Wedding Photography Team | What’s In Their Bags?
Russell and Liz Caron are a busy, professional Maine wedding photography team. An average wedding has them working often up to 10 hours from arrival to departure, and their gear is at the ready the entire time. We’ve had a lot of interest in talking about what gear we use, why we chose what we did, and how and when it’s used. So, let’s go ahead a take a look!
The Gear: (2) Canon 5D MkIII bodies with Canon BG-E11 battery grips (Russ’ main cameras) one primarily mounted with the Canon 24-70 f/2.8L MkII lens and the other with the Canon 70-200 f/2.8L MkII lens. Canon 6D body with Canon 24-105L f/4 and a Canon 5D body with another Canon 70-200 f/2.8L MkII lens (Liz’ main cameras and lenses). While we could shoot all day long with these combinations and never have to change anything, additional lenses are essential for special purposes. These include the Canon 100mm macro f/2.8L we use for photographing things like rings and the invitation suite. At various times in the day we may grab a shot or two with our Canon 15mm f/2.8 fisheye lens for very special effects. For bridal portraits we use the Canon 85mm f/1.2L, a spectacularly beautiful portrait lens with buttery soft bokeh, especially when used wide open. Our main gear also includes (6) Canon 600EX-RT Speedlights, unique in the industry for having radio-controlled remote triggering built-in, thus avoiding the need for additional, third-party parts, cable, and separate batteries. Why six flashes? We use off-camera flash quite extensively and to do so the way we like to work, with a balance of front light and rear light we usually place four off-camera flashes around the reception ballroom or tent. That leaves us each on to mount on one camera as front fill, and with the Canon 600EX-RT system this camera-mounted light also can act as the master trigger for the rest of the flashes in the room. From our cameras we can fully adjust the room lights without having to go near them. We use a number of different flash modifiers with our speed lights, depending on the circumstance. We also each have a ST-E3-RT speed light transmitter, which is used to control the off-camera lights. Every speedlight also has available for use with it a Canon external battery pack, providing the power of 12 high-capacity POWEREX brand 2700mah rechargeable AA cells for each light. Though the POWEREX batteries often last their shifts and not need changing, we still have several dozen freshly charged backups at the ready. Not shown are a variety of stands, small modifiers, and clamps that we use to make the system run smoothly and cohesively.
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Straps: Russ uses the Holdfast 2-camera strap system (far left in above photo) while Liz uses the 2-camera Spider belt system (top left).
Memory: We primarily use Lexar Professional 64GB CF cards (writing to another 64GB, an SD, in-camera backup). We have a total of nearly one terabyte of storage capacity with the cards we have with us, enough for more photos than there could possibly be time to take. The red and green Gepe card safes pictured above are secure, hold up to 4 CF cards plus 4 SD cards each. We use the green ones to store our unused and pre-formatted cards, and once we remove ‘exposed’ cards from our cameras we place them in red boxes for easy identification. They stay on our person until we download once we get in to our office at the end of the day. Read more about our wedding photography behind the scenes post processing.
Other: As a wedding photography team, we have an emergency parts kits, special battery packs that can let our cameras run on regular AA cells if needed (though we’ve never have had to do this), first-aid kits, sewing and miscellaneous things that it’s worth mentioning we have a tripod with us in our car, but I honestly cannot remember the last time it was actually used during a wedding shoot.
We have a high regard for the major brands of gear out there. We are not ones to engage in the Canon versus Nikon game, either brand, and others, too, are top-notch and each have certain advantages. So, why do we invest in only genuine Canon brand cameras, lenses, and flashes? The answer is simple; each piece of equipment does its job perfectly well and with intuitive design, extreme technical capability, innovative and reliable flash systems, and sharp, rugged, fast lenses. Not to mention that each piece of gear is covered by our Platinum level membership in Canon Professional Services, the service arm of Canon for professional photographers, who provide blazingly fast repairs and maintenance turnaround times. It is not only quite a reassurance but, moreover, an important necessity, to be able to send in a piece of gear on Monday and have it back in time for the next weekend of weddings by Wednesday or Thursday, all repaired or replaced as necessary. When you’re a busy wedding photography team, you don’t have time to wait for gear to be repaired!
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