My wife, Angela, used to sing in a gospel choir. She was the token Asian in a mostly Black choir that made its way around Montreal singing at churches and festivals throughout the year. Being a dutiful boyfriend at the time, I would follow, photographing them singing their souls out from event to event with my trusty Canon Rebel 350D that I brought back from a trip to Malaysia.
Those pictures made their way to the choir director and he asked me to take their portraits for their website. Not knowing what I was doing, naturally I said yes. From those pictures, other gospel artists in the city started calling me, wondering what my rates were to cover their events. “How much would you like to pay me?” was my standard response at that time.
Around that time, we went through that period in life where it seemed as though everyone around us were getting married. In 2007 Angela and I were invited to 19 weddings. We couldn’t afford gifts for 19 weddings! So, in order to fuel this new photographic passion and to help fund our way to celebrating the nuptials of our friends, Angela and I let it be known that if our friends would hire us to photograph their wedding, we would do it for whatever they felt comfortable offering. We shot 10 weddings that year and made a tidy little wedding portfolio.
As my love and interest in photography grew so did my distaste for my day job, which mainly consisted of drawing architectural plans for big box stores. I wasn’t sure that the architectural desk job life was something I was cut out for, and we began planning my escape. Angela contacted the local wedding show so that we could get a booth in the upcoming expo, and we put our hat in the ring. “If I can book 10 more weddings, then maybe I can quit my job,” I thought. We booked 12 at that show. The rest, as they say, is history.
When we started, I was already invested in the Canon ecosystem, and it made sense to continue that route, and as our client list grew we acquired more and more gear, but somewhere along the line, given the type of work I was doing and wanted to do, the demands I was asking of my gear just couldn’t keep up. In 2015 I made the switch to Nikon.
Currently I’m working with 2 Nikon D750 bodies. I love the files that come out of this camera, there is so much room to play with in both the shadow and highlights. The AF is wonderful compared to what I was used to and the savings in weight that I get from these relatively light cameras make an incredible difference on a 12-hour wedding day.
I start every wedding day with the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G on one camera, and the Nikon 85mm f/1.8G on the other camera.
If the situation is physically tight, I’ll swap out the 35mm for my Nikon 28mm f/1.8G to give me a touch more room around the edges of the scene.
For ceremonies in large churches where mobility is a bit tough, I’ll pull out the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, to get me closer to the action. It’s quite the heavy beast so I try to not to carry it for very long.
To round out my kit, I also have:
Nikon 24mm f/2.8D: I use this on the dance floor, or when I go out with my kids – it’s super light and small.
Nikon 50mm f/1.8G: On occasion I also shoot food, and 50mm is just about right to get the compression I want for a top-down shot of a plate of dinner.
Nikon Macro 105mm f/2.8: I use this for some food shots, as well as detail shots.
I have too many flashes. Here they are:
(4) Flashpoint R2 Li-ion 2.4GHz – I love that these provide the battery life for an entire wedding day, I love that the radio triggers are built-in to fire off-camera.
(3) Nikon SB-910 – these used to be my main flashes.
(1) Godox AD200 Wistro – this is a brand new addition to my set, it’s the power of 3 flashes and is compatible with the Flashpoint speedlites. What’s not to love?
On top of that I use the MagMod system of grids and gels.
I have a Holdfast Money Maker Strap. I’ve gone through many a strap until this one saved my back – and it looks pretty badass to boot.