Be Fearless with Your Gear Part 1


Documentary Wedding Photography: Capturing Reality


Lesson Info

Be Fearless with Your Gear Part 1

It's really interesting when we talk about gear because it's to me gear is a necessity of course I cannot just walk around, do this and take people's pictures and then sketch them for them they won't like that but you know it's I don't I don't buy the newest greatest fanciest stuff I have lenses in this bag that are eleven years old and their beat toe all beat nous and make up words on dh you know it's just you know but it it gets the job done and as soon as the gear doesn't get the job done or something a little bit better that's going to help me really with my with my job comes out then I'll buy new gear but I hate buying new gear I love getting it right we all love that right it's like brand new box and new lenses they all feel good like I use like my assistance gear sometimes I'm like so so this is how a lens is supposed to feel like mine's all like you know just worn out and everything but it's like it's like you know in the end like it's not really about the gear right? Like quit...

e frankly yesterday is what it's about it's about mental right? So so to me photography is like, you know, ninety percent lock you in ten percent skill but it's like ninety percent mental right, it's all about how you make decisions and how you work and how you in and how you maneuver things, but it's it's not just about, like, buying all of the best gear, right? But there are some things that are essential to making it happen, right? You know? So we're going to dive into that and get into my get into my bag a little bit. So I am I put this picture up here for a reason, right? Um, you know, I I've had a really interesting path with my gear and my gear uses and my gear choices. S o when I was at newspapers had two cameras on me and I had on average, I had, like, maybe a sixteen to thirty five zoom wide angle zoom two point eight and I had a seventy, two hundred two point exume, right? And I eventually went to like a a twenty millimeter, two point eight for some reason, I'm not sure why it was same lenses in the sixteen thirty five maybe it was smaller, I don't know, but that's all I shot with that newspapers so I I've actually never even owned, and I still don't own fifty millimeter lens, I personally find it boring is a fifty moment or lenses what you was what your eyes see basically and I'm always like well why don't I want to show everybody what they can already see that was my theory behind it and I just think it's like visual for boring this in my opinion but a lot of people are going tio say they don't believe me on that but that's okay so basically everything from like thirty five toe like seventy and I pretty much used my two hundred back then like at two hundred right? So everything from like thirty five toe like two hundred I never even shot at I was always really wide a really tight with really wide meaning white angle tight meaning telephoto type thing and so and then I and then I got into wedding photography I'm trying to remember exactly what I want but I so then I bought I bought there's a company up there called news where and they make these really great belts right? I now have sense amusing the think tank belt which I like better but I bought this news where belt and had all these pouches right and I had two cameras but I would load him up with every lens that I owned and I was like I got this like anything anything that comes my way I can just make it happen right and I was like this like cocktail you know when the guys like in that movie cocktail where they're making the drinks I was like flippen lenses and put them on and things to be fallen and you know it's crazy right and so and so but it was interesting is that when I when I met I met so I was at foundation workshop teaching when your end and ben chrisman of chrisman studios we all know who ben and erin really great friends of mine and ben was there he was the photographer and he just got to talk it's first time I met him and we got to talking and I don't know he he basically he's just like dude you gotta ditch that stupid belt basically right and I'm like but but but but he's like he's like dude just two cameras two lenses go for it and I'm like but I'm going to miss some things like yeah you probably will and he's like just go for it and he told me he's like you got it you got to go with thirty five and I'm like but thirty five millimeter lenses not wide enough because I shot with you know, twenty up to and then I went to twenty four millimeter lens because I needed something faster right? Because unlike you know him and people in seattle I don't have light to shoot in so I needed faster meaning you guys understand what I mean by but when I say faster that's the aperture right so fast glass when somebody says fast glass they mean you know, two point eight a lower on the aperture right? So I need something faster than two point eight so I went to a twenty for because it was a twenty four one four right? One point four aperture and on guy was like I was like, okay, I can do that and then now he's telling me to go with thirty five and I'm like, dude it's not wide enough and he's like he's like I'm going to miss pictures he's like yeah you're probably gonna miss some pictures but he's like he's like the way you see the thirty five is going to make so much sense and I'm like all right, you know, when I when I admire somebody and