Wedding set up and run down of the day:

I use 2 cameras usually.  the 5diii with the 16-35mm L or 16-35mm L for most wide shots and during the reception. I have the 70-200mm 2.8 is on the 7d and with the crop factor its equal to 112-320mm on 35mm film making it great for capturing candids with out people knowing i am taking there picture.   but in no way am i stuck to this set up ill often put the 70-200mm on the 5dii for portraits.  ill toss the 50mm 1.4 on the 5dii for indoor shooting in dark areas. it makes a great normal lens. ill also toss in on the 7d where it acts like a 80mm 1.4 and works great for portraits and indoor shooting when there isnt enough light and i need the 1.4.  A lot of times during the ceremony Flash isnt aloud which i do think makes for a better moment between bride and groom. a flash going off all the time can be a bit distracting. but there is always an exception to the rule.  some chapels are so dark that a flash is needed but that is something that is up to the bride and the location and would be talked about well before the ceremony starts.  ill often use the 70-200mm on the 7d on a monopod from the back of the room to get nice tight shots of the ceremony without getting in the way.  ill also use the 5d and sneak up front to get pictures of the bridesmaids and groomsmen walking down the aisle. especially the bride walking down the aisle.  but i try to stay out of the way as much as possible.  its the brides moment and i dont want to get in the way but also want to capture the best moment possible.  after everyone makes it to the front ill quietly move to the back where ill use the 70-200mm either on the 5diii or 7d depending on the size of the room. ill normally have my assistant (aka beautiful wife of mine and great photographer stay in the front quietly taking shots from the front. this gives in my opinion the best structure to capture every important moment. but as always there is no hard rule every venue is different and we are able with all our gear work in the space we are shooting.  i always arrive very early before the guest and wedding party arrive to have a well laid out plan for how i will shoot the day. working close with the bride and groom before hand to know what they want. and day of i work closely with the wedding planner if there is one (often times not) and with the pastor and dj knowing when important events will be taking place through out the day.  i try and know before hand about the wedding party who to make sure i get pictures of.  for candids and for formal portraits. its good to have a list before hand of what you want. and not want in many cases there are divorced parents and we try to make everyone as comfortable as possible.  im normally the first to arrive and almost always the last to leave.

 

Portraits studio and on location:

this again depends on what the location is.  for art work in tight locations ill use the 5diii with the 24-70mm.  if im out doors ill often use the 5diii with the 70-200mm.  now for in studio or anywhere i need to travel light. when i shoot for other studios as i often do ill bring all my gear but my main tool is the Canon 7d with the 24-105mm is L.  i find it the be the best one camera one lens set up. if i am going with one camera its usually that set up the 24-105mm on the 7d equals 38-168mm.  thats most everything anyone needs 90% of the time.  38mm is wide enough for most everything and 168mm is a good length zoom.  people often ask why i dont use the canon 24-70mm 2.8L and for my needs i really use the extra zoom length on the 105mm end. and i would take is over 2.8 any day.  If i need a faster lens ill use a fast prime.  for flattering portraits 80mm-135mm are the best to use.  so its either the 24-105mm or 50mm on the 7d or the 70-200mm 2.8 is on the 5diii.

 

Use of Flash vs available light:

I love available light! so i like fast lenses. when im out in the field ill always have a reflector and an assistant with me to help control the light.  but often times flash is a must. i use fill flash a lot as well when needed.  i use to hall my studio strobes with me everywhere i went (still will sometimes) but i know use canon speedlights often with diffusers or bounced off a wall or ceiling.  when i use a flash either on camera or off my goal is to make it look as natural as possible.  ill often use a flash and some one will say how lucky i was to get such perfect lighting for the shot.  some photographers love flash and make use of it in a much different way using it to create a scene.  there is no right or wrong way. just different artist using light to capture what they see in there heads. the best photography artist are the ones that have the ability and know how to capture what they want with the tools the have.  tools are not as important as the vision. i can get great shots with just a 50mm and nothing else. but having all the right equipment and the know how to use it just allows for more creative options.  its 90% the artist and 10% to the tools.  so i will always take with me most everything and i will normally just use a few tools from the bag.

 

Wedding photojournalist vs wedding portraiture:

its the new fad to have a photojournalist.  but many family membors will want formal portraits.  i deffinatly am more of a photojournalist in my style but i do understand the want for formal portraits.  i have a way i like to shoot.  its a mixture of both.  often times the bride wont want to waist time doing a long formal session and some will have a huge list of every formal shot the want and there can be many options.  wether or not you want to do a long or short formal session is up to you. but i always recomend a time for just the bride groom and photographer to find a nice location to do some fun and intimant portraits.  often right after the wedding cememony before the reception or before the formal portraits.  gives the bride and groom time to enjoy there new life together.  its nice to have a moment together and its nice to have that moment alone.  so ill normally take the bride and groom somewhere special and not let the wedding party or guest come. often times even my assistant will stay behind gathering people for the formal portraits.  this is normally when i find i get the best moment both bride and groom are done with the stress of the wedding and everything they have been planning for months is done and its finally just them man and wife (or man and man or wife and wife).  i could never fake the happieness i see at this time.  engagement pictures are wonderful and also very cherrished but something about that one moment after they have taken there vows and before they have the hussle and bussle of the reception. this is when i like to do bride and groom shots.  formal portraits are often done before the ceremony or before the reception and often times durring the reception.  often times this will change at the last minute. there will be a plan of doing formals before the ceremony but not everyone is put together and people start to panic.  i am always willing to adjust at the moment there should never be to much stress this is a wonderful day and the more i can help make it a smooth operation the better i feel. thats why i find myself more of a photojournalist ill take pictures as they happen. watching the progression of the day and capturing all the moments as they come. not faking moments and pressuring things to be done as i find formal portraiture photographers can sometimes tend to do.  A good wedding photographer will always help with the flow of the wedding not hinder it.  thats something that comes with time and practice.  one thing i have learned as a wedding photographer is that it much more then photography.  i often find myself helping out in much of the wedding. helping groomsmen with there ties to helping the bride with whatever she needs (there is often much that needs to be done) brides hire me and whether im taking pictures or carrying a keg from a car to the reception its all the same. nothing slows me down there is always a camera in my hand. if i cant do something my assistant (aka my beautiful wife) can often help out.  my goal is not to just capture the best day of your life but its also to help make it the best day of your life.

 

 

 

My cameras:

Canon 5D mark iii

Canon 7D

Fujifilm X-e2

 

 

My lenses:

 

Canon 16-35mm 2.8 L

Canon 24-70mm f2.8 L

Canon 24-105mm f4 IS L

Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS L

Canon 50mm f1.4 usm

 

 

My flashes/lighting:

Canon 580ex ii

Canon 430ex ii

2 Graslon prodigy diffusers and 1 spark on camera diffuser

4 studio strobe heads

umbrellas (white/silver), soft box, light stands, reflectors, reflector stands