With Love and Embers

Wedding | Last Updated: December 24, 2020

We are Ryan and Jillian McGrath. We are Mid-Atlantic Region and destination wedding photographers centered in South Central Pennsylvania with our 4 furry boys (Winston, Jasper, Alistair & Peyton). We love that we are able to travel to some major cities on the East Coast pretty quickly from where we live. We have a love of the outdoors, hiking and adventuring, as well as being museum goers, botanical garden visitors, and huge foodies. We are always trying to find an amazing meal whenever we are in a new city.

Wedding photography and couples portraits are our true passion. We never expected that would be the case, but the excitement of telling our couple’s story, documenting their day and their love, as well as capturing some super-intimate moments ignited a fire inside of us. As soon as we captured our first wedding together we never looked back and made our life together about not only the love we share but also about building a business that focuses on capturing the essence of our couples in the most natural and unposed way possible.

Since we are constantly on the go we really try to keep our setup simple and confined to what we can actually carry on our backs, like little turtles. We use the Holdfast Moneymaker System to dual shoot on a Canon 5D Mark IV and a Canon 5D Mark III. We both shoot on Canon L Series lenses and we only shoot on primes using our legs to zoom, moving closer and further away as needed.

Ryan’s lens setup is the Canon 35mm f/1.4L and the Canon 135mm f/2.0L, while Jill’s setup is typically the Canon 35mm f/1.4L II, the Canon 85mm f/1.2L, and the Canon 24mm f/1.4L for some awesome dancing shots. We keep an extra Canon 5D Mark III as a back up camera just in case, and we have a Canon 50mm f/1.2L, Canon 100mm f/2.8L and a Canon 45mm f/2.8 TS-E in a backup bag just for when we want to play a little bit more. Ryan carries all of his gear in the ONA Nylon Brixton and Jill carries the ONA Camps Bay backpack.

We aren’t huge on using flash when we shoot and we always prefer to shoot with natural/available light, but for receptions we use the Canon 600EX II-RT and the Canon 580EX-II.

We are both huge fans of using our iWatches on a wedding day. Though the communication between us on them is horrible, it is handy to have the wedding schedule right on our wrist. We are always walking into rooms of people getting ready and asking us when things need to happen, and it’s always great to tell the bridal party and our couple where they need to be at a moment’s notice with the time travel feature.

We also use our iWatches to hold our games and questions that we ask our couples during their portrait portion which allows for us to capture the natural interaction, open mouth laughs, and even occasionally tears that you see in our images without posing one bit. It’s been an invaluable tool for us.

A few other items that we always have on us for a wedding day would be 3M Hooks, let me tell you how many times this simple household item has saved us for a dress shot. It’s such a genius item to put into your kit (we cannot take credit for thinking of this one!) that makes shooting details a breeze and allows you to utilize more areas for the dress. Let’s face it we’ve all had that moment when you walk into a hotel room of girls getting ready and there isn’t even an inch of space to use for details shots, this has really helped expand where we can shoot and what our backdrop ends up being.

Hothands are something we always keep on us for winter weddings. They help us keep our couples and our bridal parties outside longer to get those beautifully lit shots without freezing their fingers and toes off.

We both carry simple little emergency kits on us as well, and these hold things like a sewing kit, bobby pins, safety pins, Advil and so on just so we can make sure if anything would happen to our couple (or even us) they are taken care of in a pinch.

Cliff Bars are a must, not only for when we need to push through the day but for that occasional couple or bridal party member who is starving, fading fast and needs a pick-me-up.

Once we are finished shooting a wedding we take our ThinkTank Pocket Rockets which hold all of our cf cards and on our typically 2-3 hour drive home Ryan loads them in a 1TB Nexto portable drive which not only doubles as a backup but also makes loading all of our cards onto our computers fast since we can just dump that full drive onto our computer overnight, vs. loading cards individually. This is also a great backup to have for those times when we might be shooting 2 weddings in a weekend.


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