An often asked question is “What kit is that?”. We hear it at most weddings by guests and onlookers, so we’ve decided to create a little post which shows what wedding photography kit we use the most, and why. We think its very important to know your kit inside and out, every setting and function, and to not carry anything un-needed on the wedding day.
The Cameras: Canon 6D
The Canon 6D is a high end, full frame digital SLR camera. It gives us everything we ever need – speed, battery life, interchangeable lenses and a huge sensor. The big sensor inside the camera means we can capture finer detail, and better quality shots in low light. The 6D is in the top range of Canon cameras, up alongside wildlife and studio cameras. With a simplified menu system and easy to reach controls, it gives us more time shooting and less time configuring the camera mid-shoot.
Accompanying the Canon is the diminutive Fujifilm x100s, which is about the same size as a smartphone. With a built in lens and Electronic View Finder, we carry the Fuji around or neck at all times during a shoot. It’s so easy just to put down the main Canon and snap a few shots using the Fuji’s wide 35mm lens, and then switch back to our heavy duty Canon. Despite its point-and-shoot appearances, the Fujifilm x100s packs more power than 90% of cameras on the market, and most people have a difficult time distinguishing the difference between shots taken on it and the Canon 6D.
The Lenses: Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art
This is a prime lens, which is camera-speak for a lens which doesn’t zoom. By sacrificing the zoom ability you can build lenses that have so much optical glass in them they can shoot in extremely low light. The 35mm lens length is slightly wide, so we get more action in the pictures than a standard camera lens. Coupling the lenses ability to shoot in low light with the Canons own ability to shoot in low light gives us a huge advantage – we can shoot without flash and still get crisp and clear images all day long, even at night. Prime lenses are great for artistic effects too – we can shoot the couple in sharp detail whilst having the background blur out into colourful swirls and clouds. We call this “background separation” in the industry, and is a signifier of a professional photographer and camera combination.
Canon 70-200 2.8 IS L MkII
One of the most coveted camera lenses ever produced, this zoom lens is a wedding photographers best friend. It is a telephoto lens, meaning we can capture detail far away from where we’re standing, and the zoom range lets us zoom in on peoples faces and even further away things. Unmistakable and painted white, the huge 2kg lens has built in stabilisers which counteracts the shake the photographer has when pressing the shutter button. This eliminates and motion blur and keeps the subjects looking sharp and in focus. The background separation on this lens is famous, for being able to select someone out of a crowd and blurring the background and foreground out to a lovely smooth blur. To top of the amazing functions of this lens, it has a low aperture (the 2.8 number), meaning it can even take great shots in low light levels, unheard of with most telephoto lenses.
Canon 17-40mm f4 and Helios 44-2
These lenses are less used than the two mentioned previously, but provide specific jobs. The Canon 17-40mm is a superwide zoom lens, and will let us get everyone in a large group shot into frame, or get large shots of a building in somewhere where maybe we can’t get any further back to use our Sigma lens. Whilst not the best for portraits and ceremony shots, the wide zoom lens is versatile enough to cover all aspects when we just can’t get everyone in shot. The Helios is an old Russian lens, with an adapter on the back of it to attach to our Canon camera. It’s a great portrait lens, giving swirly spinning background blur to the images and making everything look smooth and dreamy. As its a manual focus lens with limited functionality, we only really bring it out for the couples portrait sessions or for video work.
The bag we carry is also filled with little goodies such as LED light panels, monopods and spare batteries, everything you would need to make sure every eventuality is covered. We will run another blog post on our video kit in the future, which contains a lot more accessories and extras than our photography bag.