Hello, I am Silviya and I work as a wedding and portrait photographer in Amsterdam. I have worked now for about five years as a photographer and love it in every way. Can not think of a job that would fulfil me more.
When choosing my gear, it’s not really different from other life choices I make. It needs to be uncomplicated so I can keep having fun.
I don’t like to overthink stuff during work so I can fully be immersed in the story of the wedding couple. Therefore my equipment for a wedding day is really only the most necessary.
I have one ‘go-to’ camera and two lenses that I use most of the time. The other camera is my backup. To allow creativity during portrait sessions or long getting-ready moments, I have two more lenses that I use for variety.
I work mainly with the Nikon D750 as it is just a great camera and so reliable. The flip screen is one feature I cannot do without. My back-up camera is my first camera, actually, the D800.
I had bought it because back in 2015, everyone recommended it to me. It is still a great camera but more bulky and it has no wifi connectivity or a flip screen. And with my 1,59 m I really need a flip screen :)
I am tempted to switch to Sony because everyone has raged about the focus and silent modus but over the years, I learned to use my Nikon D750 like a second brain and don’t need to think a lot when shooting in different situations. So for now, I am still with Nikon.
I have exactly four lenses in my bag. During the day, I only use the Nikon 35mm f/2 for the reportage and, on the dance floor, the Sigma 24mm f/1.4 . Seriously, my simple Nikon 35mm f/2 is so reliable and so light, it is a real delight to some of the heavier 35mm.
On the dance floor, I want to get a wider shot but still be able to get in to the action. I found the Sigma Art was exactly what I needed when I tested it out. It is fast in low light conditions and nails the focus every time.
For (wedding) portrait sessions, I use the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 and that is a real quality lens for amazing portraits of solo images of the groom or bride.
When shooting portraits, I also love the Nikon 50mm f/1.8. It just gives a slight differentiation from the Nikon 35mm f/2 but enough to see the difference and so offer me greater creativity during portrait sessions.
Tripods and Triggers
As mentioned already, I like to keep things simple to concentrate on the story in front of me and not think about triggers and lights. However, I also like to offer really great creative images to my couples and so I keep my two off-camera lenses on two Bresser tripods and switch them on with the triggers depending on the situation.
I use the Nikon Speedlight SB-700 for on- and off-camera work and the Phottix Strato II Multi Triggers. You can see my bag has not updated since 2015 but really, why replace when not broken?
Bags and Straps
When going to a wedding abroad, I have a suitcase: Lowepro PhotoStream RL 150 travel suitcase. But for local weddings, I need to be fast and on the move, so I have a customised The 48Hr Classic – Travel | Shoot | Work by Alex | T.Forevers Backpack with my name engraved in it.
I got it from Kickstarter in 2016 and, despite its small looks, it really carries a lot of gear. I have a HoldFast MoneyMaker, but I don’t find it comfortable enough to wear it the whole day.
After the reception, where I carry two cameras, I take it off and replace it with a Black Rapid strap that doesn’t feel like much on my body and let me move freely.
Shaping light is the fun part I love to do on wedding days. Cleaning up backgrounds, interesting portraits, and more drama on the dance floor is really possible with these easy to use gear.
I could not shoot without my MagBeam, MagSphere, and MagBounce. Especially the MagBounce came, so many times, in handy when the ceiling turned out to be dark wood.
My favourite software for my business is also the software I really cannot run my business without.
It’s in order of workflow:
17hats for all sorts of admin and client database, Photo Mechanic for culling (so so fast), Lightroom for all editing, Photoshop for the little extra on highlight images, Fundy Designer for album design and proofing, Dropbox and Backblaze for backup purposes.
All in all, I am a photographer whose heart is not at the latest gear but making the available gear mine and use it with muscle memory. In the future, I might need to change my gear but only then I might consider jumping on another gear train.