Hi, my name is Matt Streatfeild and I’m an Australian based Wedding and Travel photographer. My photography story goes back all the way to when I was in High School. I was always interested in the Photography class but always chose the sporty subjects instead.
It wasn’t until University, in my final semester of my final year that I had to take up an extra class to remain as an eligible full time student. There weren’t many options so I chose the B&W Film Photography 101 class. It was a great choice and that set me on a path to where I am today. Living the dream you could say! To cut a long story short, I got the highest mark in the University for that particular class that year, the only ever High Distinction in my time at University.
These days I’m a full-time Wedding Photographer, owning and operating Matts Photography. I shoot primarily in the Hunter Valley of NSW but have shot weddings around Australia as well as shooting destination weddings throughout South East Asia, the South Pacific and the Caribbean.
Just this year, in May 2016 I was awarded the AIPP NSW Wedding Photographer of the year. It was a great feeling being recognised by my peers in the industry and if anything it has spurred me on to get better at my craft each and every day. I am continually inspired by the amazing work from my peers and that is what drives me.
Gear, well I’m a bit of a gear head. My first ever camera was a Pentax MZ-50 Film SLR (pictured). That’s where it all began and its a camera I’ll always keep and use.
My first couple of weddings were shot on film, way back when I was a student. From then I moved onto my first Digital SLR which was a Pentax istDs. A 6mp camera and one of the earliest affordable cameras of its type.
I stuck with Pentax for a few years owning the Pentax K10D, Pentax K20D & Pentax K7 and had a bevy of nice lenses. The Pentax lenses were awesome but the bodies were lacking when it came to shooting weddings. It reached a point where I maxed out the cameras capabilities, sold everything and bought into Canon gear.
Having purchased a Canon 5D Mark II and Canon 7D the difference in what I could do compared with my old Pentax gear was night and day. My confidence levels were up, I was trying new things. Shooting in low light was exciting as opposed to something to avoid. I was happy shooting with a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L II IS (incredible lens) and a Canon 50mm f/1.4. I was still very much into travel photography also so I always took my trusty Canon 17-40mm f/4 L for those landscape shots. It wasn’t a wedding lens however.
Then I made a conscious effort to start shooting primes. I craved better lower light performance and loved the look of shooting wide open. This was met with the acquisition of 2 new Canon 5D Mark III’s. Could it get any better! I was using the Canon 135mm f/2 L, Canon 85mm f/1.8, Canon 45mm f/2.8 Tilt Shift and then the Sigma ART Series lenses were announced. When I got hold of the legendary and my absolute favourite ever lens, the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 ART my life literally changed.
Fast forward a little and I was starting to have itchy feet with Canon. I wanted something a little different. I decided to test the waters with a mirrorless camera in October 2014. I bought the Fujifilm X-T1. I had heard good things about the size, weight, EVF, awesome lenses and WIFI (yes, WIFI!) It was a camera which I felt could compliment my big, weighty DSLRs.
With a couple of young children by then, I couldn’t stand lugging around a 5D Mark III with lens. It was a burden and I love taking pics of my kids so the Fuji X-T1 became my camera for everything but weddings. I used it at weddings a little but I found the low light focusing a bit slow and the IQ wasn’t quite up to a FF in certain situations. It was great sidekick but I couldn’t rely on it solely for wedding work.
I shot weddings with Canon up until mid 2015, a good 6+ years. Then Nikon released the Nikon D750. Similar to my experience with the Pentax gear, Canon hadn’t yet released a replacement for the 5D Mark III (still haven’t) and stories coming from Nikon D750 users had me totally intrigued.
THE BIG SWITCH…
It was an impulse buy of sorts. While I couldn’t rationally justify a switch to Nikon when there was technically nothing wrong with my Canon kit, it boiled down to the fact that I wanted it, not needed it, but I was going to get it anyway.
I remember flying down to Melbourne from Newcastle the day after I got my first Nikon D750 to meet some clients for their pre wedding shoot. That day I carried around my Nikon D750 with a Sigma 35mm f/1.4 ART, Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon 135mm f/2 L and an X-T1 with the Fuji 23mm f/1.4 (see review) & 56mm f/1.2 lenses.
Everything was great, except for the fact that I was totally lost driving the Nikon as it was all backwards. First world problem though. It was when we began shooting into the night in the city that the Nikon D750 totally blew me away. When I got back from Melbourne I put all my Canon bodies and lenses up for sale and began the process of buying a complete Nikon kit.
The process was fun, I knew I had too much Canon gear than what was practical so it was a good time to downsize and only buy the equipment that I would use on a weekly basis shooting weddings.
So here is my current kit, as it stands as of August 2016.
Nikon D750 x2.
These are my workhorses. The image quality, dynamic range and high ISO shooting are what brought me across. So far I’m not disappointed. Admittedly the bodies aren’t as rugged as the 5D bodies and while I’ve had the odd shutter issue with one of mine I’m entirely happy. It’s much lighter, faster FPS, better autofocus and has a handy tilt screen. The colours took some getting used to initially but some good editing workflow has ironed out any issues.
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 ART.
My favourite lens hands down. Sharp as a tack at f/1.4. My copies in both Nikon & Canon mount have been great. I’ll have this on 1 camera pretty much the entire wedding. If I could only ever have one lens, this would be it.
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART.
I don’t use this a heap at weddings. Technically its a phenomenal lens. Superb optics, IQ, you name it. Recently, in a pledge to travel light and use this lens more, during e-shoots I’ve been only using 1 D750 and this lens. That’s it. I like the challenges a 1 camera 1 lens combo throws up. It renders beautiful, sharp, high quality images.
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 G II.
