Sony A9 Wedding Photography Review

Sony A9 Wedding Photography Review

Everyone and their dog appears to be writing Sony A9 wedding reviews.  I didn’t want to be left out, so here’s my take on Sony’s new flagship camera!

Firstly, this isn’t a tech review, I don’t really understand half the wobbly graphs and diagrams that flood the internet when new kit is released.  This is purely how I got on during my first month shooting with the new set up.  When I get a bit more time I will do some more detailed reviews.

I’ve been a wedding photographer for nearly seven years.  During that time I’ve only ever shot with Nikon bodies; the last three years with D750’s coupled with a combination of Nikkor and Sigma glass.  I’m a HUGE fan of the D750, it’s a phenomenal camera and has served me incredibly well since I picked up my first pair of bodies in 2014.  Its low light performance was excellent, the dynamic range was superb both providing me with that little extra comfort when shooting in really challenging lighting conditions.  It was far more compact than the bulky D800‘s that I’d been using before.

Sony A9 Portrait Photography

I refresh my kit every 18 months or so and my second pair of D750’s would have been coming up for a replacement at the end of the 2017 wedding season.  Despite loving these cameras I was hoping the rumours of a new silent mirrorless Nikon system were true.  As a documentary wedding photographer, the capability of shooting in complete silence was a big thing for me, not just for the ceremonies where clicks can be frowned upon by officials, but also during bridal prep and the speeches where silence is golden.  Sadly, the rumours surrounding a pro-grade mirrorless Nikon system started to fade over the summer months, whilst the positive feedback surrounding the new Sony A9 continued to grow apace!  Review after review after review kept lauding Sony’s new camera.

Sony A9 Real World Review

The geek within me got a little jittery so I headed over to Clifton Cameras to see what all the hype was about.  I picked up the A9 mounted with the Sony 35mm 1.4 and started whizzing it around the shop; that was it, I was blown away!  I mean, I was really gob smacked!  The autofocusing system was just insane.  The shutter really was completely silent.  The Eye-Autofocus was scarily accurate.  The sharpness of the eye in the resulting images was fantastic.  The 20 frames per second capture rate was just ridiculous (with no screen blackout).  The huge buffer was in a different league to the cameras I’d used previously.  The white balance seemed to nail the light conditions perfectly.  All in such a small package.  It’s the first time I’ve picked up a camera and actually got excited at the thought of using its technology in a real world wedding environment.

Sony A9 Review

That was it, I was hooked.  I returned home and immediately placed an order for two Sony A9’s, the Sony 35mm 1.4 Distagon, the 85mm 1.8 Zeiss Batis, the 135mm 2.8 Zeiss Batis and shortly afterwards the 18mm 2.8 Zeiss Batis.  I also picked up a couple of Godox TT685S flashguns!  Now it was time to put this kit to the test!

Luckily, Santa Claus (in the guise of a DPD driver) arrived just in time for the Lakefest music festival that I was scheduled to photograph.  A perfect opportunity to test the oodles of configuration settings, focussing options and the overall performance of the camera/lenses away from the pressure of a wedding.

Within the first handful of shots I was utterly blown away with the accuracy of the focussing.  Some of the musicians were jumping around the stage in really poor lighting conditions but the focus locked on and happily tracked their movement (I used Lock On Flexible Spot M to start with).  I then tried the Eye-Autofocus; again it perfectly tracked the musicians as they moved around the stage.

The performance of the camera is one thing, the quality of the output is another.  If the RAW files that the A9 produces are cruddy in post processing then all that tech becomes a bit pointless.  Well, for me, I was once again blown away by the images.  The sharpness, the colours, the contrast, the bokeh, the dynamic range…everything looked awesome!  Noise management was fantastic, I was letting the ISO ride up to 12,800 in Auto ISO mode if it needed to.  Even shots at this level were looking great when I zoomed in.

