“I practice three hours a day so that when I meet a pirate, I can kill him!”

William Turner

Preparing our 2024
Wedding Camera Bags

We straddle the line between obsessive preparation and go-with-the-flow spontaneity.

Photography

Cameras & Lenses

Sony A7R IV

I shoot with 2 Sony A7R IV camera bodies, most of the day they’ll have the Sigma Art 35mm f1.4 and the Sony 85mm f1.8 lenses on them with the 35 being the work-horse and the 85 mostly for candid shots. I also have the Sony 20mm f1.8 in a bum bag but that stays there for most of the day unless I’m in a super small space, spot a shot that looks great as a super-wide or if I feel the dance-floor is sufficiently banging that I can get up close and personal.

Fujifilm X-T4

The Fujifilm X-T4 stays in my bag 90% of the time as it’s more of a creative choice to use it. The photos have a slightly different feel to them with the Fuji 16mm f2.8 and Fuji 35mm f2 and it’s a APS-C crop sensor camera rather than the full frame of the Sony A7R IV (making the 2 lenses the equivalent of 24mm and 55mm on a full-frame).

Contax G1

New for 2024 is the Contax G1 with the Contax Carl Zeiss 45mm f2 lens. After shooting film in 2023 with the Rollei 35SE (for it’s TINY size) and the Rolleimat F (for it’s small size and flash) the G1 really ticks all the boxes for me being both autofocus and autoexposure (which you still have to be careful with). We’re all about shooting fast so while it was fun shooting fully manual on the Rollei’s and using a light meter/external rangefinder, the G1 will sit perfectly in our workflow.

Flashes

Godox V1

We used to take 2 or even 3 flashes to shoot the dance-floor but quickly realised we were carrying them for no real reason. The V1 can do everything – TTL speedlight that we can dial down so we’re not blinding everyone, hefty battery so it lasts forever and fast recycle time. It’s also got a built-in receiver so when we do bring more flashes we can sync them up to work together (even non Godox one’s like the Nissin i60A with the Godox X2T-S). Also a big fan of the round head – it’s not better or worse than the regular rectangular type (we still use the Godox V680III sometimes) it’s just a different feel to it and it gives great flexibility when we use the accessories.

Godox V1 Accessories

Keeping our gear streamlined is super important, especially when shooting around London so we may or may not bring some or all of these accessories depending on the wedding/venue/time of year. The diffuser dome (not pictured) is great for a softer direct flash/fill flash bit we find we’re using it less and less as we lean into the high contrast direct flash. The combo of the orange gel filter and the snoot is great for candlelit dinners/rooms – dialing down the flash and shooting with these together matches the colours of the flash to the room, keeping that moody feel while bringing up the light very intentionally by targeting it with the snoot.

Contax TLA140

Pretty self-explanatory this one – super compact TTL flash for the Contax G1.

Other

Too Many Batteries

It goes without saying that having too many batteries is the way to go. Some photographers charge batteries during dinner, which makes sense if you want to be sure you’ve got as many as possible. But you know what’s better? Having more than enough in the first place (even if they are extortionately priced!)

Mini Bluetooth Speaker

What day isn’t made more fun with the right soundtrack? Super small and pretty loud we use this to inject fun and help bridal/groom parties relax.

Pixel G1s RGB Video Light

This sits in the bottom of my bag most of the time but when the moment hits having an RGB light (or 2) can make some great night-time portraits (see Chloe & Nathan).

Vanguard VEO T45M Bag

New for 2024 is this camera bag – compact with tonnes of webbing on the outside to attach flashes etc. One of the things about camera bags that has annoyed me in the past is that you have tonnes of space inside, but once you take your cameras/lenses out you’re basically left with a giant bag only half full for most of the day. This bag should remedy that.

Empty/Full Card Cases

Better safe than sorry is the best way to treat your SD cards as a wedding photographer. We shoot to dual card slots in both the Sony’s and Fujifilm cameras (with extra-fast cards for things like confetti) and I like to make it abundantly clear which cards are clear and which are ‘DO NOT TOUCH!’.

