the camera if so which model. I my first wedding with the a7r 2 yesterday and notice that the Fashpoint R2 ttl flash does not emit a focus assist light. Overall the images are beautiful but in low light I had to switch to my a650o which was a little better.

  4. I like your style! So many nice images with a very environmental feel, and captured emotion. But, two intense days, that must have been grueling.
    Well done!

  5. It took me a while to decide about these images so I had to look many times at them .
    They are really wonderful and original – very hard to accomplish in Wedding photography -well done.

  6. After watching all those hands and smiles i feel like getting married 🙂 really great set and a truly amazing ceremony. Congrats

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