Sony A9 Music Photography

Rob Tarren Photography - Lakefest 2017

Sony A9 Concert Photography

Sony A9 Concert Photography

Sony A9 Concert Photography

Sony A9 Concert Photography

The festival also staged a BMX competition that provided me with the perfect opportunity to test the focus tracking, high speed shutter and buffer.  I literally took hundred of test shots!  I really wouldn’t want to bore you with all of them, but here’s a short sequence of images as the A9 tracks the rider spinning through the air and landing successfully.  Sadly you can’t see it in this thumbnail collection, but the I guarantee that the rider is pin sharp in each of these images!

Sony A9 20 Frames Per Second

Sony A9 Sport Photography

After three days of shooting at the festival I knew what my best configurations would be to photograph a wedding.  However, when I actually started documenting the weddings, particularly bridal prep, I realised the technology could really help me maintain an even more unobtrusive approach.  Take this test shot of Abi for example; I literally walked past her with the camera at hip height, I pressed the Eye-AF button and fired a few shots.  I didn’t look at the screen or viewfinder until I was on the other side of the room and yet the camera absolutely nailed the focus on Abi’s eye!

Sony A9 Autofocus

Staying on the subject of Eye-AF, the functionality within the A9 allows you to put the human emphasis on composition and let the technology worry about the focussing. For example, in the test image below I framed Marc between two guests and asked the camera to focus on the eye.  It did it, even though he’s turning to one side!  I didn’t have to focus and recompose or move a focus point around with the directional buttons.

Sony A9 Review

The same applies to Laura’s shot below.  As always, the initial starting point of focus is in the centre of the frame, but by clicking the Eye-AF button it immediately (and automatically) shifts to find her eye hidden in the hairstylist’s bent arm!  No need to focus and recompose!  Crazy!

Sony A9 Focussing

Switching to a completely new system also required the need to invest in new glass to compliment the camera (kerching!).  Believe me, a LOT of research went into finding the lenses that would best suit the way I shoot.  I wanted to return to a completely prime set up and after much deliberation I opted for the 18, 35, 85 and 135 focal lengths.  I love the Zeiss Batis line up; beautiful colours, a lovely subtle contrast, not even a hint of chromatic aberration even when wide open and they’re incredibly quick to latch on to (and track) subjects.  The lens/camera combinations are so light too; my D750 with the Sigma ART 85 was 1,885 grammes compared to 1,125 grammes for the Sony/Zeiss equivalent!  You definitely appreciate that after shooting a 12 hour wedding!

Sony Zeiss Batis Lens

Sony A9 Wedding Photography

Sony A9 Portrait Photography

Sony A9 Wedding Photos

There are some things that I miss from previous cameras.  There’s no way of knowing what your current exposure settings are without looking at the back of the screen.  With the D750 you could simply look at the top LCD or with other compact cameras you can look at the dials.  Whilst I’ve not actually missed a shot, there’s a slight delay when the camera wakes up from sleeping (less than a second, but it’s noticeable).  Reports of the terrible battery life on the mirrorless cameras were a worry but the Sony appear to have resolved the power issues with the A9 and although I can get through an entire wedding with only one battery change I do miss being able to shoot a whole gig without being conscious of the little percentage value in the top right had corner of the screen!

Sony A9 Photography Review

So what do I think of the Sony A9 after one month?  Awesome. Absolutely awesome.  Although targetted at sports photographers, the flagship Sony feels like the ultimate wedding camera.  The weight, the size, the focussing accuracy, the dynamic range (in the shadows AND highlights), the ergonomics, the white balance calculation (especially when dealing with nasty tungsten lighting), the huge buffer (for aisle walks, confetti showers, bouquet toss, etc), the crazy 20fps if you were to ever need it, the perfect number of megapixels (and the resulting file size) all make this camera an absolute bloody dream to use!  For me, it’s actually left me feeling really annoyed and downright disappointed that my beloved Nikon developers haven’t come anywhere near to producing a camera as technologically advanced as the A9.

