Are Zoom Lenses Back In Fashion?- Image of the Week #436

It’s funny how things always come back around again. When I first started in the wedding side of the photography industry, most people shot on Zoom lenses. The standard was 24-70 and 70-200.

If you think about it, these two lenses give you a huge focal range without any gaps from 24mm to 200 mm. They really were the workhorses in our kit bags and would between them cover every possible wedding day scenario.

Enter the Fine Art look to wedding photography and the industry shifted to favouring prime lenses. 35mm and 85mm become wedding photographers’ weapons of choice but what you gained in beautiful bokeh, you lost in range. So most photographers would also carry a few other lenses to fill in the gaps.

It’s fascinating to see how the photography industry and trends evolve over time. As technology advances and photographers experiment with different styles and techniques, it’s natural for preferences to shift. It’s interesting to hear that some photographers are returning to the versatility of zoom lenses.

Looking at what was borrowed from the Canon counter at a conference I attended this week, I could see lots of people taking the opportunity to try out their zoom lenses.

At our recent Thrive conference, destination photographer Lilly Red shot everything on the Canon 28-70 f2. Now Lilly is tiny and this is a beast of a lens but when I asked her about it, she said she would rather have that one lens than three others. As she travels a lot, it keeps her overall kit as compact as possible.

So it’s interesting for me to learn that Lena has used it here. We don’t actually get that many Zooms mentioned on these Images Of The Week. This is a gorgeous image, it’s ethereal and would make a terrific spread in an editorial somewhere. It could sell this dress in a heartbeat. Her red hair jumps out from the frame and gives this Ariel vibes – ‘Ariel but make it fashion‘.

If you read Lena’s chat on the story behind the image, you can see that she points out that maybe the composition could be improved, that a rule has been broken but I disagree with her that it could be improved. I think the hand to the face means that there isn’t a jarring horizon line going into her head.

It sounds like there was a lot going on in the environment around the shoot and that they have done an incredible job of creating something beautiful with multiple challenges to face.

Canon R6 | EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM (with 1/4 K&F pro mist filter)
ISO 100 | F/2.8 | 1/1000
Kim Heck Preset

What Lena said…

“The concept of folklore mythical Selkie was introduced to me by the dress designer – the super talented Corastitch. For this shoot, she picked the phenomenal model Eve Madeley to bring our vision to life.

…So yes – it’s again styled shoot by me, but this time it wasn’t my concept and I was simply invited to take part in it, which I’m really thankful for.

I take part in A LOT of shoots and I know that it’s a hot topic in our industry just now. Some say it’s cheating, while others shoot them tons (like me). Oh well – styled shoots teach me, allow me to experiment, allow me to have control over aesthetics, fully showcase what I resonate with, and allow me to give myself and fellow wedding suppliers good content which may influence our clients. So as long as the styled content is tagged, the description clearly says that it’s not a real wedding – simply ”don’t be a dick” and allow others to create without all the jealousy.

The day of the Selkie shoot started in a very intense way – with a hailstorm… It was a pretty painful experience on my face and I can’t express how badass Eve the model was. She embraced it! My fingers were numb from a cold wind so if you ask me how I took this picture or what were my thoughts behind it? I can’t tell a thing – 14 years of experience and pure instinct.

Looking at this image now I would DEFINITELY fix one hell of a common mistake (watch out I’m sharing wisdom now) the line of the horizon should never cut through a head. The composition would be way more impactful with lower or higher camera placement. It’s something that can’t be fixed now in Photoshop and it should have been planned while I was taking the photo (…but the hailstorm and numb fingers ;)) What saves my ass with this picture is a few things:

1. The actual horizon is less dominant than the lower-positioned rocks line. It works like a fake horizon line.
2. The F stop made the sea horizon blur enough 😛
3. The model’s hands are positioned vertically which breaks a bit of horizontal lines in this picture.

So let’s call this image an exception from the rule.

The Tech Talk

“I was for years using ONLY prime lenses, but when I started to work more and more as an independent main photographer (without 2nd shooter) I decided to help myself a bit and – zoom is great in giving this range of wide and close frames without the constant changing lens. So my go-to gear now is 2 R6s one with the 24-70 and another one with my good old Sigma ART 50mm.

Zoom is such a game-changer for me. The old EF24-70mm f/2.8L II USM with K&F pro mist filter is giving me instant reaction and a lot of room for artistry. I see lots of photographers using mist filters at the moment to get the hazy dreamy effects, and yes I can generate them too, but on 2.8 it’s not my main goal. I get softer skin, a bit journalistic look, more reminding me of film photography, especially in B&W edits. The filter is simply adding a bit of oomph to the good old 24-70 workhorse.”