Friday 12 December 2008

Wedding Photographer in Kent - starting-out kit

I had the following great question from a reader yesterday:


Just been looking at your blog, which is excellent. I wonder if you might extend a bit of advice to someone looking to dip a toe into the wedding photography ocean?

I’m making myself available to friends of friends (ie weddings I wouldn’t be invited to myself) who otherwise wouldn’t have a wedding photographer (perhaps couldn’t afford one). At the moment, I have a Canon EOS 350D with a couple of cheapish lenses. I wouldn’t consider myself under any pressure to product fantastic wedding shots and I’m certainly not looking to make a career of this at the moment. However, I do want to produce the best work I can and have some funds available to buy some new kit.

I was really wondering what I should spend my money on. Is the key to good wedding portrait photography through a good camera or good lenses (or both)? In other words, should I spend my money upgrading to a better camera (eg secondhand 5D, 1D etc), or should I purchase some decent EF lenses that would be compatible with my 350D (eg L lenses)?

I’ve already got a decent flash (580EX). It would be useful to take some advice from somebody who’s been there and from looking at your gallery, producing some great shots.

I appreciate you will be busy, but would welcome any advice you might be willing to give.

Many thanks in advance.


Obviously there's no right answer to this question. Here's my take on it.

Although digital cameras with smaller sensors have a crop-factor which is to the benefit of cheaper lenses I would be tempted to buy a secondhand Canon EOS 5D since this will allow you to handle lowlight situations - the bane of wedding photographers. The larger pixels on the sensor give a much better signal-to-noise ratio allowing you to shoot at high ISO. Unless of course you can be certain that you'll be shooting in well-lit venues on bright days! Partnered with your 580EX Speedlite you'll be able to handle nearly all lighting conditions.

Obviously a 5D will not work with EF-S lenses. You could pick up a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens, which is incredibly fast and has superb optics, for £60. You could shoot a wedding with just this.

Sigma also make some great lenses - check out the 24-70mm f/2.8 EX DG.

There are a few Canon L-series lenses which don't break the bank. The Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0 L (though you'll need to crank up the ISO setting to give you at least 1/200s at f/4.0 when shooting at 200mm in low-light levels) and the Canon EF 135mm f/2.0 L are both worth checking out.

As always, comments are most welcome.

Check out my photography here: wedding photography Kent

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