Adam Lowndes

Hey, I’m Adam. I’m a wedding photographer from Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, UK.

My work exists mostly upon my super extraverted personality which not only makes my couples and guests appear super natural but often also reveals a side of themselves they leave reserved for only their best friends.

My ‘over the top’ couple care means most inquiries come from referrals from couples, guests and suppliers which I adore.

I’m also very active within the photography community trying to help others who are having similar issues to which I have faced in the path. The epitome of this is my YouTube page which I set back up in Lockdown to push free educational content out to all during such a hard time. I really love peer to peer learning and want to continue to play an active part within this part of the industry.

I would love to say exactly where I take inspiration and ideas from but it’s all just from the great big mess of my mind which results in the final product. I do love cinema though and often burn through hours of films in a week. I’m actually not far off 2,000 total films logged which makes me dizzy when I add up the total viewing time.

I would say that my work is not as artistic as others and this is something I struggle with but for a service industry, I believe my focus is entirely where it needs to be – on the couple.

I got into photography at the young age of ten when my uncle brought me a Kodak point and shoot. He used to own a film supply business so it was a great little camera that went on to be used for everything. The button to shutter action was a little slow and I can remember timing the click of the button with the spin of my friends kick flip to enable capturing the board mid air instead of him rolling away and out of frame.

Then as my teenage years progressed I spent hours shooting skateboard videos for my friends and editing these onto VHS. Skateboarding then subsided and so did my use of film and video.

In my later teens, I then picked up a hybrid Olympus camera purely through boredom and money burning a whole in my pocket. This reignited my love for photography as I shot the local music scene. Within two years I had my first DSLR, a Nikon D70s and within four years I shot my first wedding.

For the first six years of my part-time wedding photography career, I was obsessed with gear and needed to own the lot. I used to take a huge one-meter bag with studio lights, stands and light boxes with me to every wedding just on the off chance something would go wrong. This all changed during a pivotal moment in my life.

When my partner was fighting her AML diagnosis in hospital for over a year, I spent a lot of time on my own and with nothing but my thoughts and through doing so I became increasingly displeased with the way I was living my life. I wanted more positivity mentally and had finally opened my eyes to all of the stuff I didn’t need physically.

At this time I decided to leave my job and chase the wild idea of being a full-time wedding photographer whilst also jettisoning everything from my life which no longer brought purpose or positivity. It was during this time where I found minimalism and through following various figureheads guidance, I carved my own path to the kind of life I wanted to live.

This big change in my life weaved its way into everything I do and influenced me even more which it still continues to do. So as you can imagine I’m not really a gear hoarder and actively push to use less constantly. Everything I have kit and gear wise exists around the same principle – does it add constant value and does it marry up to my morals about being very hands on with my couples?

This passion to use less and to appear with less has helped my style develop and enables me to get so much closer to my couples and their guests. A guy dressed as a wedding guest with his camera harness hidden underneath his jacket and one camera, a small lens and no flash on show is so much easier to accept than someone who looks like they’re kitted out for war. I always use this to help sell how well I slot into my couples days and it works a treat.

This strive for less has also carried over into my personal collection where I shoot mostly instant. My almost 20 Polaroid camera collection has now been shrunk down to just a gorgeous white SX-70 and a 636 Talking one as it reminds me of the Talkboy from Home Alone. I also have an Instax Mini 90 Neo which is worth every single penny and tons more.

Harness and Storage

Holdfast | Tan Water Buffalo Leather Money Maker Camera Harness – I can’t lie, I brought it because it was cool. I soon learned that bashing my cameras together or the intense pain you get when your skin gets caught in the buckles causing you to scream like a girl is not cool at all. Saying this, I adore it and wouldn’t shoot a wedding without it.

Sitting under a smart jacket the cameras just sit slightly below the jacket edge and are available to grab at a moment’s notice. It has its downfalls compared to other brands but also has its huge strengths. I don’t actually think there is a perfect camera harness but this will do for now.

