What’s in my Camera bag?
by Kevin Mullins
Firstly, I’d like to thanks Jason, not only for offering me a “spot” here today, but also generally, for this great blog and the Learning Digital Photography podcast – they are both great resources and Jason, I applaud you for keeping them both going so strong.
I’m a Welsh wedding photographer based in North Wiltshire, England. My style is documentary with a splash of bridal portraiture thrown in for good measure. My perfect wedding day is 90% documentary photography, and 10% fashion/fine art bridal photography.
My influences are the likes of Jeff Ascough, David Murray & Crash Taylor in the UK, Jerry Ghionis and Yervant in Australia and the likes of Joe Buisink in the United States. An eclectic and very different mix of absolutely brilliant wedding photographers that I would love to bring my images anywhere near the quality of there output.
I read a lot of wedding photography blog posts and spend a large amount of my time visiting the sites of these photographers who influence me the most – I end up deconstructing a lot of the images by looking at the Exif data if its available. I always find myself wondering what their gear bag looks like on a standard wedding day.
So, when Jason told me to go for it on this post, I thought, well, why not open my gear bag up and give a small review/overview of what’s in my camera bag. I know that gear does not “maketh the photo”, and the great photographers out there would make awesome photographs with an iPhone. Obviously there are fantastic wedding photographers out there who don’t use anywhere near as much equipment as me, and you can, definitely, shoot a wedding with a lot less gear – but this, simply, is my selection – just don’t tell my wife about the 85mm though 😉
I’ve included a shot from recent weddings for each of the lenses.
Canon 5D Mk II – a simply wonderful camera. I’ve had one of them now since early December last year and they really are a joy to use. The low light capabilities are just stunning and I’ll have no problem shooting at an ISO of 3200 or above in the reception if need be. I’m a big fan of the full frame sensor and the large mega pixel count as I like to print some of my images out at 5 foot ratios for clients. Conversely, the file size is an issue and, though storage is cheap these days, I find myself re-analysing my storage workflow all too often.
Canon 35mm f/1.4 L – definitely my favourite lens for the bridal preparation and dance floor shots. I use it for any formal group shots that the couple want also. It’s also a great portrait lens – you need to get relatively close, but the image quality is just stunning. Its fast, meaning I can shoot out at 1.4 on those dark dance floors and still get the shutter speeds I need (well, most of the time!).
35mm f/1.4 ISO 500 1/30 Sec Av Mode
Canon 85 mm f/1.2 L – my portrait lens. I don’t always take this to weddings as its heavy, expensive and actually really slow at AF. It is, though, the perfect lens for studio or static portrait shots. In manual focus, it a lens that is probably un-paralleled, but for me, on a wedding shoot, manual focus is just not always an option.
85mm f/1.6 ISO 3200 1/80th Sec Av Mode
Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS L – A lot of wedding photographers love this lens, and a lot of wedding photographers hate this lens. Its big, its white, its heavy and, with the lens hood on, it makes you look like the Paparazzi. However, I love this lens for some of the portrait shooting and also for the speeches. It gives you the option to stay away from the action for the most part but still get the quality shots that the clients require. I try not to frighten small children with it though and I once had a pigeon land on it while I was lining up a shot.
75mm f/2.8 ISO 800 1/60th Sec Av Mode
Sigma 105 f/2.8 Macro – This lens is actually a very able portrait lens, but its macro capabilities are stunning. I use this for close ups of the rings and any other details that require finer details.
105mm f/2.8 ISO 100 1/125th Sec Av Mode
Canon 16-35 f/2.8 L II – A marvellous wide angle lens. I don’t use it so much because of the superior quality of the 35mm prime. However, when I need those really wide angles then the lens is perfect. At 16-19mm range you can get some superb wide angles .
16mm f/2.8 ISO 640 1/6th Sec Av Mode