they tell me to do something I'm like sure I'll try it you know, um and so he tried it and I borrowed a thirty five and you guys you guys know when you get a new lens and like you started to use it well, you blind on one wedding but you know you're starting to use it though and like you its kind of get some used like a like a like a training period because you're so used to like the focal length of where you where you stand and you know you kind of have to move yourself back or for with a new kind of focal length right? Have you ever experienced that I didn't have any of that with a thirty five like I literally was just like I just shot it and it was like where have you been my entire life like like I hugged it a little bit I didn't but I talked to it kissed it may be so but I was like I was like oh my god this makes so much sense like visually it all like came together and so that was it that was a huge lesson for me and this is actually the photo that like my first day with a thirty five and I shot this during prep and I'm like yeah, that makes sense okay, here we go because that's the bride in the middle you know and the bridesmaids and I'm like I can layer all of a sudden you know and you can't do that to get you guys layering you guys familiar with what layering is it's like it's one of the hardest things to do compositionally but it's like the best way to tell stories is layering information and so you know, you know, that was a huge lesson for me and so I've learned I've learned quite a bit from ban and he's been he's been a you know, a great friend and mentor and and so much so that this is the really exciting part I'm going to just talk about what he's going to be doing with us which is really fun so ben chrisman is actually our mystery guest during the critique session on wednesday so he's going to be skyped in which is awesome so I'm really excited about that but that was a little segue way to kind of talk tell you about that guy I was talking about him you know, which is awesome but now it really it really made a big difference to me and you know what the biggest thing was is that I felt liberated I felt free of all of that weight that was on me, right? Not even the weight of like, you know that stupid seventy two hundred like you know, you know, pulling me down I felt like somebody's always like had their hands on my shoulders having who feels like that when they're dragging that stuff around right? But mental wait as well like that's that was huge for me is like I didn't have any choices anymore I'm like oh, so I just okay, well, I guess I got to make the pictures fit to these two lenses and when what was amazing with that is that my my compositions improved dramatically because instead of zooming, which doesn't this is no good zooming sucks um zooming might make you feel like you're getting the picture, but you're actually zooming with your lens is completely different than zooming with your feet because as you zoom with your feet things change in relation to where you are and their distances but if you zoom with your lens, those things don't change you just zoom the lens and more you know and so um and so therefore I didn't have any choices and I had to make things fit to my to my to my lenses and it and it worked you know? So so that that's kind of where it started um this is a picture of my gear as it sits pretty much on the table before I shoot every wedding right? I'm really really a nelly careful about my gear can you tell um what I do know it's so funny I'm gonna I'm gonna I'm gonna I'm gonna talk about that and I'm gonna throw lindsay over here under the bus she's that from from creative live I asked if I could have a cup of water and I'm going to put in some gear up here and she's like, well, I don't I don't want to put that up there because of the gear and I'm like are you worried that she's like I just don't want you to not get over onto your gear and I'm like I'm not worried about that hey it's because she goes okay and then she called in and she goes, can I have ah glass of water but can I have it in this silver cup and so I was like, okay, great no problem so basically she brought me in a sippy cup basically is what she did because she's not she's not he's not a trusting is what I do with my kids it's like are you going to spill that no no no no no and guess what I guarantee you're gonna knock this over and she's going to come over and slap me later so it was kind of funny but no I mean the bottom line is I mean it's it's quite honestly it's a big deal like it's really, really, really important in my opinion, I had a student one time who I was working with in the field and and you know, I don't know how to take this I don't know if I was not a good teacher back then or not, but she says the biggest thing you taught me was to not fear my gear and I'm like interesting as I don't fear your gear like that and she's like she's like, you know, because she was I see this all the time in photography that I'm working within the field is you can tell that they are worried about their gear as they're shooting right? Who worries about their gear when they're shooting there's there's two rain or the seventy two hundred bouncing office something right? You mentioned that in you like I said, I'm worried I was just saying the lens hood kind of helps me when I have that on you know like bouncing off here and there so just it just to give you a heads up so this this is um this is my this is my sixteen to