M & G Photography
Hi, we are Hollie and Patrick Mateer, husband and wife wedding photography duo. Our studio is called M and G Wedding Photography.
We are based in the UK in Yorkshire and live with our two children. We travel all over the UK and abroad with work. We occasionally shoot commercially or editorially, but our main focus is weddings. They are what we love photographing the most.
Hollie has been photographing weddings since 2017, while Patrick went full time back in 2014. Our route into weddings was different. Hollie was training as a florist when she began taking photography seriously. Whereas Patrick had completed a Fine Arts degree where he specialised in photography – it took a number of years to turn that degree into a career though!
We both shoot in a reportage style, with no posing or staging. We let our couples and their guests relax, be themselves and capture all the best moments creatively.
Patrick – Main Gear
My camera gear has come a long way, just as my style of working has. Back in 2007, I started off shooting weddings for friends using my Nikon D200 and shot everything in a very traditional and posed manner. It took a long time for me to find my own natural style.
For equipment, even then, my Nikon D200 was an aging piece of kit. It was so slow in terms of keeping up with the rigours of a wedding. As I photographed more weddings, I borrowed my dad’s Nikon D300.
The D300 was a big step up. Nevertheless, it had its limits. I remember photographing an early wedding reception in Cornwall with the D300, desperately trying to get just a few images of the first dance in focus in the low light. The AF refused to lock onto anything as the bride and groom twirled around a beautiful dance floor. I just smiled (and swore a lot, inside). A few images were probably all I got on that occasion!
The D300 was a famously brilliant crop sensor camera and loved by many – but focussing quickly in low light on fast moving subjects was not necessarily its forte. Since going full time in 2014, I have used many Nikon cameras including a Nikon D610, Nikon D3S, Nikon D750, Nikon DF and Nikon D4S.
So I’ve seen camera equipment advance dramatically – each one of those Nikons is fantastic cameras. Now I use a Nikon D5, Nikon Z6 and Nikon D850. Comparing them to a D300, my D5 can focus in pretty much any lighting condition. Those early days of finding my own style and struggling with the limitations of my equipment are thankfully memories I can laugh about now.
Nikon D5 – Some wedding photographers will say a D5 is ‘too much camera’ for the job. At the time of buying my D5 though, I was still doing a lot of commercial work, so I needed a real workhorse. Also, at the time I bought it, no other camera could come close to delivering the kind of focussing at that point that the D5 could.
Using a D5 all day is a workout for sure! It’s a big, heavy camera. But it produces unparalleled results in terms of focusing and is excellent in terms of image quality. Its low light performance at high ISO is also incredible.
Nikon D850 – The ‘mini D5’ as it was described upon release, and that is a very good description. It really does nearly everything a D5 can do, with the same autofocus system producing excellent results in even the lowest light. Due to the high megapixel count, it’s high ISO performance won’t match the D5, but it still performs excellently all day long.
The raw files straight out of the camera are beautiful and it’s smaller and lighter than the D5 of course. All in all, it’s the best DSLR I have ever owned or used.
Nikon Z6 – I’ve ended up using my Z6 a lot at weddings, more than I imagined. The silent shutter, excellent live view and lightweight, small body make it perfect for discreetly capturing moments as I do. I really love the Z6 though and it’s such a fun camera to use. Out of work, it’s the camera I use every day to document every-day life.
I shoot with two cameras and start off a wedding day with my 28mm and 58mm for the preparation/getting ready stage. Then I swap my 58mm for my 105mm during the ceremony and keep that combination for the rest of the day for the most part, unless I’m restricted space wise, in which case I’ll put the 58 back on instead of the 105.
Nikon 28mm f/1.4E ED – I love my 28mm 1.4. I used to have a Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art, but even after calibration to my cameras, the focussing would still let me down. So I upgraded to the Nikon 28mm 1.4. It never misses focus and produces beautiful images every time.
The 28mm focal length is in between 24mm and 35mm and I like the fact that the 28mm is still a real wide lens, without giving distortion as a 24mm can. This makes it an incredibly versatile lens.
Nikon 58mm f/1.4 G – The 58mm is a fun lens to use as it’s small and very lightweight. It is not as sharp as my other pro Nikon lenses. The 58 is well known for being a little soft below F2.2. However, I love the images it produces. They have real character.
