Hi! I am a full-time wedding photographer based out of Philadelphia, Pa. I’ve been photographing weddings since 2011 and over the years my style has developed into a pure documentary/photojournalistic style.
I do make a living off of wedding photography so if my couples want portraits/formals, I of course do them. Outside of the time allotted specifically for those photos, everything I capture on a wedding day is 100% documentary.
I have absolutely zero interactions with my couples in regards to creating their memories.
Back in the summer of 2017, I made the jump to mirrorless by picking up a Sony A9.
Before the A9 I had used a Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 5D Mark III, and then a Nikon D5.
The AF on the Nikon D5 was truly amazing and I was worried that I’d be let down by the Sony A9. But that wasn’t the case at all. The A9 autofocuses like a dream, especially when you add in the eye autofocus and tracking.
It is fast, silent, and rarely misses.
Speaking of silent, the silent shutter is the best thing that has EVER happened to me in my photography career. It allows my subjects to live in the wedding day and not become camera aware every time I click the shutter button.
Instead, they are none the wiser that I just shot 100 frames of the bridesmaids bustling the bride while the groom devours some tacos!!!
I also use the Sony A7rIII as a second body. However, this body isn’t on par with the Sony A9 for a couple of reasons.
The first is that the A7rIII, in silent mode, has some issues with banding/flicker from artificial light. The A9 does not.
The second is, I’ve found that in real-world use the autofocus is noticeably better on the A9. On the plus side, I do like the high megapixel count on the A7rIII because it affords me the option to use crop mode and turn my Sony 85mm f/1.4 into a 127mm/1.4 during church ceremonies.
My go-to lens is the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8. This is my workhorse and I have shot entire weddings with just this lens.
I am constantly documenting un-staged moments so the ability to go from 24mm-35mm-50mm in an instant is huge!!! There isn’t always room to foot zoom and if you are dropping one camera body to reach for a second camera/lens, you’ve already missed the moment.
The f/2.8 aperture is ideal for me as well. When available light is good enough to keep my ISO in check, I want F/2.8, or even smaller, to layer stories and not have everything be a blurry mess.
If I’m doing portraits, I will switch to two primes. The first is the Sony Distagon T* 35mm F/1.4 lens. This lens is stunning and allows me to create environmental portraiture.
I also use this lens for documentary coverage if the light is bad and I need the extra 1-2 stops over the 24-70GM. I’ve found that the 35mm focal length is my sweet spot for documentary photography.
The second is the Sony 85mm f/1.4 lens which is equally as beautiful as the Sony 35mm f/1.4. However, this lens only comes out of the bag for portraits, ceremonies, and formal dances. For everything else, it’s just way too tight for my tastes.
There is a Sony VG-C3EM battery grip on my A9 at all times. I never got on board with the “bash Sony for their ergonomics” train. With that said, I am not a fan of having a floating pinky finger without the grip…
I also own a Sony 28mm f/2 and Sony Sonnar T* 55mm f/1.8 lens. They are compact and light which makes them my go-to for traveling. They don’t have the character that the 35/85 F/1.4 primes do so they are only backup lenses for weddings.
I keep my lighting simple. If I’m able to bounce flash off walls or ceilings I will always do that using a Godox V860II. I will set up off-camera flashes as needed but it’s not something I do a lot.
The only lighting modifier I bring with me is an Elinchrom 41” Deep White Umbrella. It’s very compact and creates beautiful soft light. If I know I’m going to be doing outdoor portraits at 2pm in July, I’ll bring this along with (2) Godox AD200s. I’ll set it all up using the MagMod Magshoe and MagRing.
My favorite lighting tool has to be the Litepanels Croma video light. I use this 99% of the time if I have to do a night portrait. It creates a nice soft light and has color temperature adjustment to get the exact effect you want.