I’m Allister, a photographer based in the South West of the UK. I’ve been shooting weddings since 2004. After a few years of creating photography that I really hated, I turned my attention to working in a style that I truly believed in.
My discreet approach to a more authentic and honest style of wedding photography is often created using available and natural light only and is most commonly described as reportage or documentary.
For me, it’s about creating a faithful and timeless record of a moment, a character, even a relationship. It’s got to be real for me. I don’t direct, move, or prompt couples. I never ask people to look at me or play up to the camera.
True reportage wedding photography is so much more than just a pretty picture. I fully appreciate that aesthetics come into play, such as the undefinable instant wow factor an image may have.
However, that only lasts so long. Images need to have more to them, they need to provoke an interpretation or an emotional connection if they are to stand the test of time.
During my career I’ve shot with all of the main camera manufactures. I have no brand loyalty and choose the most appropriate tool for my approach. At the moment, that’s the Sony mirrorless system, mainly because of the weight, high ISO capability, and decent auto-focus.
I started the business on a Rolleiflex 6008 medium format film camera – a very slow camera to use but the results were stunning – manual focus, handheld metering, even a polaroid back!
Fairly quickly, I sold a load of film gear to go digital and began photographing weddings on the Canon 1D series, it was massive! After around 6 months of lugging this huge camera around, I switched to the Canon 5D series and, on and off over the last 15 or so years, have worked with all marks of the 5D.
They’re an amazing camera. However, by the time the Canon 5D Mark IV came out there were just so many decent mirrorless options, and for a fraction of the price. I dabbled with Fuji for a season, then fully migrated to Sony.
I’ve been shooting on two Sony A7 III cameras for the last couple of years now, they’re amazing – light, quick, and extremely capable right across the board. There’s not really much to fault them on other than the ergonomics take a little getting used to, especially coming from Canon.
Straps and bag
I use very boring, low key, non-slip camera straps made by Think Tank.
To carry my gear around on the day, I use Think Tank Retrospective 30 bag. It’s probably the best bag I’ve owned – so much room, very touch, and also, importantly, very comfy to carry, even when heavy.
For all other storage and when traveling overseas, I use the Pelicase 1510 with TrekPak custom inserts. Amazing cases.
I shoot all of my work on primes at the moment. I love the Zeiss glass, it’s just incredible. I have several go-to variations of lens depending on the environment, 28mm/55mm is a current favourite though I regularly shoot 35mm/85mm, even 28mm/85mm.
My current lenses are:
Zeiss 85mm f/1.8
Zeiss 55mm f/1.8
Zeiss 35mm f/1.4
Sony 28mm f/2
I rarely use flash at weddings, favouring natural and available light. If I do use flash, it’ll be around the time everyone’s dancing. Sometimes the DJ or band uses particularly horrible lighting that needs a little work, sometimes things just need a little lift in terms of exposure and kick.
I’m currently using two Hahnel wireless speed lights – the Modus 600RT with Viper TTL trigger. They do everything I need them to do and more.
I occasionally create photofilms for couples where I record audio from the ceremony and speeches. In such cases, I’ll uses Sony’s TX650.
The massive eye cups I added to the Sony’s are probably my best buy, they really help me see the exposure on the EVF without distraction, also great during a very sunny day. Cost me less than £10 on Amazon!
I use two Sandisk Extreme Pro 128 Cards in each camera for extra peace of mind.
All of my admin and editing is done on a Apple MacBook Pro 13″, Lacie Rugged 4TB Portable Hard Drive, and Drobo 4 Bay NAS system.
Embrace imperfect, but real images. Don’t over process. Don’t crop to a point where the composition becomes unbelievable. Try to create images in the camera rather than relying on post production.
I read a photographer’s bio page recently which stated “taking the photograph is only 20% of my process, the rest I perfect on the computer”. This process totally misses the point of photography :)