Gear for Photographing Weddings
Our gear is all of this, that's it. We didn't even come with a bag.
It was all in our backpack. So, a few months ago we really decided to downsize on our gear, we went really, really simple. We had actually been wanting to switch to a mirrorless system for many years, because of the silent shutter, but we never felt like the focusing was good enough to keep up with the fast pace of a wedding, until the Sony A9 came out, and the rep in Canada came to see us, lent us one, and we just really fell in love--
Smuggled it out of the country.
For a wedding, dropped the lens.
With insurance, with insurance.
And then we really fell in love with the way that this camera acts. So our favorite feature is really the silent shutter. So things like this, you know. We're standing under the huppah, we're really, really close to the bride and groom, and we're able to fire off, and really document the way that we normally would throughout the rest of the day, but ...
there's not a single sound coming out of our camera.
It was this wedding especially, because Jewish weddings have so much, they're so sacred, and they're often very quiet, and there was just like this wall that was gone, that I felt at this wedding with my silent shutter, it was one of my super powers that I wanted, was to be silent at a wedding. So this was huge for me. Emotional moments that are going on, or when there's moments of tension, you're like click, click, click, click, click, and the brides stressing out about something. I want to take those pictures because I love tension, it's part of the wedding, but I don't want to stress her out with the sound of my shutter. So it's really nice that they never really know when you're taking pictures, you're kind of always there, but they forget about you even more because you're quiet, you're silent.
Then the eye auto focus on this camera is really, really great. It'll focus on the eye of your subject, and to go even further you can, with face detection, you can tell the camera who the important people are. So when we start at the wedding day we'll take a headshot of the bride, a headshot of the groom, and now the camera knows that these are the two most important people.
So in a scene like this, when I hit my eye autofocus, it'll go and focus on the bride and groom, it's not gonna get distracted by any of the other faces.
It's almost like cheating. But the thing is you program all of your buttons to do whatever you want, so I want to turn this feature on right now, I want to turn it off, so you're still in control and that's something that you have to get used to, and you have to program it in a way that makes sense for you. The features once you can really get into them, and use them to the extent of their abilities are amazing.
Then in terms of downsizing, so we would shoot with two DSLR's, one with a 35, and one with an 85. So a wide lens for documenting, longer lens for longer shots. But as part of our downsize we're really wanted to go to a zoom lens. So we got the 24 105, which really covers the entire range of what we need to do during a wedding day. And it's been really, well for one it's really liberating to have just body, our bodies aren't sore.
You look like a tourist.
Right. I don't look like a professional really, I'm like a guest with a camera. This is it.
Especially when you zoom it out.
Especially when you're. (laughs)
It's taken a lot of getting used to for me, to go to a zoom lens, because coming from a documentary approach the traditional way is two bodies, 35, 85. That's how we always did it, for 10 years that's what we did. But we keep that mentality with the zoom lens, like Daniel said. Wide or tight, with minor adjustments, because we can go a little wider than 35, and a little longer than 85. So, I feel like that's been a big learning cure for me, and honestly I'm not even sure if I'm even gonna stick to it, I might find that I want to go back to two bodies. But how light it is, is truly amazing, because 10 years of doing this and I can actually do things the day after a wedding, because I'm not dying physically.
So that lens has been really great. Aside from that, just the really high ISO range on the camera is really powerful. And then, the dynamic range, for pulling out the colors, pulling out the highlights, pushing the shadows, all that stuff really comes together in the editing, and the data that is in the raw file is extremely, extremely powerful. And one of our favorite things about this camera has sort of reinvigorated our passion for documenting our kids and our travels on a daily basis, Especially with this little lens, which is a 35 2.8. Once you put that on the camera is really tiny in your hands, it's really easy to maneuver. And it also syncs really, really easily to our iPhone, through their native app, and makes it super easy to transfer the photos from there onto our Instagram account. So you know during our travels with our kids we just photograph them so much more than we would have with our phones.
Yeah, we used to just use our professional camera for professional stuff, and use our iPhone for everything else. And now that means that the photos that I take of my kids, and day to day life are really much better quality than an iPhone photo. And we print a lot of our photos, we think that's really important. We have a whole photo wall in our house, and so having the quality be better is great. And it also means that we're really comfortable with the camera, because we're not just using it when we're on duty, we're using it all the time. So it makes us even more familiar with it.
Have you had anybody react that it doesn't feel as professional, because you don't have multiple cameras?
I think it's been more of an internal dialogue with ourselves, like it's a mental blockage, but no, no-one has actually said that.
I mean the first time I remember at a wedding, there was a guest with fancier looking gear than, I mean this is still fancier gear, it just doesn't look like it, if you don't know. But I was like, "Oh my gosh, we look like amateurs." But I kind of like that, because it means we blend in more, sometimes they're not even sure if we're the official photographers, and that kind of works for us, so yeah.
One more, you talked about the low range for low light, that you could do so much with this camera. And the question from Sarah is, so no lighting gear, other than just that flash?
Yeah, we're definitely gonna get into that a little later on, but we use just one flash, we use it on camera, and then the rest of the time we just shoot a lot of ambient light. And that photo that you saw, with the bride and groom kissing, with the little girl in the foreground, that was ambient light, so even that is without a flash.
We do have a video light. We use it.
Mostly for portraits.
And we'll talk about it, as well in lighting. Mostly for portraits. But yeah, that's our only source of off camera lighting. For now.
As you'll get to know, we like things very, very simple. Simple gear, simple approach, we try not to over complicate things with our gear, or any of our techniques, we just really want to stick to documenting and story telling.
We're also not set in our ways. We did shoot with two bodies and two prime lenses for 10 years, and we're trying something new. We did off camera flash for a long time and then stopped doing it. We haven't even used off camera flash in a few years. But I think this year I might start using off camera flash again. Just because you hear us say something that we're doing gear wise right now, doesn't mean that we're not gonna keep evolving and changing, I think that's normal and good.