I’m Olly Knight. I live with my wife, Kirsty, and young kids, Caleb and Rose, in Canterbury, Kent (the garden of England!) and I photograph weddings in a documentary, hands-off way.
I was shown a DSLR camera by my Brother-in-law, 10 years ago and I loved it! The next day I went onto a well known online shop (that has the same name as a rain forest in South America…) and ordered my first DSLR – a Canon 500D.
I was hooked! I offered to shoot a friend’s wedding in 2011, they stupidly agreed to let me loose on the biggest day of their lives, and my new profession started!
Things snowballed from there, really, and now I find myself shooting 25 weddings a year. Some in Kent, some around the UK and a few each year overseas (Italy, Serbia, Portugal and Germany to name a few). I’ve racked up 250 weddings now but being a Wedding Photographer still feels more like a hobby than a job to me.
People fascinate me, so I love capturing human emotion in photographs especially between family members and the Bride and Groom. I never set anything up or try and influence the day. I’m smiley and approachable like a guest at a wedding. I just want to get the real moments and nothing fake.
Couples that book me tend to be fun, relaxed and want the atmosphere of the day to be captured rather than having lots of formals or posed couple photos.
I was shown Canon when I first got into photography so I naturally went for that brand. I’ve gone through Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 5D Mark III, and I now shoot with Canon 5D Mark IV, but I hope in 2020/21 that Canon will release a pro-level mirrorless camera which I’d love to go to.
I feel quite loyal to Canon as I love the cameras, the look of the files, and I’m invested in the system.
I used to be the Photographer with long zoom lenses (like the 70-200mm) lurking in the shadows(!) but now I tend to get a lot closer to the action, so I shoot most of the wedding day with a 35mm lens. I’ve got an 85mm lens on the other body, and then 24mm and 135mm in the kit bag.
I have two Canon 5D Mark IV’s. I was photographing a wedding four years ago and the Groom was really into his photography. He asked me “ah will you be upgrading to the mark 4s before our wedding?” I stupidly put pressure on myself to get the mark 4s before I shot his wedding and needed to take out a bank loan to buy both of them(!!)
I love that you can pump the ISO high. I was shooting in a dark London basement venue and I was maxing out all the settings (which I’d prefer to do rather than using flash during the day). I was shooting at 12000 ISO and the images were coming out fine.
It’s a really reliable camera and focuses quick. I think I will go mirrorless soon though, as I’d love something a bit lighter, smaller, and quieter to shoot with. When I’m with the family or on holiday I tend to use my Ricoh GR. It’s tiny and brilliant quality.
Canon 35mm f/1.4: I love the focal length of the 35mm lens. It feels like how you’d see with your own eyes. It doesn’t have the distortion of the wider lenses and you can get in close to situations too. This particular lens is super sharp, I love the colours, and it’s really quick too. I shoot 80% of my images on this lens. It was an expensive upgrade from the Mark I but totally worth it.
Canon 85mm f/1.4: This lens sits on my other camera body and I generally use it when I can’t get close enough to the subject to use the 35mm. This lens is good for the entrance of the Bride, some images during the ceremony, and for couple-time too. I used to have the 85mm f/1.2 but it took an age to focus, so it didn’t really work with my documentary style.
Canon 24mm f/1.4: I use this lens for the dance floor. It means I can get even closer to people and fit more in the frame. I’ve tried a few times using this lens instead of the 35mm and it can be useful for establishing shots of venues or inside Churches, etc. but the distortion and colour always lead me back to the 35mm.
Canon 135mm f/2: This lens sits in my kit back, crying gently to itself. I hardly ever use this lens but it’s nice to have just in case I need a backup.
Canon 600EX II-RT: This is the main flash that I use for the dance floor. It’s quick to recharge and powerful too.
Canon 600EX-RT: I use this flash as my off-camera flash that’s controlled by my main flash. I don’t tend to use off-camera flash too much these days, but it’s there if I need it.
I have a Calumet RC2065 wheelie bag that my kit lives in at home and that I take to weddings with me. It’s great to have everything on wheels. If I’m shooting a London wedding or an overseas wedding I just put my gear in my Herschel rucksack.
I use SpiderPro clips (I’ve unscrewed them from the utility belt that I didn’t fancy wearing) and I’ve put them onto my belt. My camera bodies stay on each side of me until I need one (everyone calls me a wanna-be Cowboy).
Hardware & Software
I use Lightroom to edit my photos. I’ve created my own presets. One for colour where I’ve adjusted the tone curve slightly and desaturated some of the colours. My other main preset is black and white. I love high contrast punchy black and white photos so I’ve tried to make my black and white look that way.
I use a Loupedeck+ to edit with. I think it’s reduced my editing time by about 30%. Having something physical in front of you, relying on memory to turn different dials, means I can edit a lot faster.
Shoes are important! I learnt this when I was shooting at a Castle. I walked in just before the Bride and my loud shoes made everyone think I was the Bride! Since then, I’ve been using Clarks shoes that look like Brogues from the top but underneath they are rubber! Super comfy too!
I always pack a chocolate bar for energy just in case I don’t get fed a desert (I need that sugar hit for the dance floor!).
I’ve got an electric car (I’ve called her Milky) and she comes to the vast majority of weddings with me (not overseas, sorry Milky) and once when a wedding car didn’t turn up the Bride and Groom rode in Milky as their wedding car!!
I’ve learnt the hard way, a number of times, in my Photography journey! At a wedding, I was hugged by the Bride after the ceremony, the camera was knocked out of my hands and smashed on the floor (£500 hug!). The same Bride hugged me goodbye that evening and a metal piece on her dress cut my chin open!! Costly hugs.
I remember asking a Grandad (who didn’t speak English) to look at the camera during a formal picture (as he was looking away from me). I kept on asking him and then I asked the Groom to get him to look at me. The Groom replied, “Ah Olly, my Grandad is blind”. Research the family more, Olly.
I love to get involved at weddings. Once I heard that there was a pool party going on at a wedding so I took my trunks along and ended up shooting in the pool (I nearly dropped the camera!)
My best advice to people would be… Shoot what you love! Don’t try and be someone else. Don’t get fooled into posting for likes. Do you!