Wedding Album Design: Faith and Ben

This is the first of many albums I am going to post on my blog to give you some understanding about what goes into wedding albums. For far too long wedding photography has been dumbed down and anyone who gets a digital camera for Christmas and doesn’t like their current career seems to go into wedding photography. This isn’t all bad, but unfortunately, we have ended up in a situation where nearly every couple wants a shoot and burn wedding.

What does that mean? A shoot and burn wedding is when the couple basically just wants a wedding photographer there to take snapshots and send them a disk. When weddings are shot in this manner there is very little creativity for the wedding photographer. After all, photography was always meant to be taking a photo and then making a print. In the case of the wedding album, that print is the album itself and my full creative vision as a wedding photographer can truly shine as I’m not limited to the standard sizes of 4 x 6, 5 x 7, 8 x 10, etc. and I can artistically edit far more images when a wedding album is purchased.

The below images were taken during Faith and Ben’s wedding last month. During the album creation process I ask my couples to choose between 60-80 images that they want in their album. Depending on the size, but with the standard size of 30 pages, 60-80 images is a comfortable amount. I then artistically edit these images and design the album.

When I have finished the layout of the album I screenshot it and send it over to you as a PDF. You can then take your time and ensure my design is what you had in mind and that I’ve fully captured the day as a story and adequately conveyed that to paper. If I haven’t, you make changes and I re-submit until it’s perfect!

Don’t mind the red and blue lines, those are there for me and the printer takes those into account when cutting the paper for the album. They do not show up on the final album.

The All Important Cover of the Wedding Album

The hardest decision is usually the cover. Covers can be made out of a myriad of materials, but the most popular is an acrylic, transparent cover that is hard-wearing and looks amazing!

First Inside Page - Getting Ready Shots

The album will flow like a story unfolding in a book. The getting ready images are placed in the first couple of pages.

Following this, the men will usually be next, depending on who I go to first. But to be honest, I usually go to the men first as they are nearly always ready on time. Sorry girls. 🙂

The ceremony shots will then follow and if there are any images chosen of guests arriving, etc. those will then go in.

The Men Before The Ceremony-Bride and Father

The Interior of the Church During the Ceremony

Couple Photos Alone

After the ceremony there are usually guest shots at the church, or ceremony venue and then we will do the couple shots alone. This is when I get my time with the couple and the pages in the album will unfold in this way.

And then it’s off to the reception where, if they have the reception package, we do reception shots, including the first dance and the album ends at this point.

So you see, the wedding album is a full length version and story of what took place on your special day. It is much more than a coffee table book. Every single image has been thought out by you and further explored by me in my artistic edits. The shoot and burn may be fine for some people. Certainly, I have nothing against someone taking this up as a career and starting with an inexpensive package to build their portfolio and offering shoot and burn. However, we must not let wedding photographers do shoot and burns and offer no album. This is killing our industry and instead of being an industry of professionals that take pride in our final product, we can now give over our images and say, “Well, there’s your disk. I’m off now. Thanks.” There is no further accountability on the part of the wedding photographer when they do a shoot and burn. And the horror stories are out there en-masse. You see it every week in the news, “Couple horrified when they got their wedding images.”

So, be smart, choose a wedding photographer that is experienced and if you can afford it, get a wedding album. You’ll thank me when I deliver to you, a beautiful album, made by Italian artisans.

I hope this has given you a bit more understanding on the wedding album process. For further information on my albums please visit my album page.

Review: Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 VC Lens

I remember when I began my photography passion, obsession some 17 years ago. Even then I can recall wanting the newest and the best equipment. To me, at that time, equipment was more important than anything else. I have since learned that training and experience is vastly superior to camera bodies and lenses. However, when I was younger I equated expensive gear with great results.

My first big lens purchase was a Canon 24-70mm f2.8 L lens. I soon realized prime lenses were sharper than any zoom, so I bought a few primes. I shot everything with prime lenses, unless I was on holiday and then I would bring my Canon 24-70mm f2.8 lens. Which was a brilliant lens, but for me, didn’t produce sharp enough results for anything other than holiday snaps. That was sold and a few more Canon L primes were bought. When I entered the field of wedding and event photography I tried using prime lenses for an entire year and found myself struggling markedly. It was a case of trying to obtain the sharpest images possible while also obtaining the images my clients wanted on the day. Using primes for wedding and event photography just doesn’t work. Not with my style of shooting anyway.

Shot with my 1st Canon 24-70mm f2.8 in 2006 on Canon 1D Mark II N

So, knowing I needed to sacrifice quality for obtaining the right shots, I began looking for a zoom lens that covered a large range from semi-wide to semi-telephoto and my natural choices were with a Canon 24-70mm f2.8 L version I or version II and the Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 VC lens. I did what everyone does when looking for new equipment, I turned to the internet. I watched all the comparison videos and looked at all the major photography websites that did comparisons.

It was clear to me that the new Canon 24-70mm f2.8 II L lens was the king of the mountain. The absolutely best mid-range zoom you could buy. But, like all things in photography, it wasn’t. This new chap, the Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 VC lens was half the price and had vibration control, Image Stabilization to us Canon shooters.

In my younger days I wouldn’t have given the Tamron a second glance. I would have simply gone for the lens that was the most expensive and optically the best. Which, there is very little question, the Canon is. But, when you make your living as a professional photographer, suddenly the most expensive doesn’t sound that great. It lowers your profit margin and at some point you have to look at what the best gear is for you. I decided on the Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 VC lens and I haven’t looked back.

