My name is Leah Haydock and I’m a New England wedding photographer – Boston and Cape Cod up to Portland, Maine. I shoot a lot of big city ballroom weddings with 250+ people but when I’m not shooting I’m happiest chilling with my husband and our two mini-wiener dogs at our lake house in Maine.
I was kind of late to the photography game getting my first DSLR (Nikon D300) at the age of 30. I had zero interest in photographing weddings and after spending way too much money on education and equipment I found myself shooting quite a lot of corporate events and work. And then I got married in Las Vegas of all places and our wedding photographs blew my mind.
I got home to New England and volunteered to second shoot for free with anyone that would have me along for the ride. I saw all sorts of awesome things and all sorts of terrible things (guerilla-style belly crawling up the aisle whilst firing off shots left and right – oh dear). I was bitten by the wedding bug and left a pretty great corporate job with all kinds of benefits to become a wedding photographer in the middle of the worst recession this country has seen in years.
I haven’t regretted it for a moment. Yes, there are those days that suck being in front of the computer for hours or photographing 60+ combinations of family portraits in 100 degree heat but I love the freedom, creativity and the fact I can spend most of my days in my pajamas. My photography appeals to the couple that want elegant, timeless and beautiful images (hence a lot of big ballroom weddings!) My favorite couples are super excited about their wedding day but just as excited about every day that will follow in their marriage.
I bring waaaaay too much equipment to each wedding but I feel more relaxed knowing I’ve got that rarely used tilt-shift lens should the urge strike me. My Holdfast Money Maker camera strap carries a Nikon D4 and D3s. For getting ready, first look and portraits I’ll usually shoot with the Nikon 35mm f/1.4 and the Nikon 85mm f/1.4. I usually shoot at least 40% of wedding day images with my Nikon 85mm f/1.4 – I love the flattering focal length and the sharpness.
I’ll bust out the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 macro for a few shots of the wedding rings and jewelry and light them with a little litepanel LED light (I also use this at the reception to add a little pop to the detail pictures of the cake, centerpiece, menus etc). I photograph a lot of weddings in big old historic and DARK churches with pretty strict movement/flash restrictions so I adore the high ISO capability of the Nikon D3s and Nikon D4. The Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 and Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 are my go-to for the ceremony as they enable me to get a variety of images without too much movement.
I have an awesome photography assistant (Audrey) who sets up my lights for the reception (and takes some pretty sweet shots herself); I use mostly Nikon SB-900 speedlights on lightstands with Pocket Wizards to control them for my off-camera flash set up. I want my off-camera lights to add a little more dimension to the shot and I’ll use an on-camera flash to provide a little fill.
I’m a big fan of heading out at night for 5 minutes to get some romantic night time images and I’m in love with the Lowel GL-1 Power LED Light. It can be zoomed, dimmed and the light quality is just beautiful. Finally I have a couple of cheap walkie-talkies from Wal-mart that allow me to coordinate first looks and other plans with my assistant and they’re pretty invaluable. All of this equipment is carried in a Think Tank Airport International V2 rolling bag and I have a Shootsac on me to carry a couple of lenses.
Inside Leah’s camera bag:
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