Wedding tip is as close as your smart phone

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 220, ƒ/8, 1/100

I just got back last night from the west coast. I enjoyed shooting a friends wedding and getting to meet all of his friends.

The weather in Portland was perfect for the wedding. Cool enough that a coat was not too hot to wear, which was perfect for all the guys.

Nikon D5, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, ISO 1000, ƒ/5.6, 1/200, 2- Alienbees B1600 strobes

This is one of the bigger group shots I have done for a wedding. They had everyone turn around just before they walked out of the church for a group photo. What a really cool idea.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 160, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

My second shooter for the wedding Laura Deas Espeut showed me a great tip. She had on her phone a collection of wedding photos like a Pinterest album and used this for ideas to help in a moment when you start to run dry. The second bonus is she can show people the concept so they can execute it a little better.

That is what we did for the first look photos.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 160, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

I did find that this couple was great because they wanted more spontaneous moments rather than posed. This meant just getting them in good light where the background was good and then just shoot.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/100

We did a good number of posed shots, because that is about the only way to be sure you see everyone and get a good expression.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 180, ƒ/6.3, 1/100

The cloud cover gave us pretty even light for all of the photos outside. It had just rained so all the sidewalks were not bright. Actually just like they do for most movies and TV shows they wet the pavement to keep it from being too bright.

My tip from this wedding is to create an album on your phone of photos you like to use with weddings to show your bride and groom on the wedding day when you are trying to get everyone excited about participating and making the photo work.

Guest With Camera vs the Guy With Camera

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4.5, 1/60

My favorite role at a wedding is that of the guest. GWC in the photo world is often referring to the Guy With a Camera.

My favorite camera to use for these situations is my Fuji X-E2. It is small and everyone doesn’t think of me as the “official photographer.”


This is my travel kit. As a guest I carry this in a small bag and most of the time shoot everything with the FUJINON XF 18-55mm.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 1600, ƒ/4, 1/200

Now when you are a guest the odds are you have a personal relationship with the Bride and Groom. This is the bride’s daughter on the left and my daughter is on the far right. I feel like the smiles are different with family and friends than for a professional photographer.

This is why everyone should take a few photos at a wedding and share them with the couple. Just don’t get in the way of the professionals. They will get most all the main photos. You should get things like I have done here, photos around the main action of the bride and groom.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 1250, ƒ/4, 1/200

There was a quick moment where the maid of honor gave her flowers to her boyfriend to hold for her. I just thought this was a fun moment that most wedding photographers wouldn’t necessarily capture.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 400, ƒ/4, 1/320

Because we are friends there were conversations that brought laughter to the family that unless you are family and friends are harder to capture as the professional who is back a couple of feet peeking in verses being in the conversation as here.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4, 1/60

What I love to give to people is my gift of photography. I think for the most part this makes for one of the most intimate gifts you can give to someone.

Wedding Lighting Kits

Kit One

This is my AC powered strobes that I use for many different shots.

Here is a list of what is in the kit:

  • 3 Alienbees B1600—If I think the facility for the reception needs more than this I can bring even more of these monobloc lights
  • 3 PocketWizard Plus Receivers
  • 2 PocketWizard Plus Transmitters
  • 1 PocketWizard Plus II Transceiver—Can be receiver or transmitter
  • Sekonic Light Meter
  • Vagabond Mini Lithium—Use this to power Alienbees B1600 when power isn’t nearby
  • 3 Extension Cords
  • 1 Power Strip
  • 3 Convertible 45″ umbrellas—Can take off black and convert it to a white shoot through
  • 3 Smith-Victor RS75 7’6″ Compact Aluminum Light Stands
  • 1 Paul Buff set of four honeycomb grids for for 7-inch reflector
  • Roll of Gaffer Tap
  • Several gel filters for color correction or adding color if needed

All this fits into the Tamrac 660 Rolling Studio – Black and weighs about 65 lbs.  I check this bag when flying.

In this photo you can see the whole room lit up with the 3 Alienbees B1600.

This is another photo showing how even the room is lighted up. Most of the action happened here in the center and not on the fringes where I placed the lights.

Kit Two

This is my hotshoe lighting kit. It includes

  • 1 Nikon SB900
  • 1 Nikon SB800
  • Pocket Wizard Flex Transceivers TT5 Kit
    • 2 TT5
    • 1 TT1—Use this with the PocketWizard Plus so I can sync at 1/500
    • 1 AC3
  • 2 ThinkTank Strobe Stuff bags to carry the flashes
  • SD-9A 6 AA External Flash Battery Pack for Nikon SB-900 SB900
  • 2 Metal Umbrella Bracket with Adjustable Flash Shoe
  • 2 Manfrotto 5001B Nano Black Light Stand – 6.2′ (1.9m)
  • 2 30″ PhotoFlex White Translucent Umbrellas

All this except the light stands and umbrellas go with my cameras in the ThinkTank Airport Security™ V 2.0 Rolling Camera Bag.  I usually pack the stands along with my Tripod

Gitzo GT0531 Mountaineer 6X Carbon Fiber Tripod Legs – Supports 11 lbs (5kg) & Manfrotto ball head