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What photography gear do I use

A frequently asked question from other photographers is what equipment I use to take my photos. In this article, I will explain to you what equipment I use, but also why I chose this specific gear over other very capable options.

What photography gear do I use

What photographic equipment do I use at weddings?

Whether you work as an amateur or professional photographer, the choice for a camera and lenses is a major one because, firstly, the equipment is not cheap and secondly, it's a long term choice. For an amateur, this will be the workhorse that will be used in the coming years and with which you will take awesome photos that will help you capture memories of all the important things in life. For a professional photographer this is even more important, because this camera will take the photos that generate an income. Making the wrong choice therefore has an extremely large impact on personal life.
It is therefore understandable that when you see a nice photo, you want to know which camera it was captured with and how the photo was taken. Nevertheless, it is important to know that the equipment is only one part of the final image. Circumstances, post-processing and especially the photographer himself play a crucial role in the final photo.
These days, we are also lucky that it is difficult to make a bad choice. Cameras are so good these days that even phones can take a cool photo in the right conditions. Because of this it's more about the details that each camera or brand offers that can be a decisive factor in making a decision for the particular gear.

My choice

Let me jump right in and tell you what I use to shoot weddings:

Bodies

  • Nikon D750
  • Nikon D850

Lenses

  • Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8
  • Tamron 35mm f/1.4
  • Nikon 58mm f/1.4
  • Nikon 105mm f/1.4

Strobes and accessoires

  • 4x Yongnuo and 1 Nikon strobe
  • Remotes to controle the strobes
  • Magmod flash tools to control and shape the light
  • Tripods, gripping tools, leather camera strap, cleaning set, etc.

For me, choosing this combination of bodies and lenses is a process. This is my setup now, but it can change later. I am constantly developing myself and my photography, which means my gear sometimes might be changed, improved or even downscaled.

In this blog post, I will go into more detail about the choice for my current equipment and explain why I made these choices. My opinion is always personal and therefore it is recommended that if you like my photos, you do not copy my equipment one on one. As I said, the camera is only a small part of the creative process and the equipment must also suit your personal preference and photographic style.

Why Nikon?

A simple answer:

It was my first choice...

And that may sound crazy, but that's how it really happened because years ago I once made the choice to buy a Nikon DSLR, the Nikon D3100. It was my first serious camera and my workhorse to take all the photos for the fashion blog that my wife was running at the time. It was easy to use, auto mode worked fine, and it took great photos.

When it came time for a new camera, I stayed with Nikon for the simple reason that I was satisfied with the results and I didn't have the money to buy all new lenses. Lenses can sometimes be used with adapters on cameras from other brands, but this often affects the functionality. Also, I was happy with my camera, so why switch to a different brand?

It was through the upgrade that I started to see the value of Nikon's bodies. In this price segment, quality, functionality and ergonomics are really improved compared to the cheaper models and the quality of the brand really stands out. For example, I fell in love with the double dial, both front and rear with which you can quickly adjust settings, the buttons and the placement of them felt much more logical, I saw a dramatic improvement in the autofocus system and the camera generally just felt a lot better in the hand.

The choice for Nikon is a combination of coincidence and personal preference. Coincidence because it happened to be my first choice and personal preference because I was starting to see the value of the features the camera offers, which is not to say that other brands don't offer this functionality. Canon also had excellent bodies with fantastic autofocus and buttons in exactly the right places and although I did not conduct any further research into it, I assume that other brands also offered excellent products.

The camera bodies

In the end I ended up with the Nikon D750 and D850. Both fantastic bodies with their own pros and cons. I will highlight the main points of each camera and explain why they work well in wedding photography.

D750 vs D850

Sensor (24 MP vs 45 MP)


The D750 has a 24 MP sensor and the D850 a 45 MP sensor. Although the D850 has many more pixels, you will have to take into account that it also means that the photo files will be much larger. This means not only more storage that is needed in the camera, but also on the computer. Also take into account longer times to copy and export the files. The D850 does offer options to also save smaller files, but there are advantages and disadvantages that are described in detail in this article:

Click here

I opt for the larger files and deal with the consequences. The big advantage of more MP is of course that you can crop much further without giving away too much resolution and I think this advantage is more important than the disadvantage of the larger files.
Yet the D750 24 MP sensor still holds up extremely well compared to the D850 sensor. It is 3 years older and although the ISO range of the sensor is less extended, it is sometimes even slightly better than the D850 in low light with high ISOs (although the difference is extremely small). This is because the sensor of both cameras is physically the same size, but because there are fewer pixels on the D750, they therefore occupy a larger surface on the sensor and thus also receive more light. In this case, the less Megapixels of the D750 actually work in its favour in low light situations.

