Hello, I’m Samo Rovan, a passionate destination wedding photographer from Slovenia.
I’m an architect by profession, but for the last 10 years, I’ve worked as a full-time wedding photographer and wedding photography educator (speaker and mentor).
I love to photograph weddings more than anything in life, in my own signature way. I’m happy and honored to have received many photography awards during my career, which helped me to move forward:
POY 2015 – WPJA (Wedding Photojournalist Association) Wedding Photographer of the year (USA); One of 3 best wedding photographers in the world by JM Just Married Magazine (Italy); Top 10 Fearless Photographer (USA); Top 10 Inspiration Photographer (Brazil); Slovenian Photographer of the year 2009.
But you know how it is when you are shooting a wedding – no award will help you to do a good job. It’s always a blank sheet of paper waiting to be painted and to become a piece of art.
I’ve been photographing for 27 years now. First, I was a newspaper photojournalist for 7 years, working for a photo press agency (FPA). For the last 13 years, I’ve mostly photographed weddings, but also families and architecture. About 10 years ago, I quit architecture and became a full-time wedding photographer.
I started my photography by shooting on film. Almost all my work for the newspapers was on B&W films. I used Minolta (9Xi and 7Xi), then I switched to Nikon (F90x and FM2) and I’m still a big fan of this amazing brand. Why? Because it works so well and it’s very simple to use.
In 2006, I bought my first digital camera – Nikon D200. I did my first weddings with this camera, after a 6-year photography break while I was working as an architect. But I had a huge problem because it was not full frame. So, when Nikon D3 and D700 came out, I quickly switched to these two.
Now I use two Nikon D750, which I really love. This camera is small and lightweight. It works perfectly in all conditions.
Sometimes I still shoot on film (Kodak TriX) with my old Nikon FM2 and Nikkor 35mm f/2.
For the last 5 years, I use a XBeltpro shoulder system, custom made belt straps by my Spanish colleague, Raimon Crescenti, so I don’t have any problems with my back. I really like these straps because they’re so light and very soft. Before that, it was sometimes quite hard to photograph with a Nikon D3 and D700 around my neck.
Besides lenses, I’d like to mention something that I found really important – suitable shoes and clothes. I’ve never had problems with the clothes, but sometimes there were issues with the shoes, for example when I was working 20 hours, shooting like crazy.
My favorite shoe brand is Camper. These shoes are extremely comfortable, cool, and they last forever. There are many different models. I highly recommend Campers!
Another thing is that I always have a little snack or two in my bag. Once, I was so busy photographing a wedding in Vienna (Austria), that there was no time to eat. I was shooting alone, there were more than 400 wedding guests, and I almost lost consciousness. So, this is a must-have.
One more accessory that I use quite a lot – a small Swiss Army Knife – Midnite Manager. It has super useful scissors, small blade, pen, and light. I never go to a wedding without it.
About lenses… When I was a newspaper photojournalist, I would work with only 3 lenses: 28, 50 and 80-200mm. Now I’m even more minimalistic. I use Nikon 28mm f/1.8, Nikon 58mm f/1.4, and Nikon 85mm f/1.8.
Nikon 28mm f/1.8 is my favorite lens. It’s on one of the cameras I use 70% of the time. 28mm is how I see and feel the world around me. The lens itself is very light and sharp.
On the other camera, I switch between Nikon 58mm f/1.4 and Nikon 85mm f/1.8. It depends on the wedding and my daily mood.
Nikon 58mm f/1.4 is a gorgeous lens. It has an “old soul” feeling. The bokeh is phenomenal.
Nikon 85mm f/1.8 is a very sharp and lightweight lens with great contrast. I love it when I can’t get close enough with my Nikon 28mm f/1.8.
I also carry 2 more lenses in my bag but use them very rarely; Nikon 45mm f/2.8 for some fun photos and Nikon 105mm f/2.8 for ring shots.
I love natural light, and with these amazing digital cameras it’s so simple to use it. In the film era, the whole thing was completely different. You could switch ISO only if you put in another film.
If there is a lack of light, I also use flash. I have Nikon SB-900 and SB-700. I actually use SB-700 more, because it’s very strong and also much lighter.
Another accessory that I use is flashcards – Sandisk Extreme 32gb. I have a lot of them – I mean, really, a lot.
I prefer the 32gb version, which can carry around 1000 photos, so when I download them I put the photos in files as they are on the cards. Sometimes there are more than 15k from one wedding (it was more than 40k after a 4-day wedding!). It’s so much easier to go through 1000 files than all of several thousand files.
I have a Think Tank card holder – Think Tank SD Pixel Pocket Rocket – always in my pocket, clipped to my trousers, so I can’t lose it.
I carry two photo bags for my equipment. The one I use all the time (it is also my all-time favorite) is Domke F-2 Original Shoulder Bag (Black).
I bought the first one when I was a photojournalist and just can’t use another bag. It’s a perfect bag for me. So soft and small, but it can carry a lot of equipment and just becomes one with your body.
The other bag – Think Tank Urban Disguise 50 is for the flashes, extra camera, and lenses.
For selecting photographs, I use Photo Mechanic, for editing, Lightroom, and for wedding albums, the best manufacturer in the world – Floricolor.
When my Nikon D750 won’t work anymore, I’ll probably switch to the Z series. I tested Nikon Z6 and I loved it.
But for now, D750 is my best friend. It’s a really amazing little camera.