Sony A9 Shutter Speed

Sony A9 Product Photography

Sony A9 Low Light Photography

Finally, Oli seems to like having his photo taken with the A9, so that’s the biggest thumbs up it can get!

Sony A9 Portrait Photography

Sony A9 Wedding – This was a review by Rob Tarren.

Elmore Court 2017 Wedding – Becky & Andrew

Elmore Court 2017 Wedding – Becky & Andrew

Elmore Court 2017 Wedding – In my last post I know I mentioned that it had been far too long since I blogged anything!  Once again, I know I’ve left it far too late before updating the website!  Oops, sorry!  It’s been such a fantastically busy wedding season that I’ve not been able to draw breath to post an update!

However, I’ve managed to find a few minutes to post a handful of images from Becky & Andrew’s beautiful summer wedding at Elmore Court!  They actually held their ceremony at St John Baptist, Elmore Church just along the road before returning for the reception.

The Gillyflower once again provided wonderful natural light to work with, the room really is a photographers dream to shoot in!  The party kicked into top gear with some classic dance music rarely found on a wedding playlist!  A simply fantastic day finished with a golden sunset…and pizza, lots of pizza thanks to Pizza Monkey!

Here are a few wedding photos from Becky & Andrew’s big day in the Cotswolds!

Elmore Court Exterior Photo

Elmore Court Exterior Photo

Elmore Court Garden Photo

Elmore Court Internal Photo

Wedding Dress Hanging

Wedding Shoes on Table

Reading Wedding Speech

Bridesmaids posing on bed

Wedding bouquet in natural light

Bridesmaid talking to bride

Bride looking in mirror

Eye makeup applied to bride

Mother of the bride laughing

Bride having hair done

Mother of the bride smiling at bride

Bride putting on earring

Bride looking in long mirror

Bridesmaids taking photo of bride

Elmore Court 2017 Wedding

Vintage Wedding Bus

Vintage Wedding Bus

Bride walking church pathway

Vicar waiting for bridal party

Groom wainting in church

Groom wainting in church

Birdal party entrance

Wide angle of church ceremony

Wedding Vows

St John The Baptist Church Elmore

St John The Baptist Church Elmore

Elmore Church Gloucester

Guests smiling at bride

Bride laughing

Elmore Court Confetti Shower

Bride and Groom on vintage bus

Bride and bridesmaids walking to Elmore Court

Elmore Court 2017 Wedding

Group Wedding Photo at Elmore Court

Couple posing at Elmore Court

Bride and Groom at Elmore Court

Bride holding a bouquet

Close up of wedding bouquet

Bride and groom walking to the Gillyflower

The Gilllyflower room

Wedding Cake at Elmore Court

Wedding decor at Elmore Court

Wedding decor at Elmore Court

Wedding Cake at Elmore Court

Personalised Wedding Balloons

Bride and Grooms entrance to wedding reception

Bride and Grooms entrance to wedding reception

Exterior photo of the Gillyflower

Baby at Elmore Court

Wedding Crossword Puzzle

Wedding Speeches at Elmore Court

Wedding Speeches at Elmore Court

Groom Wedding Speech

Wedding Speeches at Elmore Court

Guests laughing during wedding speeches

Guests laughing during wedding speeches

Raising a toast at wedding speech

Emotional Wedding Speech at Elmore Court

Emotional Wedding Speech at Elmore Court

Best Man Speech

Best Man Speech Reaction

Best Man Speech

Best Man Speech Reaction

Sunset photos at Elmore Court

Birde spinning in wedding dress

Birde spinning in wedding dress

Birde spinning in wedding dress

Portrait photos at Elmore Court

Gillyflower lighting system

First Dance at Elmore Court

Gillyflower lighting system

Dancing photos at a wedding

Dancing photos at a wedding

Gillyflower dancing photos

Gillyflower dancing

Bride's mother dancing at wedding

Bride dancing at wedding

Dancing in the Gillyflower a Elmore Court

Dancing in the Gillyflower a Elmore Court

Dancing in the Gillyflower a Elmore Court

Sunset photos at Elmore Court

Personalised Nike Wedding Shoes

Pizza Monkey Wedding Catering

Pizza Monkey Wedding Catering

I am very privileged to photograph lots of wonderful weddings at the incredible Elmore Court.  If you are getting married here and think my style and approach would suit your day then drop me a line!  You can message me via my Contact Page, it would be great to hear from you!