Rocket Air Blower & Lens Cleaning

A clean lens is a good lens. I also take a sensor cleaning kit with me but I’ve never had to use it during a wedding yet.

Bum-bag

For keeping things that I need quick access to – 20mm lens, batteries, SD cards, lens cloth etc.

Holdfast Moneymaker (pre 2021)

Holds 2 cameras securely, super comfy. This is the pre-2021 version though, we have one of the post-redesign ones too and it’s just not as comfortable.

Lens Filters (not pictured)

Each of these filters only come out in specific scenarios:

Circular Polarising Filter – any time we’re outside
Stellar Filter – gives an interesting effect to outdoor festoon lights
Black Diffusion (Mist) Filter 1/4 – candlelight looks more etherial with this filter (check out Sarah & Chris’s wedding breakfast)
Kaleidoscope Prism Filter – rarely we use this but it looked great during dinner at Kate & James’s wedding).

35mm Film

We’re gifting 1 or 2 rolls of 35mm film shot with the Contax G1 this year and we’ll be using a combination of Kodak Gold 200, Kodak Portra 160/400/800 and Kodak Tri-X 400 (we might use some Kodak T-MAX P3200 too for particularly banging parties).

Photography & Videography

Photography

See above.

Cameras & Lenses

Sony A7SIII

We shoot video with 2 Sony A7S III camera bodies, most of the day they’ll have the Sigma Art 35mm f1.4 and the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 lenses on them with the 35 being the work-horse (and what we mostly use with the gimbal) and the 24-70 being the jack-of-all trades that allows us to shoot everythig super fast. We also have the 2 Sony 70-200mm f4 lenses that are mostly used with our 2 additional Sony camera bodies (not pictured) for ceremony/speeches. The Sigma 70mm f2.8 macro sometimes comes out for details and the Sony 16-35mm f4 can be helpful for wides but both don’t see a lot of use as we like to be shooting rather than changing lenses.

Monitors

Atomos Shinobi 7

While you can shoot using just the viewfinder and screen on A7S III, having an external monitor gives you SO much more to work with and helps us work faster and get tip-top results. The Shinobi 7 is the brightest 7 inch screen we’ve ever used and shows the full 4K that the A7S III shoots, plus we use our custom colour conversion and grading profile in real time to get all our white balance and exposure bang on (until shooting in RAW for 4K video becomes a reality). The only downside of this as a videographer is getting guests looking over our shoulders and saying “wow, that camera’s so good!” ……. it’s not just the camera, it’s all the knowledge, experience and preparation that makes it look that great. We take 3 monitors with us to shoot weddings – 1 spare that’s never been needed yet.

Stabilisation

DJI Ronin-S

Shooting with a gimbal used to be the bread and butter of great wedding videography, back in the days of in-camera/lens stabilisation that SUCKED! With the new in-camera stabilisation of mirrorless cameras, it’s becoming less and less needed to get great stable results. That being said certain parts of a day still benefit from the extra stabilisation that a gimbal gives you – confetti, dinner entrances, fun bridal/groom groups – basically anything where we’re walking backwards at a fair pace.

Audio

See below.

What we bring depends on 2 things – whether we’re booked to deliver speeches/ceremony in full and whether there’s an in-house system we can plug in to (which we never rely on 100%, it’s just a bonus if there is).

Other

Variable ND Filters

Variable ND filters aren’t commonly used in photography but are a videographers best friend. When you’re shooting video and you want to maintain a filmic look you need to use the 180 shutter angle rule (this term comes from the way film based cameras work but the rule itself is still applicable to modern digital cameras). It’s all maths that we won’t go over here but in essence it allows us to accurately expose our shots without sacrificing depth of field (as the shutter speed is fixed based on the frame rate).

