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Why I Use the Gear I UseMy lenses and how I use them

I get lots of questions about what I shoot with, my favorite lenses, my gear backpack, and my overall gear choices. So I decided to put it all together here for you to see! I’ll start with  my digital gear, then go into what I’ve used for film as well.

 

M Y   D I G I T A L   G E A R

This is all the gear I have and use for weddings and personal work. Almost everything shown here fits into my backpack and I carry it for all my weddings. I set my backpack down whenever I can, during prep, ceremony and reception, but for the most part I have it on me at all times.

wedding photography gear

Two Canon 5D Mark IVs : At weddings I carry one on each shoulder using my Holdfast Money Maker Strap. I usually have a wide lens on one and a longer on the other. I used to use Mark IIIs, but switched for the Mark IV this year and I love it. The ISO alone was worth the switch for me, since I shoot at really high ISOs pretty often.

 

L E N S E S:

I bring 5 lenses to all weddings and use them all at almost every wedding. The only lens that sometimes doesn’t get used is the 135mm, and I’ll explain why below. To give you an idea of how much each lens is used, I went through a few recent weddings and figured out the percentages. From all photos I deliver, on average,  here are the percentage taken with each lens:

24mm – 20-25%

35mm – 20-25%

50mm – 30-35%

85mm – 10% (sometimes 20%)

135mm – 10% (sometimes 0%)

Obviously every wedding is different and these numbers are an average from lots of variability. But overall, I think they demonstrate my general lens patterns. Here are some more detailed explanations of each lens and when I use them.

 

Canon 24mm f/1.4L

I’ve started using this lens a LOT lately, and I’m loving it. It really allows me to get a wide scene with lots of things happening, without it feeling too overwhelming. It gives the feel of actually being there, because of how wide it is and how much it encompasses. I’ve loved the “snapshotty” feel I get from it, and since I got this lens, I’ve used my 35mm a lot less. It’s not in the photo above since I recently purchased it.

 

Canon 35mm f/1.4L

Before I got the 24mm, I used my 35mm for almost 50% of all images taken at weddings. I still LOVE it, but I use it a little less now. I love it for the ceremony and details, I use it to establish setting and mood with shots from far away. For couple portraits I use it for the shots that feel intimate and close, when the 24mm is just too wide and distorting. For the reception, I use it for all my dance floor shots with a flash.

 

Canon 50mm f/1.2L

This is another favorite of mine. It provides a little bit tighter feel, and lets me focus much closer for a more detailed feel to couple portraits. It also lets me get the intimate feel without having to get too close, which sometimes is just what I need, if I want to let the couple have a little more space.

 

Canon 85mm f1/2L II

I use this lens throughout the day, depending on the space and setting. If space allows, I use it some for prep, because I like getting candid moments from far away so I’m not in people’s faces. For portraits, I use it when I want to compress the image and bring something in the background closer, like a mountain, landscape or sunset. I also use it for the first look, so I can give the couple some time alone while shooting from farther away. On average, I use it for about 25-30% of couple portraits. And if the ceremony space is small and intimate, I use it for ceremony.

 

Canon 135mm f/2L

I used this lens for ceremonies, especially to get close to emotional moments with tears and laughter. If the ceremony space is small and intimate, and I’m forced to be really close,  I’ll use the 85mm instead.

 

 

C A M E R A   B A G S

ONA Brixton:  I use this one for couple sessions when hiking isn’t required. It fits my two bodies with 3 lenses (all but the 135mm which I don’t bring on sessions).

Poler Excursion Pack with Camera Insert: I’ve gone through a lot of camera bags and this is by far my favorite. I use it at weddings as well as on hikes and camping trips. Unfortunately Poler doesn’t make it anymore though!

wedding photography gearThe Poler Excursion Pack packed with all my wedding gear.

 

F L A S H E S

Two Canon 580 EX II
 Speedlites –  I use these for dance floor shots. I shoot them zoomed in  a little for a slight vignette, and point them straight at the dancers. I usually drag the shutter.

 

 

O T H E R   A C C E S S O R I E S 

Holdfast Money Maker Strap: I wear it for most of the day at all my weddings. From the beginning of prep up to the beginning of dancing. Once I know that the only thing left in the day is dancing, I take the cameras off of it and just carry around one body with a 35mm on the Holdfast Wrist Strap. I don’t use it for couple sessions unless we’re going on a hike and I want to have easy access to two cameras quickly. But for the most part my couple sessions are more slow paced.

Holdfast Wrist Strap: I use this at weddings for dance floor shots, when I no longer need to have two cameras easily accessible. It lets me stick my hand in everywhere to get those spontaneous dance shots without fearing losing my camera to party people! I also use it sometimes on couple sessions or personal shoots.

Think Tank AA Battery Holder – To keep batteries and backups.

Eneloop AA Batteries – Rechargeable batteries for my flashes (plus the charger).

Ruggard Memory Card Case – Keeps all my CF and SD cards together.

Waterproof Rain Cover – A plastic sleeve for my camera in case it rains. I use it if its really pouring, light drizzle doesn’t bother me.

Clif Bar -I always keep a snack in my bag for long wedding days

MeFOTO Travel Tripod – I use this for self portraits, its small and easy to carry.

 

 

M Y   F I L M   G E A R

Film katch silva

Film was the first thing I ever shot with in college, but after that I moved to digital and I’m only now getting back into film. I’m not a pro with film by any means. I mostly use it for personal work, but I love the results I get so I’m slowly expanding my tool box. I like to play around with things so what I have is pretty basic.

Polaroid Land Camera 195 – I’ve only used this one a handful of times but I love it. I’m excited to experiment more with it.

Fujifilm FP-100C – Instant color film for the Polaroid Land Camera. It was very recently discontinued so I use it sparingly.

Disposable Cameras –  I love using these for personal trips and fun stuff outside. Its so nostalgic to just take a disposable along on a road trip and have fun with it.

Fujifilm Klasse W –  I recently purchased this camera just for fun personal trips and travel, and so far I’m loving it! (it’s not pictured above).

Update: I no longer have or use the Contax, the Polaroid 600 or the Canon AE-1 in the photo above. We got rid of then when we downsized.

Contax Katch SilvaThese were taken with the Contax 645 with Kodak Portra 400. To see a little more film work, see my editorial site HERE

 polaroid katch silvaThese are from the Polaroid Land Camera. The one on the left is a double exposure.

 

That’s all, thanks for stopping by! These are all my tools now, but I’m sure I’ll be adding to my tool box as I go. If you have any questions or would like to know more, don’t be shy and comment below! Hope this was helpful!

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