I am frequently asked what kind of camera I use, Canon or Nikon and why. People are always curious what tools we utilize to create images and I completely understand. The truth is, it makes no difference. It like asking a chef what kinds of pots and pans they used to cook the delicious food you just ate. It doesn't matter. I started with Canon initially, and that's why I shoot Canon. Nikon makes excellent products as well. The Nikon D800 is very similar to the Canon 5D3. Both create excellent images. If you are a Nikon shooter, there is no need to switch, and vice-versa. If you need help choosing the other brand of equipment that is comparable to what is listed below, send me an email and ill help you out.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera
The Canon 5DIII is a camera built almost exclusively for wedding and portrait photography. It carries out that purpose beautifully. An upgrade from the 5D2, the 5D3 added a better sensor that can handle higher ISO images, a significantly improved auto focus system, dual card slot, and a bunch of new features for video. The re-design is a welcome upgrade from the 5D2. The new auto focus will help me capture all of the beautiful motion we see on wedding days. The 5D3 is a full frame camera, and offers an incredible array of features. I prefer to use the Canon 5DIII rather than the full size EOS 1D series bodies. They are smaller and lighter than the full size EOS 1D series, and that makes a HUGE difference when carrying two of them on a long wedding day. The 5D3 produces absolutely beautiful images. Paired with professional "L" series Canon Lenses listed below, the Canon 5DIII is my ultimate wedding photography tool. It performs beautifully in low light, and also make powerful video cameras. The Canon 5D3 is the latest and greatest in the 5D line. After listening to photographers and videographers, Canon created the best cameras available to wedding photographers today. This is my primary wedding photography camera, and used for wedding video as well.
Description from Canon: Supercharged EOS performance and stunning full frame, high-resolution image capture, the EOS 5D Mark III is designed to perform. Special optical technologies like the 61-Point High Density Reticular AF and an extended ISO range of 100-25600 (expandable to 50 (L), 51200 (H1) and 102400 (H2) make the EOS 5D Mark III ideal for shooting weddings in the studio or out in the field, and great for still photography. Advanced professional-level high definition video capabilities (that includes a host of industry-standard recording protocols and enhanced performance) make it possible to capture beautiful cinematic movies in EOS HD quality. A newly designed 22.3 Megapixel full-frame Canon CMOS sensor, Canon DIGIC 5+ Image Processor, and shooting performance up to 6.0 fps provide exceptional clarity and sharpness, even when capturing rapidly-unfolding scenes. Additional technological advancements include an Intelligent Viewfinder, Canon's advanced iFCL metering system, High Dynamic Range (HDR), and Multiple Exposure mode ? all of which that help make the EOS 5D Mark III the perfect multimedia tool.
Canon EOS 6D Digital Camera
The Canon 6D is the perfect camera for those who want to step to a pro level body for a great price. Biggest bonus here. Its full frame! My assistant photographer uses the 6D and the image quality is fantastic.
Description from Canon: The Canon EOS 6D is a full-frame 20.2MP DSLR offering exceptionally high image quality and detail while providing compatibility and convenience through its design and features. When paired with the powerful DIGIC 5+ image processor and 14-bit A/D conversion, the full-frame sensor is capable of recording vivid imagery with expanded sensitivity up to ISO 102400. The processing power also affords intelligent noise reduction techniques and the ability to record continuous still images at a rate up to 4.5 full resolution fps.
Canon TC-80N3 Remote Controller
This unit goes everywhere with us, you can dial in any setting/duration/interval setting you want to and you never know when you are going to do a timelapse.
Description from Canon: Description: This is a remote switch with an 2.6ft cord and a self-timer, interval timer, long-exposure timer, and exposure-count setting feature. The timer can be set anywhere from 1 second to 99 hours, 59 min., 59 sec. A new dial enables you to easily enter the numeric settings with a single thumb. The LCD panel can also be illuminated.
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Autofocus Lens
This lens is on my camera more than any other lens that I own. In fact, if I was forced to choose only two lenses from all of Canon's lens line up, this would be one of them. Ive taken more wedding pictures with this lens than any other. It produces remarkably beautiful images and is a perfect fit for any full frame camera. May of the low angle and perspective shots you see me take are done with this lens, and its practically the only lens I use during the first dance and for those low light wedding reception photos. Its perfect for groups of people and getting unique perspectives. Many of the wedding album spreads that span the entire width of two pages are also taken with this lens. Its also a favorite of many landscape photographers. The perfect wedding photojournalist lens. This one gets a A+ in my book. Go buy one if you don't have it already.
