What Camera Do You Use?

By December 30, 2008 April 17th, 2014 Around Here, Frequently Asked Questions

A great question way to get a feel for the skill-level of any professional you’re considering working with (not just a prospective photographer) is to ask about the quality of their equipment.   This holds especially true for a wedding photographer.

Although I am of the school of thought that an expensive camera doesn’t make the person holding it a photographer, it’s very important that the professional photographing your wedding is using only the best of equipment to capture your day.

Often when couples ask me this question, the emphasis is on what type of camera I use.  However, I’m a big fan of pointing out that the actual camera body plays less of a role in capturing the image, than the quality and choice of the lens on that camera body.   For what it’s worth, every member of our team uses a near identical equipment set, and we all use two very high end camera bodies – but it’s our choice of lenses, and how we utilize them throughout a day that matters more in the end, than the camera itself.

Here’s a nice little run-down of the equipment we shoot with on a given wedding day.   If you’re a pro, or an aspiring photographer,  feel free to pick my brain on the list – I’ve included the brands I use as a reference for other shooters who are looking for recommendations.  Although the numbers and specs listed might seem strange if you’re new to the photography world, a quick Google search will give you an idea of the quality of the gear we are privileged to work with.   As you’ll see, we’ve invested heavily in both high-end camera bodies as well as quality lenses – we believe that having the right glass on the front of a camera is very important.

Camera Bodies
  • Two Canon 5D MkIII’s – 21.1 MegaPixel DSLR (we have two – because you always need an equivalent backup!)
  • Polaroid Land Camera (A cheapy – but a classic!)
Lens Collection
  • Canon EF 2.0L 200 IS
  • Canon EF 2.8L 70-200 IS
  • Canon EF 1.4L 24
  • Canon EF 1.4L 35
  • Canon EF 1.2L 50 Mark II
  • Canon EF 1.2L 85 Mark II
  • Canon TS-E 24L Mark II
  • Canon EF 17-40
  • Canon EF 2.8 15 – Fisheye
  • Canon EF 3.5L 180L Macro
  • 2 Profoto D1 Strobes
  • 2 Canon 600EX-RT Flash Units
  • A crap ton of diffusers / softboxes / wireless triggers

Please feel free to inquire further if you have any questions!


Author Brett

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Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Brett says:

    Yup… I’m excited. It definitely warrants its own post, and a little photoshoot from one of it’s predecessors. I’ll be giving it a full run-down after the new year. Thanks for the well wishes man – Happy New Year!

  • Benjamin says:

    holy crap. i did not even know that you had a 5D mk2! you need to write a post on that and only that my friend! congratulations!

  • Nick says:

    You could shoot a billboard with that kind of resolution!

    I’d add a “make sure the wedding photography company you go to has photographers who own their own equipment.”

  • Brett says:

    great add. I’m shocked at the number of “professional” wedding photographers that rent or borrow gear.

    Not a good idea… you really have to know you stuff in and out before using it on such an important day.

  • shawn says:

    I too agree that the most expensive gear does not make you a “photographer” though I’m left wondering what it does take…is it your first paycheck, is it your slew of compliments…or is it when you are only doing photography full time and nothing else. I use Nikon primarily and otherwise the best that I can afford. The gear that you have and can afford you should get to know as best you can, be as creative as you can and I believe that semi professional equipment and be just as effective as a 20,000 kit.

  • shawn says:

    Please pardon mt typos in the above comment I am using a laptop and this happens when I use them.

  • Brett says:

    Great questions / thoughts Shawn – love it.

    I’d love to build a dialogue here, because I often think that being a “pro photographer” is something of a hard title to really hold and nail down. I’ve seen too many “pros” who (for lack of better words) aren’t very professional, and aren’t good at what they do. are they still “pros”?

    Let me say what it’s not – I wouldn’t say it’s the first pay check (I remember the first time I got paid for photos – I was still an amateur!), and it’s certainly not when you’re only doing photography full time. Attempting to pin the title of “pro” on these definers, is akin to saying “if it’s in a garage, it must be a car”.

    I think it tends to be a mix of thing. Without making this comment a blog post in and of itself – I’ve noticed a few things that define the professional from the amateur.

