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  • Writer's pictureGiovanni Rusconi

Basic Equipment for a Professional Wedding Photographer




When choosing (and using) the equipment for wedding photography, three things should be kept in mind:

1. The photographer sees the image.

2. The lens frames the image.

3. The camera records the image.

The style of images you want to create will determine the equipment needed to properly execute the photography work you are approaching. Don't let the kit you already own dictate your style. In most parts of the world, you can rent the camera bodies or lenses needed for a particular job. This is particularly useful if you're just starting out.

Always remember that the biggest difference between a good photographer and a bad one is not their equipment; it's the ability to see an image.

No type of equipment, no matter how advanced, will make this process easier, although in my case, I've learned to cheat a bit 😊

My constant use of prime lenses (wide or tight) has taught me to "see" a scene in a more technical way. I mean, when I look directly at the scene. It's like having blinkers (although I'm also aware of peripheral vision). Directors use their hands at arm's length to "frame" the scene in front of them. As a photographer, I can "see" the world through my 35mm lens or my 210mm lens quite clearly even without having the camera at hand. My digital medium format kit also gives me time to think between frames. I use it to perfect my composition.

Lenses make the difference between a professional photographer and an amateur photographer.

The lens that produces the image is the only kit that can separate the professional photographer from the amateur.

Amateurs will never be passionate enough to buy very expensive, faster lenses. I think the "f" numbers are a mystery in photography that inadvertently helps maintain the professional/amateur divide.

So here's my advice: always buy the best glass available on the market.

Great lenses remain great lenses for a very long time; so don't think twice about buying the best. Price and build quality are good performance indicators.

And camera bodies?

The digital revolution has brought a multitude of decent SLRs to both amateurs and professionals. It seems that all current digital SLR production has excellent handling and high-performance sensors. In fact, if you look at equipment reviews, it's now seemingly impossible to buy a faulty digital SLR from major manufacturers!

You can choose from a wide range of cameras, as long as you have a good eye for a shot, good shooting technique, and, of course, perfect lenses: almost all camera bodies will do fine. This doesn't mean that all cameras are equal.

So why do most professionals pay the premium for "pro" camera bodies?

Mainly for build quality: professional cameras are made with sturdier materials and therefore last longer and can withstand the harsh knocks of professional life.

Developing a personal style in wedding photography

Developing a style is the best way to focus the mind on shooting on the wedding day. Reportage photographers need to learn how to react to what's happening and anticipate what will happen next. Pose photographers need to make the best use of light and people. Wedding photography has many shooting styles and products that sell well. Almost anything goes as long as it's good. The shooting style that we wedding photographers have developed is a combination of reactive and proactive shooting.

But I strongly urge you not to label yourself.

If you define yourself as a pure reportage photographer and this style of work ceases to be fashionable or at a good price, it could be difficult to reinvent yourself. Keep an open mind about style and accept the evolution of trends, at least to some extent.

How slow can your shutter speed be?

If you want to be able to shoot in low light conditions without having to illuminate the scene, two key factors come into play: the maximum aperture of the lens and the slowest shutter speed that will allow you to produce acceptably sharp images. Vibration reduction systems (sometimes called "image stabilization sensors") in modern lenses allow the use of slower shutter speeds (up to three stops advantage). But don't be fooled into thinking that now you can shoot a ceremony in a church at 1/15 and get great images. Vibration reduction doesn't stop the movement of the subject. In this case, adjust the fast lenses. Many of the best wedding photographers use a 50mm lens, which is also the least expensive lens on the market in terms of speed/price ratio.

My personal style tips:

1. Capture emotions

Create a relaxed atmosphere and use it to create images. Create fun opportunities, speed up a bit and shoot. Be involved, don't just be an observer. Have fun with wedding guests and the bridal party, then capture behind closed doors. Forget jokes and banter. Find funny pictures!

2. Think before you shoot

This is how Julie and I work. Occasionally, having a "shoot first" approach to capture the reality of the situation can be an advantage. But this only works if you're prepared so, when you walk into a room, automatically set your camera to a suitable exposure so you can react immediately and effectively.

3. Move and don't use zoom

Create three-dimensional images. Using zoom to compose images is like cropping a two-dimensional image. Try to create depth. Moving helps align foreground and background elements in an image.

4. Tell the story

To get a technique, use the principle of "less is more". Key elements are the individual characters in the story. This style works well if you keep the edges of the frame away from distracting details.

5. Shoot sequences

Shooting sequences of photos makes it easier to create dynamic layouts. Why take a single shot when three or four shots together tell the story better?

6. Take control of the ceremony

Be aware of your surroundings, subjects, and light. After physical environment control comes emotional control. Try to create moments of fun or reflection and capture them. The ability to create and photograph emotions makes wedding photography a fantastic experience. Like shooting a movie, to tell a story with pictures you have to rely on a good director.

Fammi sapere se hai bisogno di ulteriori modifiche o se posso aiutarti con altro!

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