Description from Canon: The EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM is a high performance, water-resistant, and ultra wide-angle Canon L-series lens. It has been specifically designed for improved edge-to-edge image quality that will meet the strict requirements of professional and high-end amateur photographers. It features 3 high-precision aspherical lens elements, each of a different type: ground, replica and GMo for even better image quality than the original EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM.
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Zoom Lens
This is also a great wedding photography lens. Great focal range, EXCELLENT image quality, color and sharpness. This lens hits all of the classic focal lengths; 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm and 70mm. It pairs perfectly with the Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS USM Lens to create a tag team of awesome wedding photography lenses. I would recommend this lens to anyone getting into the business. Its a cover a great focal length, and I recommend it as a first L series lens to anyone new to the wedding photography business.
Description (from Canon):This new lens does what many pros thought couldn’t be done ? replace the previous L-series 28-70 f/2.8 lens with something even better. Extended coverage to an ultra-wide-angle 24mm makes it ideal for digital as well as film shooters, and the optics are even better than before with two Aspherical elements and a totally new UD glass element. It’s now sealed and gasketed against dust and moisture, and a new processing unit makes the AF faster than ever.
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Autofocus Lens
The 24-105mm is a great lens for portrait and wedding photographers. I like that it reaches out to 105mm, something I am always wishing the 24-70 could do when its on my camera. This lens is best used out doors in good light. Unlike the 24-70, this lens has Image Stabilization (IS) built in. The IS makes it an ideal wedding videography lens, and we actually prefer it over the 24-70 for video. The downside is that it has a max aperature of f/4. Meaning its not quite fast enough to stop motion in low light unless paired with a flash. If I am going sight seeing and traveling light, this is often the only lens I will bring along. Fantastic all purpose lens.
Description from Canon: This easy-to-use standard zoom lens can cover a large zoom area ranging from 24mm wide-angle to 105mm portrait-length telephoto, and its Image Stabilizer Technology steadies camera shake up to three stops. Constructed with one Super-UD glass element and three aspherical lenses, this lens minimizes chromatic aberration and distortion. The result is excellent picture quality, even at wide apertures. Canon’s ring-type USM gives silent but quick AF, along with full-time manual focus. Moreover, with dust- and moisture-resistant construction, this is a durable yet sophisticated lens that meets the demands of advanced amateur photographers and professional photographers alike.
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Lens
Canon's 70-200 f/2.8L IS USM II is a favorite of professional photographers world wide. I mentioned earlier that if I could only have two lenses that the 16-35mm would be one of them, then this would be the other. The image quality and reach of this lens makes it a perfect wedding photography lens. The 8 blade circular aperture gives images beautiful bokeh and the 2.8 aperture can blur the background of an image into oblivion focusing all of the images energy onto the subject. Infact, the depth of field is so narrow on this lens that focusing on a subjects eye at 200mm will leave the tip of the nose and beginning of the ear out of focus! Practice with this lens is a must! The ultra quite and fast Image Stabilizer is remarkable, providing an unbelievable 4 stops of correction. During the majority of a wedding day, I will have this lens on a 5D body, and the 16-35mm on another 5D body, so I can switch between the two instantly. This lens is perfect at capturing emotions. I call this my sniper lens. I can capture beautiful interactions between people from across the room and they won't even know I was there. They do make a few other versions of this lens, one of them without IS and one that only goes to f/4. I HIGHLY recommend spending the extra money on the f/2.8 with IS, and V2 of this lens is sharper than the original V1. A big bonus for the 5D3. I should also mention that this is my favorite international photojournalism lens when traveling over seas. And its a perfect action sports lens as well.
Description from Canon: The pinnacle in Canon’s constant-aperture telephoto zoom lenses, the 70-200mm f/2.8 L "IS" lens is an incredible optic with robust design and tacksharp results. Second-generation Image Stabilization responds in as little as 0.5 seconds, while providing stabilization that is three times as hand holdable as a normal lens. IS now automatically deactivates when on a tripod by sensing non-movement of the camera and lens, also conserving battery power. An entirely new optical formula produces images that are superior to even its highly regarded predecessor, the 70-200mm f/2.8 L, despite having more reflective surfaces within the lens.