thirty five that I've had for I don't know eleven years something like that okay this lenses it's really gotta big a good story to it um I went to africa um when I the the year I was getting married was about eleven years ago hopefully she's not listening to that one should I chime in again and it this land has been through so much that s o I was in africa I had it in like a little pouch and I was shooting I was I was there for a I'm a big land rover junkie and so I was there with a land rover kind of like adventure thing and I had in a pouch and I was shooting stuff tonight and I and I put the pouch down for some real things I had to run somewhere I don't know forgot about the lens and I was like and I just got married and I might just bottle this gear not my oh my god it was bad and I go back to find it and it was and it wasn't there anymore and I'm like oh my god and at that point, I had lost my luggage on the way there at a buy all new clothes like I was at the end of my rope and I called pam on the satellite phone and I'm like, well, it's, like, I was like, freaking out, right? And I she goes, what happened? I go, I think a monkey took it. I'm dead serious. I was convinced a baboon took my lens, right? Because I mean there's nobody else out there right? And they would take stuff all the time like they they would swoop in and, like, steal your yogurt or whatever. So I thought maybe they thought maybe food was in there then they drug it into the woods and then dropped it or something and I was like a monkey took my lands and she's like, you know, I'm like upset there's so funny and and then for some reason my dad decided to go and I was there with my parents to go check into a a nearby lodge and somebody had dr driven by and picked it up, and they and they found it and we got back so it's like this lens and I still shoot every single wedding with it, right? And right there, this is for you, okay, right there is a chip all right, all right, from I I was I was running up a hill one time and I fell over under a rock right under the front element and it shipped it then make a dang bit of difference right? These aren't as fragile as you think they are now I wouldn't I wouldn't be me with my gear right? But it's really important toe like not let it slow you down right? Not only physically but also mentally and I just seen a lot of people do that where they're like whether like, you know, you know they're like okay, I do this or or though are they put their lens lens caps, lens caps, everybody everybody that's watching this that knows me is like laughing right now because I think lens caps of the most ridiculous thing ever ever invented I quite seriously the back cap, right? I think the only thing that's good for us taking shots out of because what else? There's no reason to keep it right because they're not that fragile and think about when you put the lens caps on you can't shoot with lens caps on can you right? So the only time you put lens caps on is when you're done shooting you put the lens cap on and then you put it back into this really nice padded sealed bags so it's all nice and safe right it doesn't make any sense to me, you know, and I've seen I've seen so many people get to an assignment or something, and they and they start getting their gear out and they're like like taking like forever, I'm like, look, it also that's happening around you, you know, it's like you just you just can't worry about it, you know? I can't stress that enough now don't be me because I go to the extreme with it, but I think I go to the extreme with it because I am so focused on the moment, and I'm so focused on what I'm shooting that, like, if lenses are our smacking things, they're smacking people remember I told you about that yesterday? Have my little boy for the live shoot ran into my lens, you know, I don't have blood on there or not, but you know, that might that might be so you know, you just you just can't worry about that kind of stuff quite quite, you know, quite frankly, and you and you mentioned the lens hood's, right? No lens hood's ever because what lens hood's do is I want to be as inconspicuous as possible with my gear, right? How many times have you guys been to a wedding with your seventy, two hundred on people like who that's a big lin jing out there every single time with me right but now when I have the year I have nobody makes any comments about my gear and my lenses at all right so you put that seventy two hundred on its white by the way so everybody notices it right and it's like day glo for lenses right you put that sony two hundred on and it's like that big and then you know what I'm gonna do I'm gonna add six more inches to it with the big lens hood right and you actually probably hit your lens hood more than you more than you wouldn't even more than you would if you didn't have it on does that make sense right so like like I said with land rovers like I do a lot of off roading and we always put like skid plates and stuff under your truck so that way when you're going over rocks and things well a lot of people put thes skid plates on that hang down low and they actually hurts them more than it helps them because it's like getting hung up on rocks more than they didn't have it they were just drive right over it I think it's the same thing those lens hood's hit things more than if they weren't on so think about that right and very rarely do you need a lens hood for what it's actually made for which is for flare