Emin Kuliyev

I decided to update my old Shotkit from June 2014 because I’ve completely switched from a Canon-Nikon system to the Sony Alpha 7 series.

Now I have the Sony A7R II, Sony A7 II and Sony A7 (converted to infrared).

Why did I do it? Here are my reasons:

1) I can see exactly in the electronic viewfinder what I finally get (I can control for 100% white balance, over or under exposure)

2) I can see in black and white when I shoot in black and white – (RAW + Jpeg). I also have two versions of the photo to choose from, one in color and one in black and white.

3) Small and light weight (especially with Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 and Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 lenses)

4) I can grab a still from the video file in 4K (on a Sony A7R II) (All examples above I took from the video file. They are not pictures, they are stills from the video!).

5) Cost lower that Canon-Nikon (especially for Sony A7 and Sony A7 II).

6) Now (Finally) I can use lenses with bayonet M (Leica).

7) I can shoot freelensing (holding lens in my hand not attaching to the camera) and get a tilt effect.

8) I can use any projection (or any other camera system created on this planet for the last 150 years).

9) Sony A7 II and Sony A7R II have image stabilizer in camera and it really works especially on a lens longer than 85mm.

Why do I have so many lenses on my Shotkit?

I use my lenses as brushes. Every lens has its own bokeh and character. I choose one depending on the situation and my mood.

Why do I use so much yellow sticky tape on the lenses?

These are projection lenses without any mount. With sticky tape and metal rings, I’ve adapted them to a Canon or Sony bayonet, then I use them with a helicoid adapter for smooth focusing (on a Sony A7 it works very well because it has a focus peaking (with 3 levels).

So  I can be focusing manually faster than in an autofocusing mode!

When I shoot video I use only lenses with autofocus because it’s easier to catch my subject, especially if they move.

When I shoot photo I do it only in manual focus mode because it’s easy to control the whole frame if somebody is in the corner and I want to focus on that subject – with manual focus mode and focus peaking, it’s very easy to do.

I switch to photo mode only when I shoot portraits or when my subject stays still. Then when I shoot a moving subject, I switch to video mode.

Cameras:
Sony A7 II
Sony A7R II

Lenses:
Canon 85mm f/1.2 II
Nikon 58mm f/1.4
Helicoid macro Adapter from Nikon  EF to Sony E
Helicoid macro Adapter from Canon EF to Sony E
Helicoid macro Adapter from Leica M to Sony E
Teachart adapter from Canon EF to Sony E
Voigtlander 75mm f/1.8
Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2
Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 II
Voigtlander 21mm f/1.8
Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 III
Voigtlander 12mm f/5.6 II
Voigtlander 40mm f/1.4
Canon 50mm f/1.2 Rangefinder
Jupiter 3 50mm f/1.5
Canon 35mm f/3.2 Rangefinder

Sony FE bayonet:
Zeiss 35mm f/1.4
Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8
Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2
Zeiss Sonnar 55mm f/1.8
Sony 10-18mm f/4 for E bayonet but it works on a full frame from 12mm to 16mm
Zeiss 135mm ZF2 f/2
Industar 22 50mm f/3.5 (Leica copy)
Lensbaby with sweet 35

Ricoh theta M15
Sony action camera FDR-X1000V with 4K
Wired remote control with extender for Sony
Yongnuo YN560 III Flash with transmitter

Projection Lenses:
Leitz 90mm f/2.5
Russian lenses 120mm f/1.8, 140mm f/1.8, 160mm f/2
Visionar 109mm f/1.6
Kipronar 70mm f/1.4
Super Kiptar 110mm f/1.7
Schneider kreuznach 80mm f/2
WOLLENSAK 44mm f/3.2
Petzval lens 135mm f/4
Bausch & Lomb 1891(125 years old) 160mm f/8
Hektor 85mm f/2.5
Emil Busch NEOKINO 90mm

www.em34.com

Inside Emin’s camera bag:

 

2014

Shotkit_Emin_Kuliyev_12

I got the first camera in my life when I was 30 years old. Before that day I never had any experience with any kind of photography. For the last 10 years I’ve been shooting only weddings and engagement sessions.

I think that equipment is very important but a photographer must imagine the whole scene of shooting in his mind before taking anything from his bag. Before starting, I estimate what time I have to shoot, what the distance to my subject is and what time I have to play with different angles and lights.

I’m always trying to imagine my result before I press the shutter button – even if I shoot in a photojournalistic style without contact with my models, I estimate time, distance, light and the behaviour of people in particular situations. I shoot a lot of pictures during the day (sometimes more than 10,000 during 12-14 hours). Most of them are out of focus or don’t have good composition and framing because usually I’m not looking through the viewfinder and shoot holding the camera over my head or from the floor.

I try to imagine the whole scene in my mind and go to wherever it is possible to catch people’s emotions or a good interesting source of light.

I like to use any source of light and any reflection which I can find around, and in addition, I bring some of my filters and other glass things (see above). I collect any piece of glass with an interesting reflection and use creative filters from Cokin.