Holdfast | Olive Sightseer Medium Wide Lens Pouch – Expensive, but this add on to the Money Maker means I no longer carry a backpack at weddings. Two lenses and a couple of batteries at the bottom of this are ideal. Couple it with the two cameras on the Money Maker and a flash in my back pocket and I can go a whole day without a bag.

Manfrotto | Pro Light RedBee-110 Backpack – Just like with my harness, this bag definitely has its flaws but the search for the best bag/camera strap is a pointless one that will never end. This is a great bag and sits the weight comfortably across my whole spine whereas my old Lowerpro Reporter shoulder bag almost crippled me from a young age.

Like I say though unless I’m in between locations this bag sits nearby usually in a corner or under a table whilst everything I need is on me.

Pelican | 0915 SD Memory Card Case – Holds 12 cards and is constantly leashed to my trousers so it can’t be put down. At the end of the day all cards go in here so if I need to leave my car then I can jump out with this on me and all the photographs are safe.

In the bag

In the time this article has been written I’ve actually changed from mirrored to a mirrorless system so have displayed my comparable swapped out body  and lens next to each other below. I’m not a technical or statistical person and exist more so upon how a lens or camera makes me feel or how it slots into the way I work.

Nikon | Z6 II Body x3 replaced Nikon | D750 Body x3 – Having loved the D750s I wanted something a little faster a technically easier to use and the Z6 II’s were just the ticket.

Nikon seems to have removed all the unsightly dials and graphics and stripped the design back to the core which I love. Even though the design is stripped back these cameras are a pandora’s box of tricks and the more I use them the more I love the features.

The change from Mirrored to Mirrorless hasn’t been the smoothest of rides as I switch from something which was part organic and part digital to something completely digital but I feel I’m over the brow of the hill now and loving shooting with them.

Nikon | Z 85mm f/1.8 S replaced Nikon | 85mm f/1.4 – When I moved away from zooms I immediately went to the old 85/35 combo and have loved it. I now find myself moving more towards the 50/24 zone as I continue to move my work oh so much closer to the action.

I’ll still keep the 85mm with me for those long aisles, classic portraits and family portraits when I have room though. The flatness and the sharpness edge to edge of the final image just scream classic photography to me.

Nikon | Z 35mm f/1.8 S replaced Nikon | A35mm f/1.4 – I find myself falling more out of love with the 35mm every day. It’s been an incredible lens and I’ve loved using it but it’s really hard to make your work look different as it’s overused within the industry. So despite it being kick ass and a nice crisp finish wherever I aim it, I feel it’s going to spend more time in my pouch than on my camera’s this year.

Nikon | Z 50mm f/1.8 S replaced Nikon | 50mm f/1.4 – My first lens love for sure. I remember getting the 1.8 for like £99 back in the day and dropping it on my D90 and just being blown away. If it wasn’t for this I probably wouldn’t have ever made the switch to exclusive prime use.

Nikon | Z 24mm f/1.8 S replaced Nikon | 24mm f/1.4 – Coming from a skateboarding background I’m obsessed with going wide. Starting with an actual fisheye at weddings and then a 12-24 I’ve now cut back even further and love this focal length and find myself leaning towards it more and more from my trusty 35mm.

Nikon | SB-910 Speedlight – I used to find myself using flash so much but as soon as I discovered how to harness natural light, these guys just don’t get their run out anymore but I think they’ll always have their place on my dance floors.

Nikon | SB-5000 Speedlight Unit – If I could have had a third 910 which wasn’t second hand then I would just to appease my OCD.

Nikon | SC-29 Sync Cable – With a flash and my massive arm span this makes the ideal combo for any dance floor.

Aputure | Amaran AL-MX Compact LED Light x2 – When I need to light artificially without flash which is rare, mainly sparklers or a creative portrait in the evening, then I’ll bust these out. Built out of some tough stuff they’ve crashed onto the floor several times and still work perfectly. I only use them to give a slight kick and still mostly rely on the available/lack of ambient light whilst bumping that ISO right up.

