One look at WPPI speaker and photographer Jason Vinson’s wedding work and these words immediately come to mind: bold, graphic, and unique. Vinson, who owns and runs Vinson Images in Arkansas with their wife Chasnie, is a master at taking ordinary moments and transforming them into artful, epic portraits.
But if I know one thing about this very talented photographer — who last year was named 1 of the 25 top wedding photographers in the world by Fearless — it’s that he loves a good challenge. So what has done lately to push himself and his skill set? He decided to take on wedding coverage using a smartphone. Yes, you hear that right — the Sony Xperia Pro-I to be exact.
“When I got my hands on the new Sony Xperia Pro-I, I knew I had to make it happen,” the photographer first revealed in his blog post on F-stoppers. “Not only is this phone equipped with one of the best cell phone cameras on the market, but it also has some standout features I felt would make shooting a wedding much more possible than past camera phones.”
One of those features, he says, is a 1-inch sensor that the high-end Sony point-and-shoot cameras have and that is paired to a 24mm lens. “The cool thing about this lens is that it is the one and only cell phone lens that is made of actual glass. So, between the larger sensor and glass lens, you have a very capable setup. ”
That made Vinson feel much more comfortable about having the phone be his one and only camera for the entire day, from wedding prep, all the way through to the end of the night. “As I was presented with tricky situations, I wouldn’t have my better camera to fall back on,” he explains.
He also says he didn’t expect a paying client to let him perform this experiment at their wedding so her reached out to some friends. “Zee Anna Photography was gracious enough to let me second shoot with them for a full day, and I made the wedding couple have a complete understanding of exactly what I was doing.”
At the beginning of the wedding day, Vinson says he used both available and continuous lights to experiment with scenes to capture some of his signature looks and was pretty happy with the results. “We started the day off with wedding prep, and I ended up using my Stella Pro Reflex S in constant mode and experimented with this off and on during the makeup application. Once things got moving, he went with natural light for the rest of the day, except for the reception.
“As soon as the reception started, I had to raise my ISO. The highest I ended up needing to go was ISO 640. There were times I would have normally chosen to go with a higher ISO, but I just chose a slower shutter speed than I’d normally choose and simply overshot a bit to make sure I got a sharp image. ”
For the first dance, here I wanted to make sure I had some type of light I could use. So, I checked with the lead photographer and video team to see if I could place a single light on the dance floor, but neither of them cared, so I could use the same setup I use for all my first dances, and that’s a single light placed behind the couple.
This gives me a nice rim light for the couple and some good bounced light to fill in the faces. And again, for this situation, I used the StellaPro Reflex S. For this setup, I had the light set to 2,000 lumens, which is 1 / 3rd power when working on the light’s battery.
When reflecting back on the day, does Vinson think his “little experiment” of undertaking wedding coverage with a smartphone was a success? “Yes,” he says. “At the end of the day, I was able to make a similar style slideshow that [Chasnie and I] make for all of our couples.
I’m quite proud of the images I was able to include from this shoot and I never felt like I had to search for filler images or leave out certain things because I wasn’t able to capture them well. I would have normally included a few more reception images, but I was still happy with what I got given the circumstances. ”
He continues: “Of course, I would never suggest giving up professional camera gear to shoot full time on a smartphone. “My little experiment just conveys that in an emergency, it is possible to capture gallery-worthy images on one.” And we all know what good problem solvers wedding photographers are on the fly when things go off plan at a wedding!