Autofocus

This is where the D850 beats the D750. The autofocus system in this camera is simply better. There is a fantastic tracking function in the D850 that makes focusing on moving objects much easier and more precise. In addition, there are more focus points and there are also more 'cross-type' points that are more sensitive. Focusing in low light also simply works a bit better than with the D750. In short, a huge plus for wedding photography because often many moments have to be captured in a very short time.

Live view

Here the D850 also beats the D750. There are some useful functions such as focus peaking that make manual focus in live view a lot easier. This is also more convenient during a photo shoot because I simply have the shot I am looking for faster.

Screen

Both cameras have a tilting screen, which is really useful. I often shoot close to the ground so I also use this functionality a lot. The better live view function on the D850 is more user-friendly and the screen itself is simply better. It is sharper and also has a touchscreen, which can also be advantageous in some cases, for example to check whether a photo is really sharp by quickly zooming in.

Functionality

Here the D850 only just wins compared to the D750. There are slightly more buttons in logical places and there is also a joystick to adjust autofocus points. The D750 does not have this joystick. In addition, the buttons just feel a bit more logically placed.

Ergonomics

This is where Nikon is always very good at and I think the ergonomics of both cameras are fantastic. The D850 is much larger, which is something I prefer at weddings because in combination with the large lenses it feels a bit better in the hand. The D750, on the other hand, is still fine and, because of its size, also the camera that I bring when travelling

Details

There are a lot of small details in which both cameras differ from each other. For example, the D750 goes no further than 1/4000 shutter speed while the D850 goes up to 1/8000. The D850 has illuminated buttons on the back which can be useful in the dark. They both have 2 card slots, but the D850 has an XQD and an SD slot. XQD is faster, but considerably more expensive and therefore something that must be taken into account. The D750 has a built-in flash, the D850 does not. The viewfinder of the D850 is a bit bigger and brighter, etc. All minor differences, but they can just be the deciding factor to choose one over the other.

Price

And this is where the main difference between the two cameras is felt. The D850 is currently sold for 3100, - and the D750 is sold for only 1229, -. Of course, the D850 also requires investment in the much-expensive XQD cards and is therefore mainly a camera for the professional photographer.

People still have the impression that if they have an expensive camera, there is also a guarantee for good photos. However, the reverse is true! Keep in mind that a more expensive camera also has technically more advanced options compared to the cheaper cameras. The automatic modes that can be found in consumer cameras, for example, are not even present in the D850 and the way in which you operate the camera is also much more complicated. Therefore, make a good decision whether you are ready for that new body. Have you made the most of your current body and will the new body really produce better photos? If so, go for it!

Lenses

Choosing my collection of lenses has been a long process. When I first started with photography I went for what everyone did, a standard kit lens with an extra zoom lens. While not the best options in terms of quality, they may have been the best options to get started with. Because the lenses let in little light, it can sometimes be a challenge to take a good photo at dusk. Also, taking care of that nice soft blurred background is difficult with these lenses and they challenge you to see how you can still create a certain effect with these tools. Also, aspects such as composition and the anticipation of moments cannot be is an important skill in photography that can only be taught by experience, so better gear will not help here.

After a few years, I thought it was time for an upgrade. I bought a standard f / 2.8 zoom lens (for a crop sensor camera) and an 85 f / 1.8 prime and immediately noticed a huge difference in the quality of my photos. The lenses were a lot sharper and the world of blurred backgrounds became much more accessible. This also brought new challenges, because with the prime lens I could no longer zoom and I suddenly had to start moving for a different point of view. It also became increasingly important to have good control over my focus.

