Adam Johnson

Hi everyone! I’m Adam, and I shoot weddings in Cheshire all over the UK, and sometimes overseas. So far I’ve shot around 200 weddings in 10 different countries, and boy do I love it now more than ever!

Back in 2007 I got married and bought my first ever dSLR to take some nice photos on our honeymoon in Sicily. It was a Canon 400D. I remember at the time asking for advice of what camera to buy and the best advice I received was to go to a shop, try out the Canon and Nikon you can afford, and buy the one which feels most ‘right’ in your hand. So that’s what I did.

That Canon 400D opened the floodgates on my love affair with photography and that’s really where my journey began. I took some photos at a family wedding in 2009, realised I had a lot still to learn and I needed better equipment and spent the next few months turning my hobby into an expensive obsession, practicing all the time and soaking up as much information and technique that I could from books and buying new gear.

I shot my first wedding in February 2010 with a Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 17-55mm f2.8 and Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS. I’ve been hooked on weddings ever since. I soon made the jump to full frame bodies with the Canon 5D and Canon 5D Mark II (swapping the 17-55 for a Canon 24-70 f2.8L) and it wasn’t long after that when I swapped the zoom lenses for every prime L lens between 24 and 135! Over the years I’ve thinned down my gear (although it might not look like it from the photo) into what you now see in the photo above.

Nowadays I shoot with two Canon 5D Mark III’s – I bought one when they first came out and after realising how amazing it was, I quickly bought a second and sold my old Canon 5D Mark II. I love these cameras – silent shutter has convinced many a vicar to allow me to shoot in churches and I love the tones and colours in the files. I wouldn’t swap them for anything.

The lens I love the most and shoot over 80% of my photos with is the Canon 35mm f1.4L – to me it’s the lens that can do everything. I love it and I wouldn’t be without it. If I could only take one lens to a wedding it would be this one.

Almost all my other photos are taken with the Canon 85mm f1.2L II lens – it’s so heavy but so worth it. This lens is something else.

I also have the Canon 24mm f1.4 II in my bag, which is a lens that I love and have shot loads with in the past but at the moment I prefer 35mm. And finally the Canon 100mm f2.8L macro – I hardly use this lens but I like having a macro lens in my bag for those rare occasions that I need it.

Apart from that my bag is choc full of lighting equipment. I prefer natural light of course, but I need to know that I can make light if I need to. I have the Westcott Ice Light which is quite a new addition but something I’m getting a lot of use out of already. I have five fully manual Yongnuo 560ii speedlights that I pair with Phottix Strato II triggers. I LOVE these triggers and how easy they make it to switch flashes on and off when I’m using multiple light setups.

I have a Lowel iD fresnel spotlight that really comes into its own for dark winter weddings here in the UK, and a Metz LED-480 which I sometimes use when I just need quick on-camera light or for helping me get focus in dark rooms.

I use the Spider Holster Dual belt for carrying my cameras round during a wedding. I love the freedom this gives me, and although it does tend to pull my pants down I wouldn’t go back to using camera straps or anything that attaches to my upper body. This belt is the best thing I’ve bought in the last couple of years.

For lighting stands I mainly use Manfrotto stands… I have a Manfrotto Mini Compact and two Manfrotto Nano stands. I also have a Calumet Low light stand which is perfect for the Westcott Ice Light and the Lowel iD light. I use Manfrotto Micro Ball heads on all my stands with Frio cold shoe clips.

My other ‘couldn’t live without it’ product is the Hoodman Hoodloupe. Really helps me see the LCD screen on sunny days to make sure I’m nailing my exposures. It’s also a good conversation piece as I get asked many times a day what it is!!

I also carry a pen, a Lenspen, chewing gum, a tie, business cards and for my spare memory cards I use a Think Tank Pixel Pocket Rocket.

And that little lot is all packed (apart from the three manfrotto light stands) into my brilliant Billingham 550. A phenomenal bag that I’ve owned for over 4 years, and only seems to look better with age!

In my backup bag (a Think Tank Retrospective 30) which lives in the car I also carry a Canon 6D, a Canon 35mm f2 IS and a Canon 85mm f1.8.

Main Kit summary:

2 x Canon 5D Mark III’s

Canon 35mm f1.4L

Canon 85mm f1.2L II

Canon 24mm f1.4L II

Canon 100mm f2.8L Macro

5 x Yongnuo 560ii Speedlights

Phottix Strato 2 Triggers

Westcott Ice Light

Lowel iD Light

Metz LED-480

Metz Mecalight LED-480

Manfrotto Mini Compact Light Stand

2 x Manfrotto Nano Light Stands

Calumet Low Light Stand

Spider Holster Dual Belt

Hoodman Hoodloupe 2.0

Think Tank Pixel Pocket Rocket

Billingham 550


Backup Kit:

Canon 6D

Canon 35mm f2 IS

Canon 85mm f1.8

Think Tank Retrospective 30

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  1. Adam Johnson on July 1, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    Thanks Dave!

    Keith – some weddings all I take out of my car until the dancing is my spider belt and two cameras with 35 + 85 lenses. I don’t feel like I need anything else at all to shoot the daylight part of a wedding. I see my other lenses as only useful for specific things – hardly ever use the macro and at the moment I only use the 24 for big group photos in tight spaces or packed dancefloors.

    Thanks a lot Hamish! There are four stands in the photo including the Calumet low stand which is great for putting on a tabletop at receptions or using as a low backlight – I use between 1 and 4 lights usually at receptions, depending on the room/space and the look I want to create. I like to mix it up so there’s no ‘normal’ really :) Hope that helps!

  2. Hamish on June 26, 2015 at 2:22 am

    Love your work Adam. Out of interest, how many flashes do you typically use at receptions? I see three full size stands and one mini but five flashes, do you position some just with the little stands they come with? So true what you said about the strato triggers, turning any flash on/off remotely is so simple!

  3. Keith on June 24, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    When using the Spider Belt how do you take your lenses?

  4. David Lee on June 24, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    Having followed you around on Facebook for ages because of your images, and now having worked along side at a couple of weddings, it’s great to see what you use and how you use it. As I’m only an entry level hobbiest I love my 2 primes, and it’s great to see you as a pro, are using only primes as well. Gives me little more confidence that i’m not just using primes becuase they are cheaper.

    Love your images, keep up the good work.And i look forward to when our paths will cross again.

  5. Dan Ward on June 24, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    Can’t beat the 35/85 combo! Currently glued to my camera!

  6. Adam Johnson on June 24, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Great to be featured! Thanks – happy to answer any questions here :)

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