Hey folks! I am excited to start a new series of blog posts titled The Redwood Collective! These post will focus on educating fellow photographers who desire to grow together in their craft and community. When I was starting out as a Maryland wedding photographer 7 years ago, I googled every question I had and sometimes didn’t find the best answers.I watched YouTube videos and read articles that were muddy with disorganized information.
I want to create posts that are easy to digest for all of my friends who are passionate about learning the ins and outs of wedding photography.
When I visited California for a wedding editorial last year I was in awe of the massive Sequoia Redwood trees. These trees can become 275 feet tall with a diameter of 25 feet! Their roots only grow 6-12 feet and yet these tall majestic beauties rarely fall over. How can these 500 ton trees stand tall with only roots that gown down about 10 feet?
The Redwood trees’ roots intertwine and interconnect to ensure that each tree is supported. They share their strength and nutrients with one another. This connects perfectly with my vision for this photography education series.
I believe that our community is strengthened when we share with one another. I am a strong advocate for community over competition! Even though I have struggled with jealousy, I desire to create a space that is open for questions and free of judgement. A place where we can grow and support each other. Let’s build a forest together.
I shoot a canon system with 7 different prime lenses:
(I also own a Canon 70-200mm 2.8, but I rarely use it so I didn’t include it in this post.)
Since I only use prime lenses it helps to photograph with 2 camera bodies. This way I can have 2 focal lengths on me at all times. (I will go over the camera bodies I use later in this post.)
I use a Shoot Sac bag to carry the lenses I need. This bag helps me grab what I need with ease and is comfortable to wear. I have had this bag for years and could not perform my job as a Maryland wedding photographer without it!
My absolute favorite lens is my Canon 45mm f/2.8 tilt shift. This lens literally bends planes of focus to create a dreamy blur effect. It is not an afterthought preset. It is an intentional in-camera effect that I use for many of my landscape shots. This lens also creates awesome sun flare effects!
I use my Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens to capture rings shots. Usually it is only used it for photographing jewelry, but it can also serve as a back-up lens for ceremonies if something happens to my 135mm or 70-200mm.
The Canon 135mm f/2.0 is money for ceremonies! It is sharp and creates STUNNING bokeh backgrounds. The 2.0 aperture allows me to soak up more light than my 70-200mm. This is key for church ceremonies or dark days.
I use a Sigma 85mm f/1.4 for portraits, the first dance, and the toast! This lens focuses faster than the Canon version and creates a smooth bokeh. It gives your images an editorial look. I also use this lens to create make my brenizer panoramas! (more info on this in a later blog post!)
My Canon 50mm f/1.2 is my most versatile lens. I use it for any section of the wedding day. If you’re trying to figure out which lens to buy first then go with this one! It also creates creamy skin tones and smooth bokeh.
Canon 35mm f/1.4 is perfect for those tight getting ready spaces and is a must-have for receptions! This lens is quick to focus and I can trust it to capture movement well. It is a wide-angle lens and therefore is great for capturing landscapes.
Honestly, I rarely use my Sigma 24mm f/1.4. I sometimes break it out on the dance floor or use it for big family formals at the reception. It is nice to have a wide lens just in case I find myself in a tight space.
For the reception, I use Canon 600 Ex-rt Speedlites. I put one on a light stand for some off camera flash action. (More on “off camera flash” in a future post.) To help my flash fire consistently, I attach a battery pack to it. I have both a Bolt and Canon brand battery pack and I have not noticed a difference between the two.
Currently, I have three camera bodies! I use my Holdfast dual strap to photograph with two bodies throughout the day. The third body is purely just a back-up. I love shooting with two bodies because it allows me to have a wide angle and telephoto on me at all times. Two months ago, I bought the Canon 5D mark IV and have been IN LOVE with it ever since. The camera has done nothing but impress me with the ISO range and fancy touch screen. I would highly recommend the upgrade.
Images by Baltimore Maryland wedding photographer Kate Ann Photography