Hiya pals! I’m Laura Ranftler, a wedding photographer and book cover photographer based near York, UK.
I first got a “proper camera” back in 2012 when I’d just moved back up north after almost 8 years in London and decided I fancied a new hobby! That’s all it was intended to be, but I soon fell madly in love with it and that was that.
I had absolutely no intention of becoming a wedding photographer but, as many wedding photographers will tell you, it happened by accident. I shot my first solo wedding in 2016, found my style and it built from there.
I’m thrilled to have won 15 awards so far in 2019 including Masters, WPJA, Nine Dots and This is Reportage.
My wedding style is very chilled out, relaxed and unobtrusive. My couples tend to book me because they’re having a laid back wedding, often untraditional with a great party.
I now spend half of my time shooting weddings and the other half shooting for my book cover agencies. My book cover work is a HUGE passion of mine, I’ve had over 140 published book covers around the world since 2015.
I shot Canon right up until the beginning of 2019. I’d bought a Fuji X-T2 as a travel camera back in 2018 with a view to switching to mirrorless, but I didn’t get on with it AT ALL. So when so many wedding photographers began switching to Sony, I didn’t pay much attention.
Then, when we were about to go on our honeymoon to Iceland and needed a new travel camera, I thought I’d give it a whirl. Within one week of getting home, I had sold my entire Canon kit!
I now shoot with two Sony a7III’s and although I will always love Canon, I couldn’t be happier with my current gear.
Sony a7III – I took this camera along with one of my Canon Mark IVs to Iceland and for me the autofocus, the flip screen and the size/weight just stole my heart. I also prefer the look of Sony files.
I now have two of these bodies for my wedding photography. My documentary style means I “ninja around” all day long, so the fact that I feel lighter and can move quicker is priceless, and the flip screen means I can go for higher or lower angles with so much more ease than I ever could with the Canons.
I rarely look through the viewfinder when I’m shooting a wedding.
I’ve always used the classic 35/85 combo for weddings, but for my last 4 or 5 weddings I’ve had the 25 and 50 on my bodies all day and I’m absolutely loving it.
I do keep my lightweight backpack with me all day so I will switch out to the 35 and 85 here and there but I’m currently obsessed with these two lenses for 90% of the day.
Sony Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 – this is the lens I paired with the a7III when I first bought it and I still use it at weddings today. I plan on buying the 35mm f/1.8 after trying it out the other day, but this lens is so tiny and light and is so reliable that it will always be in my bag. I also use it for a lot of my book cover work.
Sony 85mm f/1.8 – I use this for portraits and candids at weddings.
Sony 50mm f/2.8 Macro – I actually bought this solely for shooting book cover still life images, as I absolutely must have a macro lens for that part of my work, but I now use it for a huge chunk of the wedding day and for most of my book cover portrait work as well.
Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 – I love this lens. I love getting close. It’s the widest lens I use.
I use Godox V860II flashes, I have 4 of them (although I’m tempted to get a 5th) and I love them. I use them with the Godox XPro triggers. I never have to worry about the battery life and they never fail me.
I also use Magmod gels and modifiers.
I have two Metz S500 LED video lights. They’re sooo good and they’re no bigger than your phone, so you can keep one in your back pocket.
I use two Manfrotto 5001B stands, one Manfrotto Nanopole Stand, and one Manfrotto 156BLB mini stand. I also carry a few other things that I can put my flashes on in case there’s nowhere to put stands! Ball bungees are a lifesaver at tipi weddings for example.
I’ve been through a heck of a lot of camera bags in the few short years I’ve been shooting weddings! But the dinky size of Sony cameras and lenses allows me to take one small backpack, the K&F Concept lightweight waterproof bag from Amazon. I love it. And it was super cheap.
I also have all of my light stands and flashes and any other lighting bits and bobs in a Nike Vapor Power duffel bag.
I used to use a double shoulder strap to hold my cameras but I have a lot of trouble with my upper back and neck, so now I use the SpiderPro holster and it’s the best decision I ever made! Absolutely love it.
I also wear a bum bag all day! I’m an 80s kid, so by rights I can wear them for life. In there I keep a couple of spare batteries, lens wipes, tissues, lipstick, earplugs for the evening do and a flapjack bar at all times!
Hardware & Software
I cull in Photo Mechanic and edit in Lightroom, using Photoshop for tweaks and finishing touches on wedding images if I need to but I primarily use Photoshop to edit my book cover work.
I’ve used so many presets in the past, I’ve bought them and I’ve worked with other great photographers to create custom presets. My current ones are a mixture of both that I’ve tweaked myself, creating a look that I’m finally happy with!
I have an unreal amount of extra stuff shoved in every pocket of my camera bag! I’m one of those people who likes to plan for every eventuality. So I have extra contact lenses, glasses, sticky heat pads, TONS of snacks, water bottle, Zeiss lens wipes, paracetamol, plasters, velcro strips, plastic sandwich bags (for flashes in case it rains), and about 50 other things that I won’t bore you with!