I have two camera brands Nikon and Canon. My first camera was Canon and till 2008 I shot only Canon. Then, when the Nikon D3 came out in 2008, I decided to try it. At that time, the Nikon D3 had a better ISO performance and so I decided to keep both brands.

Today I can notice the difference between these two brands – some cameras can focus in the dark better than the other. For the last 6 years I know almost every single aspects about each brand, I know which will focus faster in which light condition, by combining one cameras with another lens.

I have a few bags with my equipment and I bring everything to each wedding. For me lenses are like brushes for a painter. Depending on my mood and situation, I will shoot on manual focus with a Trioplan 100mm f/2.8 or on a Nikon 58mm f/1.4.

List of my gear:

Cameras

Nikon D3s, Nikon D4, Nikon D800E, Canon 1DX, Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 5D converted to Infrared, Sony NEX 5N with Canon tilt adapter.

Lenses

Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, Nikon 24mm f/1.4, Nikon 58mm f/1.4, Nikon 85mm f/1.4 G, Nikon 70-200mm VR2 f/2.8

Canon 8-15mm f/4, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 II, Canon 24mm f/1.4 II, Canon 35mm f/1.4, Canon 50mm f/1.2, Canon 85mm f/1.2 II, Canon 100mm f/2.8, Canon 135mm f/2, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 IICanon 50mm f/2.5 macro

Sigma 14mm f/2.8, Sigma 20mm f/1.8, Sigma 24mm f/1.8, Sigma 28mm f/1.8, Sigma 35mm f/1.4

Lensbaby LBO35 Sweet 35, Lensbaby Double Glass Optic, Lensbaby Edge 80 Optic, Lensbaby Macro Converters

Manual lenses: Trioplan 100mm f/2.8, Primoplan 58mm f/1.8, Olympus Zuiko 55mm f/1.2, Zeiss 50mm f/1.4, Helios 44-2 58mm f/2

Every time I try to use a different lens because I want to give my mind some exercise,
I don’t want to stick with some favorite focusing distance and angles but at the same time I use a logic,
if I don’t have time and space I will use a flashlight with a zoom lens like 16-35mm or 24-70mm
but when a have a chance to switch my lenses I will do it.

I feel like I’m painting with a light. I can shoot the whole event with one or two lenses, without any inconvenience because I know how to manage my time and space.

www.em34.com

Inside Emin’s camera bag in 2014:

  • I have friends that are shooting through prisms, this is something I want to experiment with too.

  • You say that you sometimes shoot more than 10,000 shots during a 12-14 hour day with most of the shots being unusable due to out of focus or poor composition or framing. And you call yourself a pro photographer? I mean really, are you proud that basically all you’re doing, which amateurs with little knowledge in photography will do, is to just rattle off numerous shots hoping that you land one? I’m sorry but no pro wedding photographer in their right mind would even come close to shooting that many shots. They take their time to study the light, composition, framing and know precisely when to capture that moment. Instead you go around with a trigger happy finger not caring one bit whether or not you landed the shot and then later on spending countless hours sifting through your shots trying to find that one that is useable.

    I feel really, really sorry for your clients. And no amount of gear in the world, complete with unnecessary gimmicks such as your flashlights and prisms, will change the fact that it shows you really don’t know what you’re doing. A true professional would show up with 2 bodies, 3-4 lens, a few flashes and be able to walk away at the end of the day with fewer than 1,000 shots and happy knowing that he did his job well. Good luck to you and your business.

  • Never ever got near 10000 shots. Can you imagine culling this shooting 2 or 3 weddings a month? The question should be asked about the number of images delivered to the couple. If it is 3500 good shots then I am happy. If however it is 500 to 700 it may be more of a spray and pray approach. Also, I think pressing the shutter button 10000 over a period of let’s say 12 hours might seem to some a bit intrusive and not entirely descrete no matter how silent your silent mode is. Whatever is said here, this gentleman work is quite outstanding so whatever works for him!!!

  • @jason

    from how i understood this…

    “Most of them are out of focus or don’t have good composition and framing because usually I’m not looking through the viewfinder and shoot holding the camera over my head or from the floor.”

    …this was done to get ideas of scenes and angles when planning for an actual shoot.

  • Hey,
    Can you tell me where I can buy these balls and prisms.
    Great article… I think everybody has his own way to photograph weddings, so Jason you comment is really rough, i dont agree with you

  • thank you, emin for sharing. Great pictures. I’ve been experimenting with prisms already, but cannot find a clear, crystal ball/sphere.

  • Hello Emin… You just woke me up and opened my eyes a lot… Admire the eye and control for the situations, being able to work with the gear available but at same time, being ready to use, every single different lens for a purpose…
    I admired some lenses you own and i know its about knowing what you want to do it and do it no matter the lens, but you have some of them for some reason… I wanted some insight the Sigma 20 1.8… what you think? i shoot nikon and been trying to work around my wide area and my lens for that can’t do everything… a wide prime is on my sight…
    thanks

    And 5* to the creativity with the prisms and flashlights!!

