Touch of glass

If there is one thing I am asked about most; it’s lenses. In particular, which lenses do I use and how do I use them. The simple answer is I use the lens that best fits the shoot or will give me the ‘look’ I am after. For portraits, I gravitate towards longer lenses to give a compressed image, but that’s not to say I don’t use wide-angle lenses also. It really depends on the look I’m trying to create or what the client has asked for.

Josh Davie portraits

Interior shoots typically require wide angles, but this shouldn’t be over-done. The widest view I have is 16mm – any wider and I believe the distortion caused (by a fisheye, for example) becomes a dominant factor in the shot rather than the subject matter. That said, there are plenty photographers who have used this technique with great results.

Royal Troon, Clubhouse

During a golf course shoot, I carry two camera bodies – one attached to a telephoto lens and the other sporting a wide-angle lens. This approach has a number of advantages. Firstly, I don’t have to change lenses in the middle of a shoot, which means I don’t lose valuable time swapping lenses just as the sun reaches the optimum point in the sky or when a break appears in the cloud clover. This two-gun strategy also means my cameras remain essentially dust-free as I don’t expose their inner workings to the elements.

Murrayfield Golf Club

Having two bodies with contrasting lenses also means I am able to take a variety of shots from the same viewpoint. For instance, after taking a wide view that includes a sunset and the approach to a green, I can swap cameras and take a detailed shot of the undulations on the green. This, in turn, gives my clients a variety of ‘looks’ from which to select their final portfolio of images.

Auchterarder Golf Club

Most important of all, I carry out a lot of research before purchasing a lens. For me, sharpness and contrast are fundamental to my photography, so my lenses must deliver on these fronts. The lenses I select are therefore the best in their class.

More specifically, here is a list of the lenses I use:

  • Canon EF 70-200 mm F/4.0 L IS USM
  • Canon EF 24-105 mm f/4L IS II USM
  • Canon EF 16-35 mm f/2.8L II USM
  • Canon EF 100 mm f/2.8 Macro USM

I pair these with two camera bodies:

  • Canon 5D Mark IV full-frame digital SLR
  • Canon 5D Mark III full-frame digital SLR