Shot with the Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 VC Lens - Razor Sharp Middle!

Be warned, this is not a comparison between the Canon 24-70mm f2.8 II L lens and the Tamron, that has been done numerous times. This is a review of the one I chose, why I chose it and what the results have been since. Nothing infuriates me more than seeing a comparison website giving us samples of wrist watches and car wheels as examples of what a lens or camera can do. So I aim in this review to show you real life results, captured on the job, a job I was paid to do.

Right, so let’s get into it; why should you buy this lens?

What I like about the Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 VC lens:

1. It is one of the sharpest lenses I have ever used. I’m not comparing zooms and primes here. This lens is razor sharp in the middle.

2. The Vibration Control is at least as good as Canon’s Image Stabilization if not a bit better. I have handheld this in dimly lit churches at 1/10th of a second with nearly tack sharp results at 100%. Nobody can produce a tack sharp image at 1/10th of a second handheld regardless of what they say. But it was sharp enough to look sharp on the screen. Which is good enough for most purposes.

3. I like the weight of this lens and the feel of it. It feels just like an L lens.

4. It’s weather sealed and even with some of the expensive L primes that isn’t always the case… uh hmm… Canon 35mm f1.4 for instance.

5. The lens hood goes on tightly and stays there.

6. There is limited vignetting, even though I love a bit of vignetting, I know some don’t.

7. There is a lens lock. Not that I ever use it, but it’s there for when you’re walking around don’t want it zooming in and out on it’s own.

8. It has a 5 year warranty. Much longer than Canon’s. However, having owned Nikon previously, their 5 year warranty came in handy, I used it twice on one lens. Whereas I have never had an issue with any Canon L lens. That is neither here nor there, but just something to think about. Do they give a 5 year warranty because they know something will happen, or do they do it just to be nice and they’re charitable?

9. The focus seems very quick and I’ve not noticed any lag like some other reviewers have.

What I dislike about the Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 VC lens:

1. The zoom rotates in the wrong direction for Canon. It rotates the zoom right to left instead of left to right like Canon’s lenses. Meaning, if you have all Canon lenses and you change to the Tamron mid-wedding, or you have the Tamron on another body you will inevitably try and zoom left to right and it won’t let you. It only takes a second, but in that split second you could miss a crucial shot.

2. I truly hate how soft this lens is at the corners at f2.8. It’s not just the corners that are affected, it’s anything outside the middle. You wouldn’t notice on most shots, but try taking a group shot that fills the frame and you’ll see Aunt Bessie on the side, outside the middle, totally soft. “Well, just use a smaller aperture” you might say. Fair enough, but sometimes, you’re just shooting too quickly and you forget, or in England especially, you just don’t have enough light to go f5.6 or f8 and when you get home and put them on the big screen, they’re just not sharp outside the middle.

3. Lens distortion at 24mm is appalling. Doing group shots I have to straighten the image out in PS and sometimes I just can’t get everything to line up correctly. So it constantly looks like the people are leaning to one side, but the building, or whatever is in the background is straight. It’s a weird effect and I find it off-putting.

4. All of those issues are minor, really. 10 years ago I would have thought this lens was the best lens in the world. It’s an incredible machine and I’ve taken some of my best photos with it. However, this lens lacks one major thing. An almost intangible thing, really. A certain je ne sais quoi that Canon L glass has that this does not. I cannot define it and I certainly cannot show you in any sample images. Let us just say that, even with the old Canon 24-70mm f2.8 L lens you felt like a National Geographic photographer. In fact, when I first purchased that lens back in 2006 and I went to Europe with it and took my first few shots, I said to myself, “Ah! That’s how National Geographic photographers get their shots.” All L glass has that je ne sais quoi. That certain something that you can’t explain and is wholly intangible. That being said, I still believe the Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 VC lens is a real winner.

Distortion at 24mm. Look at the Chimney on the Right.

Distortion at 24mm with Softness at Edges

Who should buy it and who should save their pennies and buy the Canon 24-70mm f2.8 II L lens?

That is a difficult question and one that I can’t truly answer. If you don’t have the money buy the Tamron and you’ll most likely be very pleased with it. I have been this whole past year I’ve been shooting with it. Having not used the Canon 24-70mm f2.8 II L lens personally I can’t really recommend it. I will be using it for my weddings and events next year though. Why? It is that je ne sais quoi again. I just miss L glass. Maybe I’m still the same as I was when I was younger. Maybe I am a slave to the newest, the latest and greatest. Or maybe Canon really do have something special in their L glass that nobody else has.

You will have to judge for yourself.

Finally, if you’ve liked this review and are purchasing this lens, please do so using the link below:

Food Photography at The Cat Inn

The Cat Inn in West Hoathly is one of my all time favorite pubs. I have been going to The Cat for at least three years, if not more and every time I am thrilled by the quality of the food, the friendliness of the staff and the welcoming atmosphere.

I also have the pleasure of being called on to photograph The Cat Inn when new images are required for the website and the new food guides such as The Michelin Guide and The Good Food Guide.

Photographing The Cat is really a labor of love and never feels like work. I arrive early and photograph the new room designs and then on to the food. The Cat Inn always strives to stay current and their menu is never old. This means lots of new menu items depending on the season. I was particularly impressed on this shoot. The food coming out of their kitchen was some of the best I’ve tasted.

If you haven’t been to The Cat Inn I highly recommend you try it. But this isn’t a food blog, this is my photography blog. And so… to the images. Enjoy!

© Copyright Taylor Young Photography