Andy Tyler

Hi there! I’m Andy and I’m a wedding and corporate photographer in London, UK. Great to be here on Shotkit, as a lifelong gadget lover and someone who has been taking photos for 20 years, I’ve been a fan of the site for ages.

I first took an interest in photography when I was at school. I borrowed my dad’s old Canon film SLR, I think it was an EOS 3000 and was tasked with going around the school on a Friday afternoon and taking 24 photos.

I’d write down the settings I used for each shot and we would sometimes develop ourselves in the darkroom and other times pay for it to be done on the high street.

The next week, we’d look at those photos and try and figure out how the settings had affected each image. It was a slow way to learn but was enjoyable nonetheless.

I took my camera down to the woods where I tried my hand at taking photos of some friends mountain biking. I got some shots which, at the time, I was pretty pleased with!

My interest in photography really took off when I got my first digital camera, a Sony Cybershot DSC-S75. It was a 3.3 megapixel beast with a built in zoom lens and I remember having a 64MB memory stick.

I took that camera on holiday to a Greek island with some friends after I finished school and took a photo of a friend having a shot of sambuca ignited in his mouth, so it looked like he was breathing fire.

When I saw the shot on the back of the camera, my love affair with photography really took off.

Fast forward nearly 20 years, and I’m now a full time professional photographer, with my focus split between corporate work in London and weddings all over the country and abroad.

After my first Sony digital camera, I had a Fujifilm ‘prosumer’ S7000 and then finally graduated to my first DSLR, which was a Canon 400D.

I remember, after hearing that it’s more about the lens than it is the camera body, I went out and blew my monthly paycheque from my graduate job on a Canon 85mm F1.2L lens. I took a photo of my grandpa with that camera and lens which is now in a big frame on my living room wall.

Since then, I worked my way up through some other Canon DSLRs, until in 2007 getting a Canon EOS 5D Mark II. I bought a Canon EOS 5D Mark III in 2013 when I decided it was time to ditch my first career in digital marketing and focus on turning my passion and hobby into my job.

I used the skills I had from my digital marketing career to set myself up a website and a Google AdWords campaign, and that was where it all began.

I started, like many people, taking bookings to do all sorts of photography, but after a couple of years of figuring out what I liked doing and what I didn’t like doing, I decided to focus on corporate photography, particularly portraits, headshots and events, along with a sprinkling of PR and interior photography.

I stuck with Canon, upgrading to two Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, until I picked up a Sony A7iii and a couple of lenses when they were pretty new in March 2018. I started using it for more and more jobs.

I remember it getting to a point when I was shooting a conference with my Canons, when I thought to myself, I could definitely take more killer images if I was working with two Sony A7iii cameras.

I think it was the autofocus, along with a flip screen, that made me really want to make the switch. So that was the final straw. I picked up another A7iii and began to replace my Canon lenses with native Sony lenses, after realising that the Canon lenses didn’t perform as well using a Sigma MC-11 converter as native lenses did.

So nowadays I still rock my two Sony A7iii bodies along with a selection of lenses. I have often been tempted by the rolling-shutter-free silent shooting of the A9(ii) and the greater resolution of the A7Riii and A7Riv, but so far have resisted the urge to upgrade. Might not be the case when the A7iv come around though!

For both my wedding work and my corporate work I love using off camera flash. I am a big fan of the Godox system nowadays, having used Canon speedlights and Elinchrom strobes in the past.

I use AD200 Pro units for most of my headshot work, with some normal AD200 units for event work. I like triggering them with a Godox X-Pro trigger or a Godox V1 if I need an on-camera light too.

For weddings and events, I often reach for MagMod modifiers because they’re so easily changed and carried.

For corporate portraits and headshots, I always tether using a MacBook Pro and Tether Tools cables and Jerkstoppers.

My camera sits atop of a Manfrotto 055 Carbon Fibre tripod with an Arca Swiss Monoball head, which isn’t cheap but is just such a brilliant head for quick adjustments whilst shooting.

