Photographers use various techniques to shoot weddings, but can you shoot a wedding with a crop sensor? To capture these precious moments on camera, you only have one time to get it right. Therefore, if you’re thinking of using a crop sensor, it’s imperative to know ahead of time if this is a good idea.

You can shoot a wedding with a crop sensor. The techniques you use for these particular lenses will be different than what you would use for a full-frame. This is because of the difference in the field of view. You would need to use a high-quality crop sensor camera for wedding photography as well.

There are many ways to use a crop sensor for weddings. Proceed with the guide below to see all you need to know about using this particular technique to capture these beautiful once in a lifetime moments.

Reasons to Use a Crop Sensor for Wedding Photos

There are plenty of reasons to use a crop sensor for wedding photography. Have you ever seen a photo where the bride and groom were the focal points of the picture? The background was nearly non-existent, aside from a few colors and blurs. This photo was most likely taken with a crop sensor.

A crop sensor camera is ideal for a wedding shoot because it makes the focal point the primary focus. The focal point is not drowned out by any background images.

Here are several examples where a crop sensor would be ideal within a wedding setting:

  • The Bride and Groom both getting ready for the wedding.
  • The ring exchange.
  • The Groom's face when the Bride is walking down the aisle.
  • The Bride's reaction when she sees the Groom.
  • Capturing the detail of the wedding cake.
  • Any photos of the guest book or entries you think should be photographed.
  • The flower girl and ring bearer.
  • Flower and décor detail.
  • The Bride and Groom's reaction to the exit toss.

As you can see, these photos mainly have to do with details. This particular lens provides a narrower field view while enlarging the focal point. That alone helps the camera capture the detail you otherwise wouldn't be able to outside of the use of a crop sensor.

The Pros and Cons of Using a Crop Sensor Camera for Weddings

Of course, just like everything else, there are pros and cons to using a crop sensor camera.

Pros of Using a Crop Sensor Camera

The shoots you can do with these types of lenses are phenomenal! Here are a few advantages that the crop sensor camera has to offer:

  • Higher pixel density
  • Longer focal length
  • High field depth
  • Enhanced detail of faraway objects or people
  • Budget-friendly
  • Lightweight
  • Fills the photo with the primary focal point

Now you can see why these would be beneficial to shoot a wedding. These advantages are well-suited for an event such as a wedding where you want to capture the essence of what is happening. Crop Sensor cameras will do that!

Cons of Using a Crop Sensor Camera

Just as there are pros to using a crop sensor camera, there are also cons.

Some of these cons include:

  • It crops at the center of the photo rather than at the outside.
  • It has a narrow-angle view.
  • It has low light absorption, so a lot of pictures come out a bit darker than intended.
  • In this case, you will need a flash or an AF lamp.

Although some of the negative aspects of the crop sensors are not preferred, there are ways to work around them. Don’t let the cons of these types of sensors drive you away from these fantastic camera additions.

Techniques for Using Crop Sensors to Photograph a Wedding

Since crop sensor lenses function a bit differently from full-frame lenses, your approach to the photo needs to be different. For instance, since this sensor crops the picture at the center, you want to make sure the focal point of the photo is at the center, or within the area of cropping.

Another example of this is the bride and groom portraits. If you have them both standing outside, and you want to capture the color of the background, there are a few things you need to do:

  • Keep the couple in the cropped frame.
    • You could have them within the side of the frame so that the background is also brought in. The environment will not overshine the couple as they are the main focal point.
  • Purchase a crop sensor for portraits.
    • There are a variety of types of crop sensors! There are ones used for wildlife only for example, while others are only used for portraits.
  • Stand about 1 to 2 feet further away than you would for a typical full-frame photo.
    • The reason you want to stand further back is because the field of depth is more significant. This means that the focal point within the photo also enlarges. If you stand too close, this could be very unflattering, and the shoot won’t turn out as intended.
  • Use lighting.
    • Since crop sensors do not absorb as much light, the photos come out darker. If you use lighting, it will help to brighten the picture, and it will turn out perfectly.
  • Check the angle before you shoot.
    • While certain angles are great with a full-frame, they may be very unflattering for a crop sensor. If you’re shooting a portrait where you are looking up at the wedding party, make sure you check how the enlargement looks. You may need to take a step or two back.

Taking Photos of the Wedding Party with a Crop Sensor

While this type of sensor is ideal for solo and couple’s portraits, is it suitable for a group photo? While it’s not the best choice, you can use an extra-wide lens on the camera and make it work. If the width is too narrow, this will cause issues such as cut-offs. It may also cause a sort of compact look to the turnout of the picture.

If you shoot this same photo with an extra-wide lens, it will create room in your photo. Room is essential because it gives you space to shift people around and make the necessary changes.

The lighting for a group photo should be different since it's a broader area that needs to be lit, unless, of course, you're using natural outdoor lighting. In the case of a group photo, you may want a softbox or an umbrella.

Also, extra lighting should be used behind a group of people. Having additional lighting placed behind the group allows light to illuminate the spaces that are between people. Having that illumination will create a spacing effect, thus making the picture appear less compact.

The Best Crop Sensors to Use for Shooting Weddings

Nikon D7200

The Nikon D7200 camera ranges from 18mm to 140mm, which makes it a great all-in-one camera! It’s easy to use and works great for beginners. Also, it has a high-quality image output. This allows you to have a full-frame and a crop sensor camera within the same piece of equipment.