After a while, serious work began. I was already working as a photographer and thought it was necessary to really invest in glass. My next two lenses were the 50mm f / 1.8 and 70-200 f / 2.8. The choice for the 50mm was simple and actually a no brainer due to the fact that it was on sale and only cost 180 at that time. To this day I do not regret this choice. This lens is so much value for money that I actually recommend it to anyone who wants to take a bit more serious photos and wants to upgrade from the standard kit lenses.
However, the 70-200 f / 2.8 is a different story because of its price. Although I bought the Tamron G2 version and thus already saved a lot compared to the original Nikon versions, it was still not cheap, at the time about 1500 euros. I actually bought it for a really bad reason; Because other photographers used it, I wanted it too. And although nothing has lied about this lens in terms of sharpness, speed and functionality, you also know that if you use a lens that almost everyone uses, that it is one factor less in which you can distinguish yourself from other photographers. Don't get me wrong, it's a fantastic lens and I still own it for practical reasons. However, I no longer use it for weddings because it is a lens that no longer suits my style. It's now especially useful when I do commercial assignments.

That brings me to the lenses that I do use for my weddings. There are 4 of them and they all have a specific reason why I use them. Yet they all have one thing in common and that is that they are rarely used lenses in wedding photography.

Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8

Yes, a zoom lens, but one that can take a unique photo due to its ultra-wide angle. At 15mm, this lens is at its best and the distortion on the edges really draws the attention to the centre. I really like to use this effect in my portraits and it is also a very useful feature at parties where everyone is extremely close together. The fact that the lens can zoom up to 30mm is a nice bonus, because this way it can also function as a backup for my 35mm lens.

Tamron 35mm f/1.4

Thanks to the 70-200 f / 2.8 and 15-30 mm f / 2.8, I fell a bit in love with Tamron lenses. Price / quality is really on point with Tamron and rivals famous brand like Sigma. Sigma sells fantastic lenses, but I miss what you can only describe as 'character' in the Art series. And this is something that Tamron has succeeded in with its 35 mm f / 1.4, while it is also one of the technically best 35 mm lenses on the market. Even at f / 1.4 it is extremely sharp, autofocus is super fast and accurate (after fine-tuning on a DSLR) and it simply feels like a tank. The character this lens has is also unique, fantastically beautiful 'bokeh' and a feeling you get when you look at the results that I have never experienced before. The 35mm length is also ideal for weddings because it is very close to how we as humans see the world through our eyes. As a result, photos taken with a 35mm always give you the feeling of really being there.

Nikkor 58mm f/1.4

Character, that's exactly what this lens is all about. And although technically ok, character was the focus when Nikon developed this lens in honor to the old 58mm f / 1.2 'noct' from the 1970s. This lens is now new to me in 2020 and fills the gap between my 35mm and 105mm. I haven't shot weddings with it yet, but because of private use, I can already see why this lens is being praised. It really gives a unique look to the photo because of the blurred background and the way in which sharp blends into a blur.

Nikkor 105mm f/1.4

And if we are talking about unique lenses, the Nikkor 105 f / 1.4 was the first of its kind. Never before had a 105mm f / 1.4 been made for full-frame cameras when this lens came out. In the meantime, Sigma has developed a similar lens, but if your wrists are dear to you, I recommend going for the Nikon version (The Sigma has its own tripod mount, that says enough). Anyway, another unique lens due to the fact that it (now together with Sigma) is the only one of its kind. In addition, it is also extremely good technically and the photos are extremely sharp. Yet it is a lens that you have to learn to deal with, it is still very large and due to the large pieces of glass that it contains, autofocus is not very fast. 105mm is also a focal length that you will have to get used to.

So why these 4 lenses in the end? The answer is simple:

They are unique.

They are not the usual lenses that everyone thinks of when you talk about wedding photography and that is exactly why I do use them. When I talk about my unique style, these lenses are certainly part of it. It may not be the only factor that distinguishes a photographer, but it is one that matters. I also like primes in general because they force you to move around and think about your shot, which in turn also adds to my photographic style.

I do not necessarily recommend these lenses for everybody who reads this, but rather advise you to do your own research. Experiment and see what best suits your style. And if that is a more common lens, then that's just fine. There are many more aspects in which you can distinguish yourself as a photographer.