right? Very rarely do you need especially on wide angle stuff because those lenses they're so little you know and they just don't make any difference and so all right, so enough of that okay, so what's in this what's in this here bag so here's what I am shooting with currently five d mark three right um so the five d mark three and typically I mean, look, I got buttons missing it's ridiculous um one d mark to no one even knows what the camera that is do they? This thing is a dinosaur total total dinosaur and sadly she's about to go away pretty soon because it's just the s o capability now that I got the five d mark three it's just like the files just like before when they're all crappy they looked all crappy but now it's like the crappy nous of this is just too apparent anymore and so I but the problem is is I don't know what I'm going to buy that's why I've been dragging my feet on it you know? So I still it's just that it's I mean they don't make it anymore it's like twelve years old it's really fantastic. Um I'll tell you why in a minute so thirty five one point four I have been um that is my that's my baby, right I know right and I mean like if if somebody only said to me you can only have one lens your entire life this would be it all right? I shoot ninety percent of what I shoot with this it is pretty much it so yeah, I never do body caps either. I probably should do that but you know whatever you're not shooting at f twenty two you don't really see a lot of things right? So you guys know that right like like like the sensor dust you know that all the spots on your sensor if you're shooting at a really low aperture, you actually don't see those on the frame it's not until you get up above like, five point six f eight eleven whatever twenty two is when you start seeing that stuff right? So you know it's you it comes out more right? So so my friend brooks he's like worse than I am he's like his stuff his centers air like ridiculous and he shot a wedding with me one time he he had to do something like f eleven I literally spent like a day clean up all the time sensor dust on the picture like he's like I'm like dude clean your sensor and he's like he's like I never shoot it that now you see it like one eight or f to you know anything and you never see it so that's something you know but you gotta always I should clean my centres more but I don't um and then s o the uh eighty five one point eight one point eight this is my this is my, um secret weapon in a way loved who has this lens talk about that okay, so pretty much this is how this is how I roll on the on the majority of the day for this stuff the other stuff I use is often times sixteen thirty five right two point eight and the seventy, two hundred sometimes at the ceremony I didn't bring it because you all know what that looks like, right? Don't you love when people at weddings when you're trying to do to detail they always vanna white it for you? You know, like if they're holding something and I go to shoot it, they do this and I'm like don't don't don't don't vanna just hold it the sixteen thirty five on lee comes out at the reception and that sounds confusing right now I don't want to get into that the moment going to explain that later but and then the seventy, two hundred or actually I'm liking the one thirty five one, thirty five two I really love this lens it's small on dh it's it's quick and it focuses well and it's pretty good too I was pretty good right on dso either either the senate two hundred or this comes out on lee at the ceremony. Typically maybe for some portrait, maybe, but um and, like, see that right there? Can you zoom in on that? Seo crying, too, that I can't get anything on their right and filters who uses filters? Nobody filters, filters okay, you know, you don't talk about, like, you know, I wouldn't assume anybody's using, like, you know, polarizing filters or anything because for this kind of work that silly but like nd filters, you know, just like protection filters. Is that what you use? Uh, you via andy? Not density. Whatever presents early? Yeah. Do you use some of that stuff? You know, you want to scratch the lens? Are that kind of stuff so what's funny about that? I see that too, right? And and quite frankly, back when I was using a lot of gear, those say to me many times they dropped tons of lenses, right? I've actually gotten really good at timing the old like put your foot out as I drop the lens and it can actually just just kind of rolls off my foot sometimes. It's not good to do that, I've had a really, really bad luck with some gear. Like I was I was in the newspaper one time working for the can say star as a freelancer and they had me shoot an indoor soccer game and so I'm like I don't have a big lens, so I need to borrow a four hundred two point eight so you guys know what a foreigner to eight is right? You know that it's like all the sports, the big white one like huge right? And back then I was yelling at my four hundred to eight man, you know, I thought I was like, so cool and so I took that we don't have a mono pod to put it on, so I took a tripod and you're gonna have the tripod legs together write a shot the I shot the game and then I was walking back up out of the stadium and I and the cool thing to do with the four hundred to eight is just kind of hoisted over your shoulder because it's heavy like a cool I am right? And I did that, but I didn't have the tripod plate locked in and I'm getting all into the top