Creating the perfect set of wedding images is a very big task, but it’s one that pro wedding photographer, David Bastianoni, has been working towards almost every day of his 15 year career. It’s something he feels strongly as he works with clients to write “a visual story” of their vows and celebrations. “If it’s possible,” he says, “my goal is to shoot the perfect wedding. I want every picture to be in the right place, capturing a vital moment. I want every image to be elegant and timeless, and something that generations of a family can look on and treasure.
David’s wedding stories span a beautiful mix of simple and elaborate compositions, but his latest project was a little different, being a wedding inspired shoot, rather than capturing a real event. But whatever the shoot, his new Sony Alpha 1 plays a huge role in capturing the perfect images.
“The new camera actually made me feel a little sad,” David laughs, “but only because I have no excuse for missing perfection now! I can no longer look at a picture that I don’t like and say the camera didn’t focus properly, or that it’s too noisy... the Alpha 1 is just the perfect tool, so everything else has to come from me!”
One of the features David is most drawn to is the incredible image quality. “Images have an incredible three-dimensional quality to them. In their sharpness, their nuances of colour, their texture and dynamic range – they look like images no other full-frame camera could capture. When you see the 50 megapixel files at 100%, the quality is really unbelievable, even at high ISOs like 6400. And the white balance is so realistic that Jpegs straight out of the camera look amazing. That’s so important for celebrity weddings where I can use the refined FTP functions and send pictures to my editor immediately.”
Another big plus is the Alpha 1’s super-fast and accurate Real Time AF, he says, letting him shoot with lenses like the FE 50mm f/1.2 G Master at their maximum aperture. “That’s really important to me,” he explains, “as I want very traditional and romantic looking portraits like this one, full of light, and with no distractions. I use the 50mm f/1.2’s very shallow depth of field to put the bride and the groom right at the heart of the story, but with the camera’s AF system, I know it can capture the subject and never lose them, even as they move around or turn away.”
“The FE 50mm f/1.2 G Master,” he continues, “is such a great wedding lens for the way I work. Despite its huge aperture, it’s well balanced with the Alpha 1 and the detail at f/1.2 is amazing. Its definition shows up against beautifully creamy bokeh. I also used the FE 35mm f/1.4 G Master for some of these pictures. That’s another lens with a great soul for weddings, and one you can crop into thanks to the Alpha 1’s high resolution. Along with the camera’s electronic shutter, those near silent lenses really help me work closer to my subjects, too.”
And are there any other key elements of the camera that David thinks help him to capture this beautiful style of photography? “For weddings,” David concludes, “the Alpha 1 is just the perfect tool. It lets me take what’s in my mind and put it right on the sensor, without error. I don’t have to think about the camera anymore and can put my concentration fully on the subject and push my images closer to perfection. When I began shooting weddings, I’d often get this great sensation having captured a beautiful moment. And even though I’ve become more critical of my work through the years, this camera brings back that feeling time and time again.”
So aside from the camera and lenses used, does David have any final advice for any photographers looking to improve their own wedding photography? “One key thing to remember is that we’re always working against the clock to make these kinds of pictures,” he says, “and you have to remember that the people at a wedding aren’t models! For that reason, I like to use natural light instead of flash. It’s quicker and it helps to tell a tale about the atmosphere of the place and the time of day, too. When I’m trying to communicate a story without any words, I have to use everything I can, so those things – the colours and the season – are just as important in the story.”
Photography for me is resolving problems, talking about life, communicating with everybody in silence.