Caswell House Wedding Photography – Tilda & Iain’s Spring Wedding

Caswell House Wedding Photography – Tilda & Iain’s Spring Wedding

Caswell House Wedding Photography – I know, it’s been far too long since I blogged anything!  My 2017 wedding season is very much in full swing so finding a few spare moments to update the site is tricky!  I’ve promised myself I will give myself a kick up backside and get posting more over the next couple of weeks, I’ve had so many awesome weddings that I really should share them!

First off is Tilda and Iain’s utterly fabulous ceremony at the equally fab Caswell House! This venue is situated in between the Cotswold towns of Burford and Witney.

Preparing for a wedding is a daunting task at the best of times, but these guys organised everything from nearly 7,000 miles away in Singapore!  They certainly brought the sun along with them for their special day, blue skies greeted their guests for the ceremony which was held in the courtyard.

The emphasis on the day was 100% about having fun and that’s exactly what they did.  Absolutely hilarious speeches, I was genuinely laughing out loud with some of the anecdotes.  Poor Iain did take quite a bit of abuse from the guys bless him!  As you will see from the pictures below, Tilda was in hysterics throughout!  Ginger wigs aplenty, garden games and drinking games (even mum was getting involved!).

The dancefloor was packed from the moment the brilliant Fake Tan Band started their set!  It was great working with Matt and Marcus again from Jumping Spider Films.

A truly awesome wedding, a fantastic couple, great guests and a day I will always remember!

Caswell House Wedding Photography

Oxfordshire Wedding Photographer

Caswell House Outdoor Ceremony

Caswell House Spring Wedding

Caswell House Wedding Photography

Caswell House Wedding Venue

Caswell House 2017

Drinking games at weddings

Funny speeches at weddings

Dancing at a wedding

Caswell House Wedding Band

Caswell House Wedding Photography – Did you enjoy looking through Tilda and Iain’s wedding gallery?  This is only a small selection of the many hundreds of images I delivered.  If you’re getting married at Caswell House and would like me to cover your wedding then drop me a line.  You can message me via my contact page.

 

Stone Barn Summer Wedding Photography – Hana & Brad

Stone Barn Summer Wedding – Hana & Brad

Stone Barn Summer Wedding – Hana & Brad – It’s cold outside so let’s warm ourselves with a trip back to sunnier days!

I met up with Hana and Brad for the first time on the morning of the wedding at Crucis Park.  I’ve been to lots of prep venues and this was a stunner, a fabulous converted barn with views heading out over the Cotswolds.  They were getting ready in adjacent cottages so I was able to dash between the two to get my pics.  Beer and fussball for the boys, hair and makeup for the girls!

It wasn’t long before we were on the road to the beautiful Stone Barn near Aldsworth for the ceremony.  A few nervous smiles and a puff of the cheeks from Brad as he waited for his bride to make her way through the wooden barn doors.   You’ll see from the photos that Hana looked stunning, beaming from ear to ear throughout the vows and readings.

We headed outside and battled the hurricane force winds for a handful of portrait shots before returning indoors for the reception.  Hana and Brad are from New Zealand and many of their friends and family made the lengthy trip around the world to celebrate their special day.  Hilarious speeches, full of witty Kiwi anecdotes, these guys certainly knew how to entertain the crowd!

