Then and Now

Two years.

Hart Hill Wedding 42

It’s been a little over two years since I photographed my first wedding. I will never forget being so simultaneously nervous and excited to be the one taking photos for my friends’ special day. I can’t thank them enough for believing in me and trusting me with this great event. The weather forecast was for a perfect warm fall day at the botannical gardens, it definitely helped . To see the photos, click here.

I look at an old photo I took of the equipment I carried with me to the event and I remember thinking to myself “bring everything you could possibly need, you don’t want to miss a great shot because you’re missing something simple!” So here was the original wedding bags I brought:

Sarah and Mark Hill Wedding Equipment

Wow, was that a lot of stuff. I think I went a little overboard with the flash stands and light reflectors. what was I thinking? I didn’t even have an assistant to help hold the reflector or carry my stuff! I did make the right decision of using two camera bodies, and bringing a wide variety of lenses. I was shooting with a borrowed Tamron 18-270 lens, 50mm f/1.4, 100mm f/2.8, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, and a long IS lens that was borrowed as well. why did I carry three flashes for two bodies and no remote triggers? who knows… I think I was thinking I would just hot-swap the whole flash unit instead of changing the batteries – big miscalculation on the weight-to-benefit. Back then I was processing using Mac’s Aperture, but have since gone to Adobe Lightroom as it appears to be more complete and feature-rich.

I’d like to think after having several weddings under my belt, I’ve gotten smarter about what I knew I needed to bring. My equipment has since been upgraded significantly as I’m no longer shooting with a Canon Rebel XTi. I graduated to a used 40D and used that as my primary body for a while until recently where I bit the bullet and got a full frame 5D mkII. Instead of a messenger bag, I changed to a rolling hard case, and my primary lens was upgraded significantly to the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L. I still use the 50mm and 100mm, as those are just solid portrait lenses, as well as my Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 super wide lens. Below is the current setup, how much has changed!

Wedding Equipment 2011

Instead of sticking with the over-the-shoulder option of carry my cameras, I upgraded the carrying system to the Spider Holster, which you can read more about here. This holster along with the equipment bags I got was the best upgrade. I really like having all my equipment on my belt and being able to switch quickly between camera bodies without having to worry about getting tangled in the straps.

Although there are significant improvements, there is still room for more. I know that I will eventually need to add a few things to the arsenal:

– 2nd full frame camera body (5D) or the 7D to replace the 40D
– long lens like the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS mkII
– proper radio triggers like the Pocket Wizard Plus II, mine are ok, but aren’t consistent enough
– compact flash portable backup device like the Sanho Colorspace UDMA
– fisheye lens like the Canon 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye

These are probably another two years away till I accumulate them, but for now I think I’ve got a proper wedding gig bag I’m very proud of considering it’s very humble beginnings. We’ll see where I end up as my photography appears to be growing and my desire to be better continues to motivate me to learn as much as I can.

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