Nikon 105mm f/1.4E ED – The 105mm 1.4 is such a beautiful lens. The kind of lens that walks into a room before you do (clearly, my couples don’t book me for being cool). It produces the most stunning bokeh of any lens I’ve ever used and such incredibly sharp images, even at 1.4.
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E ED – A zoom is always useful to have in the kit bag and the 24-70mm is a fabulous lens. If I use it at a wedding, it tends to either be during a ceremony if I can’t get close to the couple or during the evening-do.
I stop down during the evening so a prime is less necessary. So I will sometimes go to one camera body and my 24-70mm and adopt a run and gun approach while capturing all the madness on the dance floor. This is particularly useful when space is tight.
I used to own the Tamron 24-70 equivalent, but it didn’t compare to the Nikon. Whereas the Tamron is soft at the edges, the Nikon is sharp and crisp right through – and whereas the Tamron is hit and miss with the focus, the Nikon excels.
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G ED – This is definitely a luxury lens for wedding photography. But, for certain situations and locations, it’s great to have in the bag. You can really make the most of couple shots taken within a vista with the 14-24. I don’t use it very often, but if I’m travelling to the Lake District, for example, I will definitely find a use for it to accentuate the scenery.
Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 S – A lightweight mirrorless Z mount 24-70. Great image quality and the perfect partner for my Z6. It was the first kit lens I had got in years, including when I bought my Z6. It is a functional lens, but it’s still of high quality.
Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 S – Nikon has already released an impressive range of Z mount lenses. This is what you’d expect of Nikon, of course. The 35 1.8 may lack that 1.4 aperture that some pros will be looking for, but over the years I have found myself less obsessed with 1.4. For storytelling and reportage wedding photography, stopping down is often required to make the most of a scene.
When I first got a full range of 1.4 lenses many years ago, I found myself finding excuses to shoot all day at 1.4! There is still a time for shooting really shallow and I am lucky that all my DSLR primes are 1.4 lenses. But it’s not everything. I sold my Sigma Art 35mm and invested in this new mirrorless 35 and I consider it a step up. It’s a fantastic lens that really makes the most of my Z6.
Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 S – Even at f/1.8 this lens produces beautiful bokeh, showing you don’t need to go to 1.4 to produce ‘dreamy’ looking images. Just like the 35mm f/1.8 S, the 50mm is extremely well built and makes the most of the Z system and the added light it affords with its larger mount size.
Nikon SB-910 – Flashes and YongNuo YN-622N Wireless TTL Flash Trigger for Nikon triggers. I’ve owned my SB-910s for years and they’ve never let me down. I shoot with available light for most of a wedding day, only using flash and triggers as needed in the evening.
Holdfast MoneyMaker – I have used various Black Rapid Straps as well as a Spider Holster. Holdfast straps are more comfortable than any others I’ve used though and are of an incredibly high standard. They give the back support a 39 year old wedding photographer needs!
Hardware & Software
MacBook Pro 15″ – My wife Hollie does the majority of editing on our desktop Apple iMac 27″. I handle a lot of the culling on our MacBook Pro and also all the admin side of the business. It’s not the exciting side of being a wedding photographer but is essential. I use Photo Mechanic to cull our weddings and when I’m not shooting or culling, I’ll probably be answering emails or dealing with spreadsheets.
Hand Sanitiser – A few months ago, people would assume you were Nile Crane if you used hand sanitiser at a wedding (I’m pretty on point I know, with my very up to date Fraiser references). But now, in the time of Covid-19, no one would leave home without some, including a wedding photographer! I’m sure it’s in every kit bag being used right now.
Hollie – Main Gear
When I started working at weddings back in 2016, I used to shoot with a Nikon D4S and Nikon D810. The D4S is a big camera – I really knew I’d done a day’s work after shooting with it for 12 hours! The image quality, the colours straight out of camera, and focussing were all great. The D810 was a lovely camera too, but it was slow and the focussing could let me down in low light – it wasn’t really built for weddings.
I now shoot two Nikon D850 and partner a wide and telephoto lens throughout a wedding day. It’s a classic combination and I find shooting primes keeps me thinking about my position all the time. However, I do have a zoom in my bag, which gets me out of situations where moving around is trickier.
