Marcus Bell

I’m Marcus. I’m a husband, a Dad, an Australian, a Photographer, and the owner or Studio Impressions.

Some say I’m a romantic (you’d have to check with my wife). Maybe that’s why I love photographing the connections between people – those unscripted amazing moments that define their lives. Maybe that’s also why I love photographing landscapes – powerful, majestic, romantic places.

Some time, about 20 years ago, I put the two of those things I loved together – little people in love against the backdrop of an epic landscape – the power of love and nature all combined, and I found my “thing.” It was that thing that would transport my career as a photographer.

I won a couple of awards for it, my first award in the USA received a perfect 100 score and along with it the Grand Award at WPPI, Rangefinder magazine in 2003 described my work as “Weddingscapes” and forever since its stuck. Now it is a style of wedding photography used by truly incredible photographers from around the globe and continues to grow. Its nice to know that it started all the way back in the mid 90’s here in little old Brisbane.

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Ever since I’ve been lucky to ride the wave of artistic change that has occurred in wedding photography over the last couple of decades. I’ve learnt to keep evolving, innovate, but be true to myself, let what I love in life shape my photography.

My gear is like an extension of me. It guarantees I capture the moment precisely when it happens and in exactly the way I feel it. I probably have too much gear, but I have different kits for different assignments. (I love weddings, but that’s not all I do.)

My wedding kit is simple. It is compact and lightweight. I choose bodies and lenses based on quality and size/weight. I spend ages planning ahead and think everything through before every wedding, then I pack exactly what I need, modifying my kit to suit the day.

I’ve always shot with two camera bodies, one over each shoulder and use “Upstraps” so that I can wear a suit and blend in more on the wedding day. I also have a small Tamrac belt buckle card holder perfect for inconspicuously holding extra cards and batteries on me at all times.

I take a small shoulder bag like the ThinkTank Retrospective10 for the extra gear needed for that day. I never wheel anything around at a wedding so I’m always free to shoot at any moment, plus I’m never worried about any gear I left in the corner.

When using a Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, I’ll use a spider holster. Camera strap systems like the Holdfast are great, but on weddings they just scream “look at me I’m the photographer.” The more things you can do to NOT look like the photographer, the more people will ignore you and just let the unexpected and emotive moments happen right in front of you.

The two latest bits of kit I’m in love with are first the new Nikon 24mm f/1.8–it’s my favourite focal length and the quality is stellar, let alone so light, and second the Wacom Express Key, a control pad that I can use to program all my favourite Photoshop and Lightroom keystrokes and actions. With a few presses of a button and I’ve got my images where I want them to be. It’s an awesome time saving device.

I’m big on backups. On a wedding day you only get one chance, so you need to be prepared. My two-camera setup means I always have a backup, but secretly there is a third body not too far away. I highly recommend using the second card slot with a backup card and always, always carry spare batteries.

This is my ultimate wedding kit. My staple master kit which I layout and then reorganise, swap and change for each wedding (pictured). For cameras, I carry two Nikon D750‘s. My typical lenses are Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8Nikon 58mm f/1.4Nikon 24mm f/1.8Nikon 85mm f/1.8, and on occasions either the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 or the Nikon 20mm f/1.8

Other:
Plenty of 64gb and 128gb Sandisk Extreme Cards, using the 128gb cards in the backup slot. A range of little accessories from spare batteries, zip ties and the magical “exit” stain-remover bar that can get pretty much anything out of a white wedding dress.

I’m a lover of natural light so only use flash when absolutely necessary or when I want to use it in a creative way. When I don’t need a powerful flash I use the Nikon SB-500 speedlight. This flash is super small and lightweight and punches well above its weight.

For creative lighting I can still use the SB-500 with a set of PocketWizards, but I also have either the Profoto B1 or Profoto B2 kit for location lighting. These get used in the studio and on commercial jobs I do.

I’m on the road for most of my weddings so I have my ColorSpace downloading device to download cards and back up on the fly (there’s that backup thing again).

My Wacom Companion 2 lets me start image work on the plane home. Finally a Chord mojo DAC, combined with a special app on my iPhone keeps my passion for high def music satiated when I’m travelling. Love this thing because when I’m back in the studio I can plug it into the Wacom Companion and with a vintage tube amp crank up the music and post-production my heart out.

The Master Kit is (pictured) WEDDING KIT 2016
Wacom Companion 2: Use it for travel as a stand alone tablet whilst I’m traveling plus can plug & play into the MacPro at the studio.
ExpressKey – Programable wireless keypad to speed up post workflow.
Chord Mojo + Shure 535’s earbuds: I love my music and using an App by Onkyo “HF Player” I can play hi-res audio from my iPhone (or the Wacom in the hotel room).
iPhone 6
Umbrella (Compact)
Nikon Coolpix A
Sandisk SD Cards
Spare battery
Listerine Tabs (always good to have fresh breath doing close up shots)
Speedlight SB-500 (So love the compactness of this flash, perfect for receptions)
Compact Powerful LED torch (Bike store bought)
Super compact LED light
Tiny Softbox for the Torch + warming gel
Two Nikon D750 bodies (Always two bodies)
1 x Nikon D810 (Backup body, but also for remote camera use if needed)
UpStraps Camera Straps (enable me to wear each body on my shoulder without sliding off)
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8
Nikon 135mm f/2 DC
Nikon 85mm f/1.8
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
Nikon 58mm f/1.4
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
Nikon 24mm f/1.8
Nikon 20mm f/1.8
Nikkor 55mm f/1.2 Manual Lens
Lensbaby Composer with a home made conversion to fit a Holga lens.
12mm Extention ring (perfect way to make any lens a macro lens & Compact)
Card & Battery pouch by Tamrac (Love the zipper and the belt clip)

Not Pictured: Bags – Thinktank Retrospective 30Thinktank Retrospective 10,  Paklite Duffle/Roller bag (for travelling – super important as it fits my Retrospective 30 inside it plus some extra things, perfect carry on, has a roller and doesn’t look like a camera bag) Passport (off getting a Visa for this month’s trip) Profoto B1 Kit and light accessories.

www.studioimpressions.com.au

Inside Marcus’s camera bag:

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