Washington DC Wedding Photographer: Stephen Gosling Photography
The first thing I want to say is that I am under no illusion that people read my blog, let alone other photographers. I in no way think that the way I do things is the correct way and I am not writing these posts to tell people how to shoot or how to run their businesses. I am however going to be writing about my experiences; my failures, my successes, etc. If these posts help anyone, great! If not; no big deal.
That being said…
I’m a Canon guy. There is nothing wrong with Nikon if that’s what you shoot with; you say ‘tomato’ and I say the word correctly because I’m English. I chose Canon back in the days when I was starting out and I have continued with my loyalty. I’m not going to go into the mass details of the cameras I use. I don’t take test pictures and zoom into 2000% to examine every single pixel to make sure it’s perfect. But I will say this about my cameras;
1. The sensors they have provide a warm and accurate skin tone for people.
2. The full-frame sensors provide a large area for details and provide many possibilities for printing quality images in very large sizes.
3. The low-light capabilities make it possible to shoot in the dark whilst still maintaining great image quality.
4. The camera fits into my hand perfectly and works intuitively with the way I do things.
They are indeed both the same. I shoot with two Canon EOS 5D MkIIs. I usually work with both cameras at the same time so that I can just grab the camera that has the right lens on and start shooting. The camera straps I use (because the ones that the cameras come with are garbage) are Crumpler Industry Disgraces. They are super comfy and stay exactly where I put them on my shoulder. As you can see I also shoot with the additional camera battery grips (in this case BG-E6s). A lot of people don’t like them because of the extra weight they add. I however don’t mind the extra weight (my back would sometimes disagree) and have gotten so used to using the extra buttons on the grip that I would feel lost without them.
Not pictured is my back-up camera (I MUST STRESS THIS QUITE PROFUSELY – YOU NEED BACK UP EQUIPMENT!). I have a Canon EOS 40D which is the first digital camera that I bought when I arrived in the States back in 2006. The 40D is not as good at the 5D MKIIs but is a great back-up and does provide very nice image quality. The 40D also acts as my ‘Photo Booth’ camera when the need arises.
And the next camera I am coveting is a Fijifilm Finepix x100. Once I have that I will go into what it does, but until then; just know that I wants it bad!
70-200mm f2.8 L IS. This is my telephoto zoom lens and the lens that I use most often during wedding ceremonies. A lot of churches and other ceremony locations don’t like the photographer to get to close to the ‘action’ so having a zoom lens is invaluable! This thing is also as sharp as any lens you can get and focuses super fast. It is a great lens to use for portraits too as the compression it gives the subject at the telephoto ranges is very good. Not the lightest lens but one of the best.
24-70mm f2.8 L. This covers a range from 24mm (considered to be somewhat wide) to 70mm (a middle of the road zoom length). This lens is reliable and was the first lens I bought for my 40D. This is mostly a back-up lens at this point of my career (I prefer to us the 50mm f1.2 L and just move backwards and forwards if I need too) but it also acts as my photo-booth lens when the need arises.
50mm f1.2 L. This is my favourite lens. And also the lens that I shoot with the most. I enjoy shooting at wide open apertures as much as possible and the buttery backgrounds that this lens gives me are amazing. It is super fast at focusing, hits the focus spots with great accuracy and produces images with great colour and contract.
16-35mm f2.8 L II. The super-wide zoom lens. This lens is great for shooting super-wide shots of the church during the ceremony or grabbing the documentary style shots during the day. I don’t often shoot it at 16mm as that is very, VERY wide but being able to go that wide when I need to is a great asset.
100mm Macro f2.8 L IS. I bought this lens primarily for detail shots. It is a macro lens which means you can get super close-up shots (side note – wow, how many times am I going to say super!) of details like the rings or flowers etc. However, I also now us this lens a lot for portraits. It isn’t the fastest to focus so if you’re grabbing ‘moments’ then it is not the best choice. But, if you shooting a set-up shot then the focus is amazing and the focal length gives great compression to your subjects.
I recently test drove the 35mm f1.4 L (a nice little perk of being a CPS member) and whilst I found it to be a superb quality lens; It just isn’t a lens that I would use all that much. It is very close in length to the 50mm f1.2 L and given the choice I’d rather shoot with that. So, now that I have ruled out the 35mm as a future lens purchase, here are the lenses that I have my eye on and will be test driving in the near future;
- 85mm f1.2 L II. I have heard far too many good things about this lens and the focal length is just perfect for portraits!
- TS-E 24mm f3.5 L II. This is a tilt shift lens which I have seen in action and I love the dreamy effect that it gives.
- 300mm f4 L IS. I am on the lookout for a lens that has a little more zoom that my 70-200mm. And whilst I know that I would really love the 300mm f2.8 L, it is super heavy and far too expensive a lens that I really wouldn’t use all that much. I just want a little extra distance for those ceremonies where you really are far away (some churches have very strict rules about where the photographer is allowed to be).
580 EX II. I have two of these bad boys but I think just showing one is fine (I was using the other to take the photo). One of the great thing about my cameras is that they can pretty much shoot in the dark. But when I don’t want to shoot in the dark these fella’s provide me with some good quality light. They are durable, consistent and provide great exposures.
Pocket Wizard Plus II‘s & MultiMax. For anyone who uses radio transmitters for off-camera flash; Pocket Wizard is the best available. I’m not going to argue with you about it because you’d be wrong. Pocket Wizard is the best. And that’s that.
Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 and Flex TT5. I primarily use the Mini TT1 as my trigger for all my wizards. The Flex comes in handy when I want to use my flashes off-camera but still want to use the ETTL function. The Flex doesn’t come out of the bag much but it’s their just in case.
Also; not pictured are some other items I use all the time;
- Canon Battery Pack CP-E4 – This helps me pack some extra power when I’m shooting with my flashes. It holds an additional 8 AA batteries and plugs into the side of my speedlite. It gives a faster recharge time and tons more flashes.
- Honl Speed Straps & Colour Correction Gels – These help me to balance colour temperatures when I’m shooting with my flashes.
- Memory Cards (Sandisk & Kingston) – I usually rock about 100GB of memory cards at my weddings (I don’t shoot that much! But that’s how much memory I have). I use Sandisk and Kingston CF cards. They are both reliable and (touch wood) I have never had a problem with any of my memory cards.
- Various Pocket Wizard Cords – You gotta have the right cords if you want the transmitters to work!
- AA Batteries (Panasonic Lithiums are the best you can get).
- Gaffer Tape – The multifunctional life-saver of every photographer.
I apologize if there was no real order to this post. It was more just a bunch of my random thoughts thrown out on the page.
I’ve not listed my bags in this post. I’ll do that another time.