Orlando Suarez

Hi, I’m Orlando, a wedding photographer from Denver, Colorado, but I currently call Atlanta, Georgia, my home.

Along with my wife, Lissette, I run Viridian Images Photography. Together we enjoy traveling the world and doing volunteer work in our spare time.

Personally, you’ll find me running just about every afternoon or researching my next bucket list vacation in the evenings… If I’m not editing.

I’ve always been artistically inclined. At first it was drawing, painting and animation. However, when my wife began sharing her love of photography with me, it quickly became the perfect avenue to express my creativity. It allowed me to merge my love for color and composition with the immediacy of unscripted human emotion.

Photography is not only my way to express a sense of what’s happening in the moment, so the feeling comes through years from now; it’s also fine art created to reflect the identity of a couple.

For the past nine years, wedding photography has taken us all over the world – from the spraying waterfalls of Iceland to the warm beaches of Mexico and the colorful landscapes of India. Not to mention countless cities here in America.

Experience has shaped what I carry into weddings. While my camera, lens and lighting equipment has been refined over the years, my love of incorporating additional tools to create artistic shots has increased. Overall, I can fit about 80% of what I use in a large backpack. So, here’s what we carry into just about all our weddings:

CAMERAS

The Nikon D4S is my current camera of choice. It’s full of features and performs like a champ in low light. I have a bright blue Peak Design camera strap on it which has a cool retro feel to it – like grandpa’s seat belts on an old ’60s Chevy.

Every now and then I snag the Nikon D850 from my wife when I want to use some of the extra bells and whistles that unit brings. We have a SpiderPRO V2 hand strap and waist belt on this unit.

I can’t lie: I’ve been eyeing the new mirrorless Sony cameras, but I dread the idea of having to switch everything out. I’m hoping Nikon gets its act together soon and delivers a true dual card slot mirrorless system.

LENSES

Nikon 50mm f/1.8 – I use this only with my Vario-Spiegelvorsatz mirrored lens when I want to create some extra-funky kaleidoscope effects. It’s so small it merits to be carried around – just for those artsy opportunities.

Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art Series – A fantastic 35mm for a portion of the price of a Nikon equivalent. Images are always sharp, and this lens has quickly become one of my favorites.

Nikon 85mm f/1.8 – My wife loves the 85mm for portraits. Every now and then I grab it as well. But it’s mostly hers.

Sigma 105mm f/2.8 DG MACRO Prism – We use this almost exclusively for ring shots or other details.

Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 – I like this lens for getting in the middle of the dance floor during the reception. A zoom like this provides a little extra flexibility for grasping a large array of subjects in tandem.

Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 – A workhorse. I try to shoot more primes these days but there is no denying the overall value of this lens. So yes, I use it quite often in tandem with the Sigma 35mm f/1.4.

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 – Here in the south, we’re often forced to shoot the ceremony from far away by church ladies. So, this lens allows us to get some decent closeups, even if we must shoot from the rafters or the back of the church.

I also like this lens for getting the groom’s reaction over the bride’s shoulder as she makes her way down the aisle towards him. During creative portraits or engagement sessions, we like to use this lens for certain situations for the nice bokeh it renders when separating a subject from the background.

LIGHTING

Nikon SB900 & SB910 Speedlights – Our original flashes. They’ve served us well over the years but now we gravitate towards the Profoto A1’s. We use these in tandem with the Yougnuo models for reception coverage.

Profoto A1 & Profoto B2 system – I love these products. They are reliable and so easy to use. I never miss a shot with these units. We use these exclusively for creative portraits and engagement sessions. The B2 system provides gels and grids and we have umbrellas for family portraits. We’ve retrofitted the Magmod system of modifiers to the A1, just because we love how easy their setups are for speedlights.

Moving forward the B10 system is up next for us.

Yongnuo YN560 IV Speedlights – These flashes are used exclusively for reception coverage. Specifically, for dance floor shots. They are inexpensive and work just fine. Also, if someone knocks them over, you’re not out a grand for a high-end speedlight.

Yongnuo YN360 LED Video Light – Constant light is always nice. So, every now and then we use this for quick, dramatic, one-light portraits.

We also use them for composite shots when grabbing images of the reception room, tablescapes or even large bridal party setups. Because this wand is dimmable and it comes with various color options we frequently use it for light painting portraits.

