Hi – I’m Andrew Billington, and I’ve been photographing weddings for 15 years. I began my career working in theatre and in 2003 acquired a small digital camera and started taking candid backstage photos.
After being commissioned by the Arts Council of Britain to take some photos for them, I was then asked by a client if I photographed weddings too and so it all began…
I quit my theatre job in 2010 to work full time as a photographer and it’s been a great journey that’s taken me across Europe and even Africa – but also to Doncaster and Birmingham so it’s not all glamour!
I started off with Canon DSLRs and zoom lenses (Canon 24-70mm f/2.8, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 like all ‘proper’ wedding photographers did) but when the first mirrorless cameras from Fuji arrived I knew this was the way to go for the type of photography I wanted to do at weddings – candid, unposed, fly-on-the-wall.
So from November 2013 I was pretty much shooting mirrorless, small Fuji cameras for weddings – the release of the Fujifilm X-T1 in early 2014 sealed it for me.
I like to shoot with minimal gear at weddings, never carry a bag, and like to ‘wear’ everything I’m going to use.
I still shoot two cameras (backup is important even with minimal gear) but I like to keep both small. One round my neck, one on the hip.
I have no brand loyalty and currently shoot three different manufacturers throughout the day – Leica and Sony daytime, Fuji for dancing.
Leica Q2: Brilliant small camera with a fixed focal length of 28mm and max. Aperture of f1.7. It’s simple to control (I shoot full manual so on the fly adjustments need to be easy) and is small and lightweight.
Sony A9: Small(ish), fast, and great in low light.
Fuji X-Pro2: I use this on the dance floor as I like to get into the action and it doesn’t matter if it gets knocked out of my hands. The viewfinder is seriously cracked already.
Sony 85mm f/1.8: Lovely image resolution and fast enough to shoot in low light. This is my go-to portrait lens.
Sony 55mm f/1.8: My one camera, early evening walk around lens. Small, light, fast, and a great focal length for getting reception candids and ambient lit shots on the dance floor.
Samyang 12mm f/2: My dance lens that’s always on my X-Pro2. I shoot it at f10 with handheld flash and it always delivers.
Godox TT350 Flash: This is what I use hand held on the dance floor. It’s small enough to hold in my left and while shooting with the other. I use the X-T1 trigger that came with it.
1x Spider Holster: Keeps my Sony A9 on my belt.
Hardware & Software
I pretty much edit everything in Lightroom Mobile so I can sit downstairs with the iPad and snuggle next to my dogs.
I always have a couple of energy bars to keep me going through the day and a banana.
It’s taken me 15 years to cast off all the kit I started with. I used to be loaded down like a pack-horse on a wedding day.
The best bit about weddings is the questioning looks my minimal set up gets from the keen hobby photographers who have brought along everything they own in order to ‘back me up’ in case I miss something.
We always end up having great conversations but I know they wouldn’t give up their backbreaking, face hiding DSLRs. It’s great that we all have choices.
www.andrewbillingtonphotography.com | @BillingtonPhoto
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Really, interesting, Andrew. Can I ask what you had before the Q2, A9 and Pro 2? I’m loaded down like packhorse you mention so would be interested in trying the cameras you had previously. Also, are these the cameras you use for your theatre work, too?
First Allister Freeman and now Andrew Billington, 2 of my favourite UK wedding photographers. Such consistently good work, love looking at Andrew’s blog, every wedding looks fun through his lens.
Thanks Steve – glad to be keeping you entertained through Lockdown :)
Thanks for sharing your gear list! What is the advantage of a Leica Q2 compared to a Sony 28mm f2 for your A9?
Hi Steve – I just like using the Q2. I shot for ages with the 28mm on the Sony and it works just fine but I like to mix it up a bit. The Leica is just fun to use!
First of all, great work!
With 3 different systems is it diffucult to edit to get all the photos to match?
Im s hobbyist and I thought that all files from different cameras would look slightly different?
Do you edit all at the same time and the same way?
Thanks again and have a great day!
Hi Greg – they seem to match up OK although it is a concern for some.
The way I work is to get a white balance that works around skin tone and if I drag each type of file to that they seem close enough for me….. Andrew
Great article guys – I too love the 55mm and plan to use it more and more when we can eventually get back to shoot weddings!!!
Cheers Mick (Ash?) – the 55mm is great. That’s my ‘go to’ when I want to get down to one camera and just have a wander….. Stay safe and we’ll be back shooting in some form soon I’m sure :)