  • Sorry, but this is pure nonsense. Nobody needs 8 bodies and 20 lenses to shoot anything, certainly not weddings. If you are an equipment collector, so be it, but don’t tell us you need all this to shoot. The best wedding photogs I know use two housings and three lenses, max four, all in a small bag on them and a lighting assistant. Full stop.

  • Wao dude!! thats all I can say.

    I love love the energy of your work dude!!
    So simple yet full of flavors.
    Why are people hating on this dude? If he needs 50 cameras and 20 lenses to create 50,000 photos in 12 hours that HIS business. Damn haters.

    Dude you rock I want to be like you when I grow up lol

  • It would be awesome owning all of that stuff. It is a pure luxury to be able to pick and choose the equipment you would need for the day….
    I am a seasoned professional who averages 55 weddings a year. I have been shooting weddings for 15 years. I can tell you that there are times that I would need high ISOs and super fast lenses in dark places where flash is not appropriate, And super long lenses when I was not allowed to get close, And extreme wide angles when I was in tight quarters or when I needed to shoot beautiful architecture, and I can go on and on talking about macro and tilt shift and so on…..
    So I can easily see how a person could get wrapped up with the equipment “bug”.
    But here is the important lesson that I have learn. The bare minimum a person needs to shoot an event is two bodies (with two card slots for redundancy protection) and two lenses. Preferably two zoom lenses that covers that 24 to 200 range. Some would say you could get by with to primes like the 35mm and 85mm. Sure, you will mot be able to get certain shots but you would make due.
    Here is the kicker…. If a photographer takes enough photos in his career (imho) he will develope a distinct style. He will lean heavily of “favorite” lense and body. It can’t be helped. So even if all of that gear lives in you “truck”, carrying all that gear around seems unessasary.
    I shoot an average of 1500 to 2000 images on a 10 hour wedding day. I have 5 bodies and they all have 200k shutter clicks. So, with all due respect, shooting 10k per wedding is EXTREMELY hard to believe my friend. If that were true so many questions arrise…. And my first question would be…. how many bodies do you go through?

    • You probably did not realise he is shooting video and taking the stills from there?

      His photographs are very different that those standard wedding photographers I have seen. His eye for image is great and beyond the typical “weekend warrior wedding photographer” who has those two-three lenses as recommended in the camera magazine, takes the standard, technically excellent shots and leaves. So every bride will have a very similar looking wedding album, just like the neighbours.

      You would never care which technique/method/brush etc. a painter uses, if the end result is out of ordinary? Like “nobody needs that many brushes and colours”.

      So far I have not seen any, not a single one, of these people commenting here putting their photos on display for comparison. Emins work is art, maybe yours is not?

  • I would like to add a comment to what I have already said above… And that is that after thinking about the whole idea of shooting 10K images on any given day is actually within the realm of belief. This is contrary to what I previously stated. I realize that everyone has a different approach. Props to you Emin. Your work is superb.

  • REALLLLLY. Is this meant as some kind of click bait. Who the HELL shoots 10k shots per wedding. I never really considered myself that good but I would come out with at MOST 1.5k of shots

    I feel sorry for your camera. You must have to get that serviced quite a lot. Hell. I felt sorry for my camera after shooting a wedding. REALLY. My God Man!!!

  • Wow sucha change. The biggest problem imho is AF. Is not as good like in D4 for sure. I wonder why You made this swiych – Your style change You do not do any more weddings or fast action in low light? Sorry for me english. And i have a question to anyone who knows the answer. What about af in A7s with adaptor its similar to the for example d610 in low light? Or freaking D750 is the only chocie these days…

  • 10,000 pictures in 14 hours is a picture every 5 seconds for 14 hours. That’s 12 photos a minute without stopping for 14 hours.

    • Yep, it’s crazy. I’m guessing it’s more like holding the trigger on a 10fps camera for a few seconds to capture the best moment, then moving on. Either way, that’s 5x more than I’m ever likely to shoot at a wedding!

  • …and people usually say that they switch to mirrorless as it’s less weight to carry around….WAFI !!!

  • IMHO it’s absolutely does not matter how many shots you do and what gear you use. What does matter is the quality that you produce. Remember a photographer is evaluated not for the number of shots he takes, but for the fact what he shows to the public!
    I’m not sure if here in the chat who criticise his approach can produce something similar quality to Emin’s???
    Take an interest how many shots in their career made great photographers (even on film) and you will be amazed!
    Have a nice day:)

  • super high shooting ratio, lots of editing post can your charge for this time? what would he do back in the film days?

  • Hi Emin,

    >> All examples above I took from the video file. They are not pictures, they are stills from the video

    This one sentence of yours – together with your amazing portfolio – has single-handedly changed my photography for the better.

    Thank you.