We are Mitch and Savanna, and we make up Colagrossi & Co. We really love what we do. It’s an incredible thing that we can make a career out of photographing people being happy and in love. We love love and we love people!
We’re super all-inclusive and we believe that anyone has the right to love whomever they want. We really think that that’s an important philosophy to have in our industry.
We’re inspired by our couples and many artistic mediums, but I feel like what drives our inspiration the most is cinema. Watching a film is like being transported into another dimension for a brief period of time, the only thing that exists in that world is what you see on the screen.
We’re obsessed with horror movies, 80’s sci fi, 70’s Giallo movies and anything that A24 has produced really. We feel like that has a lot of influence on our work.
Mitch here, the lesser half of Colagrossi & Co! (Seriously, Savanna is the beautiful, multi-talented, entrepreneur-by-day-rockstar-by-night of the group. Check out her music here www.heyaela.com)
It’s funny when I got into photography 15 years ago, the admission price to get into digital photography was pretty prohibitive. I shot on this old Beseler Topcon that I borrowed, with no intent to return, from my father. I then got a Minolta X700 which was phenomenal.
I bought a Vivitar 28mm f/2.8 from a local camera shop for $20 that I kept on that thing permanently, and it really taught me about photography. Later on, when I started doing photography professionally, I bought a Nikon D300s and holy cow what a game changer.
The funny thing is thinking back on how limiting that camera was compared to the cameras you can get for a quarter of the pricenow. The Nikon D300s was good up to about ISO 800 – anything much past that and man, stuff started to look rough.
Now, I don’t think twice to pushing it beyond 3200. So yeah, that’s the biggest thing that’s changed the way I shoot in the past 5 to 10 years: the ability to shoot in low (practically no) light. So anyways, here’s a list of the ever changing flow of gear that Savanna and I work with.
2x Nikon D750: We’ve had these puppies in the toolbox for quite awhile now. I pretty much picked them up right when they were released.
At that time, Nikon had this gaping hole in their camera lineup. You could pick from the Nikon D800, which had enormous files and bogged down my computer, or you could get the D4 that was $6000.
When the D750 was released, it was like the camera gods were smiling down at us Nikon users because they had made life so much easier. They’re great, they do what we want them to do and are pretty darn reliable.
I had four of them at one point, and I had to have the shutter replaced in all of them. Not a great start, but post shutter surgery they’ve been great. The files are so malleable, and the latitude you have to push shadows and overall exposure is insane.
Nikon F100: This is an incredible film camera that just seamlessly fits in with my D750s. We’re shooting more and more film on wedding days and engagement shoots. So, I’ll probably be picking up another one, though I’d really like an f6 or a leica…
Nikon Z6: We didn’t really jump on the mirrorless train because we thought it would be superior, we just happened to need another camera. B&H was having a sale with a zoom lens (the only zoom we own) and decided that if these are the cameras of the future, we better just hop on board.
There are some features that are very nice in the Z6, and it’s nice to see what you’re getting when you look through the viewfinder.
The adapter for F mount lenses is great, although, I wish it would autofocus on the older D lenses, but you can’t have everything, I suppose. It’s funny, I feel like the cameras keep getting smaller but the lenses keep getting bigger and bigger. It’s kind of ironic actually.
Mamiya 645DF: It’s medium format, and photographers love shooting on the biggest rectangle possible. It’s heavy, manual focus, and requires a ton of light. When you nail a shot though, the result is a photo that makes you feel like you’re right there with the subject.
Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k: This thing is a beast and is A Cam for wedding videos. I use it for fashion films and music videos as well. The files are huge and beautiful. The battery life is abysmal, so you need a ton of batteries or some kind of off camera battery solution.
It’s a headache to use on a wedding, but the image that it produces makes it worth it. It’s a whole new world coming from someone who is used to shooting video on DSLRs. It’s basically a $1300 Hollywood camera.
Panasonic Gh5: We use this as a B Cam for wedding videos. It’s video files are way nicer than what you can get out of the Nikons. The in-body stabilization is mind blowing as well.
Nikon 24-70mm f/4: Our only zoom. It came with the Z6. It’s actually a phenomenal lens. Way less vignetting and distortion then other wide zooms. I guess the new mount does have its perks!
