WHAT IS IN MY CAMERA BAG FOR 2021

This post will probably be only of interest to fellow photographers, but many clients also ask what I shoot with.

The Cameras

Canon was my goto for cameras up until 2015 when I purchased a Sony A7Rii and an A7ii. The image quality was incredible, but battery life and the autofocus were a bit of an issue with those cameras. But I knew from these two cameras that Sony was on to something, so I made the expensive switch and haven’t look back.

I still remember several of my photographer friends looking completely puzzled when I told them I had made the switch to Sony mirrorless. One of my photographer friends remarked “This wont catch on, it’s not a DSLR” thankfully he was wrong, as Sony completely re-imagined the camera market with mirrorless. Canon and Nikon have finally caught up, sort of, and have released several amazing mirrorless cameras, but nothing as yet has tempted me to move away from Sony.

Sony A9

The Sony A9 is my main camera, and in my opinion it has been the best camera for documentary wedding photography for a number of years now. It is completely silent, the autofocus is so good it has to be seen to be believed. Whether it be confetti shots or the bride walking down the aisle the Sony A9 never misses a critical shot. Sony call it Real Time Tracking, so I can track anyone or anything for that matter with ease, the focus just sticks like glue. The Sony A9 also comes with eye autofocus, which picks out a persons eye and will track that eye wherever it goes. Coming from using Canon cameras for years, the silent shooting, the real time tracking and eye autofocus was almost like alien tech!

Check Out The A9 Here

Sony A7Riii

My second camera is the Sony A7Riii which produces phenomenal images at 42mp and huge dynamic range. In fact DXOMark have ranked the image quality as 100/100 so that says it all. Unlike the Sony A9 though the autofocus isn’t quite as amazing sadly, but it still comes with eye autofocus and I find it incredibly reliable. I typically use my Sony A7Riii for couple portraits and group photos, just in case I need to crop. I was tempted by the Sony A7RIV, but at 61mp it’s just overkill for my needs, plus the noise at high ISO’s was pretty bad in my opinion. UK weddings from my experience can offer up some of the most challenging lighting, so with good light I am using my Sony A9, for those times when I need more dynamic range I will use the Sony A7Riii.

A good scenario for when I would use the advantages of the Sony A7Riii would be right now during these COVID-19 days. Weddings have completely changed, and one of the big changes are that the couple have to sit during the ceremony. I have photographed around 15 weddings so far during the pandemic, and each and every one has the couple backlit with windows behind. As a photographer you are always looking for the good light, so in this instance the couple are always in the shadows. Recently I photographed a wedding at The Country Park in Hull, right behind the couple it was a bright sunny day with the light hitting the river humber with zero light from inside the room. The lighting was probably as extreme as I have ever photographed, even when attempting to meter for the shadows it still wasn’t enough in camera. Thankfully the dynamic range of the Sony A7Riii saved the day, with me being able to raise the shadows massively.

Check Out The A7Riii Here

Sony A7iii

My third camera is the Sony A7iii, which is 24mp and has around the same dynamic range as the Sony A7Riii, and again it is a phenomenal camera. Autofocus is fantastic, but just like the Sony A7Riii it doesn’t come with Real Time Tracking, but has outstanding eye autofocus. This camera won awards and rightly so.

Check Out The A7iii Here

My Lenses

Sony 24mm f1.4 GM. This is my favourite lens without a doubt, I love that the focal length gives an environmental look to all my photos. With the f1.4 aperture I can can capture some pretty unique perspectives along with being fantastic in low light scenarios. This lens is by far the sharpest in my bag. I also use this lens for a lot of my video work and documenting family life.

Check Out The 24mm Here

Sony 35mm f1.8. I love this lens, it is small and light while producing lovely images. The 35mm focal length is a favourite of many photographers, in fact many photographers will photograph an entire wedding using this focal length. I typically use this lens for bridal or groom prep, and a little video too. I used to own the Sony FE 35mm f1.4 Zeiss lens, but that lens was so big and heavy that I didn’t hesitate to trade in for the much smaller version.

Check Out The 35mm Here

Sony 85mm f1.4 GM. This is a beautiful portrait lens, and I use it for portraits and also speeches when I can’t get too close to the action. It’s also very handy to have for those ceremonies when I have to stand further away. This usually sits on one of my cameras at all times.

Check Out The 85mm Here

Sony 24-70mm f2.8 GM. The workhorse as they say, the lens that can do it all. I have photographed entire weddings, festivals, events and sport with this one lens, it produces amazing images and is incredibly sharp. The only downside is the size and weight. But if you were looking for one lens that covers almost all focal lengths, produces razor sharp photos then this is for you. I highly recommend it. It’s an expensive lens to buy, but totally worth it.

Check Out the 2470 Here

That’s it for cameras and lenses, but as always my camera bag changes. Soon the A7IV will be released and I will probably be buying that. Then there is the beast that is the Sony A1, but at £6500 it’s well and truly outside of my budget, especially as we are all living through a pandemic.

Other Bits and Bobs

I have four Godox v860ii flashes and a Godox V1 flash. I absolutely love these flashes and they do everything from lighting poorly lit venues to the first dance.

I also have a Godox AD200 which is an awesome light which I may use during the first dance, and if I want to capture some creative couple portraits. I also own several LED panels, one being the Lume Cube which is such a small light yet is very powerful. I have used the Lume Cube on top of my camera before when venturing on to the dance floor.

DJI Mini 2 drone is an awesome little machine, the 4k footage that this little drone produces is fantastic. I used to own the DJI Mavic 2 Pro which was bigger and more expensive, but due to COVID-19 I had to sell this. The DJI Mini 2 is so small it is well within the legal limits of drone flying, plus it fits into my camera bag with ease. I am insured for using my drone along with being registered with the CAA.

DJI Pocket 2 is a great little video camera on a gimbal, I use this to record some of my walks for YouTube, but will also use it at some weddings to capture some clips.

Editing

I’ve been asked many times how I get my “look” or style of editing. Many years ago I used to own a couple of Fuji cameras and I just loved their in-built profiles, so as I switched to Sony I brought that style over to Lightroom as a preset. I use a 2020 Macbook Pro for the crunch of my editing, with the Macbook hooked up to a Benq 4K monitor that produces almost 100% RGB colour. Recently though I have been mixing things up by using my iPad Pro for some of the editing on the go.

I use several software and it’s the usual blend of Lightroom, Photoshop, JPEG Mini and Photo Mechanic, and I currently use pic-time.com to host my clients galleries.

Stepping into events or wedding photography can be expensive, and it’s taken me years to build up my gear. Thankfully I have reached a point of being confident in being able to capture any wedding or event with the gear that I have.