Hi, my name is Andrea Bagnasco and I’m a documentary wedding photographer based in Varazze, a small coastal town on the Italian Riviera. I’m married, father of a young boy and have an incurable passion for guitars.
My photography is observational and unobtrusive. My goal is to document the wedding day for my clients through images that are both aesthetically pleasing and emotionally engaging.
I am constantly looking to represent people for who they are, unique in their own normality, and to tell their stories – to use my own style to put my clients in the spotlight. My photography is inspired by the great street and documentary photographers: Cartier Bresson, W. Eugene Smith, Alex Webb and Salgado just to name a few and all the great photojournalists.
I like my pictures to be real, because the true story of the wedding day is to me by far the most important thing that I can deliver to my clients.
I am image master for DxO Labs, member and multi award winner at ANFM (National Association of Italian Wedding Photographers), ISPWP (International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers) and Fearless Photographers, some of most popular and better attended international directories of wedding photographers.
Wedding Kit – General Remarks
Although the single most important piece of kit a photographer can rely on lays in the 12 inches behind the viewfinder (i.e. the photographer’s eye, imagination, education, culture, willingness to take chances, curiosity, background…) being able to count on a reliable wedding kit that feels familiar is of utmost importance out in the field, where you’re seldom given a second chance to get things right.
Since weddings have over the years been developing into day-long (sometimes even more!) marathons, the kit better be compact and lightweight. Through trial and error and an evolving back pain I’ve come to the point where my basic kit is the one pictured. It has been this way since a couple of years now.
I’m basically bringing 3 camera bodies with me. I used to bring 3 DSLR’s but lately I’ve ditched one DSLR in favor of a very compact and lightweight mirrorless Fujifilm camera.
During most of the day I’ll have 2 cameras on me and one in the bag, so as far as carrying my cameras I ended up settling with a Spider Holster to carry one DSLR (I use the holster on a Think Tank Thin Skin belt) and Upstrap camera straps to carry the second camera body over my left shoulder (either the second DSLR body or the mirrorless). This seems to be a good compromise as far as flexibility, ease of handling and weight distribution on my body.
The whole kit fits into a Think Tank Street Walker Pro backpack or into a Think Thank Streetwalker, when I can afford to leave some pieces of equipment at home for smaller gigs.
Wedding Kit – Details
Here are some details concerning each piece of equipment and why it found its place in my kit (from left to right)
Energade/Gatorade – can’t make do without. Just too important to have some way to charge my own batteries during the day. Most of the wedding season takes place during summer and I can assure you, in my black suit I sweat a lot!
Microfiber cloth – great to keep at hand in my pocket, you never know. Plus, it doubles as 18% gray card
Think Tank Pixel Pocket Rocket – this is where my CF and SD cards are kept. When a card is full, it goes back in the pocket rocket but flipped so I know exactly and instantly which cards are empty and which are full. It never (NEVER!) leaves my body – kept with me at all times.
Rogue Flash Gels – I hardly ever need them, but when I do need them there’s no substitute for them. So they come with me.
Spare batteries – spare battery sets, one per type
Gaffer Tape – just like for the flash gels
Glasses – these are to drive safely back home at night
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM – I love this lens and use it as much as I can. It always comes out during the reception, especially when the available light is very faint. Also a great getting-ready lens. Most of the time it will stay on one of the Canons from the reception until the end of the day, dancing included.
Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM – probably the best Canon lens that I ever had the pleasure to work with. Compact, lightweight, razor sharp, focuses instantly and precisely, stunning image quality, creamy bokeh. An absolute winner and a true classic.
I’m not much of a telephoto guy, in that my style tends to favor wide lenses. But when this one comes out, it makes me wish Canon made a wide lens just as good. Great during ceremonies, especially in big venues. Great for the bride and groom portrait session. When I know the venue is small and a shorter reach is good enough, I might leave this one at home and take a Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM instead, which also works great as portrait lens.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III – I have two of those. Workhorses. Fantastic cameras and by this time, coming from the previous versions of the 5D series cameras, they feel as a natural extension of my body. On every new 5D camera that comes out Canon seems to improve on autofocus and ISO performance.
I’m pushing the Mark III’s as far as 12800 ISO and I’m still taking good pictures. I wish they would improve a bit on the latitude of the sensor on their next 5D camera. Anyhow, these are just brilliant cameras for wedding photography. Plus, I’ve yet to try a camera that can produce better files for color work. I’m just sold to the Canon look I guess. Oh, and the quiet-shutter mode is fantastic! Would never be able to make do without now.
Fujifilm X-T1 – this one gained a fixed spot in my bag to replace a 3rd backup DSLR body. As much as I’d love to rely on a compact and super lightweight mirrorless kit, I’ve not yet been able to go 100% mirrorless.
For the way I work, DSLR’s seem to be the only universal tools for me, for the time being. Still, it’s great to have this nice little camera that I can use when the action slows down. Typically while the reception is under way and the guests are enjoying their cocktail or meal. The Fuji is very small, quiet and unobtrusive and I can walk around snapping away without bothering anyone.
Fujinon XF23mm f/1.4 R – this lens never leaves the X-T1. It’s an awesome little lens, 35mm equivalent. Very, very useful and useable in all lighting conditions. Optically and mechanically great, a very solid performer.
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM – as much as I think there’s a lot better out there in terms of image quality, this ultra wide zoom is a cornerstone of my kit. It allows me to do things I could never do with any other lens. From the confetti and rice throw at the end of the ceremony, to some parts of the bride and groom portrait session, to the late night dancing shots after the reception, this is the go to lens. Better be careful not to overdo with ultra wide, but still can’t make do without.
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM – the all-purpose lens. If I could only bring one lens to a gig, it’d probably be this one. I used to own and use the previous version for years and years.
When this one (mark II) came out I wondered why I should spend all that money to replace the 24-70, but quickly forgot the price paid after seeing the files produced by this puppy. Workhorse or – better – thoroughbred.
Phottix Odin 1.5 TTL Flash Trigger – I try to use flash as little as I can, except on the dance floor at night with the band (or DJ) lights – when people drink and dance and couldn’t care less about my flash or me in general. When I need to use flash in all other situations, if the circumstances allow I like to have the option of going with off camera flash
Phottix Mitros+ TTL Transceiver Flash – this guide number 58 speedlight is a great, solid performer. If works fantastic with the Odin trigger and with its built-in receiver I don’ have to carry a TTL receiver with me to do off camera flash.
As mentioned, I try not to use flash at all during my documentary coverage. I do use a bit of flash if my clients want to take a couple of formals with the close family inside the church (where light is usually horrific) and always venture on the dance floor with the flash on my camera and 16-35 to catch some action with the shutter drag technique. Depending on the wedding, though (maybe no formals and no night dancing) I might as well not use the flash at all!
DxO ONE – this is the camera I used to take the ShotKit picture. It’s so small and light, it just makes sense having it with me – you never know during the day I might find a creative way to use it.