    1) The ability to consistently create attractive and technically controlled photos. I’m not going to say technically correct – b/c often photography is more about breaking the rules than obeying them – so the idea of being able to control the technical end of your work is a must.

    2) The acknowledgment and accreditation from a community of professional photographers (be it a recognized group like the PPA, or a set of local talented professionals.) Of course, life isn’t about what others think of you – but if you can’t find a group of quality photographers that are willing to say “we stand with you and behind your work” then maybe it’s time to rethink your career path!

    Great thoughts too on the equipment – I just want to tag in that although I’m a Canon shooter, that doesn’t mean I think Nikon is bad! Nikon makes awesome equipment – I just went down a different path.

    I do believe that a photographer is not the sum total of his lens collection and I love what you’re saying – do what you can with what you got!

    but I do have to disagree a bit – having better equipment can certainly be more effective and enhance ones creativity. If a photographer is doing well with their current set of equipment, they ought to be able to naturally afford better equipment as they go!

    Let me first clarify- I believe creativity is innate in a person – and the best equipment can’t make an uncreative person a creative photographer. But I do know that having the next level of equipment makes an INCREDIBLE difference in how well a creative artist can grow. There is a tremendous difference between cheap stock lenses and pro-grade high quality lenses!

    I could go on here for a bit – but I’m confident you know what I mean – it is impossible to achieve most imagery w/o having the right glass. Having a diverse high quality lens collection will take any photographers work to the next level.

    And don’t even get me started on pocket wizards! 🙂

    Thanks for your thoughts Shawn – love to hear more!

  • Sara Reimer says:

    I totally understand the last part of your comment here Brett. Sorry if I’m a little late on the conversation, I just sort of stumbled upon your blog (and I love what I see, by the way!) I am an aspiring photographer just starting to get into the business. I have been shooting on a little Canon Rebel for the last three years and I need to buy new equipment because I find it’s actually prohibiting my creativity! There are pictures that I know I can create and levels I know I can reach, but not with a Rebel!

    • Brett says:

      Rock on Sara – I love it. You’re not late at all, the conversations always build and grow around here, so feel free to jump in whenever you’d like. 😉

      Congrats on deciding to make the next step in growing yourself – I hope it goes well for you, I certainly know the steps it takes, and the fun it can be.

      Little tip for you – (or anyone for that matter) – I think a nice & wallet-friendly addition to a beginner lens collection is the 1.8 50mm lens. Both Canon & Nikon have a version – it’s not priced too expensively, but can give you an edge in low light situations, and also create a nice “art” feel with it’s nice Depth of Field.

      I wouldn’t stop there by any means – it’s not the best glass on the market – but it is a solidly made prime lens, and is priced awesomely for a beginner photographer. If you’re a pro – I’d recommend the 1.4 model, or the 1.2 model if you can afford it. Heck, I’d recommend the 1.0 model if you can find it somewhere!

  • Shawn R says:

    So I read what you said about checking to see how good of quality your wedding photographer’s gear is. So the Camera bodies that I use are a Cannon 7d and Cannon 60D.
    I have a couple of 2.8 lens bodies(70-200mm,tamron 17-50mm), and some other lenses also. But What I’m wanting to know is if you would consider these two bodies professional enough for wedding photography. I mostly have done portraits over the last couple of years and have done only one small wedding but I’m wanting to do more weddings this upcoming year. So what are the thought s on my camera bodies?

    • Brett says:

      Shawn, Thanks for the reply. I wouldn’t question the camera bodies so much – the 7D is a nice semi-pro body in and of itself, and can hit some pretty good ISO levels. I’m not a huge fan of either, only because I don’t like crop bodies for my main work anymore… full frame is so nice!

      More than the bodies though, I would encourage you to look into the quality and range of the glass you use, as that is far more important than your bodies. I’d recommend investing in some Canon prime lenses, and L glass if you can afford it. There certainly is a difference I’ve learned.

      More than anything – I’d encourage you to intern or shadow a professional wedding photographer for a year or so prior to taking on your own weddings. More than gear – experience, confidence, & talent will be the greatest asset you can bring with you on a wedding day.

      I hope that helps!

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