I had a first Client Meeting with Ashley and Dan last night at Tiverton. Their Wedding day will be at Prattshayes, Exmouth in 2019. A really genuinely nice couple and we are going to go for an Engagement Shoot in the spring time, to cold now! I am looking forward to being their Exmouth Wedding Photographer.
This evening we're going to have a little insight into the gear I use for my photography. It's a question I'm commonly asked whenever I'm shooting a wedding, mostly by curious guests who themselves have an interest in photography. When people think of professional cameras there is usually 2 names that pop to mind, Canon and Nikon. These have been used for decades by all types of photographers and have certainly enjoyed a massive market share, especially Canon. But a bit of a revolution happened a few years ago and we were introduced to mirrorless cameras. For those of you who don't know, a professional camera has mostly been deemed to be a dslr over the years. A dslr is a camera with a multitude of features which I won't go into now. In the most basic sense how they work is the user looks through the viewfinder and there is a mirror which is positioned to look through the lens. When the user clicks the shutter button, the mirror lifts up so the cameras sensor is exposed enabling it to capture the image. Because these types of cameras use mirrors it can make them fairly large. Then a few years ago along cane mirrorless. As the name suggests these types of cameras don't use a mirror. Instead when the user looks through the viewfinder they are actually looking at a digital screen. The cameras sensor is recording what is in front of it and sending it to the viewfinder. Essentially it's the same as looking at the lcd back screen of any camera. Because these don't use mirrors they can be made smaller and lighter. The other advantage is that because it uses a computer screen it can show you in real time what you'd different settings actually make the picture look like. For example if I increased the iso (making the picture brighter) then this would be shown in the viewfinder. This means I can dial in exactly what iso I want to use because I know how the picture is going to look. With dslr there is no preview through the viewfinder, you are essentially guessing at what settings will be correct, though obviously with experience you get to know the correct settings.
So mirrorless brought about a different type of camera system and the 2 big players Canon and Nikon have not yet entered this market, though both are bringing out their own models next year which will certainly push mirrorless forwards again.
For me personally, I love the mirrorless format. It's smaller, lighter, enables you to preview the image in the viewfinder and provides fantastic picture quality. There is a lot of choice when it comes to mirrorless cameras and I was torn between Sony and Fujifilm. Both have their pros and cons and eventually I chose Fuji, purely because they are highly regarded, have a great selection of lenses, are reasonably priced and offer astounding picture quality. My main camera body is as pictured above, the Fuji XT2. It is currently Fujifilms top model, although there are rumours that its successor will be released soon. The XT2 offers all of the exposure controls within easy reach. ISO, shutter speed, exposure compensation all have their own dedicated dials making it easy to select the appropriate settings. On the lenses for Fuji they offer dedicated aperture controls as well. This body is super quick to start up, light, well built (it's even weather sealed), easy to control and is just a brilliant package. I also have a XT10 (below) which I use as my backup camera should the XT2 break down, it hasn't yet. The XT10 is just an older, smaller and less capable version of the XT2, but still able to produce amazing photos.
I own the XT2 battery grip (below), which boosts the performance of the XT2 enabling faster auto focus and a better refresh rate for the viewfinder. I also find that it makes the camera look more like a dslr, bigger and more rugged. This is useful at weddings when people, who may not know anything about photography, might be looking at my camera and thinking that only looks like a little camera, it can't take very good photos surely? So with the battery grip attached, it gives the impression to the uninitiated that it's an amazing camera because it's so big. This makes for more reassured clients and wedding guests. Then when I'm out and about shooting for fun, I can take off the grip and it becomes a small mirrorless camera again. Win win.
So that's my camera bodies, now for the lenses. The name Prime Photos actually came from my love of prime lenses (non zoom). These types of lens can open up their aperture really wide and allow a lot of light in. They are also a little sharper than their zoom counterparts and there is just something special about shooting with them, they just give a magical pop to the images that zoom lenses can't. My first few weddings were with these type of lens but I quickly came to the conclusion that I had to use a zoom lens for atleast some of the wedding, most notably the ceremony. They just make it so easy to instantly go from a wide angle to a close up and it's something that primes cannot match. I now have a healthy balance between the prime and zoom lenses using both of them throughout the day.