Newer | Smartphone Hotshot Mount – This is my latest purchase. I brought it to mount my phone to record video so I could do some Instagram content whilst on the job but I just get so wrapped up that I often forget about it.

Alpine | MusicSafe Ear Plugs – I suffer with my hearing and have done for so long so when I remember I put these in my ears for the dance floor as often I’ll end up in front of the speakers so I can photograph my couples against the backdrop of their friends.

Manfrotto | Nanopole Light Stand x2 – I have two of these sat in a little side compartment in my car and I would say I use them maybe 50-70% of the time. They’re always there though with two PocketWizard PlusXs attached and ready to go for some off camera dance floor flash.

PocketWizard | PlusX x4 – I just wanted something that worked and didn’t need any fuss. These have served me well and never fail. I have two in my bag and two attached to the light stands ready to go.

Mini Bungees – These are just great to tie my light stands to other more steady objects to stop them from being kicked over.

Neewer | Heavy Duty Reflector Clamps x2 – I use these with my Nanopoles to hold smoke bombs away from my couples and aloft from grass. I’ve never had a smoke bomb incident to date *touch wood*.

Hardware

Bit of an Apple fanboy you could say, but the ease of having all devices synced so easily is just too good to move away from.

iPhone X – I’ve had an iPhone since the first one came out and I just love it. I don’t upgrade my iPhone every year but instead I buy the newest one outright once the current has done its time. I loathe monthly subscription costs and believe they reduce our financial freedom to do a lot hence my purchasing it outright.

iMac | Retina 5k | 27” | 4 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 | 32GB Memory – I adore my iMac and am currently in that strange space where it’s reaching the end of its life and I need to buy a new one but want to wait for the iMac M1, hopefully the combination of this and my iPad will see me through.

iPad Pro | 12.9” | 2nd Generation – I do all of my culling and editing on here and although it’s not perfect, it presents a lovely alternative to sitting in front of my iMac for days. Instead, I can slide this into a small backpack and visit my sisters in Wales for weeks whilst still working whenever I get a second.

Apple Pencil | 1st Generation – Charges like it’s going to snap off but ideal for those detailed Lightroom adjustment brush edits.

Elgato | Key Light – As soon as lockdown started and we were doing Zoom calls constantly I knew it was time to invest in a decent lighting setup for my calls. This light is outstanding and worth the big investment. I’ve since used it on practically all of my YouTube content.

Elgato | Master Mount L – I brought another stand the same as the Key Light one to mount my DSLR on so I could use it as a webcam. It’s as steady as a rock!

DIWUER | Capture Card – Just the cheap version of the Elgato Cam Link. An ideal addition to linking that sweet DSLR image to your webcam for Zoom calls and quick YouTube content.

Sandisk 2TB SSD – I have daisy chained LaCie HDDs which aren’t worth mentioning beyond that but this is just so fast and so portable that everyone should have one.

Software

LrC – Stick to what you know ay? 14 years in practice so far.

LrMobile – I religiously edit every single mobile photograph I take as well as using the app on the iPad to edit all of my professional work.

Ps – Rarely used but invaluable when it’s needed.

DaVinci Resolve – With all of my YouTube content, I adore DaVinci and for a free piece of software, it’s gotta be up there with the best.

GSuite – I don’t have a CRM as I’m much more personal but love to keep some small canned responses in GSuite.

PicTime – I’m a recent Pic-Time convert and have been loving it so far. After moving over from ShootProof I do realise the differences and stuff I wish PicTime can do, it sadly can’t but the visuals and things it can do vastly over shout ShootProof in my experience.

SmartAlbums – I’ve been using SmartAlbums for about two years now and it just makes everything so simple when it comes to album design. I can throw a design out in 30 minutes sometimes. It’s so fast.

I think I’ve said everything… other than the best thing about the gear is realising you’re the best piece of it. Gosh, that was cheesy.

www.adamlowndes.co.uk | @adamlowndesphotography

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