For corporate work, I use a few different larger modifiers. My favourite go-to for soft portrait light is a 120cm deep Elinchrom umbrella with a white interior and diffuser cloth. Pair this with a bare bulb AD200 and a MagMod MagShoe and you’ve got a great one light setup.

The other softboxes I often use are made by Phottix. I use three strip boxes for beautiful, even headshot lighting, which I picked up from headshot supremo Peter Hurley.

When I’m shooting weddings or events with two cameras, I like to hold my cameras on my belt. I actually use a ThinkTank Pro Speed Belt, to which I attach my cameras using two Peak Design Capture clips.

The plates never come off the bottom of my cameras because they are compatible with my tripod head too. I like using the clips on the ThinkTank belt, rather than attaching them to my trouser belt because it’s much sturdier and it also means I can just remove the belt to take off both cameras when I’m taking a break.

I used to have my cameras on a dual harness from Black Rapid, but the weight of two cameras and lenses meant that at the end of a long wedding or event my shoulders and back would be aching for days. By having all the weight on the belt, it is transferred to my hips and means I can move a lot more freely.

I travel to and from most of my work by public transport so portability is paramount when it comes to picking my gear. The softboxes I use are umbrella style so collapse and set up really easily. I use Manfrotto light stands and I carry them and my modifiers in a large, padded shoulder Manfrotto tripod bag.

My lights, cameras and other bits fit in a ThinkTank Airport International V3 Rolling Bag. Another recent addition is a lastolite compact halo reflector. It packs away into a tiny bag, which I love. I just want them to do the same thing for their pop-up backgrounds because the most unwieldy item I have to carry on public transport is a reversible white and grey background.

Main Gear Talk

Camera

Sony A7III x 2 – Great value full frame camera with a brilliant feature set. I love the eye autofocus.

Lenses

Sony 35mm f/1.8 – My most used 35mm lens.
Sony Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 – The smallest of my three 35mm lenses, great for occasional street photography and travel.
Sony Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 – My least used 35mm lens because it’s basically a DSLR size lens, but useful for super low-light events.
Sony 24mm f/1.4GM – Super sharp, super lightweight, fantastic lens.
Sony Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 – One of the first lenses I bought when trying out the Sony A7iii, and I still use it all the time.
Sony Zeiss 85mm f/1.8 – Very sharp, lightweight, my go-to lens for headshots and portraits.
Sony 135mm f/1.8GM – Bokeh monster, makes backgrounds disappear.
Sony 16-35mm f/2.8GM – My widest lens for use at events and sometimes for interiors and exteriors.
Sony 24-70mm f/2.8GM – I use this lens if I can’t take multiple primes with me on a shoot.
Sony 70-200mm f/2.8GM – Only really gets used nowadays at large business events where I can’t get close enough to the action.
Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L – I love this lens, I use it for interiors and exteriors to make sure my verticals stay vertical. The only issue is because the lens is concave, it can’t have a lens hood so it is vulnerable to lens flare.
Canon 50mm TS-E f/2.8L – This is just a fun lens I use for creative portraits.
Canon 50mm f/1.2L – The only normal lens I held onto from my Canon days, because of the beautiful way it flares in sunlight.
Sigma MC-11 Converter – Enables me to use the Canon lenses on my Sony bodies.