Zoom lenses are powerful tools, yet don't quite provide the speed or sharpness that is required in low light situations. We try to shoot as much natural light as possible, minimizing flash use at every turn. That's where these Prime lenses com in. When I step inside for bride and groom portraits, I reach for a prime. The downside is that the depth of field at these fast (1.4) aperture values means that your depth of field is incredibly narrow. They require a lot of practice to use correctly. If you are just getting started, there are some much less expensive primes available for you. Take a look at the Brovado Education Website for help with choosing lenses and getting started.
Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM Autofocus Lens
This 24mm f/1.4 lens is a the classic photojournalism lens. It's great in low light situations and extra wide to capture everything that’s going on around you. Extremely sharp and excellent image quality with minimal distortion. Perfect for portraits. M
Description from Canon: Professional wide-angle lens with an ultra-large maximum aperture of f/1.4. This is the first EF lens to employ both a replicated Aspherical lens element to suppress distortion and spherical aberration, and a UD lens element to correct lateral chromatic aberration. Thanks to the floating construction, excellent corner-to-corner delineation is attained from 10 in. (25 cm) to infinity.
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens
This classic lens is also a photojournalists favorite. It produces the most natural perspective of any lens and most closely mimics what you see out of your own eyes. This is one of the reasons its used by photographers and videographers worldwide. If you want your images to look as natural as possible, this is the best lens for the job. This lens is razor sharp, optically perfect and Excellent for portraits and low light. No distortion.
Description from Canon:The EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM from Canon is an L-series prime wide-angle lens featuring Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics and a maximum aperture of f/1.4, making it ideal for shooting in low-light situations and for controlling depth of field. Two aspherical elements and one Ultra Low Dispersion (UD) element combine with the BR element to control chromatic aberrations and color fringing for increased clarity and sharpness. A Subwavelength Coating has also been applied to reduce ghosting and lens flare for greater color accuracy and contrast. The Ultrasonic autofocus motor (USM) provides fast and near-silent AF operation. Full time manual focus override enables precise manual focus even when in AF mode.
Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Pancake Lens
This little lens is excellent! For the price nothing comes close to its sharpness or performance. If you are looking for prime lens to start with, or are a seasoned pro. This little thing is amazing. Produces a crisp, clear image and can be carried around in your pocket!
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
Sigma's 50mm f/1.4 art lens is fantastic. Razor sharp and makes a wonderful image. Sigma really built a good lens. Canon's 50mm f/1.2 was not nearly as sharp, or as accurate as this one. This Sigma replaced my Canon mm f1.2 as it exceeds the Canon in sharpness and clarity. Downsides, not sealed environmentally as well as the canon lens, and the manual focus ring throw is much too small to be useful. A fantastic lens for the price. HIGHLY recommended.
Description from Sigma: The Canon EF mount Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Lens is a fast standard-length prime designed to achieve high optical performance through the incorporation of both three Special Low Dispersion glass elements and one molded glass aspherical element. These elements, coupled with an advanced optical design, work to minimize sagittal coma flare and chromatic aberrations in order to provide high image sharpness and clarity. The lens' large diameter and floating system also help to correct for vignetting to ensure maintained peripheral brightness. A Super Multi Coating has been applied to lens elements, too, to reduce flare and ghosting for higher contrast and color fidelity..
Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 Lens
The Zeiss 85mm Otus is without question one of my favorite lene's. The corner sharpness and image quality has no rival. Not even close. This one comes out for those dramatic low light photos, or images that will be printed large and corner sharpness is required. I replaced the Canon 85mm 1.2 with this Zeiss.
Description (from Zeiss): A portrait-length lens with no optical compromises, the Canon EF-mount Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4 Apo Planar T* ZE Lens resembles its namesake and seeks to deliver notable performance in any situation. Based on the Planar design, this apochromat incorporates one aspherical element and six elements made from anomalous partial dispersion glass in order to effectively suppress chromatic and spherical aberrations throughout the focus and aperture ranges. Additionally, a floating element design is also employed and a Zeiss T* anti-reflective coating has been applied to individual lens elements for consistent sharpness and image clarity. As a high-precision tool, the Otus 85mm f/1.4 also features a refined physical construction to endure use in trying conditions.
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Lens
The new L series 100 macro from Canon is an amazing portrait lens! The images you get from this are so crisp they make your mouth water. It's Canon's first lens canon with a "hybrid" stabilization system. Its a must for close up detail shots at weddings. This is one of my all time favorite lenses. I wouldn't shoot a wedding without it! Read more about the IS at the link below. Seriously awesome lens.