Nikon D850 x2 – When the D850 came out, it was such a step up from anything I’d used before. I would say it’s the perfect wedding DSLR. The raw files are beautiful and the focussing, even on the most dimly lit dance floors, is superb. For the most part, I shoot with the Raw files set to medium, but it’s great to have the option to go full size when needed. The ability to crop right into an image with negligible quality loss is really handy.
Nikon 24mm f/1.4G – My main lens on a wedding day is the Nikon 24mm 1.4 G. I used to own a Sigma Art 24mm 1.4, but even after calibration the focus seemed to miss more often than not. Switching to the Nikon 24mm was a great decision and well worth the investment. I love everything about this lens.
The wide angle is perfect for shooting reportage throughout a wedding day and recording context around a moment or presenting a wider scene. The focussing is always perfect and the build of the lens is rugged, so great for all conditions. The 24mm stays on one of my D850s all day long.
Nikon 85mm f/1.4G – The 85mm 1.4G is on my other D850 most of the time. It produces beautiful, sharp images and gorgeous bokeh. The only issue with the 85mm 1.4G is the chromatic aberration, which can be quite prominent in certain situations.
But for a lens at a wedding, shooting for 10, 12 hours or more, you need reliability along with image quality. This lens hits focus every time and delivers fantastic images with real character, just as the 24mm does.
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 FL E – The latest version of F mount Nikon 70-200 is such a beautifully versatile lens. I’d never shoot a full wedding day with it though! It’s a big lens and perhaps in terms of wedding photography, does encourage you to be a little lazy with positioning, but it’s so useful to have in the kit bag.
For example, if I’m stuck at the back of a big church, abbey or cathedral for a wedding ceremony, the 70-200 is invaluable. I love the compression the lens creates – so aesthetically pleasing.
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM – The Sigma Art series I think it’s fair to say has always suffered issues with focussing and general reliability in comparison with first-party lenses. I used to own more Sigma Art lenses, but slowly I sold them and upgraded to Nikon equivalents. The one Sigma lens that I’ve never felt the need to upgrade is the 50mm Art 1.4.
It’s a really beautiful lens. I had it calibrated to my D850s and the focussing is now perfect. It tends to stay in my kit bag for most of a wedding day but is so useful for some tight situations when an 85mm is just too close, such as some wedding services or during getting ready when space is confined. So when needed, I will pair the Sigma 50mm with my Nikon 24mm.
Nikon SB-910 and YongNuo YN-622N Wireless TTL Flash Trigger – I use SB 910s and YongNuo triggers. I shoot with natural light most of the day, really only using flash for the evening reception and first dance as needed, sometimes on camera, sometimes off camera with triggers.
Holdfast MoneyMaker – Holdfast straps are comfortable, safe in terms of support for my cameras and they look good too!
Hardware & Software
Adobe Lightroom – I do the majority of editing for M and G Wedding Photography. It will come as no surprise to hear I use Lightroom for editing. I know some photographers grow tired of editing, but I love it. Fully realising the image taken in camera and bringing a whole shoot together in the edit is so satisfying.
When we reach the summer months and get really busy with weddings though, I will admit at that point each year, I don’t love editing quite as much!
Sewing Kit – I always have a sewing kit in my camera bag just in case. It’s there if it’s ever needed for running repairs on a dress or suit in the future and has come in use in the past!
We have both always shot with Nikon cameras – in Patrick’s case, since he was very young, borrowing his Dad’s Nikon F2 – and don’t see that changing. The Z6 is a fantastic advancement in a lot of ways and we both love it as a camera.
When Nikon release a mirrorless camera that matches a D850 for example in terms of performance, we will both seriously consider swapping to a full mirrorless set up with Nikon. Their Z Mount is fantastic and we can’t wait to see where they take the system.
We love our job and sharing it together makes it even better. We know each other’s way of working instinctively, also we have a real laugh together at weddings. People often ask ‘do you have arguments working together’ and we can honestly say we don’t.
We work really well together and also work in a way that takes the pressure off our couples and therefore takes the pressure off us. Our job ends up being fairly simple – we just take photographs of natural moments in the most creative way possible.