Colored LED Key Chain Lights – Yeah, that’s right, key chain lights. Every now and then I like to use these for long exposure portraits where I want to paint the subject in multiples times into a single frame using different colors – like RGB color spreading. It allows us to create a single image that looks like a multiple exposure.

Since most of our couples are “artsy” in nature, this allows us to create unique portraits.

Nitecore Tiny Monster TM15 Hunting LED Flashlight – Running around and your speedlights aren’t with you? This light has a strong beam that can be cast across long distances. Or it can be modified with its own diffuser for shorter distances. It’s always attached to my belt.

Again, this is a constant light, adequate for specific situations. Flash and strobes will always dominate. But this guy will get you through in a pinch.

LED Pen Light – Any big box or home improvement store has these. We use them to light macro ring shots.

ACCESSORIES & GADGETS

If you know us you know we like to incorporate shadows, reflections and all sorts of image distortion methods within our coverage. Aside from the usual suspects like monopods and tripods we also find photo shaping tools in the unlikeliest of places.

Cosmetic 3-Way Folding Travel Mirror – Combine this with a prime lens and you can create some funky reflection portraits where you can grab subject matter or scenery from angles not possible with a standard mirror. It seems like there are a trillion options available on Amazon. Just try to find one as thin as possible with minimal edges.

Truck – Side View Replacement Mirror – You can grab one of these for about 10 or 15 bucks at any auto parts store. Ever find yourself trying to use your pricey smartphone to get a reflection shot against your camera lens? Ever dropped and scratched up said phone? Ever battle with the dark phone screen tinting your reflection? Or maybe the phone has a case so bulky it makes it hard to bokeh out the edges from the shot?

That’s why I use this truck mirror. No dark tinting on your reflection. The mirror is larger and easier to balance on your fingers as you level up the reflection. The large size makes it easier to cover the width of your shot.

And if it drops and breaks? Who cares!

Copper Pipe – See Sam Hurd’s breakdown on this here. He is really the innovator on the “ring of fire” effect. 

LED String Lights – Great for getting big bokeh balls to shoot through for wedding portraits. Just turn them on and place the wire right up to your lens. Shooting as wide open as possible, compose your subjects in the middle of a bokeh ball or just frame the subject with the lights all around them. You can find these in dollar stores sometimes and, of course, Amazon has tons of them.

Fractals  – Made for photographers, fractals are circular prism filters you place right up to your lens to get a kaleidoscope effect in your shots. They come in different patterns.

Prism – One of the original image distortion tools. Like many of the other items I’m describing, just place this right up against your leans and play with the positioning. Prisms are not just good for psychedelic reflections. They also help you hide clutter in a shot. I use these sometimes in messy hotel rooms during the getting ready portion of the day to hide Chick-Fil-A cups and dirty towels as I shoot the action around the groom.

Sam Hurd is again a great reference for this.

Metal Stencil Patterns – I use these with speedlights to create shadow patterns or I simply gel a speedlight and point the colored light at the stencil pattern and then shoot through one of the openings to frame the couple in the distance – but within the colored pattern. Head over to Hobby Lobby or Michaels and grab a set of these. I prefer the geometric patterns but there are many options to choose from.

Promaster Tripod XC525 – The perfect travel tripod for me. We have larger, more professional tripods but this one has the best mix between being lightweight yet sturdy. I do a lot of long exposures so a reliable tripod is a must and this one is ideal.

Manfrotto 290 Monopod – We usually have a Profoto A1 connected to this all the time. The wife and I take turns using this to help light portraits for each other when you need an angle that only a human can provide in an instant.

Tiffen 77mm Variable ND Filter – When I need sunglasses on my lens for a daylight long exposure. This is it!

It’s always a good time to make art out of memories. If you’re a bride, we’d love to create for you. If you’re a photographer, we’d love to collaborate!

www.virimages.com | @viridian_images

Inside Orlando’s camera bag:

Nikon D4S

Nikon D850

Nikon 50mm f/1.8

Sigma 35mm f/1.4

Nikon 85mm f/1.8

Sigma 105mm f/2.8

Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8

Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8

NIKON SB900

NIKON SB910

PROFOTO A1

PROFOTO B2

Yongnuo YN560 IV Speedlights

Yongnuo YN360 LED Video Light

Promaster XC525 Tripod

Manfrotto 290 Monopod

Tiffen 77mm Variable ND Filter 

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