This particular kit includes:

  • Sandisk 64 MB Ultra SDHC SD Memory Card
  • 67mm Telephoto Lens (off-brand manual lens)
  • Cleaning Kit
  • Storage Bag

It also includes a variety of different filters and gadgets.

Nikon D500

This Nikon D500 camera link is only for the body, so you will need to purchase the battery and the lens. However, this camera performs well and is just fantastic! You'll likely not miss anything with the type of autofocus featured.

Don't mistake this camera's size and lightweight as a flaw. The images it captures are phenomenal. Colorful photos, even with subjects in motion will really pop. This camera technically has a CMOS sensor, but it takes the same photos as a crop sensor camera.

Here are some of the specs:

  • 20.9 MP DX Format
  • 10 FPS shooting for up to 200 frames
  • 153 point autofocus with 99 cross type which spreads across the sensor
  • High-resolution tilt touchscreen
  • Built in Wifi and Bluetooth
  • You can upload photos into a cloud without having to print

Overall, the ability to compose is good and the dynamic range is great for an APS-C body.

Pentax K-3II DSLR

The Pentax K-3II camera is terrific for capturing motion. It’s also great for quality still shots. Both are important when shooting a wedding. The scroll wheels on the front and back fit the hand naturally. The displays are all intuitive and easy to navigate.

A few things about this item:

  • 24 effective MP
  • Built in GPS
  • Pixel shift reduction
  • Sharp images
  • High quality photos
  • Dual SD card slot

That most awesome benefit about this camera that the others don’t offer is that it is weather sealed. If you happen to be shooting on a rainy day, your equipment will not get ruined.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind When Searching for a Crop Sensor Camera to Shoot a Wedding

Here are a few additional tips if you’ve decided to purchase a crop sensor camera to shoot your weddings with:

  • Of course, not all cameras will say, “Crop Sensor” on them. It’s best to look at the stats of the camera to see the frame it shoots.
  • You should use an additional extra wide lens. This is because crop sensors’ frames are more narrow than full-frame photos. The wide lens will help to capture all of what you want to be included in that particular photo.
  • All crop sensor cameras shoot differently than one another. Take care to research and read about the camera before purchasing it so that you’re not surprised by any features it includes.
  • Find a camera that is great at taking motion photos, as well as still photos. Some crop sensors are great at one or the other. Some of them are great at both! This all just depends on your personal preference and your comfortability of use.

How Does a Crop Sensor Differ from a Full Frame Camera for Wedding Photography?

With a crop sensor, you are focusing on the object or person you want to photograph. On the other hand, with a full-frame, you are focusing on the entire scene. Using a group photo as an example, if you want to capture the details of each person of the group, a crop sensor will make sense. However, if you’re going to photograph the group within the environment, you would want to use a full-frame.

Another example of the difference would be if you were to photograph the ring exchange. In a full-frame picture, you will see:

  • The Altar
  • The person who is uniting the couple, whether it’s a pastor, or someone else
  • The bride and groom
  • Possibly the wedding party depending on where you stand to take the photo
  • Flowers

This will encapture everything in the background to allow the picture to sort of portray the entire scene at hand.

In a Crop Sensor photo:

  • You won’t be able to make out the details of the background.
  • You won’t see the person uniting the couple.
  • You won’t see the wedding party or the flowers.
  • You may see people, but they will be blurred into the background.
  • You’ll be able to make out the details of the ring and the faces of the bride and groom.
  • You may even be able to see the details of the rings, depending on the angle that you shoot from.
  • Everything will be enlarged in a way that the details will be apparent.

Crop sensors are ideal for detail you want to come through clearly, which is why they’re great for shooting a wedding!

Using a Crop Sensor and a Full Frame Interchangeably For Wedding Shoots

Both crop sensors and full-frame have different benefits to offer. You cannot make a full-frame do what a crop sensor does. You also cannot make a crop sensor do what a full-frame does. So, what do you do in this situation? You use both!

You will often find that professional photographers carry around multiple:

  • Cameras
  • Lenses
  • Sensors
  • Several of the same type of cameras, just different brands
  • Different lighting styles

Very rarely will you ever see a photographer with just one camera or one type of lighting.

There may be times when you show up to a wedding expecting to use your full-frame only to realize that it’s not going to capture the details you want. This situation is a prime example of why it’s great to have several cameras or sensors on hand.

Since it is a wedding, you don't have the chance to retake a shot that you miss. Given, if it’s during the portrait sessions, you can tweak the scene as needed. However, if the Bride is actively walking down the aisle, you don’t have the room to use the wrong technique.

Another great reason to have more than one camera is equipment failure. There have been times where photographers have found themselves in between a rock and a hard place because their camera had stopped working.

If you had the backup cameras on you, there is no reason to worry if this happens! Also, back up batteries that are charged would be of great help as well. Anything you can do to be prepared, you should do it! Even if that means bringing a full-frame and a crop sensor as well.

Crop Sensor Cameras Are One of the Preferred Styles of Cameras to Use for Weddings

There are many photographers who prefer a crop sensor camera over a full-frame for shooting weddings. Some professionals swear by the crop sensors’ ability to capture the detail you otherwise wouldn’t find within other sensors.

Although, most professionals swear that a crop sensor is the best way to capture details and the emotions into your photos, it ultimately depends on you and your style. After all, weddings are precious moments that deserve to be caught with every aspect possible.

It’s a better idea to bring both a crop sensor and a full-frame, especially if you’re more comfortable with this arrangement. This way, you won’t miss any of the critical details in your photos, and you will have satisfied clients on their big, happy day.