The Equipment and Settings
- Nikon D700
- Nikon 28mm f/1.8 AFS-G N
- 1/180 sec @ f/1.8 & ISO 1600
- On-camera flash, 100% wall/ceiling bounce, (no diffusion / bounce cards) CTO Gel
- Manual exposure, Manual WB, RAW
The Shooting Conditions
This image is a good example of a close-up wedding detail image made using a non-macro (or “dedicated macro”) lens. On a wedding day, aside from wedding rings there really aren’t that many details that require a lens that even comes close to the 1:1 reproduction ratio that true macro lenses offer; and in my opinion there are plenty of benefits to shooting with a wider, closer lens in certain situations. Especially misc. wedding details such as this; I always enjoy getting a wider angle close-up because it gives me more context in the background, while still offering shallow depth if I want it. If you can imagine this image taken on a 100mm or 150mm macro lens, the background would be nothing more than the plate itself, and not much else! With this 28mm lens on the other hand, you can “feel the closeness” as they say.
Nothing too mind-boggling about the concept, just a quick tip for anyone who is considering whether or not they need a $1,000+ macro lens for every single close-up detail they encounter on a wedding day. Personally I prefer by far to use a medium-wide prime lens for such things, (or just my 24-70, which does good macro too! …and I hardly ever break out my dedicated macro lens. (Which, by the way, is just a $150 Ebay special!)
This reminds me of the advice I often give to any aspiring professional portrait or wedding photographer: Don’t break the bank buying those exciting specialty lenses that you’re going to hardly ever use, at least not at first. Invest in your lenses in the order of their importance to your style, and for the accomplishment of your duties. In this respect, a good solid 24-70, 70-200, and some sort of prime are probably a good idea before you go investing in expensive macro or other specialty lenses.
As noted, I captured this image hand-held, with my on-camera flash pointed at a backwards angle, and with a warm gel to help balance it with the ambient lighting. (Although there was also a touch of blue “up-lighting” here and there…)
For this image, I used a simple “Vivid” style preset from the SLR Lounge Preset System.
My goal with post-production for these types of images from a wedding day is obviously to be efficient and achieve perfection with as few clicks as possible. So using the preset system I quickly create a “foundation” for all my general settings based on what type of image it is, (more puchy processing for details, more gentle processing for portraits, etc) …and then from there I usually only have to tweak the white balance and maybe the exposure or one other setting such as whites or shadows. Hopefully, images like this should take no more than 5-15 seconds to post-process. Of course your exposure and white balance need to be close to accomplish such speed, but that goes without saying right?
Take care, and happy clicking!
The SLR Lounge Preset System is designed to enable users to achieve virtually any look and effect within 3-5 simple clicks. From basic color correction, vintage fades, black & white effects, tilt-shift effects, faux HDR, retouching, detail enhancing, and so much more. The sky is the limit with what has been dubbed the most powerful and intuitive preset system available. Click the link above to learn more/purchase! The SLR Lounge Preset System is now available for both Lightroom 4 and Adobe Camera Raw! (Bridge CS6)