The Benefits of Shooting Mirrorless as a Wedding Photographer

A close-up of a person's hands adjusting the settings on a sony DSLR camera, focusing on the dials and lens. the background is blurred, highlighting the details of the camera.

We switched to shooting mirrorless as wedding photographers as soon as we were able to accomplish everything we wanted to accomplish without compromising our photos. For us, this meant waiting until we had a lighting set-up that worked for us, and as soon as we solved that we pulled the trigger. Now, having shot mirrorless for a handful of wedding seasons I can’t imagine going back.

Our camera system is lightweight and fast, I make fewer exposure mistakes and have even fewer sharpness problems, and the silent shutter is really nice to have in various circumstances. Below I’ll talk through each of these benefits in depth and even provide some insight for leveling up your work. Maybe it feels like cheating, but so did the switch from film to digital.

In fact, the easier our tools are the use the more time and energy we can spend being creative. In wedding photography, you only get one chance to capture certain moments, but that should not mean we play it too safe. With the efficiency and reliability of shooting mirrorless, we don’t have to.

Lightweight Camera System

For me, weight is the main reason I needed to switch to mirrorless. My gear has always been a tool to make me better at what I do and the lighter my gear is the faster and more efficiently I can move around. Not to mention that after shooting weddings for over a decade the wear and tear on my body appreciates it too.

We’re always on the go often shooting adventurous couples and we don’t want to slow down the day or miss a moment. I want to be able to have everything I need on my body at all times so that I never miss a moment because I can’t carry what I need. Additionally, the smaller camera bodies put less of a barrier between me and my subject.

With mirrorless cameras, the lenses are smaller because the camera doesn’t have a mirror. Sony has one of the largest lineups of lenses especially if you include the third-party options. It can be overwhelming to choose, especially if you’re making a switch versus starting as a new photographer, but there are some great options at a variety of price points.

Mirrorless camera body size has increased over time but the newer ones are packed with features. You don’t have to worry about tiny batteries that don’t last or small controls that are difficult to use. At this point in the evolution, mirrorless cameras are a nice balance of small and lightweight with functionality and user experience.

Top view of photography equipment and hiking gear laid out on a wooden floor, including a backpack, camera, lenses, GPS, water bottle, and hydration pack.

Fewer Mistakes

Beyond the importance of the compact camera system, another big bonus of shooting mirrorless on a wedding day is that you make fewer mistakes. This is huge for wedding photographers because we often only get one shot. With the mirrorless system, there’s no more guessing at your exposure from the meter in the camera — instead, you look at the photo you’re taking before you take it.

This means that you can make faster and more accurate exposure settings. This also helps you see the effects of your adjustments in real-time. Speed and accuracy are part of the reason I love the lightweight system and the system itself increases speed and accuracy even more.

Even if you think you don’t need the extra help or you see it as cheating, there are other advantages. You might find yourself getting more creative with the ability to visualize silhouettes or blown-out backdrops. The photography learning curve has gotten even faster, not only don’t you have to wait to develop your film, you can see what adjustments to make without taking a photo.

A couple embraces at dusk in Yosemite valley, with the iconic granite cliffs and a soft pink sunset in the background.

Silent Shutter

Another bonus of shooting mirrorless is that there are no more shutter sounds disrupting quiet intimate moments. People no longer react every time you take a photo ruining the candid emotions because they don’t know when you’re taking a photo. It’s great because you can shoot as much as you like without feeling self-conscious if you shoot a lot. Of course, this can lead to over-shooting which can be bad too!

Silent shutter isn’t all good news, it doesn’t do well indoors. Be very cautious here as it can easily ruin your photos if you use it at the wrong time. Just remember not to rely on it but rather see it as a bonus when it works.

Using the silent shutter can lead to distortion if you use long lenses so be careful of that too. Since the sensor reads line by line if the subject is moving it can lead to a warped image. Regardless of the challenges of the silent shutter, it’s much more stealthy than even the quiet shutter mode on some cameras and is a fun tool in your tool belt.

A couple stands together at night overlooking the illuminated half dome at yosemite national park, under a starry sky.

Autofocus and More

There are incredible innovations in mirrorless cameras that have left DSLRs in the dust. Autofocus was the biggest shift — you can now tap to track a subject and have the camera recognize eyes and faces even in animals. Nailing sharpness is more reliable than ever.

Autofocus is incredible for both photo and video autofocus and it’s highly customizable based on your situation. You can utilize small area spot focusing to full frame tracking of moving subjects. Fast photo and video frame rates allow you to capture fast-paced action with images or in slow-motion video

The main challenge when switching was finding a lighting system, we now use an inexpensive Godox system that works great. Once we switched it also became possible for us to offer video add-ons to our photo packages as a husband and wife team of dual shooters. Mirrorless cameras are a great option for photo/video hybrid shooters with different models making switching between the two even easier.

Shooting Mirrorless as a Wedding Photographer

In summary, the main features I am really thankful to have with my mirrorless camera system are the silent shutter, fast autofocus, and lightweight/compact setup. These are all great benefits to consider as they benefit wedding photographers.

I love that the lenses are much more compact & lightweight, it allows me to carry a bag full of prime lenses without having so much weight, especially if you opt for the slightly less expensive lenses. With a mirrorless system, you get more images in focus in a faster amount of time, the camera rarely misses and I don’t have to wonder if images are sharp. And silent shutter is a lifesaver for small events where I get self-conscious of my shutter sound, it allows me to focus on shooting instead of wondering if I’m distracting guests.

Overall, shooting mirrorless as a wedding photographer is awesome. And better yet you can get into a used system at a great price with the availability of quality gear. Whether you’re just getting started and trying to find the right system to shoot or are looking to switch, any of these benefits might just tempt you to switch.

About the author: Brenda Bergreen is a Colorado wedding photographer, videographer, yoga teacher, and writer who works alongside her husband at Bergreen Photography. With their mission and mantra “love. adventurously.” they are dedicated to telling adventurous stories in beautiful places.