Description (from Canon): Canon’s newest "L" series lens is its first mid-telephoto macro lens to include Canon’s sophisticated Image Stabilization. With the highest quality optics available, combined with near-silent Ultrasonic focusing and life-size close-up capabilities without an adapter, the EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM is simply unrivalled.
Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT
The latest and greatest flash from Canon. The addition of the RF transmitter in this new flash is exactly what we wanted from the 580 EXII! This gets rid of the need for 3rd party (and often unreliable) radio flash triggers.
Description from Canon: As a Canon top-of-the-line flash, the Speedlite 600EX-RT takes the best features from existing models and adds functionality for enhanced digital photography. The 600EX features a new wireless multiple flash system using radio wave communication that provides more precise control over as many as five groups of flashes. There's also more power, with a guide number of 197' (60 m) at ISO 100, a zoom flash head that covers a 20-200mm range, and updated AF assist beam that's compatible with Canon's 61-point High density Reticular AF.Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT
Gary Fong Lightsphere
The Gary Font Lightsphere (Fong Dong as most call it) is one of the best strap on flash diffusers on the market. It deflects some light up, and some strait forward, give you soft, even light on faces. This is always on my camera and in use while taking photos in those dimly lit wedding reception halls.
Our philosophy is to be as efficient as possible while carrying the least amount of gear we need to do our job. So instead of carrying around big lights and worrying about power outlets to power them, we looked at the equipment we use already and expanded on that. To that end we found that the Manfroto riser stand with a Lastolite triflash bracket on top catered to our needs so we can use up to 3 Canon Speedlites plus one more on camera to light up scenes that we need, such as family formals in a poorly lit church. Its simple to setup, light to carry, and incredibly powerful. You wouldn't believe the power of 4 flashes working together!
Manfrotto Alu Master 3 Riser
The Manfrotto Alu Master 3 riser stand is perfect for many reasons, the top one being it has the ability to fold flat. It has a built in air cushion so if you have heavy equipment attached and it slips it’s not going to come slamming to the ground and break your lovely new expensive light. You can also buy them in packs of 3. These light stands lock together when collapsed for easy transport.
Manfrotto Alu Master 3 Riser 12' AC Stand (Black)
Manfrotto 1004BAC-3 QSS Air Cushioned Light Stand 3-Pack - 12' (3.6m)
Manfrotto LBAG110 Quick Stack Light Stand Bag, Hold a 3 pack of light stands (Large)
Lastolite Tri-Flash Bracket
The Lastolite Tri-Flash bracket is a great piece of equipment. It will attach to any standard light stands 3/8" thread and you can attach up to 3 speedlights securely into it’s hot shoe sized mounts. And it has a built in umbrella mount!
Eclipse 60" Umbrella
This 60" Photogenic Eclipse Plus white, flat-panel umbrella with silver lining has an extra white panel added during construction. The result is the elimination of the reflection of the metal frame of the umbrella in the eyes of your subject, or on highly reflective surfaces, such as chrome or brass. The reason for such a large umbrella is if we are in a church environment and have a group of 20+ people we want to hit everyone with light evenly without any drop-off. Our 3 flashes on the Lastolite reflect off this.
Gepe Extreme Card Case
The Gepe Card Safe Extreme is a watertight case made to store memory cards such as Compact Flash, Smart Media, Memory Stick, MMC or SD cards. Inside, the memory cards are protected against humidity and dust, as well as electrostatic charge. Four compartments offer space for several different memory cards, and grip each of them tightly. I wouldn't use any other case to hold my card as it holds one of the most important things to my business, the data from my shoots.
Manfrotto 458B Tripod
The Manfrotto 458B features the innovative NeoTec rapid opening and closing mechanism. The legs open up by simply pulling down on each one, and automatically lock into any position, with no screws, knobs or levers to tighten. By pressing the release button at the top of the legs the legs can be collapsed again fully, or locked at any intermediate point for perfect positioning. And this innovative mechanism exerts more locking power the heavier the weight pushing down on it from above. These features make it incredibly fast and powerful wedding photography tool. I can have it setup in the middle of the church isle, and have it collapsed in no more than two seconds.