The drink started flowing, the dance floor was packed, the party kicked into top gear! Not forgetting the bride and groom piñatas who took one heck of a beating too!  This was a fantastic day and I was honoured to capture it all on camera!

It was also great to work with Sam from Offbeat Films on the day!

Stone Barn Summer Wedding

Guys getting ready for Stone Barn Wedding

Bride getting ready for Stone Barn Wedding

Bride chatting to dad before wedding

Groom waiting brides arrival

Stone Barn Indoor Ceremony

Stone Barn Summer Wedding

Table decor for a stone barn wedding

Cake ideas for a wedding in the Cotswolds

Speeches for a summer wedding at Stone Barn

First dance at Stone Barn with the bride and groom

Dancing at a Cotsowlds wedding venue

Stone Barn Summer Wedding

Stone Barn Summer Wedding

Stone Barn Summer Wedding

Stone Barn & Cripps Barn

Are you getting married at Stone Barn or Cripps Barn?  If you enjoyed viewing the images from Hana and Brad’s wedding the drop me a line.  It would be great to hear from you and chat about your day.

 

Rob Tarren Photography Weddings 2016 Review – Part Twelve

Rob Tarren Photography Weddings 2016 – Part Twelve

Rob Tarren Photography Weddings 2016 – And here we have it, the last blog post covering my 2016 wedding season!

What an incredible twelve months it has been! 62 weddings, nearly 47,000 images delivered and an endless number of smiles captured!  Looking back through the highlights I’ve shared on these pages has brought back many wonderful memories.  I always believe I’m incredibly privileged to perform the job I do, it’s a huge honour when asked to capture special memories of a couples most important day of their lives.

Thank you to all the amazing people who entrusted me to document their intimate celebrations during 2016.  I can’t wait for the 2017 season to begin!

Kathryn and Ben’s wedding was held at St Mary’s in Marshfield followed by the reception at The Great Tythe Barn. Holly and Bijan were married at Kingscote Barn near Tetbury.  Sarah and Joel celebrated their wedding day at Elmore Court near Gloucester.  Alice and Sam also staged their ceremony at Elmore Court.  Stephanie and Lawrence tied the knot at Tortworth Court near Bristol.  Stephanie and Robert’s big day was held at Hyde House near Stow on the Wold.  Ariadne and Jon’s wedding took place at Cripps Barn near Bibury.  Rachael and Hugo were married at St Mary’s Church in Painswick.  Their ceremony was held at Sheepscombe Village Hall.

Rob Tarren Photography Weddings 2016

Cotswold Winter Wedding-1

Cotswold Winter Wedding-1

Cotswold Winter Wedding-1

Bride and groom dancing at Cripps Barn

Cotswold Winter Wedding-4

Cotswold Winter Wedding-2

Cotswold Winter Wedding-16

Pets at Weddings

Bride getting ready before Cotswold Wedding

Cotswold Winter Wedding-9

 

Bride and groom laughing at best man speech

Cotswold Winter Wedding-8

Cotswold Winter Wedding-3

Cotswold Winter Wedding-12

Wedding Ceremony at Elmore Court

Rob Tarren Photography Weddings 2016

Groom giving speech at Hyde Barn

Bride getting ready before her wedding in Painswick

Man dancing at Elmore Court

Bride and groom posing at Hyde Barn

Friends chatting at a Torthworth Court wedding

Cotswold Winter Wedding-6

Wedding Ceremony at Torthworth Court near Bristol

Cotswold Winter Wedding-10

Black and white photos of bridal preparation

Cotswold Winter Wedding-15

Guests laughing at a wedding during the drinks reception

Cotswold Winter Wedding-7

Couples posing at Elmore Court

Groom playing a musical instrument at Elmore Court

Did you enjoy viewing my wedding review of 2016?  Are you getting married at any of the venues listed above and would like me to document your day? Drop me a line view my contact page to tell me all about your plans!

Click here for part 11 of my review of 2016.

Page 1 of 6712345...102030...Last »