Rick Messina

Wedding | Last Updated: July 28, 2022

Hey Everyone! I’m Rick Messina, a wedding photographer originally from NY and living in Silver Spring, MD! My wife Melanie and I began photographing weddings 7 years ago.

I got into photography as a kid watching my dad who always had a camera in his hand. About 7 years ago a friend begged us to shoot their wedding and the rest is history…

The gear we have used has evolved quite a bit over the years… We originally started with Canon, using the Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 6D and a bag full of L glass.

When the Nikon D750 came out, we switched over to that due to the incredible low light capabilities plus the Nikon 58mm f/1.4 (that lens will always be one of my favorites…) That system served us well for about 4 years.

Over the years, we found that we more and more shot with live view and eventually got to the point where that’s all we use. Thus enter Mirrorless. I was immediately interested in the Canon EOS R and after watching Sam Hurd’s review we knew this was the right set up for us.

The AF, especially in dark settings (read every reception ever), has been a game-changer. I know cameras like the Sony A7III are more advanced and refined however, for us, the Canon has been everything we have been looking for.

Thus our current kit is as follows:

Canon EOS R: I use one and Melanie does as well. It’s lightweight, intuitive, comfortable, and we love the new sensor Canon used. We really can’t wait to see how this line continues to grow.

Canon EOS RP: It’s small, fast/accurate AF, and just fun. This doubles as my second camera and our everyday life camera. Coupled with the Canon 35mm f/1.8, it makes a great, small, yet high-quality, combo.

Canon EOS 6D: Not pictured. It’s our back up camera. Simple as that.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2: This is my main lens. It’s smaller than the new RF version and there is something about the rendering of this lens that I just love. I will always prefer character over sharpness, which is why I loved the Nikon 58 1.4G. I am waiting, patiently, for Canon to release an RF 50 1.4 or 1.8. These days smaller is more important to me than 1.2….

Canon RF 35mm f/1.8: This is my other main lens. For its price, it’s a powerhouse. The Bokeh is smooth, its AF is very fast, and again, the smaller, low profile footprint really just made me fall in love with this lens

Canon EF 135mm f/2: Melanie’s main lens. The character, bokeh/rendering of this lens is legendary and for good reason. It just makes us want to shoot… Can’t wait to try the new RF 70-200 2.8!

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8: Again, we chose this over the 1.4 version due to size. The quality of this lens is much higher than its price tag and when the new (eventually) RF version is out, we’ll be all over that.

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8: I use this for reception dance floors and large groupings. That’s it… I know many love 24mm. I just never bonded with it… It makes for some fun dance floor shots though :)

Canon 600 EXII-RT: The only flash we have. Again, used mainly on the dance floor during receptions and occasionally when a little bit of fill light is needed.

Apple MacBook Pro 15.4″: This has been our main computer for several years now and shows no signs of slowing down. We love the portability of it and use the LG 4K monitor to proof our work before exporting.

DVLOP: We have used A LOT of presets over the years. While we really liked some, they were always missing something for us. We started using DVLOP’s presets and have found them to be editing perfection. Specifically, we use Gabe McClintock and Samm Blake’s sets and tweak to taste from there.

Peak Everyday Design 30L/20L bags: Just like our presets we have used almost the same amount of bags over the years (doesn’t every photographer???) and when we landed on these bags (thanks to the great reviews here!!) we finally felt like we found our bags.

They are comfortable, fit everything we need, and look cool:). I have the Ash color and Melanie got the Charcoal bag. Still deciding which color we like better…

In addition to the above-mentioned gear, we would never survive without Starbucks :). It accompanies us to each and every wedding…

rickmessina.com |@rickmessinaphoto

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  1. Ezra on April 27, 2020 at 7:03 pm

    You use of natural light is impressive! ;-)

  2. Franco on March 30, 2020 at 9:08 pm

    Hi Rick, how are you finding the EOS R with EF lenses? I did the same as you, went from Canon to Nikon then back to Canon so I have a stable of EF lenses but having trouble believing people who tell me it somehow works better on the R with the adapter than natively on a 5DIV.

    • Rick Messina on June 18, 2020 at 7:28 am

      Hi Franco,
      I am loving using EF lenses on the R! As far as comparing to the Mark IV, the last Canon DSLR that I used was the Mark III, however, this has been the most reliable AF I have ever used adapted or not. It is better than the D750 and of the thousands of images we’ll take at a wedding only a handful missed and that was probably my fault… It really is impressive. I have the RF 35 and have used the RF50 and really can’t see too much of a difference when using the EF lenses. The RF lenses perhaps AF track a little better but that’s just nitpicking they are both great. I would be happy to answer any other questions!

  3. Rick Messina on March 27, 2020 at 12:27 am

    Thanks so much for the feature guys!!

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