Manfrotto 468 Hydrostatic Ball Head
The 468MG series uses a hydraulic system to lock the ball mechanism in place. Using hydraulics instead of a mechanical system produces a super-tight lock from a minimal turn of the locking knob, without sacrificing the smoothness of the ball's movement when unblocked. To keep weight low, the head is made of magnesium; and to provide smooth movements the 2" aluminum ball is Teflon coated. The oversized ball locking knob allows for easy control even when using gloves. This thing locks down super tight with just the smallest twist. Perfect for holding that big camera body and lens. Incredibly quiet and instantly adjustable on all axises.
Manfrotto RC2 Plate
We always have a few extra RC2 base plates around in our equipment packs since our aim at Brovado Weddings is to be as efficient as we can at weddings and photo shoots so in turn we can get more fantastic images for our clients. To that end we make sure that all the products we buy use the same base plates so we can quickly change between gear (monopod, tripod etc) without having to waste the time of changing to 14 different plates sizes to use our equipment.
Manfrotto BHDV Monopod
Manfrotto's Fluid Video Monopod W/Head will take you somewhere you might never have been: more than 6 feet off the ground. The maximum height of 6.56' (200 cm), minimum height of 2.5' (76.5 cm), and included compact, lightweight fluid head of this 4-section aluminum monopod give you versatility to spare. The head has a long sliding plate, and the ergonomic pan-bar provides smooth panning and tilting. Three mini supports at the base bring added stability. This monopod and head were designed specifically for light prosumer and professional compact HD camcorders and DSLR's. This has to be one of my favorite pieces of equipment for wedding videos. It gives you so much flexibility,and keep shots clean and stable at the same time.
Canon LP-E6 Camera Battery
If you own a Canon 60D, 7D, 5D Mk II or Mk III then you should pick up a couple of these extra batteries. Wedding videography sucks these dry quickly. I carry 6 of them in my camera bag. If you aren't dong video. One spare battery for each camera body should be sufficient.
Panasonic eneloop pro Rechargeable Ni-MH Batteries
These batteries are superior to traditional alkaline AA batteries since they are rechargeable, have a greater capacity, and will retain their charge over 3 years of sitting. They come pre-charged out of the pack and can be recharged approximately 1500 times before they die. They hold 75% of their original charge after three years of sitting. That means, your equipment won't be dead when you pick it up to use it like with traditional rechargeable batteries. I have tried dozens of different kinds of rechargeable batters, and non of them withstand the demand or heat generated by camera flashes like these Sanyo batteries. So far, not a single dead cell! They are also a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to use batteries since they can be re-used over and over without having to toss them away. We use these in all our equipment from Hot shoe flash units to wireless audio packs.
La Crosse BC-700 Battery Charger
We use this charger to charge our Eneloop rechargeable AA and AAA batteries. It is the most technologically sophisticated of any charger out there, and allows for a very slow charge rate, which increases the lifespan of the battery significantly.
Energizer Lithium Batteries
Before we had the new generation of Eneloop Rechargeable AA and AAA batteries, I used these Energizer Lithium AA Batteries exclusively in our Speedlite Camera Flashes. The have an incredible capacity, and a slightly higher voltage than regular AA batteries. Which means they pack a wicked punch! Recycle times on the Speedlite flashes with these batteries is practically instantaneous. Because of their large capacity, I found myself changing them only once every few weddings! One of the best things about lithium batteries is that they have an incredible (15yr) shelf life. They will NEVER leak and corrode your electronics. One of the reason I still use them in aviation electronics. I keep at least a dozen of these AA's in my camera bag at all times. You will never go back to alkaline AA's again.
Photo Editing Software
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6
Every photographer should own a copy of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. It's the best all around product on the market designed specifically for photographers to catalog and edit images. This program eliminates the need for Adobe Bridge and will streamline your workflow tremendously. If you are haven't used Lightroom before, we have classes to help you with that! To learn Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, head over to the Brovado Education Website for class info and schedule. I guarantee this program will increase your productivity!
Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan
This is the industry standard for graphic designers and digital artists alike. Although we do 95% of our photo editing directly in Lightroom, Photoshop is still a must. We use it to design albums, create marketing materials, and fine touch up of wedding photos. The Adobe creative cloud subscription is the best and most cost effective way to leverage Adobe's products in your work.
DNP DS 40 Professional Photo Printer
The compact 600 dpi DS40 Digital Photo Printer from DNP combines high-speed printing with dye-sub technology to produce high-quality photos up to 6 x 9" in size. The printer can produce high-quality 4 x 6 photos in under 8 seconds. This printer can handle a huge volume of prints and because it is a Dye-Sub, its prints come out dry and ready to handle. We use this printer for our photo-station.