Nikola Smernic

Wedding | Last Updated: February 12, 2021

My name is Nikola. I am a destination wedding photographer from Croatia, where I shoot most of my weddings, along with some shoots in other countries.

I work with my wife Martina. Outside of wedding season, we are both keen travelers, and we travel any chance we get.

I entered unusually early into the SLR cameras world – I got the first one for my first birthday.

Actually, my father who was an amateur photographer back then convinced my grandma to buy me a camera that he wanted. It was a Yashica FR1 with 50mm f/1.9 lens.

With that camera, I started my photography journey in my college years when I claimed it back from my dad.

I shot my first wedding with an Olympus E-1 and Zuiko 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5. It was a friend’s wedding and I shot it for a bottle of whiskey. After that, I decided that I wanted to become a wedding photographer.

Professionally I’ve worked only with Canon, from Canon 20D to Canon 5D classic, Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 1D Mark III, Canon 5D Mark III and finally Canon 5D Mark IV.

As a destination wedding photographer in Croatia, I often travel to weddings with ferries, catamarans and small speedboats, and those weddings are usually in pedestrian zones of our small Mediterranean towns. Because there’s a lot of walking, I try to keep my gear to a minimum.

My go-to setup is a Canon 5D Mark IV with Sigma 35mm f/1.4 and Canon 5D Mark III with Canon 85mm f/1.2.

Other than that, in my Think Tank Retrospective 10 bag I also have a Canon 24mm f/1.4, which I rarely use, and a Canon Speedlite 600EXII-RT.

About 85% of my wedding photos are with a Sigma 35mm f/1.4. I was skeptical about that lens at first as Sigma didn’t have too good of a reputation in the past, but this lens is brilliant just like the whole Art series. It’s not built as the Canon one, but for half the price it’s a really good investment.

The other 15% are shot with a Canon 85mm f/1.2, when I need more range or for portraits. This lens produces magic and I love it, despite the fact it’s really slow in focusing.

This year I purchased my first mirrorless camera, Fujifilm X-T3 with Fuji 23mm f/2, mainly for traveling and for taking photos of my newborn son, but also to try that mirrorless hype at weddings, so I can later decide which way to go.

It’s a really good camera, but I still don’t feel confident with it as with Canon cameras which are built like tanks.

I tried lots of different straps for my cameras, and I ended up with a Peak Design Slide Lite for my main camera, and a Think Tank Strap V2.0 for my second camera.

For my mirrorless, I chose the Simplr F1 strap.

Think Tank Retrospective 10 bag is the best bag for this setup. I’ve had this bag for seven years now; it was with me all around the world and at every wedding and it’s still protecting my gear, even with wear and tear signs.

Usually, I carry a second bag with another Canon 5D Mark III (backup camera), Yongnuo 600EX-RT II, Canon 430EX II with Yongnuo receiver, Canon ST-E3-RT transmitter, MagMod grids and Manfrotto 5001B Nano Stand, which I use if the reception venue is outdoors. | @nikolasmernicphotos

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