and all the sudden just goes big and I turned around and it just goes between between doing doing doing on then everybody goes from from and I just I literally just sat on the steps and just watched it just like slinky all the way down, I'm like and it was it was cool gear wasn't like my gear, right? So I so I walked back in that night. I'm like here weare not very happy anyway, so I think it's a funny story, but but, you know, so so the where was I? It doesn't matter. Okay? Yeah. Yes. Filters, right? Yes, yes, yes, you thank you. Thank you on dso. And so I would I would have that problem. I would drop lenses, and it would save me a lot, you know, or least I thought it saved me, right? I dropped when once I'm in a wedding and it cracked the uv filter. And so I was trying to get all the glass out because I couldn't take the ring off because it was bent and I cut my finger open. And I'm like shooting bleeding so that they're not good. Um, but the biggest thing is, have you ever shot like, a shanda, like a sconce or chandelier on the wall of, like, candles or whatever? And then you you see the image and it's like, upside down there's like a ghosting of those candles upside down the frame, has that ever happened to you okay, well, I was happening to me do you guys understand? I'm saying it's like so if there's like say say there's people sitting on this couch right and above the couch there's like a little sconce on the wall with like little candles or something or little lights if I shot this vertically to get that and in them I would actually at on the image I would see and reversed upside down kind of little bit of a ghosting of that chandelier on the on the frame and I'm like what's going on and my buddy I think eric who I showed his wedding yesterday eric larges he's like that you get he goes by using filters and I'm like yeah he goes that's because the filter the light is bouncing back off the filter and then back into the center and I'm like interesting right? So that's why I took those off and as you can see you khun drop things and they still work just fine and you know how much it cost to rebuild a lens like two hundred bucks that's it right this thing's been rebuilt about four times still works a little loosey goosey but it still works so anyway the other thing teo is ah is you know so so the reason I do it like this the reason the reason I love this one be marked too right is I actually prefer and this is where I'm having my biggest problem on what to replace this with is I prefer to shoot with one full frame body but you gotta understand that the crop sensors full frame so I'm for people out there that might not know that um full frame is the size of the sensor in it and if you don't have a full frame sensor and if you have a crop since then it actually magnifies your focal length a little bit depending upon the magnification factor so if it's one point three this is like one point three on on the like other ones like that what are some crop cameras now seventy is that right in sixty maybe on our sixty d yeah my concept really confuses me quite frankly so I don't really know how that all relates something's not gone here you know yeah idea she can't now I've shot the wedding on the fuji's but teo it's about the same with yeah yeah right yeah but anyway so so if you have a crop doctor on your camera you have to actually magnify the focal length by that cropping ratio right so one point six and so it's like an eighty five times one point six so or whatever it is but on a full frame camera it doesn't do that you just have your eighty fives in eighty five it's like shooting on film so I crop sensors are really, really, really bad if you're you shooting wide angle because now you've got, like, ultra wide angle to then get back up to, like a thirty five range, right? Um, but I love it on tele photo, right? Because it gives me just maybe a little bit more. Right? So that's, why? I love shooting like this with the two cameras like they are. So the thirty five always lives ninety nine percent of time lives on my five d on the full frame, right? Heidi, mark three. Um, I should turn that own, put a card in there eventually and then that way shoot anything, but so they always stays there. And then the eighty five one point eight stays on the crop camera, right? So I'm actually shooting with a thirty five and like a one o five right and there's. A reason for that is a itjust kind like that extra extra linds, you know, compression and all that kind of stuff. But the other thing, too, is even though I walk into a wedding with two cameras and two lenses, I actually have four lenses on me. Right that makes sense I have a thirty five of fifty and eighty five and a one o five right? So if I get myself into a situation which rarely happens and I need a little bit more than a thirty five you know then I just take that off and I put the thirty five on the crops sensor I can take lenses awfully fast it can never put him on fast I gotta work on that it's like my john wayne on dh then in the night and then if I need if I'm trying to shoot something I can't back up enough that I put the eighty five on the on the five d right? And so it gives me that little bit of distance and I've used that before and that's why I love it and so that's why I'm having trouble deciding what I'm going tio what I'm going to replace this with I actually think I'm going to try and find a one d mark four because that's the that's the last one they made before