First off is my 35mm f1.4 lens (below). This is currently my only prime lens as the focal length of 35mm provides a well balanced field of view. The 1.4 aperture is also nice and wide allowing plenty of light to come pouring on which makes for gorgeous no noise images. I will use this lens for Bridal Prep, Venue and Reception details, Cutting the Cake and First Dance.
Next up is my main zoom lens. The 16-55 f2.8 (below). This zoom lens is probably the most popular in the world. Canon, Nikon, Sony and the rest all do their own equivalent of this focal range. It balances a decent wide angle with an up close portrait lens when zoomed all the way in. It's not as sharp as my prime lenses, it's a lot heavier, the 2.8 aperture doesn't let as much light in as the 1.4 primes and it's just less 'magical' than the primes. However, with the turn of my wrist I have a range of different focal lengths to choose from making composing images so simple and quick which is needed for weddings when everything happens super fast. This is nearly a thousand pound lens so the images are still gorgeous and there's just no getting away from how necessary it is to have this in my arsenal.
My least used lens for weddings is my second zoom lens, the 55-200 f3.5-4.8 (below). This is a large telephoto lens which is best used when I want to be discreet and snap images without anyone seeing me. It is also useful for portraits as the focal lengths are very flattering to figures and can also compress the image to bring far away backgrounds closer to my subjects. It's aperture isn't wide enough to allow much light in so I can only use it selectively.
I am currently saving for my next lens, which will be another prime, either the 23 f1.4 or the 56 f1.2.
Below is a little gadget that attaches to my camera, then one of my lenses will attach to that. In simple terms it magnifies the range and increases the gap between lens and body making me able to focus really closely to subjects, effectively turning any of my lenses into a macro lens, perfect for up close shots of wedding rings.
Onto flash. This is a fairly simple explanation in terms of what equipment I use. I have a nissin i60 flash and a nissin air 1 remote. The i60 flash can be mounted on my cameras hot shoe and from there it can be tilted, swivelled, extended and otherwise manipulated to provide different lighting compositions, styles, techniques and creativity. Mostly I just use it on my camera to bounce off walls to illuminate an otherwise dark scene. In combination with the air 1 remote I can mount the air 1 to my cameras hot shoe and then place the i60 flash on a stand in appropriate positions. The air 1 will then communicate wirelessly with the i60 flash and tell it when to go off. This is called off camera flash and is very useful for creating either realistic looking images or artistic images. I will always use off camera flash for things like Reception details, Portraits and First Dance.
Finally onto the really easy things. In addition to the obvious equipment above I also need to carry around a host of spare batteries and memory cards. And should the worst happen I also keep around a portable battery charger, just in case.
In a nutshell that is my general Fujifilm (Fuji) wedding photography kit. The mirrorless set-up allows me to move around the wedding day with relative ease and comfort whilst still being able to capture fantastic images.
Prime Photos - Exeter, Devon & South-West Wedding Photographer.
Capture Moments. Create Memories.
A local client meeting this evening, just round the corner from my house in Exeter. I met with Kim and Carl who have plenty of plans for their Wedding Photography. Their venue is again a local one in Exeter at the Southgate Hotel, a beautiful setting. Looking forward to being their Exeter Wedding Photographer in December 2018!
What better way to spend a Friday evening than take a nice scenic drive (in the dark) up to Bideford. Olivia and Dan were staying at a local hotel so we met for a drink, had some laughs and a good talk about their Wedding Photography which is taking place in Ocean Kave. Really enjoyed the meeting and I can't wait to be their Bideford Wedding Photographer.
A quick trip up the M5 brought me to the Costa at Cullompton where I met with Liz and Kev. They are having their Wedding next year in the delightful setting of the Cullompton Unitarian Church. It sounds like it is going to be a pretty amazing day with even the idea of a sheep rodeo mentioned. Interesting and different, which I love! Can't wait to provide my services as a Cullompton Wedding Photographer.