Hi, I’m Sam. I’m a wedding photographer based on the east coast of Australia. I’ve been shooting weddings for four years now and am just as in love with photographing weddings as the day started (although maybe not quite so nervous about the whole thing anymore).
There are so many challenges that come with photographing weddings. They can be very fast paced, moments are fleeting, coordinating groups of people can be difficult, to say the least, and as photographers, we often don’t have control over lighting and have to work with whatever the situation throws upon us.
Despite all the difficulties with photographing weddings, there are always so many truly rewarding moments to be had. I’m always chasing those Nanna tears, following epic light, and seeking new perspectives to convey the narrative of the day. Wedding photography is so multi-faceted and I need really reliable gear to help me make it through the day.
Sony A9 – My go to bodies are Sony A9’s of which I have two on me at all times attached to my Holdfast Moneymaker. I started off using Canon 5D Mark IV’s but when Sony released their A7 III model I was completely blown away by the autofocus and other capabilities that a mirrorless system offered. It’s fair to say I was immediately hooked.
When I decided to make the final switch to Sony, I invested in a pair of A9’s, primarily for the ability to shoot in silence under any lighting conditions. The ability to shoot in silence has allowed me to be more stealthy, getting closer to the action and capture more emotions without the click, click, click noise in people’s faces.
As for my lenses, the biggest factor influencing my choice was weight. Before my Sony days, I remember coming home with crunching shoulders and a sore back, sometimes having to get up and do the whole thing again the next day. Whilst Sony bodies are comparable in weight to Canon bodies, the lenses currently on offer are much lighter in weight whilst also being tack sharp.
Mavic Pro 2 – My recent investment in a drone pretty much paid for itself straight away with couples requesting that I use the drone at their wedding. Having a drone has challenged me to see locations from a different perspective.
DJI Smart Controller – When I’m using the drone during a portrait session at a wedding, I need to be able to get the drone in the sky ASAP. There’s less fiddling around with the Smart Controller and the built in screen is crystal clear. I can have a drone in the sky in less than a minute with one smart controller. I wish it was a bit lighter, but hey, we can’t have it all, right?
Sony 35mm f/1.8 Super lightweight, tack sharp, a great documentary lens. Yeah, I’m tempted by the new Sony 35mm f/1.4 GM but my little nifty 1.8 lens carries its weight ten times over.
Sony 55mm f/1.8 Zeiss – Very similar in weight and appearance to my 35mm f/1.8. A great mid-telephoto lens for really tight ceremonies and creates stunning portraits.
Sony 85mm f/1.8 – The lightest 85mm Sony lens on offer. Is the bokeh good enough for me at 1.8? Without a doubt, yes.
Sony 50mm Macro f/2.8 – For my detail and ring shots. And then it’s bye-bye for the rest of the day.
Sony 24-105mm f/4 – I originally bought this after hearing Davina and Daniel were exclusively using this lens for their weddings. For me, this is my go-to family portrait lens. Having a zoom can be super handy for capturing family portrait images. I also use it on the odd occasion for ceremonies where I know I will need the 24mm perspective throughout a lot of the ceremony.
Godox 860II – They do the job fine for what I need.
Godox X Pro S flash trigger – For all my off-camera flash use. Works really well.
Flash Accessories – Magod Gels, Mag Grid, Mag Sphere and Mag Bounce. I mostly use 1/4 gels when bouncing flash in receptions and grids combined with spheres for off-camera flash portraits.
Holdfast Moneymaker – Sleek design, feels great, makes me look like a massive hipster. To make the cameras more securely fastened I invested in Manfrotto Tripod plates and Back Rapid clips.
Hardware & Software
Presets – Atlas presets from Tribe Archipelago. Plus the odd DVLOP preset in the mixture.
Samsung Portable SSD T7 – Blazing fast, small enough to fit comfortably in my pocket, and I don’t have to shed tears if I accidentally drop it on the floor.
Pro Grade Digital USB 3.1 Gen 2.0 Dual-Slot Card Reader – Super fast, great for when I want to quickly dump my SD cards to the computer after a wedding.
MacBook Pro 15” – The Ferrari of laptops.
Wacom Intuos – Life is just so much easier with one.
Atmosphere Aerosol – I usually find a drunken guest who’s willing to hit the deck and spray the aerosol whilst I create my off camera flash portraits. Couples seem to dig it. I’m not sure about their wedding guests though…
Zen Space Desk – I’m friggin in love with my new electronic standing desk. The addition of the integrated cable management system, the One Plug Power Station, as well as the anti-fatigue mat, were no brainers.
Ultimately, I wish I could be the kind of minimalist photographer who rocks up with two bodies, two lenses and is good to go. But each piece in my gear serves its own unique purpose and I’m super happy with my current setup.
Should I be trying to minimise more of my gear? Probably. Will I be investing in a Samyang 14mm f/2.8 autofocus for astrophotography portraits and the impossibly wide portraits? Most likely yes.