Zelda Rhiannon is a professional wedding and family lifestyle photographer based in South Wales and describes her style as “emotive storytelling”, capturing images as they unfold. In February she had the opportunity to attend a wedding photography workshop in Venice and we asked her to take the new SIGMA 24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | Art lens with her. In this article Zelda shares her experience of Love & Art in Venice!
Love and Art in Venice! Featuring the SIGMA 24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | Art
by Zelda Rhiannon Philp
When I saw the a workshop was being held in Venice, I could not resist signing up fast! Being part Italian, and always wanting to visit Venice this was the perfect opportunity for me to not only learn about photographing destination weddings and have the chance to photograph a beautiful newly married couple in such a beautiful setting, but to also explore this wonderful and unusual city! The added bonus was that we would be in Venice during the carnival! Even more exciting!
I am not the most technical person, so when it comes to the technical details of photography equipment I am not an expert, and will never pretend to be. But, I am creative. I know what I want to achieve from the visions I have in my mind. I see light, I see shadow, and I see how a subject might look perfect giving me the perfect image. I just need to make it happen by using the tools I have to my best ability. My camera is a Nikon D750 and I find this a great camera for both weddings and family shoots. On this workshop I was very much looking forward to using it with the SIGMA 24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | Art lens.
When photographing weddings I have my lenses I prefer to use, and the one I find myself using a lot, is the 24-70 lens. Until shooting weddings I found myself preferring primes, especially for portraits and family sessions, and I do use primes during a wedding, (particularly the 85mm for portraits) but soon found I needed the versatility of the 24-70 much more.
So taking the SIGMA 24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | Art lens with me to Venice felt very exciting indeed! I have the SIGMA 50mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art lens and absolutely love the quality of images I take with it, so I was very interested to see how SIGMA’s 24-70 would match up in terms of image quality, sharpness of my subject and softness of background.
On the first day the setting for our shoot was a beautiful courtyard below the apartment in which our training was taking place. It had been styled by Lola of Walnut and Willow and the bouquets and table arrangements were just stunning!
Our newlyweds Jude and Neil were a dream to photograph and the light this afternoon created some great opportunities. I particularly wanted to see how the SIGMA 24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | Art lens would lend itself to taking portraits. Often during a wedding things happen fast, scenes change quickly, and I might move from a wide angle shot to seeing a perfect portrait opportunity and needing to take it “in the moment” using the same lens. I wouldn’t usually want to use my 24-70mm lens for portraits, much preferring my 85mm prime, but I was keen to see how this lens would perform on this task.
This is where I was really impressed. I love to use primes wide open at F1.4 as it gives me such lovely background blur, the style I personally love. So how would this 24-70 mm F2.8 lens compare?
With the aperture wide open at F2.8, I took several shots of Jude and Neil as portraits and was very impressed with the softness of background I was able to achieve with this lens! In fact these images are some of my favourite I took during the 2 days shoot.
Jude and Neil remain beautifully sharp in the images giving me portraits I am very pleased with. On day 2 we met in Piazza St.Marco at 6.45am! It was still dark and there were just us and the pigeons! The pretty lit walkway with it’s stunning marble pillars was the scene for our first shot of the morning. This was the prefect opportunity for some silhouette images (I could see these in black and white) I was also able to take some closer images of Jude and Neil, in the dim morning light I love the moody feel to them!
The sun began to rise pretty quickly from there and we moved to the moorings of the gondolas, and Doge’s Palace, now THIS was the shot I wanted most of all!
The setting was incredible, the light was outstanding, and the SIGMA 24-70mm DG OS HSM | Art lens did not disappoint!
One of my favorite images of the day was when I saw Neil take out his phone to get a quick selfie of him and Jude both with the pigeons flying around them. It’s candid moments like this that I look for and I need to act fast to capture them. I’m so glad I got this shot! It’s a real moment, and one that brings a smile to the face.
I felt so pleased with the images I was able to take with this lens. From wide angle shots to environmental portraits to close up portraits, this lens was able to lend itself to each beautifully.
I used to feel that a 24-70mm lens was somewhat “boring” and “unexciting”. But nevertheless, an essential lens for shooting a wedding. What I got with this particular 24-70mm lens however, was far from unexciting. I love it. It is a lens I would use at weddings not just because it is reliable, but because it delivers me beautiful images! I can trust this lens, both technically and creatively.
My findings are, after using the SIGMA 24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM |Art, is that I don’t want to shoot a wedding without this lens!
Oh, and I recommend Venice to anyone who hasn’t been, I simply fell in love with it!