Tripods

Similar to the audio equipment the number of tripods we bring depends on whether we’re shooting the full ceremony/speeches.

Lighting

We try not to use extra lighting where it’s not needed but this really depends on the venue and their lighting setup. We may or may not bring these lights (and associated light stands) to both create more atmosphere (generally with colour gels) and get awesome party shots:

2x CAME-TV Q-55W Boltzen – lightweight lights great with gels for party
Aputure LS 300D II – Spotlight attachment for specific scenarios (large weddings and only ever by specific request)

Even More Batteries

As with shooting photography we always bring way more batteries than we need. The benfit of shooting Sony for both photo and video is that they use the same batteries!

Specialist SD Cards

4K video files (especially shot at 100fps) are pretty huge so they require specialist SD cards with LOTS of memory and a super-fast write speed.

A note about drones

We don’t use drones. Partly because it doesn’t gel well with our ‘guest-experience’, on-the-ground style, partly because it takes so. much. time. and mostly because it’s illegal in a lot of London or requires complex permits and external drone operators to get 1 or 2 shots that we don’t feel would add much to a wedding film.

Audio

Lapel Microphones

TASCAM DR-1OL

Tiny lapel microphone that’s quick to set up and easy to hide on a lapel/under a boutonniere. Continuous on-board recording that we normally use for the ceremony.

Rode Wireless GOII

Wireless lapel microphones that transmit to the receiver connect to the A7S III so we can monitor the audio in real-time on camera. These use a different type of signal to in-house wireless microphones so shouldn’t interfere but we always check before speeches to make sure and have other solutions in case that happens.

Atmospheric Microphones

TASCAM DR-05 / Tascam DR-40X

Not used much but it’s nice to have a few atmospheric mic’s for all that rapturous applause you’re going to get!

On Camera Microphones

Rode Videomic Pro (Shotgun)

We don’t use the audio from these mic’s as the best audio comes from the mic’s specifically for the speaker/atmosphere. These just give us better audio to sync up the external mic’s to when we’re editing.

In-House Microphones

Sony ICD-TX660

We’ll normally tape one of these to any handheld microphone the venue provides for speeches, especially if we can’t use the lapel microphones (if for example there’s a particularly nervous speech-giver who would be freaked out by having a lapel mic put on them).

XLR Cables

While we generally don’t rely on audio from any in-house or DJ systems as we can’t control the levels, it’s nice to have an extra option just in case. Top tip for any other videographers – if you’re going to ask a DJ to plug in to their board bring your own cables. We’ve got all the cables under the sun but the most used are the Male XLR to 6.35mm Stereo TRS Jack and 3.5mm Mini Jack 1/8″ TRS Male to XLR Female.

35mm Film in 2024

Rangefinder

Contax G1

As above we’re exciedto put the autofocus and autoexposure and the great 45mm lens to us this year.

Point & Shoot

Rolleimat F

Great point and shoot with flash that’s given us great results, it might come out this year but possibly be retired for now.

RETO 3D

We used this a little in 2023 but not enough to get through a whole roll of film so we’re yet to see the results! It’s a cool idea of a camera that shoot 3 slightly offst images on one frame so you can create a slightly 3D image/GIF.

Manual

Rollei 35

One of the smallest 35mm cameras around with a really in-built lens. The metering dial leaves a little to be desired so we usually meter externally and use a rangefinder to set focus.

Rollei 35SE

Slightly upgraded version of the original Rollei 35 with electronic metering system which is supposed to be better but can be a little temporamental.

Instant

Instax Mini 70

Classic instax camera that ticks all the boxes. We can’t recommend having one of these for your wedding more – just make sure someone is in charge so you don’t get 300 photos of the same children!

Archive

These are a few of the film cameras that we’ve retired for now.

Canon AV-1

Yashica Electro 35

Olympus Trip AF 31

Canon Sure Shot z70w

Olympus Trip XB40 AF

Instax Mini 8

Instax Mini 11

Instax SQ6

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