In this blog post, I discuss using the stunning Sony FE 50mm F1.2 GM lens on a wedding day.
In March 2021 Sony announced the Sony FE 50mm f1.2 GM Lens, at the time Sony already had the Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA lens and the Sony FE 55mm f1.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* Lens.
I had owned both the Planar F1.4 lens and the Sony FE 55 lens in my time as a Sony wedding photographer, but both of the lenses had issues that I couldn’t get past; both the lenses suffered from purple fringing when the subject you are photographing was in front of a bright light source and on a wedding day; so many wedding speeches are done in front of big windows which is the perfect scenario for these two lenses to show their purple fringing weakness.
The Sony FE 55mm f1.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* Lens is a popular lens for Sony Wedding Photographers as it is small, light and for the price is an excellent lens. The Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 was the lens you went for if you wanted to have a native 50mm lens with an aperture of 1.4, but it was big, heavy and not the quickest to focus.
There are now other 50mm options for Sony, from the likes of Sigma, Tamron, Rokinon etc.. none of these I have owned and since the release of the Sony FE 50mm F1.2 GM and TBH, the Sony FE F1.2 GM is all the 50mm I will ever need!
My copy of the Sony 50mm GM arrived in early May 2021 after a delay due to COVID and the global chip shortage. The first wedding with the lens was early June 2021 and since then I have photographed a further 35 weddings all with my trusted trio of the Sony 20mm F1.8, the Sony 35 F1.4 GM and the Sony FE 50mm F1.2 GM.
I can say that the combo of the Sony A1 and the Sony 50mm GM is a dream combo. The speed of the A1, the tracking of the A1 the new improved colours being generated from the A1’s 50mpx sensor really do bring out the very best of the Sony FE 50mm F1.2 GM.
The Sony FE 50mm F1.2 GM never comes off my second Sony A1, it’s always there and always on my left-hand side. There isn’t a situation where the 50mm lens can’t be used, there are some lenses that are better suited for different parts of the wedding day, but the 50mm can be used from venue shots in the morning, the getting ready, the ceremony, the formals, speeches and works amazingly well on the dancefloor.
For a lot of wedding photographers, the 50mm falls in the gap between their 35mm and 85mm lens combo and so for them, it’s a nothing lens, neither wide enough to be used as the main lens for most of the day and not long enough to be their telefocal lens on a wedding day.
For me, it’s become the one lens that I will never sell, the F1.2 aperture gives a look and feel to an image that I haven’t seen before and when you factor in the tech of the A1, you can shoot F1.2 all day and every picture taken will be tack sharp.
The 50mm is my long lens for a wedding day, and the secret trick for me is the Sony A1 is c. 50mpx in full-frame mode, but jump into APSC mode and the 50mm lens now becomes a 75mm ish lens and still produces a 22 mpx file – more than enough for weddings. So let me repeat, the combo of the A1 and the 50mm GM, gives me a 50mm focal length in full-frame mode and a 75mm lens in APSC mode – which is perfect for reaching that little bit longer when you need to.
The 85mm lens was for many years my long lens, the one I used to pick people out during the ceremony or the speeches, but I found it to be too isolating, I found myself just taking headshots and the image missing the context of what is happening at the time I pressed the shutter button.
If you look a the speeches images taken using the Sony 50mm F1.2 GM lens, you can see the focal length allows you to be close to people, isolate the subject but still show enough of what is going on to allow you to tell it was taken during the speeches.
I get a lot of questions from people asking why I use a 35mm lens and a 50mm lens – are they not too close in terms of focal length? Yes, they are on paper but I think the results and look of the images are different enough but they are close enough that you don’t get a jarring viewing experience like I get when I see someone showing 35mm images, then 85mm images, back to 35mm images – it’s wide then tight, wide then tight and for me that doesn’t work.
How nice is it at 1.2? Well, it’s epic, it’s so shallow when you work your distance to the subject. I don’t shoot everything at a wedding at F1.2, but I do shoot it a lot wide open, especially when I want to draw the eye to a certain person or item within the frame.
Right, enough of me waffling on; let’s take a look at some images!
