Andrew Dobell Wedding Photography

Hi, I'm Andrew Dobell, im a wedding photographer based in Surrey, close to London, Kent and Hampshire in the south east of England, offering photography services to the UK and aboard.

You can find my website at www.andrewdobell.com where you can find further info and contact details should you wish to get in touch.

You might also be interested in my Google+ profile and a Facebook Page.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Inspirational wedding at Woodlands Park Hotel in Surrey - Catherine & Chris

It was a huge honor to photograph the wedding of Catherine and Chris at Woodlands Park Hotel in Surrey this year. I first met them at a wedding a couple of years ago, and took some shots of them on the dance floor.

They loved those shots and so asked me to do their wedding.

Catherine has a condition that means she's pretty much wheelchair bound. She can walk for a couple of minutes before she needs to sit, otherwise she feints.
Seeing her walk down that isle for her wedding day was amazing.

Here's a couple of photos.

Woodlands Park Hotel Wedding Photography in Surrey

Woodlands Park Hotel Wedding Photography in Surrey

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

My Switch to Mirrorless - Olympus OMD - 1 month in.

Yes, this is another Camera Gear Blog post. Sorry.   :-)

So a little over a month ago I made the choice to switch to a Mirrorless Camera system.

My reasons were probebly the same as many opthers who have also made the switch, with my health being the primary reason.
I suffer with pain in my shoulders and upper back which almost certainly has to do with carrying heavy camera equipment around for hours on end.
With a busy summer coming up, it really was time for me to make a choice on what I wanted to do.

The growing mirrorless market had been drawing my attention for a while, and when I saw the spec's on the new EM5 Mark 2 from Olympus, I finally had what I hoped would be the camera for me.

And, after a test drive at my local camera store, I was convinced that this was the direction to go in.

So, I have had my EM5-2 for a little over a month now, I've shot a few pre weds, a wedding, some commercial work, some portraits and done some personal shoots too. It's even done some travelling with me on a short family break.
Pretty much the full range of my usual work, so, how does it handle? What are my thoughts?

Well, basically speaking I'm thrilled with it.
Sure, it was a worry, switching to this tiny little camera, switching to a totally different brand. But I really needn't have worried. This thing has performed amazingly well, and has risen to every challenge that's been thrown at it.
So, let's break it down.

Image Quality
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, how do the images look?
I am really impressed with the files this thing creates.
They're 16mb files, and they really are lovely looking. One of the first things I did when i got the camera was to shoot some high ISO stuff and look at the noise. And the impression I got from looking at those files at 100% magnification and closer, was that the noise is actually really film like and natural looking. It looks like film grain, not digital noise.
The files handle really well in lightroom as well.
I'm used to working with my Nikon files, which are great in post, Nikon's files have amazing latitude and you can really push them and they will not degrade.
I also process a lot of Canon files as many of my assistants use Canon.
To my mind, Canon's files are much less forgiving then Nikon's, they degrade quicker and don't allow for you to push them as much before the noise etc really becomes too much.
That said, Canon's skin tones are far superior to Nikon's which always seem to have a colour cast to them.
So, how do the Olympus files compare?
Well, to me, they're much better then Canon files when it comes to processing latitude, and are pretty close to Nikons. I'm not sure they're better then Nikon's, I think they don't quite reach the ability of the Nikon files when you really push them, but it's really close.
Also, the colours are really nice, the skin tones are great. There's a good amount of dynamic range to them and they retain a good amount of detail in the shadows and highlights.
Over all, they're great.

Handling
I have fairly small hands, and don't suffer from having huge fingers that mash several buttons on small devices. And the EM5-2 is a very small camera.
I have read a lot about some photographers not dealing well with the small size and I can see how this might be an issue, although it's one that would be somewhat mitigated if you got the battery grip.
The hand position is a little different, but I am certainly used to it by now.
For me, the camera sit's nicely in my hand and the light weight of it is a revelation.
Just the other day I picked up my D800 after not having used it for weeks, and the size of that thing in my hand is huge, and it's really heavy.
Pretty much all the buttons and dials on the camera are very very customizable, and I can set them to pretty much anything I want.
I'm used to certain buttons being in certain places and doing certain things, and this camera allows me to put those features in the places that feel right and natural to me, while still having room to add in new features as well. So I can now shoot, and change any setting that I would normally change without taking the camera from my eye, and I also get to see how that effects the image as I make the change.

Features
The features of this puppy are amazing. One of the biggest things for me was the silent shutter.
being able to shoot silently is a huge deal, and something I got to test out at at the wedding I shot recently at the front of a tiny church. I could shoot without making any noise at all. In fact, I was more worried about my assistant at the back of the church.
But even without the silent shutter engaged, this camera is really quiet. It's natural shutter sounds is very muted and in all but the quietest of environments might as well be silent anyway for all the noise it makes.
But there's so much more to this camera.
The in body stabilization is staggeringly good, and given how it works with any lens, it is amazing.
On a recently family trip we got caught int he rain, ad the camera did end up getting wet, but did it skip a beat? Nope, this thing is a hardy little beast.
The "What you see is what you get" (WYSIWYG) Electronic View Finder (EVF) is excellent, being able to see what I will be getting BEFORE I take the shot is again, a revelation. I find myself shooting on Manual much more these days as I know just by looking through the EVF or at the rear screen that it's looking good.
And thats another thing. I used to think, before I started shooting with this, that i would still shoot with the camera up to my eye the whole time.
And while that's broadly true, I do find that I shoot with the camera away from my face a fair amount, more then I had thought I would anyway. And as it's so light, it's easy to shoot like this.
The focus peaking is also great! Now I can shoot on manual focus and I get a visual cue as to whats in focus and what isn't. Also, the Macro ability of the 12-40mm 2.8 lens is great too. I can shoot the wedding rings really close up with this lens no need for a Macro lens.
There's more, but thats all that spring to mind right now.

Perception
One thing that I am still somewhat aware of is the perception of taking of this tiny camera when i do a shoot.
I do find myself watching people as I take it out the bag and find it amusing to watch the look on their faces. I did a Commercial job the other day and I did find it amusing to see the look on the guys face when I openned up my bag and pulled out the camera.
It's a small camera, and the perception of a Pro is that they should be using a big camera.
I've seen this reaction a few time now, and it never fails to amuse me.
But, it's quickly forgotten and within  moments the subject has moved on and is no longer wondering why your camera is so small.
There is still a fair amount of prejudice within the industry too, and from the comments on social media, many people seem to be reluctant to consider the idea of switching.
The arguments are basically similar to some of the worries that I had before I switched, all of which are unfounded.
It's funny because these same nay-sayers all seem fascinated by Mirrorless, they all say they're curious and interested and will maybe consider it in a few years time.

I say, get on board now.
Jump in, the water's lovely!

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