Again, a superb lens. I bought this by chance at a really good price. Right place right time. I only really use this for a ceremony when I want to remain a little discreet. Very rarely will I use it outside of that. I try to avoid the size and weight of it even though its lighter than its Canon counterpart.
Nikon 24-120mm f/4.
I call this my event lens. I only use it for guest photos at the reception. It’s super sharp & versatile but makes you lazy. It also has some pretty bad barrel distortions so its not much use for horizons or anything with straight lines in the fame at 24mm. I do use this for recording corporate video however, so it does get used.
Nikon 105mm f/2.8 Macro.
This is my most recent addition. I’ve never had a dedicated macro lens so for details shots it’s been very handy. Another bonus is that it doubles as a really cool portrait lens. Shooting at f/2.8 and even f/3.2 I get this lovely little natural vignette. Produces good IQ and is a lens that has some ‘character’ when rendering images.
Nikon 85mm f/1.8.
I like the 85-35 combo like a lot of Wedding Photographers do. It’s a great portrait lens for the money. Produces excellent IQ and some real nice out of focus bokeh. Can be a little soft at f/1.8 but I use it mostly from f/2.5-3.2. Small, light and great for on the go shoots when I want to be mobile. I’m eagerly waiting on the Sigma 85mm ART. That lens cannot come soon enough.
Tokina 17-35mm f/4.
I only got this to replace the focal length gap when I sold my Canon 17-40mm f/4 L. It’s fine for landscapes. I will only use it for weddings during a large group shot where a 35mm or 24mm isn’t wide enough.
Nikon SB-910 Speedlites x2.
Great flash, consistent and reliable. I like to do some off-camera flash and these work flawlessly with the:
Yongnuo YN-622N Transmitter and Receiver set.
Full TTL control, manual control you name it. I still have the Canon equivalent (YN-622C) which works flawlessly with my FujiFilm X-T1’s. For the money, its an excellent investment.
Sometimes when the situation allows it at a wedding I like to get a little creative. I use a Pixelstick I bought as a result of a KickStarter campaign. It’s heaps of fun and my clients are wowed at the results.
FUJI SET UP:
FujiFilm X-T1 x2.
The XT1 is my favourite camera. Not my best, but my favourite. I love the images it produces, the size, weight, lenses. I use it as my travel camera and personal camera. I have produced some award-winning images with it.
The Fuji X-T1 has really changed how I see and appreciate light. The EVF is amazing and it allows me to be able to create images I wouldn’t consider when shooting with on OVF from a DSLR.
Currently I have the Fujifilm X-T2 on pre order and I cannot wait to get my hands on that.
FujiFilm 56mm f/1.2.
In my opinion the best 85mm lens out there. All metal build is amazing, sharp as a tack, even at f/1.2. Its an absolute pleasure shooting with this legendary piece of glass. My fave Fuji combo.
FujiFilm 23mm f/1.4.
Again, very sharp, superb build and image quality. Compliments the 56mm very well.
Fujifilm 35mm f/1.4.
Tiny and compact. A little noisy and slower to focus but wow, the image quality and sharpness this lens puts out is breathtaking. If I had to travel super light with 1 camera, 1 lens, this on an XT1 would be it. The 50mm equivalent focal length is a great all rounder.
Fujifilm 18mm f/2.0.
A pancake lens – great for travel. Super small and light weight its 27mm equivalent is wide enough to shoot landscapes. A handy and inexpensive addition to my kit.
Canon 580 EXII x2.
I decided to keep these Speedlites when I sold all my Canon gear as it works flawlessly with the X-T1 in a manual flash mode. Combined with the previously mentioned Yongnuo YN-622C Transmitter and Receiver, it’s a pretty awesome combo for off camera flash. The Nikon versions (YN-622N) don’t work with the X-T1 remotely controlled from the transmitter.
DJI Phantom 3 Advanced.
I immediately fell in love with aerial landscapes when I started seeing them. I was fascinated with the birds eye view and wanted to create abstract landscape images. The Phantom 3 Advanced with a 12Mp camera that shoots DNG Raw is a fine bit of gear and surprisingly easy to use.
I can see the Phantom 3 being integrated into my professional work in the near future. For now though, it’s a hobby and I’m loving using it.
From time to time I love to shoot the odd roll of film. Mainly for my own stuff but I’ve been known to rattle off a few frames during a bridal shoot. My film cameras are:
If this was a DSLR it would be perfect. Smallish, ergonomically perfect and enough functions to make it an advanced film camera. It does the job well.
I spoke about this in the opening paragraphs. This was my first ever camera. Still works great and was pretty much a late 90’s version of the Pentax K1000. I use a Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7 manual focus lens with this. I took this camera and shot B&W film on my first world trip back in 2004.
Polariod Sun 635.
Rarely use it as the film is hard to come by, but for those nostalgic moments, this has been a fun thing to use. It’s always a talking point when I pull it out at a wedding.
HOW I CARRY MY GEAR?
I like the strap systems. I’ve tried a couple but for me the Holdfast Money Maker is the best. On a wedding day it makes moving around and communicating with my clients so much easier. I also get a heap of positive compliments on it.
I bought it with the ability to carry a 3rd camera and the additional straps that come with this can also double as a wrist strap!
I fit all the Nikon gear and lenses into the best camera bag I’ve ever owned, the Thinktank Airport Take Off. It’s rugged, has great wheels and fits in overhead carry on which is very important for a traveling photographer. I can comfortably carry 2 bodies, 6-7 lenses, 2 Flashes and a bunch of accessories without an issue. It also has some backpack straps also which have come in handy in the past.
If I’m traveling light or on foot most of the day I use a non branded brown leather messenger bag I picked up at a market. It looks good, can hold a bit of gear and a lap top.
Thats a little about me and my kit. Thanks for taking the time to read. Happy Shooting!!