Chadwick and Camille Bensler are the married team behind Vancouver-based JONETSU STUDIOS. After 14 years in business, they remain passionate about their clients, fully booked and innovative in their approach to wedding photography & studio offerings. They are proud to be Canon Northern Explorers of Light and have been recognized by American PHOTO as “One of the Top Ten Wedding Photographers in the World”.
The Canon 5D Mark III is our favorite camera for weddings. We’ve tried the workhorse 1DX, but kept going back to the Canon 5D Mark III for its sweet combination of ISO performance and it’s size (the Canon 1DX is a little large for Camille’s hands)… we are not burst shooters so the 5D Mark III does it beautifully for us every time (nice having 2 card slots, too- even if one is an SD, it will still hold full jpgs for the whole day).
When we photograph a wedding, it’s really important to us that there is no down time. One of the bigger changes in our kit came when Canon introduced the 600 EX-RT Speedlites with their wireless communication which supports ETTL, as we no longer had to ‘cross our fingers’ that our wireless triggers would operate every time during off-camera flash situations: wonderful advance in technology!
As weddings offer so many unique lighting challenges, we love to embrace the insanity and focus on delivering a diverse collection of images to our clients. We utilize several different light sources and modifiers all day/night. Our goal is to tie together all looks so they are harmonious (some of that will happen in post), but having the right tools for the job is imperative.
An assistant will help us carry gear, reflect light or OCF, change lenses and will always have a positive attitude. If you are wanting to become a wedding photographer, try to assist other photographers first (before second shooting). This is where you will learn the most, without having the pressure of second shooting.
The Tamrac bags are great – especially the backpack with wheels – it powers through hikes into the deep forest, rain showers and is incredibly convenient for lens storage.
Our advise about building your kit: get the best bodies you can afford (full frame), and slowly accumulate excellent glass. ISO performance is critical for maximizing your creativity and maintaining quality files.
Don’t forget about nice, wide lenses (try the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8). At weddings, it’s nice to be able to get all of the action into one frame, and often, 35mm (or even 24mm) is just not going to let that happen. Invest in a beautiful portrait lens early on (like the Canon 85mm f/1.2L), its buttery and tight portrait compositions using a 50mm are a dead giveaway that you really don’t know what’s up. Renting gear before you buy is a great idea, and often you can get back your rental cost if you decide to purchase the lens (ask in advance if that’s possible).
GEAR LIST: (what we actually take to a wedding commission)
2 – Canon EOS 5D Mark III (we adore this body – so perfect for what we do!)
2 – Canon EOS 5D Mark II
1 – Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM (one of Camille’s faves)
1 – Canon 24-70mm f2.8L I USM (back-up lens)
1 – Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS I USM (one of Chadwick’s faves)
1 – Canon 24mm f/1.4L USM (one of Chadwick’s faves)
1 – Canon 35mm f/1.4L USM
1 – Canon 50mm f/1.2L USM
1 – Canon 85mm f/1.2L USM (one of Camille’s faves)
1 – Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM
3 – Canon Speedlite 600 EX-RT (wireless operation built in :)
1 – Canon Speedlite 580 EX II
Feet and Gel Accessories for all
2 – Lowell VIP Pro-light (DC and AC bulbs)
1 – 12V Battery Pack (for DC portable operation)
1 – 25′ AC cord (for AC operation)
1 – very cheap LED light (shown with useless orange filter) – great for details though :)
1 – Gary Fong Collapsible Dome (Fave)
1 – Gary Fong Standard Dome
1 – Gary Fong Whale Tail (rarely used as it is missing pieces)
2 – Photoflex Octodome nxt: XS w/ rings and accessories for Speedlite mounting
1 – Photoflex LiteDisc 12 inch White/Silver
1 – Photoflex LiteDisc Oval 41″x74″
1 – Manfroto Tripod (old aluminum one that still works great) w/ mounting plate
2 – Manfroto Monopods (one Carbon Fibre, one Aluminum) – for use with Speedlites/Octodome
Canon batteries and spares for bodies
Sanyo XX Black Batteries for Speedlites
A variety of cards and sizes from Lexar, Sandisk, and Hoodman
1 – Tamrac Evolution Speed Roller (easily our favourite bag of all time)
1 – Tamrac Big Wheels Roller 2X
1 – Tamrac Ultra Pro 13
3 – Walkie Talkies (still handy for long distance shots where cell coverage isn’t good)
1 – Swiss Army Knife (the one with everything in it :)
Chadwick & Camille Bensler
Check out the 11 essential tools and apps every wedding photographer should be using this year.
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It’s funny to see this here. I worked with Ed Lee on your website when I was working at Sli-Fi Media at the time. Good times and I remembered you guys. Still don’t see your new site but your photography has gotten much much better.