Hi, my name is Barney and I’m a wedding photographer based in the tiny county of Rutland. I would describe my general approach to weddings as being that of an observer. I always tell my couples to do their thing, enjoy their day, and I’ll document it.
I like to shoot weddings from the inside, so I will get involved in the day, but not lead it in any particular way. I want the couple to have their day, and I give them the best possible memories of it.
I started photography way back; I did it semi-professionally for about 8 years, then went full-time with weddings two years ago. I’ve been lucky enough to shoot a few destination weddings in that time, which I love, as well as being nominated for, and winning, a few awards.
I like to keep things simple; I don’t want to carry four bags of gear, because that is likely to mean that I’m carrying lots of excess stuff to create images I want to create – which is not what it’s about for me. It’s about telling their story.
I’m a firm believer in the person over the gear, but you do need to have the right stuff for the way you shoot.
I don’t have an allegiance to a particular brand; years and years ago I bought a Canon 20D, then some lenses, then I went through a few more bodies (Canon 40D, Canon 60D, Canon 6D) before finally settling on a Canon 5D Mark III – and then adding another of the same.
At this point, swapping brands would cost me a lot of money, and I can’t see that it would be worth it. Maybe one day though.
The Canon 5D Mark III is a great camera and does everything I need it to do. I, of course, have two bodies. Usually, one is equipped with the Sigma 24-35mm f/2 and the other with the Sigma 50mm f/1.4.
You may notice that one of my bodies has a little ribbon on it; this is from a destination wedding I did in Spain, for a Spanish couple.
It was such an amazing day, the bride and groom were really lovely people, as are all of my couples, and they gave these out as favours. I put it on my camera, and there it has stayed ever since.
Sigma 24-35mm f/2: Last year I made a conscious effort to get closer. I only had a 35mm at the time, but I knew I wanted to be wider and tell a more complete story with my images. This lens is superb, I tend to treat it as two prime lenses; I use it at either 24 or 35.
It’s essential to me, I love this lens and it literally never comes off one camera. Wide shots of the venue, detail shots, bride walking down the aisle, speeches, party shots – honestly, I could not do without this lens.
Sigma 50mm f/1.4: I love this lens, it’s so versatile. It’s a great focal length and I use it during pretty much every part of the day – it’s a real workhorse. I rarely shoot wide open, but at 1.6 or 1.8 it’s beautifully sharp and reliable.
Tamron 85mm f/1.8: I used to use this lens all day until I got the Sigma 50mm f/1.4. I love the compression you get from it, and wide-open you get some lovely separation.
The key points in the day when I use this lens are during the ceremony (alternating with the Sigma 24-35mm f/2) and the couples’ shoot.
I don’t really pose couples, I just ask them to walk and be close. This slightly longer focal length allows me to step back and let the couple be with each other, in the moment.
Batteries: I’m super paranoid about batteries and having enough. Which is odd because I can usually shoot a whole wedding with one battery per body. Still, I take six fully charged camera batteries and 24 fully charged AAs.
For the cameras I use a mix of official and third-party batteries, I can’t say I’ve noticed a massive difference day to day between them, but the third party ones definitely have a shorter life.
As soon as they stop holding their charge I throw them away. Amazon basics AA rechargeables are great, cost-effective, and have never let me down.
Yongnuo flash: I’m not a “natural light” photographer. I’m a “whatever makes the best shot, use that light” photographer. I use flash quite a bit during the first dance, mainly on-camera and bounced, or off-camera.
I also love dragging the shutter and using it on-camera to get some evening party shots – I think it adds a lot of movement and life to the image. I use Yongnuo flashes because they work very well, they’re affordable, and they can be used in lots of different scenarios.
Trigger: As I said, I use off-camera flash occasionally. During the speeches and the first dance are when it’s most used. Having a trigger is essential.
The one pictured just works, I can control a couple of different flashes (depending on what function they are doing), I don’t have to go over to the flashes, and I can alter the power, etc. from wherever I am in the room.
Workflow for Editing
27” iMac 2017 model with RAM upgraded to 32gb
Apple iPad Pro
Lightroom (classic and mobile)
My workflow after a wedding is as follows:
- When I get home, I offload the images onto my mac and into Lightroom. When importing them, I add them to a collection named “couplename-venue”
- Overnight the images import into Lightroom and back up online to Backblaze
- Using an Apple iPad Pro and Lightroom Mobile I “pick” the ones to keep
- Whilst picking them, I mark around 20 images for a preview
- Edit and upload the 20 images for the preview by the following evening
- Go through the first cull images and remove any duplicates and/or the best frame from a moment
- Use the Apple iPad Pro and Lightroom mobile to crop/straighten each image (this is such a timesaver)
- Use a Loupedeck+ to edit each image. I batch process sections of the day with similar light, etc. using a custom preset, then I tweak each one as required
- Make virtual copies of any I’ll apply a black and white treatment to
- Edit the black and white images
- Select 80 or so images for a blog and slideshow
- Export the 80 images to a folder
- Export all of the images to a different folder
- Use SmartSlides to create a slideshow which I then embed in a custom page for the couple on my website
- Upload images to Pixieset
- Send a link for the slideshow page to the clients
- Send gallery details to the clients
For me, the most important part of my job as a wedding photographer is to anticipate moments – and then be in the right place to capture them.
So, as much as the person is more important than the gear, it’s essential you have the gear which suits the style you shoot and enables you to get the important shots.
Also, hang around older people. They’re amazing to talk to, to photograph, and to listen to. I love them all.