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The Wedding Photography tools I use to capture your wedding day!

Hello, I am Alfredo Valentine, I am the owner and principal photographer of Couture Bridal Photography. I found myself awake late at night and thought it might be interesting to discuss the wedding photography tools I use to capture a wedding. This is kind of behind the scene as far as brides and grooms go, but for someone starting out or anyone interested in photography this could be informative. I have also encountered couples who ask what I use for my camera system, which is puzzling. Lets talk about the wedding photography tools I use to create, what I call bridal art!

Let me start by saying that photography is an art just like painting, sculpting, drawing, or playing an instrument. It may not seem so, and many amateur or deceitful , so called "photographers" actually make a living taking snapshots. Snapshots and photography are very different from each other. I can hand an iPhone to my 9 year old son and he would take snapshots. I on the other hand create art through photography with images by understanding composition, light, shadow, depth of field, posing, and various lens choices. Understanding and knowing the flow of a wedding ceremony also is part of knowing what to capture and when. So lets begin with the most important part of my Wedding Photography tools, the camera!

Camera - Foundation of My Wedding Photography tools


I am a Canon user, I have been a Canon user since I first picked up a SLR camera. SLR - Single Lens Reflex. A single lens reflex camera uses a mirror and prism system that permits the photographer to view through the lens exactly what he or she wants to capture. When you press the shutter the mirror flips up and allows the film or sensor to be exposed to the light, which in turn captures the image.

I currently choose the Canon 5D3 as the foundation of my Wedding Photography tools. I use 2 Canon 5D3's either simultaneously or have one in my bag as backup ready to go. The Canon 5D3 is one of Canons flagship cameras and captures images with a full frame 22.3 Mp sensor. What this means is the sensor is the same size of a classic piece of film. A full frame sensor camera has more sensitivity to light and captures more color, depth and detail that a smaller sensor found in most consumer cameras. Full frame censored cameras are also more sensitive to light which provides an advantage during low light conditions, which is pretty routine during a wedding reception. I can also capture a series of images that are moving fast because the 5D3 is capable of capturing images at 6 frames per second. The Canon 5D3 is also pretty lightweight compared to the top Canon model, the 1Dx which is more suited for sports photography with a 12 frame per second capture ability. Its a great camera, but heavy and not fun to carry for 10 hours. The Canon 5D3 is a beast of a camera body and that is why I choose it as the most important part of my wedding photography tools.

High quality lenses

Canon 70-200mm L F2.8 IS -

The Canon 70-200mm L F2.8 Is is my zoom of choice. It allows me to capture images from a distance discreetly and with an aperture of 2.8 in low light. This lens is also image stabilized so I can shoot with a slower shutter speed and still have super sharp images. This lens when focused of 80mm also compresses the image and makes for flattering subjects faces, etc. I creates a beautiful background booked (blurring) that is buttery and beautiful. This lens is what I use throughout 90% of a wedding day. It is a very important part of my wedding photography tools and style.

Canon 24-70mm L F2.8 -

The Canon 24-70 L 2.8 is a medium zoom lens and it allows me to work in tighter areas of photography a large group of people, such as a wedding party. Being an essential part of my wedding photography tools, I use this lens to capture the processional, recessional or during the ceremony to capture a wide shot of what is happening. This lens is also great in low light and extremely sharp.

Canon 17-40mm L F4 -

This is a fun lens to use and allows me to have a unique perspective and is a part of my particular style most used wedding photography tools. The 17-40mm F4 is an ultra wide zoom lens. I use this lens to capture the grandeur of a reception room, large bridal parties and when I want to capture a lot of landscape in the background. This lens is what I use to create large wide scenic photos.

Canon 100mm 2.8 Macro -

The Canon 100mm 2.8 Macro is my dual purpose and one of my wedding photography tools that allows me to capture the close up images of of rings, jewelry, etc. and doubles as an amazing portrait lens. This lens is the sharpest lens out there whether up close capturing a ring shot close up or during the bridal portrait session. This lens is always close by!

Canon 85mm 1.8 -

My Canon 85mm 1.8 is the bridal portrait weapon of choice of all my wedding photography tools. The Canon 85mm 1.8 is one of 2 models Canon produces. The 85mm 1.2 is a beast of a lens, but with a super shallow depth of field that can cause focus issues when used at 1.2 with more than one person in the frame and slow focusing I chose to add the 1.8 version to my wedding photography tools. I get a great shallow depth of field (background blur), ultra sharp focus and fast focus which is essential during a wedding.

Canon 50mm 1.4 -

I'm not a big user of the 50mm, but it is a great lens especially in low light and does make for flattering images of brides during the getting ready portion, so this stays in my bag for those times where I want to do something different or the opportunity to pull this from my wedding photography tools presents itself. I probably should use this lens more, and maybe I will?

Sigma 15mm 2.8 Fisheye -

My fun lens... I add this lens to my wedding photography tools about 2 years ago. I wanted a lens that would make a reception really pop and fun. This lens distorts the image and pretty much captures 180 degrees. I use this to capture the dancing and action during the reception and just have a blast with it. I love this lens......

Lighting Equipment

Light... Without light you can't have photography. If you are photographing the night sky and photographing the tiny stars, your capturing light. Lighting, understanding light, the different types of light, and knowing how to use the direction of light is the key to fine wedding photography. Understanding all one can about light is the most important of all wedding photography tools, because without it you don't have an image!

So lets discuss light for just a moment since there are many photographers advertising as natural light photographers and many believing that natural light photography is somehow organic and better than any other kind of light. The term natural light photography is kind of misleading. To think it is always possible to create an image with just the sun at all times is a fallacy. I say this because at what point can a natural light photographer continue to capture quality images during a dark reception or an outdoor wedding reception at night. I'm going to be very politically incorrect now. Natural light photography is the ancient indian translation for, "I don't know how to use flash". That is the truth.

I have met many natural light photographers especially during early morning engagement sessions on the beach where they are struggling to expose the couple and get the sun, but only end up with either a silhouette or completely white sky with none of the beautiful colors your seeing with your eyes.

I made understanding and using any light a part of my personal wedding photography tools and love to use natural light and will as much as I can, but I have no issues or problems using flash, video light, LED light, or even a flashlight. I carry an assortment of lighting tools to make sure I can light any scene the way I want it or need it. As part of my Wedding Photography tools, I carry 4 flash units, a Dedolight Ledzilla, an Icelight (LED light Wand), several small LED flashlights, and a big flashlight. I also have enough high end rechargeable batteries as part of my Wedding Photography tools to operate everything as well as a charger just in case.

How I carry and transport My Wedding Photography tools?

I transport my Wedding Photography tools in either an ape case ACPRO4000, which is the largest carry on sized bag I could fine and another suitcase styled bag thats a little smaller from Calumet Photographic.

These 2 bags can carry the majority of my wedding photography tools and give me fast access to anything I might need. While I am shooting a wedding or engagement, I sometimes use a shoulder bag that can hold 3 lenses, a flash and some small accessories. During weddings I use SPYDER Holsters with 2 cameras with 2 different lenses to be able to capture anything at a moments notice.

Fort Lauderdale Wedding Photographer
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