Hello, I’m Damion Mower, a documentary photographer based in Buckinghamshire, just outside London.
I’ve been shooting weddings for around 4 years, after falling in love with the emotion and storytelling in my own wedding photographs.
I spent 2 years re-training myself and weening off the salary of a corporate day job, to wake up every weekend and capture wedding day emotions for other couples.
I chose Canon from the outset, and, even as little as 4 years ago, Canon and Nikon were the only two real contenders for wedding photographers. Things have changed a fair bit since then, and whilst I’ve upgraded my kit, I have remained loyal to Canon as friends and colleagues migrate to mirrorless Sony systems.
That said, the main reason I’m with Canon is to do with the richness in colour from the Canon kit, coupled with the engrained muscle memory I’ve built up on Canon’s system settings.
2x Canon 5D Mark IV: I love these cameras, despite the weight. They’re robust, taking the knocks and prangs I get at every wedding. They’re reliable, good on battery, and give me confidence when they’re in my hand.
I know I can get the shot I want with these camera bodies.
Canon 35mm f/1.4: My favourite lens. It never comes off my camera strap. I just love the image quality, the speed, and the story telling qualities of this lens. Although, mine are off to get calibrated over the Christmas period. Every 1% helps!
Canon 85mm f/1.4: This is my other go-to lens, doing most of its heavy lifting during the reception, for candids. It’s also a beauty of a lens for family portraits and capturing detail shots.
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8: I used to love this lens and that’s why it’s still in the bag… but the truth is, I’ve not used it at a wedding for 2 years. It will get an occasional outing for an engagement shoot, but little else. I just can’t bring myself to sell it just yet. Its replacement has been the 85mm, of course.
Canon 100mm f/2.8: I use this lens for 20 minutes every wedding and then it’s back in the bag. It’s my ‘details’ lens and it does a cracking job of making the table pieces, favours, and place names look epic.
I like to use a lot of off-camera flash for speeches, dancing, and some end-of-night couple portraits, so I always carry 6x Canon 600EX-RT speedlights (I have a couple more in the boot, just in case). They’re pretty hardy, having taken a few drunken knock downs and will often be out in the rain (UK wedding photographer!) for periods of time.
My OCF are mostly gridded with MagMod CTO gels, or a MagSphere. I find the menus relatively simple, and the light bursts consistent and so happy to use them in the heat of the moment at a wedding.
I do find that, with my triggers, they work better when I change the preferences to stop them going to sleep – I hate it when some of them have ‘woken up’ and some have not.
My triggers are the Canon ST-E3-RT Speedlight Transmitters. These are fine, but I do think that I might upgrade to a set of triggers with infra-red focus-assist at some point soon.
I also carry two video lights, a basic Manfrotto Video Light and a Metz Meca Light S500BC that I use for intimate nighttime portraits and to add a little fill light onto my couple. The Metz has a temperature control, so this is my go-to light. It also sits neatly in my back pocket, as it’s the same size as a mobile phone.
I use tailored straps. They’re super comfortable, light (no big buckles and clips), and are quick to release the cameras when I need to get on the ground for my shot. They also look a lot more elegant than other straps I’ve tested.
I travel with a Manfrotto roller case that carries everything I need to and from a wedding. When I arrive in the morning, I unpack lenses, spare batteries, and a couple of speedlights into my Manfrotto Pixi Messenger day bag, which stays with me the entire day.
I always leave my roller bag with my flash stands at the wedding reception venue.
I have two sets of light stands. For my UK weddings, I use 4x Manfrotto 1004BAC Master Stands, which are sturdy and simple to set up, albeit a little heavy.
When I’m traveling to a destination wedding, or going out for couple portraits, then I have a couple of Manfrotto Nanopole Light Stands. Light and simple to use, but would not last long on a crowded dance floor! It’s a light stand that converts into a nanopole.
I love my Matin LCD viewfinder. It not only enables me to check that the image is sharp, but it closes me off from everything that’s going on around me (I can’t see my couple or guests when I’m looking through it) and gives me time to think clearly before I change the composition or the pose.
I’ve also got a battery charger – just because I have a recurring nightmare of not having any power supply at a wedding (the charger can plug into the mains or my car).
And finally, my trusty screwdriver, that seems to be able to open and fix most basic problems on a wedding day. It’s also super handy to get those jammed white cards out of my speedlights.
Hardware & Software
I use Lightroom with a very basic pre-set, then work through my edit, mainly adjusting crops, exposure, and temperature, alongside dodging and burning where appropriate. I don’t use many of the rest of the tools in LR, never use Photoshop, and always try to get it right, in-camera, on the day.
To cull I use Photo Mechanic.
I always have some muesli bars, for both me and my second photographer… although, I usually eat both and just don’t tell my second shooter that I had a bar for them.
I learnt this year, to wear dark chinos to weddings, after rushing to the toilet before the bride walked down the aisle. It’s a long time to be standing at the front of a ceremony when you rushed to the toilet and did not shake well enough… if you know what I mean.