Lights/Triggers

Godox AD200 Pro (PixaPro badged) x 3 – My regular workhorses for headshots and portraits. Great power in a small package, fast recycling, long lasting rechargeable battery life and interchangeable head types, from a fresnel to a bare bulb to a round head. There’s also an LED head but I don’t have one. Great power in a small unit, good recycle times.
Godox AD200 x 4 – The original AD200, used for events and multi-light setups.
Godox V1 (PixaPro badged) x 2 – Lovely on-camera speed light with round head with a nice interface to control other Godox lights. Decent lithium-ion battery life. Only downside is the mount is plastic so it isn’t as strong and durable as flashes with a metal mount.
Godox XPro-S trigger x 2 – My go-to trigger for Godox lights. Five groups, easily adjusted individually.
Godox X2T Trigger – The best trigger if you want the option to quickly change multiple groups and have another speedlight or even LED on camera (I sometimes use an LED to help the camera focus in very dark environments).
Godox V860II-S – A great traditional speedlight with a lithium-ion rechargeable battery.
Godox V350-S – A smaller on-camera speedlight with less power but a good lithium-ion battery. Fits the Sony camera bodies better than bigger, more powerful flashes.
Godox AD600BM – Powerful 600 watt strobe for the occasions when I need more light to overpower the sun outdoors.
Elinchrom 120cm deep umbrella (White) with diffuser – Beautiful and very portable soft light modifier. I use it for portraits mostly.
Phottix 81cm Easy-up Octabox – Smaller softbox for use in smaller spaces or rooms with lower ceilings. Pops up like an umbrella.
Phottix 40cm x 90cm Stripbox x 3 – These also pop open like an umbrella.
Phottix Multi Boom Flash Bracket (16″) x 3 – This is a bracket that is necessary with the Phottix softboxes if you want to tilt them at an angle, so pretty often!
MagMod MagGrid x 5 – Brilliant stackable magnetic modifier to focus the light from a speedlight or AD200 exactly where you want it.
MagMod MagGel x 5 – Easy magnetic holder for coloured gels which I use to either balance my flash with the ambient light or for creative colour effects.
MagMod MagShoe x 3 – Quick and easy way to mount a speedlight or AD200 on a stand.
MagMod MagSphere – A great little tool for spreading light green evenly from a flash.
MagMod MagBounce – A useful tool for throwing light forward from an on (or off) camera flash when you’d like a softer quality of light than the harsh look of direct flash. I’ve used these as replacements for umbrellas when in a pinch. They’re much less likely to catch the wind when left on a light stand outside.
MagMod MagBeam – Great tool for concentrating your speedlight’s output if you want to throw light a long way or simply get more oomph out of your flash.
Lastolite Plain Collapsible Background 1.5 x 1.8m White/Mid Grey – A pop-up background which I use for headshots when anything from a pure white to pure black background is needed.
Lastolite Magnetic Background Holder – A quick and easy way to hold up the pop-up background with just a single light stand.
Lastolite Halo Compact Reflector – Great new reflector which collapses into a tiny bag. It snaps together like the frame of a tent and the fabric can be changed from a reflector to a diffuser very easily.

Tripods

Manfrotto 055 Carbon Fibre Tripod – My sturdy, heavy, taller tripod.
MeFoto Carbon Fibre tripod – My lightweight but still sturdy tripod for when I need to travel light.
Arca Swiss Monoball tripod head – Brilliant ball head which allows super fast adjustments.
Manfrotto Compact Stands x 3 – Stackable light stands are great for travelling light around town.
Manfrotto Mini Compact Stands x 2- Smaller, shorter versions of the above.

Bags/Straps

ThinkTank SpeedBelt Pro V3 – Thick, padded belt to which I attach my cameras using the Peak Design Capture Clips.
Peak Design Capture Clips V3 x 2 – Really great way to attach your camera to a belt or strap. But the plate that attaches to the bottom of the camera is also compatible with the Arca Swiss tripod ball head mentioned above – winning!

Hardware & Software

Apple MacBook Pro 16” – Big bright screen is used to show clients their images immediately.
Tether Tools TetherPro USB 2.0 – Great tool to stop my clumsy self from knocking my camera or laptop onto the floor!
Allen key set – Always comes in handy for all sorts of things when on jobs.
Tile Pro – This always stays in my bag for security reasons. If someone walks off with my bag, or if I just misplace it myself, I’m able to find my bag much quicker!

www.andytylerweddings.co.uk | @andytylerweddings

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1 Comment

  1. Andy Tyler on January 27, 2021 at 7:35 pm

    Thanks Shotkit, so good to be here. I hope my post is helpful to some other photographers out there!

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