Nikon 35mm f/1.8: Awesome lens. This lens is nice, compact, and great for photojournalistic shooting. Unless I’m doing something really specific, I don’t use this for shooting engagement type stuff or portraits, but sometimes I do.
Nikon 50mm f/1.4: This is a great lens, a lot of people complain about it, I’m not sure why, but I don’t care. This is my go-to, for sure. It just feels like I’m able to see what I’m supposed to see with it. Cartier Bresson was a big fan of the 50mm focal length and maybe that’s what influences me to use it a lot, but I really feel like you can shoot everything with it.
Nikon 58mm f/1.4: Sometimes I love this thing, sometimes I don’t. I’m not really sure that it does anything spectacularly different than our 50mm f/1.4. Some people seem to loooove this lens, so we’re still trying to figure out what makes it so special.
I’m not really a hunter of beautiful bokeh, (the 85mm does this better than the 58mm ever could anyways). What I do like about it, is that it produces almost no flare, even when your subject is super backlit. It does produce a nice warm glow in backlit situations which is sometimes awesome.
Nikon 85mm f/1.4: My dad got me this when I was in college. It’s seen a lot of action, This stays on my camera 75 percent of wedding days. I love to shoot close up portraits with it. I also use it a ton with my fashion work.
It produces a really cool temperature image compared to my other Nikkor lenses. It’s never been in for repairs and I’ve never had any issues with it. I found out a couple of years ago that this lens is grey market. B&H used to sell grey market items and this must’ve been one.
I can’t send this thing in to get repaired, so it’s kind of on borrowed time. I might just get another copy of it when it goes, but it won’t autofocus with the Z adapters. I’m hoping that I get another 10 years out of it, but I’m not holding my breath.
Mamiya 80mm f/2.8: This stays on the Mamiya 645 most of the time. It’s like shooting a 50mm on a 35mm format camera. It’s a really beautiful lens.
Cheap Old Promaster bag: I use this bag because it fits a ton of stuff in it. I have two old Langly bags. I’m constantly changing where things go because we have to pack differently for a wedding that wants both Photography and videography from a wedding that just wants video or vice versa. Packing is a constant struggle.
Metabones Speed Booster XL Nikon to MFT: This is an adapter for Micro Four Thirds mount to Nikon F lenses. This pretty much permanently stays on my BMPCC 4k. It’s no ordinary adapter though, as it projects a bigger image onto the m4/3s sensor making it almost full frame. It also lets in much more light and creates a shallower depth of field.
Tilta Gravity G2X: This is an absolute must for shooting video on the BMPCC 4k. It’s kind of a pain to get balanced, but once I got the hang of it, I can set it up pretty quickly now. Honestly, I looked high and low for videos on how to balance the BMPCC 4k on this gimbal with a full cage, and I realized you have to use some kind of counterweight. It works beautifully now.
Tascam DR-70D (not pictured): We hook this up to the DJ booth to capture audio on a wedding day. It’s super important to our films to get good audio.
2x Tascam DR-10Ls (not pictured): Lavalier microphones that we hook up to the bride and groom to capture their audio during the ceremony.
Hardware & Software
Photo Mechanic: We use this to cull through images of the wedding day. It’s a lifesaver. It also saves Lightroom from having an enormous catalog that slows it down.
Adobe Lightroom Classic: We use this to edit the selected images. We color correct, crop, and look how we want them in Lightroom. We use our own presets that we are constantly changing and tweaking.
Alien Skin Exposure: We really just use this to add grain and some slight sharpening.
Blackmagic Davinci Resolve 16: Video editing software, or NLE, that we use to edit video. Davinci Resolve has the best color grading suit that I’ve ever used.
The search for decent coffee: We don’t really have anything that we keep in our bags constantly besides our gear. Pretty much anytime we land on the ground anywhere, Savanna and I gps our way to the nearest coffee shop.
My best advice would be to keep pushing yourself creatively. Keep your camera close and your loved one’s closer. Mind your exposure and don’t worry too much about the gear that you’re using. Do your best and don’t dwell on the past, it doesn’t matter much these days.
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