Although I frequently see professional photographers working with two cameras, a practice which allows them to quickly switch between different focal lengths without having to bother with a physical lens swap, I have never gotten into this practice myself. I’ve always thought it required using two identical cameras for it to work smoothly, and given my current level of photography, I have no reason to own two DSLRs (plus there’s the expense). That’s not to say I don’t own more than one camera (albeit different makes and models), but I am usually using them one at a time, for different occasions, not interchangeably at the same event.
For Assignment Three, students were asked to use two cameras to photograph a couple as if in the final moments of a wedding ceremony, complete with the kiss and walk down the aisle. One camera was to have a telephoto lens attached, and the other a wide angle, facilitating the capture of moments that might be lost otherwise.
As expected, the primary challenge of the exercise was having to switch between cameras that differed in size, shape and operation. Although it was manageable, it did require a little time to become oriented after the switch; however, the difference was not significant enough that it defeated the entire purpose of the exercise. So more than likely I will use multiple cameras on an actual job, though I imagine only for times when I know I can’t afford to lose a moment to a lens change.
Since the assignment was more of an exercise to get used to the feel of using two cameras, I was able to have my subjects run through the kiss-and-walk scenario several times. It wasn’t until the last one that I started paying more attention to composition. Shooting down an aisle with a telephoto lens (in this case an 85mm) doesn’t offer many options, but I found moving off to one side to include a bit of foreground element created some depth that was lacking in the other shots.
The early moments of the walk down the aisle were also captured with the telephoto lens. Although the one I submitted is a bit on the effusive side, I chose it because it fit the “great moments” theme of the assignment.
My alternative would have been something more understated.
I admit I wasn’t as comfortable using the other camera. I didn’t quite know when to switch over to it and the wider perspective made creating a strong image more challenging. But honestly, in the moment I didn’t have time to think about anything other than trying to capture the couple as they walked by.
One thing I didn’t think about at the time was the deeper depth of field of the wide angle camera, because of the lens attached but also the camera’s specific format. In hindsight I could have gotten away with a larger aperture – on both the wide angle camera and the telephoto – to create more separation between the subjects and the background. Before I started the session I metered for a “safe” f/4.0 aperture and stuck with that throughout.
Overall this was a straightforward but enjoyable assignment, thanks in large part to my cooperative (and funny) friends Jake and Julie.