Specializing in weddings, I have to continually put my clients first, yet I always strive to shoot for myself when I know that their expectations have been met. It’s a sobering moment to receive an image request for a funeral, and so I take my job very seriously. I’m at a wedding to tell the story of the bride and groom, and to preserve a family’s legacy. Thankfully, I have a great time doing that, and enjoy creating art for each and every couple!
My wife Lindsey and I have worked together as a wedding team for many years, but she is pulling back from weddings because of a neck injury, and also in order to spend more time with our children.
This year, I’ll be shifting some of my focus to shooting portraiture, which is a decision we made so I can spend more weekend time with my wife and kids. In order to stand out in a saturated market, and to truly set my business apart, we purchased and renovated a church built in 1887.
It serves as our office, a huge natural light studio, and is also a venue! It’s going strong, and I hope to serve my small town and the surrounding areas with a boutique portrait experience!
I’ve been a photographer since 2001, full time since 2005. It’s been an interesting journey, seeing an industry endure the “disruptive technology” of digital imaging and the technological advances that followed.
The cameras keep getting better/faster/lighter/cheaper, and I have bought my share of gear thinking that if I have this or than then my work would be better.
The stark realization looking back is that it’s the creative process – the idea, and a genuine connection with a subject – that sets one photograph apart from others. That being true, I still have to make a living, and (thankfully) my iPhone doesn’t cut it for professional work. So here’s my gear, starting at the top right; then clockwise!
Manfrotto “Justin” Clamp – holds flashes at wedding receptions, also will hold a reflector or scrim to a lightstand
Holdfast Money Maker – This is not only a functional strap, but never ceases to elicit compliments from perfect strangers. I have two: chestnut and black
Kodak Portra 400 120 film – when I shoot film, this is my go-to. I rate it at 320 ISO so it’s slightly overexposed.
Hasselblad 203fe – I really bought this special Hasselblad because it can shoot the 110mm lens.
Hasselblad Zeiss 110mm f/2.0 – this lens is incredible! I shoot it on the Hassy, adapt it to a Contax 645, Fuji GFX, and even the Canons.
Contax 645 Zeiss 80mm f/2.0 – my other preferred lens. I shoot it on its native mount, and adapt it onto the Fuji GFX
I have returned to shooting medium format film because of “that look” that so many of the magazines and editors are going for. However, most clients don’t seem to care what we shoot, as long as the images are spectacular.
With film costs continuing to rise, and the disappearance of 220 film, I’ve sought out a digital option, and it’s definitely the Fuji GFX.
Fuji GF 63mm f/2.8 – I wish it were a stop faster and had internal focus, but it is SHARP!
I built my business on Canon cameras, starting with my first DSLR in 2002: the d60 (not the 60D!) with its 6mp CMOS sensor that topped out at 1000 ISO. Their gear has continually improved, and their CPS service is phenomenal. The 5D series has been our main camera since it was introduced.
Lighting is so important. If the natural light is usable, I’m all about it! But as a wedding photographer, I can’t call the bride and reschedule if it isn’t a great day for photographs! So I have a full kit of lights in the trunk, ready for action!
I ordered the Profoto B2’s as soon as they were announced and have not looked back. The same goes with the A1’s! Now, having the same connectivity across all my lights is helpful; whether lighting a large family photograph at a wedding or a quick setup for the dance floor! My setup is quick, and I love that there’s just ONE great battery for the A1 flash, rather than fooling with a bunch of AA batteries. My next purchase is the Air controller for Fuji, so I can increase my sync speed on the GFX!
Other stuff (not pictured):
Think Tank Airport Security bag
LG 34UM95 monitor
2013 Apple Mac Pro
X-Rite i1 display calibrator
Logitech Gamepad F310 – not for video games! I’ve tuned this to help quickly cull wedding images.
Canon Pro-4000 printer
Inside John’s camera bag:
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