Want to see how I use the Sony FE 20mm lens on a wedding day? Click HERE to have a read and to see some amazing 20mm wedding photos.
In this blog post, I discuss using the Sony FE 20mm lens on a wedding day.
In February 2020 Sony announced the Sony FE 20mm f1.8 G Lens, at the time Sony already had the Sony FE 24mm F1.4 G Master Lens, but at the time, nothing wider as a prime lens.
Zeiss had the well-received Zeiss 18mm Batis, but being an F2.8 lens and with a lot of distortion and purple fringing, it wasn’t an option for me.
I banged in my pre-order for the Sony FE 20mm f1.8 G Lens via Wex.
A few days after it arrived, the UK was plunged into lockdown and with all weddings banned, it wouldn’t be until July 2020 that I was able to use the lens at a wedding. But since that July 2020 wedding, the lens has been with me at every wedding.
So far I have delivered over 7k images from the combo of the Sony FE 20mm f1.8 G Lens and the Sony A9ii, it was incredible at the first wedding and it’s still incredible.
The Sony FE 20mm f1.8 G Lens, along with the Sony FE 50mm f1.2 G Master Lens and the Sony FE 35mm f1.4 G Master Lens have become my go too wedding photography lens set-up.
If you were to Google ‘most popular wedding lens combination’ I would imagine that the 20mm focal length will not appear on many lists. It’s not a standard wedding lens and for most photographers who want a wide lens for use at weddings, the widest most will go is 24mm.
On a wedding day, I shoot with 3 cameras, I have one Sony A1 paired with the Sony 35GM, another Sony A1 paired with the 50mm GM and an A9ii paired with the Sony 20mm (shown in the images at the top of this blog post)
The 35 and the 50 are my main go-to lenses for most of the day, but the 20mm is 100% my favourite lens to use on a wedding day.
Looking at the last 10 weddings of my 2021 season, 20% of my delivered images are from the Sony FE 20mm, around 100 images per wedding.
The 20mm focal length gives an image such impact, you have to get close and because it’s so wide you REALLY have to fill the frame and this gives an image such a unique feel and used well, you can take images of normal things and make them feel epic!
As mentioned above, the Sony FE 20mm f1.8 G Lens is never off my Sony A9ii, It sits in my hip bag which means I can easily grab it when the need arises. For me there are zero times on a wedding day where using the 20mm is off-limits; it’s perfect for getting ready shots through to the partying at the end of the night.
The 20mm focal length isn’t for everybody, I mean that from a photographer point of view, but also from a client point of view. I’ve had 20mm images in my portfolio since the first wedding with this lens in July 2020, so clients can see what to expect.
But, the 20mm isn’t for every client, all 20mm lenses have distortion, some worse than others; the Sony FE 20mm f1.8 is one of the best 20mm lenses out there for distortion, but you still have to be very careful where you place things within the frame; too close to the edge and things can get really stretched or worse, can make things look a lot bigger than they actually are.
As you can see from the images below, I try to keep the important things as close to the centre as I can, obviously, there are times when the framing means that things are a the edge and these images will have distortion, but I’d rather the distortion than not have the image.
Right, lets take a look at some images!
I hated it. It was an awful experience. It was the middle of July, it was very hot and the guests just want to find some shade, sit down and enjoy the wedding day. The Bride and Groom were adamant that they wanted all 30 family formals doing and after the ‘everyone whose surname begins with an ‘S’ and was born on a Tuesday’ shot was done – the formals were complete.
My couples book me for my documentary style of wedding photography, with most of my couples not wanting to be standing around for ages having formal photographs – and because I can only be in one place at a time, if you have 3 pages of family formals it will mean I won’t be able to get the candid images of you and your guests enjoying themselves.
Family formal shots with me are 20 minutes, a small list of between 4-8 main shots which will cover all the important people who are with you on your wedding day.