they went to the one d x which is a full frame camera right? You see I'm saying, um I just haven't decided he I don't know I don't know if that's the way to go or not and and but but but I did hear that there's rumors I thought I thought so that kane has come out with a new camera like a seventy d or seventy mark two or mark three or something like that yeah, right there's like a rumor about that and apparently it's going to be like it's going to rival like five d e a and c but it would be a crop censor the problem with that is it's a one point six crop instead of a one point three crop and then I'm shooting with the one thirty five instead of a one o five because of my eighteen is that is that making sense yeah, you may keep it up over there yeah, ready for a quick question sure so one of the students out there shooting with a crop and would like your recommendation for a lens to get two thirty five they want to they don't wanna get thirty five causes a crop sensor and it's going to be like a fifty do you recommend like a twenty? You can do the math right? So I'm horrible at that so who's good at math would be like the twenty eight probably twenty eight, twenty eight times one point six isn't at one point six crop yep yeah maybe would be the twenty for them so the going for so you basically you just got to take you know the lens and the focal length like twenty four times one point six or whatever and see what that equals two right right makes sense and then yeah and then out of the box for this on the thirty five uh two or one four do you recommend it's interesting that's a good question they have a thirty five two brandon mike my uh you know the film guy he uses that it's extra pretty interesting it's a thirty five two with image stabilization which is kind of cool I don't know how much I believe in image stabilization to be quite honest with you um I actually I actually don't think my seventy two hundred image stabilization works anymore I think it actually hurts me and next actually shakes the camera which is funny but um that's a good question you know I don't have a lot of experience with the thirty five f to brandon loves it and it works really really well I rarely go under f two on my thirty five because I'm just not good enough at that shallow that the field on thirty five to really nail it at one four so you know what quite frankly with the with the with the money savings and stuff you know it might be totally fine you know, I would be really tempted to go for that as opposed to the one four you know? Yeah cool all right um anyway so so that's kind of the way I way I use that the other thing too is that I am a huge huge, huge huge and I had this fight with like every almost every student I have that comes in that doesn't use camera straps, right? But camera straps are essential for many reasons but do you have one on there? No, I'm such a believer that I'm going to maybe buy you one don't yeah, yeah, maybe not so uh, you know, I'm gonna talk about this a bit later, but, you know, two cameras all the time in camera strap there are so many things out there and this is going to cause a flurry amongst the chat rooms probably, but I've seen them all, and I've seen people use them all and it all comes down to, for my opinion, for speed and and usability is the good old fashioned camera strap, right? So a lot of my friends even even you know, people that I admire ben, he uses the hold fast thing, which is, like this thing, I don't know there's people that have, like, the spider holster stuff, you know, what do you use? Just have one camera and that's it and use carried all they have ah, black crap in yeah, I do not like like those. Sadly, I know they are great for certain things, like I mean, I see a lot of people that just like I don't want to say tourists, you know, but people that walk around that, you know, that's great for that kind of stuff. But when you're moving, like I need to move around, and you're going to see that later, when you watch the video of me working like I have to be, I'd actually dropped one of my cameras a lot. I was actually three. I watched the video last night, and I was pretty shocked to be like one of my camera, just like in the middle of the road, and I was over here shooting. I probably should have just kept that buy me.

Class Description

There is a magic and beauty to wedding days that doesn’t have to be posed or fabricated. You can take photographs that are authentic and dynamic by drawing on classic documentary photography techniques. Join Tyler Wirken for a class exploring the practice of documentary-style wedding photography.

This course will teach you how to take unique, distinctive images that break away from standard styled shoots and set-up poses. Tyler will encourage you to think deeply about why we take wedding photos and then help you use those insights to create an actionable roadmap for getting the real moments during weddings. You’ll learn how to get up close and capture the more intimate moments of a couple’s wedding day without feeling like you’re intruding or disrupting. From being more present in the moment to getting through family photographs in twenty minutes to developing your one-of-a-kind perspective as a photographer, you’ll build strategies for ensuring the moments you capture are beautiful and real.

If you want stand out in the sea of wedding photographers and take photographs that more meaningful than meticulously-posed, then this course is for you!