When choosing a photographer, their eye, ability to communicate, mastery of their camera and understanding of light are definitely the most important attributes to consider in order to determine if you want to work with them, but if you are a bit of a tech nerd like I am, its is always nice to know what you photographer is used to working with and the reason why they use each piece of equipment as I find each photographer’s bag differs slightly from the rest. SO lets take a look into my backpack!
When I first started in photography, I borrowed my sister’s Nikon D5300 for a trip to Alberta and absolutely loved it! So when it came time to buy my own camera I naturally gravitated towards a Nikon starting with a D3300. Eventually I upgraded to a D7100 and then to the current system I have: The Nikon D750. This camera is one of the best ones in the industry for wedding photographers. They are great in low light situations (aka every wedding reception I have ever been to) and what is more important it has two memory card slots. These two slots are super important and the main reason I love this camera, as it gives me peace of mind that I can instantaneously backup every photo I take, the moment I hit that shutter button. While I have never had a memory card die on me, I still have a lot of confidence in my ability the day of the wedding knowing that I always have two copies of each image.
On a similar train of thought, you will rarely see me shooting with only one camera as I love use two bodies so that I can quickly change from my wide angle lens to my long lens, but my camera bodies do not stop there, as I have a third D750 that I keep with me in case of an issue with either one of my main bodies.
Of these I have a lot, and I will get into why I have each one and how I use them. The one thing you will notice is that all my lenses are from Tamron, as I have found the quality to be extremely high, while being priced significantly lower than the Nikon equivalent.
In terms of my lens preference, there are often two groups in the photography world: those who shoot with zoom lenses; and those that use prime lenses, and I am – primarily – one of the latter. I shot with these lenses because I like having the fixed focal lengths that force me to consider the frame and the only thing that changes is how close I am to the subject and how I position the subject in the frame, meaning my framing is more intentional and controlled.
- 35mm: great for up close detail shots and further away landscape/environment shots, you will usually see this lens on my left shoulder strap during a wedding as I love to show what is going on throughout the day.
- 85mm: this lens is easily my favourite toy in my bag. I will use this to capture the up close moments in a day, while still maintaining my distance from the event and not getting completely in anyone’s personal space.
- 90 macro: My macro lens is amazing at capturing all of the smaller details in your big day! Specifically I use this lens to get those close up shots of rings on a wedding day.
- 135mm: This is probably my heaviest lens, but the one that gives the best overall look! I primarially use this during receptions, as it gives me the ability to capture great photos in low light, while also sitting back and let the photo journalism take over as I document the dancing and events of the evening.
- 70-200mm: While this was my first professional lens, I admittedly use this one the least these days, but I do use it in cases where I want to stand at the back of the room and get up close, while also being able to capture some of the environment.
- 24-70mm: another zoom lens focuses on the wide angle side, and I actually keep this as a backup on a wedding day in case something happens to my 35mm or 45mm lenses. At the same time, I will often bring this lens with me when I travel as it gives me every focal point I need while hiking, or visiting new places. It zooms out to provide great landscape images, while also zooming in to work well as a portrait lens.
- 15-30mm: my last zoom, I will use 5-10 times throughout the wedding day. I use it to capture as much of the environment as possible (ceremony, reception, etc)
- 45mm: Finally I have my 45mm lens, which I mainly use as an everyday lens when I am walking the street as it is a good balance of in between the wide and long angle. This being said, it is also a good backup to my 35mm lens as it gives a similar field of view in a pinch.
While it is easy to label oneself as a “natural light photographer” a lot of weddings do not occur in natural light – both for the ceremony and the reception – and in these situations photographers need to utilize their on and off camera flash skills in order to properly expose an images.
In this area, I have enough equipment to beautifully light any reception hall using my:
- Godox V860ii: I have four of these little guys and they are great on camera and also have wireless transmitters built in to work off camera too, meaning that I can set up and control the light in the room from the top of my camera!
- Godox AD200: From the same family as the V860iis, but with 3 times the power and the two that I have are extremely helpful in any event space with super high ceilings as they are powerful enough to spread light across an entire dance floor.