Hi, I’m Paul and I live in Kent in the UK with my wife Claire and our three kids. I’ve been shooting weddings for ten years now and even typing that feels completely crazy to me!
I still remember my first wedding so vividly, I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever been as terrified as I was that day, but I made it through.
I won’t pretend that it was always my passion to be a photographer. In fact, I didn’t own a ‘proper camera’ until I bought a Canon 450D before Claire and I went on our honeymoon. But once I owned that camera I knew it was something I loved and I knew I wanted to get better.
One day I came across the work of Jonas Peterson online and I was just completely mesmerised. My preconception of wedding photography, that it was tacky and soulless were completely blown away. I suddenly realised it could be powerful and full of meaning.
I saw that he shot with a Canon 5D Mark II and for that reason and that reason alone I ended up buying one! Since then I’ve stuck with Canon, not out of any huge sense of loyalty but I just know it inside and out, which on a wedding day is priceless.
I’ve always used prime lenses with two camera bodies, one usually with the Canon 35mm f/1.4L and one with a longer focal length.
Canon 5D Mark IV – A beautiful camera and a big step up from my previous Canon 5D Mark II with excellent high ISO. The autofocus was a massive improvement from the Canon 5D Mark III and the touch screen was an absolute game changer for me.
Being able to select your focus point on the touchscreen allowed me to change the angle of my shot and open a whole new way of shooting from up high or down low. Now when I use the Canon 5D Mark III it feels really limiting not having that feature. This camera tends to have my Canon 35mm f/1.4L on it for most of the day.
Canon 5D Mark III – I shot with two of these for a few years and was going to replace it with another Canon 5D Mark IV this year before the coronavirus scuppered things. Still, a great camera with excellent high ISO and good autofocus, though nowhere near as good as the Canon 5D Mark IV. I tend to keep my longer focal length lenses, the Canon 85mm f/1.8L or Canon 135mm f/2L, on this camera throughout the day.
Fujifilm X-T20 – I bought the first version of the Fujifilm X100 when it was released but just could not get on with the focusing and its quirks. This is so much better and is the perfect camera for capturing my family.
Canon 35mm f/1.4L – A very essential lens for me as it can do pretty much everything I need from portraits to documentary work. I could shoot a whole wedding day on this lens alone and if I was starting out in the industry this is the focal length I would invest in first.
Canon 50mm f/1.2L – I don’t use this lens enough although I always intend to but find myself drawn back to the 35mm focal length. There’s no doubt it is a beautiful lens that is incredible for portraits, especially shooting in the evening when it can produce some amazing flare.
Canon 85mm f/1.8L – This lens, in terms of value for money, is unbelievable. In comparison to my other lenses, it’s fairly cheap but the image quality is pretty much indistinguishable unless I’m looking very hard at it.
It tends to be on my Canon 5D Mark III for most of the day to capture those documentary moments but is also great for portraits and group shots as the focal length naturally compresses the background. If I’ve got the room at the venue, this is my go-to lens for group shots.
Canon 135mm f/2L – Perfect for speeches, if the vicar banishes you to the back of the church or for picking off those documentary shots when you don’t want to interrupt people too much. As a photographer you tend to be able to judge the times you should step back a bit and this is a great lens for those moments.
Sigma 24mm f/1.4 ART – Again a lens I don’t tend to use too much but perfect for scene-setting documentary work with its wide field of view and for when the couple throws the old, ‘Can we have a group shot of all of the guests’ shot at you. It can also capture those epic landscape images if the location is right.
Canon 430 EX II Speedlites (x2) – I tend to use flash pretty much exclusively during the first dance and evening reception. I’ll bounce it, place it on a stand to create a rim light, or drag the shutter to create light trails to add some energy to the dance photos. I’ve had these for years and once the wedding industry restarts again I’ll be switching to Godox flashes.
Hahnel Captur – An OK piece of kit. You can control the flash output of up to three flashes independently from the transmitter on the camera’s hot shoe which is handy. Can sometimes be a bit hit and miss though in terms of firing the flash.
Lenovo Yoga 920-13IKB / Lightroom – Quite a pricey laptop but has massively sped up my editing workflow with the stylus and touchscreen, enabling me to use adjustment brushes in Lightroom easily.
Bag – Think Tank Retrospective 4 V2 – Does everything you want from a bag and looks great. Annoyingly I broke the zip last year by catching it in a lens cloth so I’ll need to replace it.
My ‘lucky’ watch – My grandad died and left me the watch he was given for 25 years service as an aircraft engineer and I’ve taken it to every wedding I’ve ever shot. On one occasion I realised ten minutes after I left the house I’d forgotten to pick it up so I turned back to get it, there was no way I could shoot a wedding without it!