Darren + Sharon plus Darren’s immediate family
Darren + Sharon plus Darren’s parents
Darren + Sharon plus Daz and Shaz’s parents
Darren + Sharon plus Sharon’s immediate family
Darren + Sharon plus bridesmaids
Darren + Sharon plus Best Man & Ushers
This is a tricky one and I would only suggest you do an ‘Everyone’ group shot if there is space at the venue for your guests to be on steps/stairs, a place where they can be layered so everyone can be in the photo, or a place where I can get high up to shoot down on the group. These photos tend to take around 10-15 minutes to get setup – so please factor this in to the timings of your day and the other group shots that you would like capturing.
Before you confirm your family formals with me, have a quick chat, text, facetime, or Facebook message with your parents; they might like to add some suggestions for some family formals, and it’s best to have these conversations before the wedding.
If you know that there are going to be some family formals which include ‘family politics’ that’s all fine, every family has its family members who don’t get along – just let me know as best you can the people who might not get along, and we can arrange the formals so things don’t ‘kick off’!!
I tend to do the formal photos following 15-20 minutes of mingling after the ceremony. I tend to let you guys have 15 minutes of greeting people, thanking people and hugging people before we start the family formals.
Depends. Honestly, it does. The majority of wedding ceremonies are completed between 12-3pm often when the sun is at its highest and also its most harsh.
If the sun is very bright and you have your heart set on a particular location, it might be that we wait for the sun to soften in the early evening before we do the family formals.
If you just want to get the family formals done, I will advise you guys on the day where the best place will be unless we have gone through this before the wedding.
It’s best to nominate a couple of friends who can help in rounding up the guests and it’s best to make sure that the nominated people know the majority of the people in your family formal shots. This should mean less waiting around for you guys as we can get the formals done much quicker with help.
There are going to be people looking at other people (often with mobile phones), there might be a slanted smile, there might even be a sneeze – so just go with the flow!
Are you are looking for Wedding Photographer in Nottingham and are interested in my relaxed, natural and candid, documentary wedding photography? – Click to check out my availability and to get in touch.
At every one of the weddings I have photographed, I find myself drawn to the sounds of a wedding day, all the happy stories, the stories of loved ones who are looking down upon the wedding, the funny stories of childhood and stories from the stag do’s….
By using the sounds of the wedding ceremony, the speeches and the images from the wedding day all mixed together to create something truly special that can be watched over and over again.
The responses to the wedding photofilms have been amazing!
A Bride from last year who sadly lost her Dad a few months after her wedding got in touch recently to say how important it has been to be able to hear his voice and his wedding speech.
It was her that made me push on with offering the wedding photofilm to all my couples.
Haha – no, just me!
The way I record sound during the wedding doesn’t impact the wedding.
For the Wedding Ceremony, I place a small lapel microphone (typically) on the Groom (easier to hide on a suit rather than a wedding dress!), a small microphone on the registrar/priest/vicar, and if possible, a recording is taken from the PA system at the wedding venue or Church.
For the speeches – everyone who is doing a speech has a small microphone placed on them, and also a recording is made via the venue’s microphone and PA system (if possible).
Are you are looking for a Nottingham Hybrid Wedding Photographer who mixes wedding photo and video coverage together into a truly unique wedding photofilm? – Click to check out my availability and to get in touch.
In this video, I talk about having an unplugged wedding, how to go about having an unplugged wedding and which part of a wedding day works best for being unplugged.
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong here, it’s totally down to you; I have seen plenty of weddings where mobile’s, IPads and phones have been used during a wedding ceremony and it’s been fine.
However, I have seen people watch the whole wedding ceremony through their phone, I have seen and heard other photographers clicking away with their loud cameras, and I have seen people step out in front of the Bride and her Father as they are walking down the aisle.
Don’t worry about getting an image for your Instagran / Snapchap or whatever they are called.
Be a guest, relax and enjoy the wedding, be present and experience the love of two people and if you must get a shot do so with the knowledge that you might ruin a perfect moment.
If you feel the need to film the ceremony on your phone do so only after you have checked that it is ok with the happy couple and try and not be in the eye-line of the photographer, so you do not get in the back of important shots.
Also, if you do take a picture, don’t instantly upload the picture to socials, some couples want to see the evening guests without them having already seen the dress!
Whether you choose to have an unplugged wedding or not, I will still be working my butt off to get the images that tell the story of your day, every tear, every joyous hug and every different type of mobile…