Hi there. I’m Elena Bazini, a Chicago-based wedding photographer with a deep love of storytelling. I’ve been photographing weddings for over 10 years now, and it is real moments that keep me coming back for more.
I was drawn to the study of anthropology in college, and it was that interest in human culture that led me down the path towards photojournalistic wedding photography.
I’m not a huge gear head, but I need high quality reliable gear to get the job done. I think of myself as pretty minimal in terms of what I pack, but also prepared and equipped to handle anything that might happen on a wedding day. It’s always unpredictable!
I’ll often find myself with less time than was originally set aside for photography due to the nature of live events, and so my gear is easy to set up and break down. It’s all very tried and true. I carry two camera bodies on my HoldFast harness.
One pretty much always has a 35mm lens, while the other rotates between the macro (for ring/jewelry shots), the 70-200 (often for the ceremony and reception but I also love it for certain portraits) and the 85mm (which is often for portraits as well).
I think the 35mm is a fantastic storytelling lens, and it’s what replaced my Canon 24-70mm several years back. The 24-70 was good to me at the beginning of my career, and I do have a soft spot for it. But I love the 35mm for its sharpness and its fixed focal length that forces me to get in the action every time.
If you take a look at my portfolio, you can tell I love lighting. I love receptions and dark spaces, and I love a good end of the night photograph when the checklist of the wedding day has been completed. MagMod systems have really helped me branch out with modifying the light from my flashes. I use gels and grids and diffusers from their line at every wedding.
Canon 5D Mark IV (x2): I’ve been a Canon user since the beginning. I trained in photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and we were fortunate to have lots of camera gear to play with outside of class. I’ve stuck with the Canon system ever since. I love the glass and the skin tones.
I don’t consider myself a gear head. I work my gear fairly hard, I’d say, and I think the most important thing (no matter what your gear) is to know it inside and out. I’m so accustomed to my cameras at this point that they feel like extensions of my hands. That comes from 30 weddings or so a year and a lot of travel, boudoir, and some self-portraiture in between.
Canon 85mm f/1.2
Canon 70-200m f/2.8
Canon 50mm f/2.5: Compact Macro EF (with Canon Life Size Converter)
Canon 16-35mm f/2.8: (not pictured because I took the photo with it)
Canon Speedlite 600 EX II-RT (x5)
Canon Speedlite Transmitter ST-E3-RT (x2)
A whole bunch of MagMod accessories (diffuser, grid, gels, etc)
Strobe Pro 2’x2’ Speedlite Easy-Up Softbox Kit
HoldFast MoneyMaker Harness
Lowepro Transit BP 350 AW (Not pictured)
Think Tank Photo Airport Security V2.0 Roller Bag (Not pictured)
Hardware & Software
Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, Alien Skin.
Kind Bars, water, Bandaids, a small mirror, business cards, and ALWAYS chapstick.
Wedding photography has been a wonderful way to see the world, meet new people, and push the limits of my creativity. In addition to all of that, it has served as a regular reminder of what is important in life.
It’s an incredible thing to be able to witness (and have a front row seat) the meaningful moments of this life. Though it comes with stresses, as all jobs do, it’s rewarding in a way that is completely worth it.