Howdy!! My name is Harry Michael and I’m a wedding photographer based in Buckinghamshire, UK, but I travel anywhere and everywhere for a good wedding!
I’m relatively new to this game (2019 being my second full-time year) and like many, fell into this gig completely by accident.
I’ve gone from that first irresponsible colleague’s wedding to now having shot over 90 couples, including some good times in Switzerland, Cyprus, France, Italy and Spain!
Canon. Canon, Canon! Two Canon 5D Mark IV’s in particular!
I started with a Canon 600d with that legendary kit lens and from there have grown exponentially! At great cost may I add!
I spent a huge sum when I first started as I wanted to give myself the best chance possible at creating the images my clients deserved. I’ve had a few third party lenses/flashes, etc. and while some of them worked great, others started failing rapidly!
That’s when I realised I would never again sacrifice quality just to save a few £££. As my mum says, “buy cheap, buy twice!”
There’s a lot of pros nowadays jumping ship to these nifty mirrorless systems but I just can’t bring myself to do it! I’m too accustomed to the Canon colours and the character of the lenses.
Fingers crossed, none of my clients are reading this (as it’s something they may not want to hear!) but I’m just not massively into cameras themselves!
Obviously I know the buttons, dials and settings (like the back of my hand) but that’s about it. All I care about are the images and until one of these other systems absolutely blows my Canons out of the water, I’ll stay put!
The Canon 35mm f/1.4 and Canon EF 135mm f/2.0 are the Batman and Robin of my kit bag. They spend most of their time in my hands during the day.
35mm seems to be that focal length that best resonates with me and my style.
The 135 is my favourite “long” lens and just so happens to be as fast as a leopard and sharp as a tack!! I also find its flare during direct golden hour amazing. Not a lot of these newer lenses flare like the old boys!
But I do like to mix it up! I think it’s creatively crippling to use the same combo of lenses all the time.
I’ve recently found my inexpensive little Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 a gem during portrait time as well as the esteemed Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 which I almost exclusively use during golden hour.
Again, that FLARE!!
Couple of other lenses that I’ve splashed out on recently are the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 which I maybe put on my camera two times on the day, the first time being to get a wide room shot and second for my shutter drag camera on the dance floor. Love a wide dance floor pic!
The other lens that I’ve been falling in love with this year is the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II. It absolutely kills during that reception hour for candids and on my other camera during the dance floor. Not to mention it’s super sharp!! I also love it for tight churches (if the light is decent).
Oh! And how could I almost forget about my Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8! I mean, it rarely comes out! Maybe for a dress or shoe pic that needs jazzing up and a portrait here and there.
I like shooting with ambient light – flash scares me! Or should I say flash USED to scare me. So when there’s no ambient light (especially on the dance floor) here’s what I use/do!!
I’ve used many systems with different triggers that you have to charge blah blah blah in the past and it all just became too much to remember! I’ve finally got it down to one Canon 600 EX-RT that I use on one body to run around the dance floor, dragging the shutter all over.
On the other body, I have one Godox V860 II C which controls two other Godox V860 II C in the corners of the dance floor via radio. This gives me the key light I need with n0 transmitters! Winner, winner.
I’m new to the Godox system, but I’m loving the use of one Li-ion battery, which by the way, I get at least two weddings out of on a single charge!
I don’t bring it out enough, but the Yongnuo YN-300 LED Illumination Dimming Video Light has saved my behind on a few occasions! And for its price, everyone should have one in their bag!
The thing that holds it all together, literally! Before I leave my house, I fit all my gear into the Think Tank Airport Security V3. I take everything I need until the dance floor with me in a Billingham Hadley Pro Camera Bag (in khaki, if anyone cares!) which stays on me all day.
I’m a SpiderPro Double Camera System V2 kinda guy! I’ve used many dual camera systems, especially ones that make you look like a cowboy (we all know which one I’m talking about!) – and that’s just why I stopped using it. I mean, I did love looking like a cowboy! It kinda fulfilled a fantasy in a way… But I’m getting off track, soz!
My point is, too many guests would notice and mention it to me. Whilst it can be great banter, I find fewer guests notice my cameras with the Spider, allowing me to blend in a bit more.
To affix my flashes in the corners of the dance floor/anywhere I need them I use 2 x Joby JB01503-BWW GorillaPods. These things work wonders 9/10 times! Honestly you should see the different ways I’ve contorted these things to fit where I need them!
Of course, for that one time there isn’t anything for the Joby to Joby to? I use 2 x Manfrotto Nano Stands. I’m thankful the Jobys do the job most of the time because I really don’t like using light stands (people, cough, **drunk people** walk into them!). But these are excellent and a lightweight alternative!
I don’t often do long exposures or even need a tripod, but when I’m feeling fancy, I pull the 3 Legged Thing Punks Corey (Blue and Orange) Aluminium compact travel tripod kit with AirHed detachable monopod out of my trunk!
Hardware & Software
Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2018) with Adobe Lightroom Classic. I use a black and white and colour preset that I’ve re-jigged over time from a VSCO preset pack.
The DJI Mavic Air Drone has cheekily made its way into my bag this year. I mainly use it for destination weddings, as drone laws are more relaxed! Also the views/sunsets are just breathtaking. For how compact it is, the DJI Mavic Air Drone is an absolute no-brainer!
Snickers x 3
CamelBak Chute Mag 1L Trinkflasche – STAY HYDRATED PEOPLE!
Wrigleys Extra White Bubblemint Chewing Gum x3 – Everyone needs gum at weddings!
Kit. It’s just the stuff you need to get the images that are already in your head, so stay inspired by looking at other genres of photography and not just weddings! I myself find I am most inspired by movies and TV shows I love. Especially The Handmaid’s Tale. The shots in that..!!!
Stay on your feet and always keep one camera in your hand! “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Wayne Gretzky. Don’t even watch hockey, but that’s a cracking quote!