Hi, I’m Karen and I’ve been shooting weddings in and around London and Surrey for eight years. Like a lot of wedding photographers, I started off with shooting a friend’s wedding and to do this I realised I needed a better camera and bought myself a Nikon D3S. It was a sizeable investment, so I thought I’d better make a decent go of this to pay for the camera and new lenses.
Turns out I loved photographing people at weddings and doing it in as unobtrusive a way as possible. The following year, 2012, was my first year of full-time weddings.
I loved my Nikons and ended up owning every possible focal length lens over the years. The change in systems came when I started having back and shoulder pain, the over shoulder holsters weren’t helping either, and I knew I needed to change how I worked and what I used.
I switched to the Nikon D750 and a Spider Holster for a while, which was a great little combo, and then something very exciting came along. The Sony A9.
Switching to Sony in 2017, after shooting weddings for many years, made me super excited all over again. The new A9 and 35mm arrived a few days before a wedding that summer so I took it along with my Nikon kit and ended up using it for 80% of the day.
I haven’t looked back and made the full switch six months later. I love the flexibility of the Sony cameras: live view, flip screen, silent shutter, eye af, and lightweight body are what won me over. I now have quite a stripped back set of kit, which I love.
So, the gear. My main body is the Sony A9 on my right-hand side of the Spider Holster and this has a 35mm on it for most weddings. The Sony A7 III on my left has an 85mm.
For weddings where space is limited, I’ll use a 25/55mm combo for most of the day with the 85mm for portraits. The 25/55mm is so neat and unobtrusive: Couple that with being able to hold the cameras away from my face and even use eye af means I can get really discreet shots that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.
Whatever I start the day off using, my other two lenses are always in my Shoot Sac along with snacks, a Godox 350s flash, a water bottle, and other paraphernalia. And before you ask, I’ve never missed the slot in my Spider Holster or dropped the camera! I’ve also probably jinxed myself now.
Main body: Sony A9
Second body: Sony A7 III
Backup for emergencies: Sony A6300
Sony 35mm f/1.4: A beaut of a lens with fab bokeh. I could shoot a whole wedding on this lens alone! It’s comparatively heavy though.
Sony Zeiss 85mm f/1.8: Such a flattering lens with lovely dof and bokeh. I use it for portraits, speeches, and for when I can’t get close during the day.
Sony Zeiss 25mm f/2: Good sharpness across the lens and very little distortion at the edges; great for wide documentary shots and storytelling.
Sony Zeiss 55mm f/1.8: A good compact lens to complement the 25 when space is limited. I quite often use this for family portrait sessions rather than weddings.
I’ll hire a 70-200mm or 135mm lens if I think I need it for large church weddings and such.
LIGHTS / TRIGGERS
Godox TT350s: is great for bounced flash in small space or ocf in small rooms. I have three but only carry one with me now.
Godox V860II x3: These pretty much do everything I need from bounced flash in big spaces to ocf on dance floors/winter portraits.
I don’t really use flash unless I absolutely have to and then it may come out for winter wedding speeches but mainly for dance floor stuff.
Triggers: Godox X-Pro for 860II
Video light: Iwata Genius Light GL-01 same size as a mobile phone and has brightness & colour temp control.
BAGS / STRAPS
Spider Holster and hand straps.
Think Tank International v2 roller bag. Holds all the kit shown in my photo
MagMods and grids.
Joby Gorillapods x2: For London weddings
Lastolight Air Cushioned stands x2: If I’m driving to the venue.
SD card carrier: The Think Tank Pixel Pocket Rocket.
Sensor cleaner: VSOG Swab Kit. For emergencies. I check the sensor is clean before each job.
Generic mini bum-bag which has my phone, bank card and card carrier in it. And some mints!
Nut bar and chocolate for secret snacking.
Spudz lens cloth
Studio Ninja (for managing clients)
Fundy album designer
Exposure X5 (occasionally)
Being able to photograph weddings for a living is a pleasure and a privilege. But it’s also business and that takes hard work and commitment. Just stay curious and creative, find the joy in each job, put the work in, especially with marketing, and make your couples happy. Have an amazing 2020!