My name is Richard Galloway. I’ve been a wedding photographer for 14 years, or 400+ weddings depending on how you measure such things.
Have camera, will travel… as they say.
I’m a UK photographer based in Surrey and my work has taken me far and wide. From Suffolk to The States, Farnham to France and Sweden to SW7.
I prefer to travel light which I’m now able to do since I switched to Sony.
Over the years with my previous cameras (Canon 5D MKIII‘s) I accumulated more than enough lenses – which creates a nice sort of dilemma to have. Which lenses should I leave at home for this job? But of course, you ending up taking everything with you.
Switching to mirrorless allowed me a fresh start and a back-to-basics approach. KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid… the mantra I stick to when I start to create an unnecessary (and mostly imaginary) shopping list of new glass.
So what’s in my bag?
I wanted to start with my favourite piece of kit, my Spider belt.
I’m really not sure as to why so many photographers are drawn to over-the-shoulder holsters because, to my eye, the cameras seem to flap about and you’re just adding more stress on your back and shoulders.
With the Spider the weight is around your hips, so as long as you remember that you’re a fair bit ‘wider’ with a belt and a couple of cameras attached, it’s a no-brainer. And the speed at which you can switch from camera to camera… you never miss a moment. It’s that good.
2 x Sony a9
I had a lot of time to mull things over in August 2018 when I had an injury that put me out of action for several weeks. In that time I revisited the idea of going mirrorless.
It’s never an easy thing to do – you have to fork out for new gear (including two bodies in my case), you have to learn all about your new toys, and you have to recalibrate your muscle memory so you don’t get caught out on your first couple of jobs with the new system.
Was it worth it? Yes. Until I went mirrorless, every time I upgraded a camera body it was a micro-evolutionary step towards better things. Better focusing, better in low-light conditions, etc.
My a9 cameras were more like a shift in dimension. They changed everything. They allow me to concentrate on what’s in front of me, and the enjoyment factor of taking pictures has increased tenfold.
With such amazing focusing, eye-tracking, and metering, you’re just going to get those pictures every time. Not least those fleeting moments that have passed almost before they’ve started to happen.
If you shoot weddings, go mirrorless if you haven’t already. It’s worth it; so worth it.
Nearly half of my shots are with this lens. A combination of this, the silent shutter of an a9, and being able to shoot off the monitor rather than the viewfinder means I get CLOSE to the action without being indiscreet.
“If your photos aren’t good enough, then you’re not close enough.” Couldn’t agree more…
This is the other lens of mine which is almost permanently attached to my camera.
As I said, I like to get in close so a good fast 50mm pretty much acts as my telephoto when needed, and is still able to take in a wider scene with a bit of backing off.
As with any workhorse, it’s a heavy brute and it’s as consistent and reliable as you’d hope for.
I feel a bit sorry for my 85mm as it spends most of its life sitting on the side of the dance floor hoping to be asked to join in. But when it does it’s still got plenty of moves.
This comes out for things like couple portraits and enormous cathedrals where the priest has quietly requested that I “only take pictures from the back”. But other than that and the occasional super close- up shot, it remains a squad player rather than the manager’s first pick.
Li-Ion Battery Charger + 2 spare batteries
Working off the monitor so much rather than using the viewfinder saps a lot of battery power. A lot. So it’s imperative to carry at least a charger if not a couple of spares too. Do you really want your cams dying 30 seconds before the first dance?
Because grit happens. Hopefully, a good ‘ol sensor and lens cleaning before each wedding takes care of any unwanted dust, but it’s always a good idea to have something small and squishable tucked into the back of your camera bag.
I use available light wherever possible as I’m just not a fan of flashing away during key moments (the first dance/party excluded), but when just a little lift is required this LED panel does just the job. And it fits snugly in my bag away from any lenses.
I pretty much bought all of my gear for my then-new Sonys in one go.
As is my way, my levels of research – mooching around in coffee shops whilst I had some downtime and creating virtual shopping lists – were to the point of obsessive. So once I found that this flashgun was the one that best suited my criteria, I bought into a package which included a pair of them along with a transmitter.
Great piece of kit, and my off-cam flash work – particularly dance-offs/tequila downing exhibitions – has become more of a feature for me as a result.
If I can, I always prefer to set flash guns up somewhere out of the way. I do of course have a full-sized tripod collection in the boot of my car, but if I’m able to position the flash somewhere where they won’t get barged into then all the better for my insurance premiums. And it fits neatly in my bag.