Strobes and accessoires

Strobes are crucial to be able to take good photos in all circumstances, but they can also be used for creative purposes. As a wedding photographer you are paid to capture the moments in the best possible way and to tell the story of the wedding day. Sometimes present light is really sufficient, but what if it is not? As a photographer, do you settle for bad photos? The answer is no and that is why you will also have to invest in strobes and the time to learn the technique to use them properly.
During the party I always use strobes. With the radio trigger on my camera, I can then fire them externally to make sure I get well-lit photos on the dance floor. But, of course, they can also be used creatively during a portrait shoot and I often even use them during preparations because living rooms in the early morning are simply not beautifully lit.

I chose Yongnuo flash units, they do their job well and are not expensive. And because they are not expensive, I don't mind being a bit more casual with them. For example, I think it's fine to put them on a tripod in the shower, something I not even consider with a flash of 1000, - euro. However, there are plenty of options for flashes and you can hardly go wrong with anything. In addition, I also use the necessary modifiers from Magmod to shape and use the light to my advantage.

And of course the necessary tripods, clamps and a leather strap to which both cameras are attached so that I am always ready to capture unexpected moments that so often occur at weddings.

This is the end of the blog post.
Did you find it helpful to read how I approach my photography? Please contact me and share your opinion, I am curious what you think of my approach!

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Personal approach
The choice for your photographer is a very personal one. In addition to the photographic style, the character and values ​​of the photographer are one of the most important criteria for making your choice. When I hire someone, I like a personal approach where communication and quality is of a high standard. It is for that reason that I also apply this method as a photographer myself.
Wedding photographer Bart Rondeel
Photo: Roxy Sun
Before the wedding

You can expect this approach from me straight away. Call me, app me or e-mail me and you can always expect a response. I can often be found on the mat, the mountain bike and photographing at other weddings, so sometimes I won't be able to respond straight away, but I will get back to you as soon as I can.

So a personal approach is very important to me and that is why I also would like to get to know you as a couple. During our introduction meeting, it is therefore mainly about you guys. I want to know everything about you, because the more I know, the better I can capture the wedding day for you.
Have a look at the photo below. I knew that the bride had a special bond with her grandfather so I was constantly looking for the right time to capture that bond. This has become one of the most important photos for this bride.

Bride dancing with grandpa

Of course, we will also talk about the planning and how photography, and especially the portraits, can best be fitted into the schedule of your busy wedding day. I have all sorts of practical tips which you can use for your wedding. I would simply like to hear everything about the wedding day so together we can also make the photos to a great success.

You'll also get access to the online portal. Everything about our collaboration ends up in this online environment. During our introduction meeting, I can explain everything about the online portal.

In addition, you can always contact me during the preparations for questions or tips. Changes to the schedule can be communicated through the portal, I will see any changes you make instantly.
Shortly before the wedding we will schedule a call to go through all the details for the last time to make sure that I am aware of everything that will happen during your wedding day. And then the time has finally come!

Wedding balloon detail
During the wedding

Finally! After such a long time the special day has is finally there. You will be able to enjoy this day undisturbed. Me and everybody else who is involved in the organization of the wedding will make sure of that. It is for that reason that I always maintain close contact with the ceremony master and other people involved in the wedding to keep the organization as tight as possible.

Wedding photographer during ceremony
Photo: Eliza Dernovska

At the wedding, I am invisible when needed but present when necessary. For example, I will often work more in the background during the ceremony, but when taking a group shot of all the guests I will make sure everybody is visible and direct them accordingly. During the party, I will be partying with you on the dance floor. I can get much closer and people open up much more when I am part of the crowd, resulting in the best possible party photos.
Not in the mood for uncomfortable poses during the portrait shoot? Fortunately, me neither!
Think of this shoot as a nice walk in the park which I will capture in the most beautiful way. I will of course 'direct' you here and there to get the most best results, but I like movement in my photos, so I would encourage you to do whatever you feel like. Go crazy, laugh, have fun with each other and be yourself, that's how we will make sure these photos will become little pieces of art.
I will enjoy the wedding like any other guest that day. I love weddings because of their great atmosphere and happy people. I genuinely have a great time at your wedding.

After the wedding

The wedding is over, but for me, the work now really starts. After making the necessary backups, it is now up to me to ensure that all those photos are carefully selected and professionally retouched. I shoot thousands of photos in one day and not one of them will go unnoticed. I only select the very best and make sure that they ultimately come into their own in the retouching process by transforming them into my unique style.

I understand that you really can't wait to see the first photos and that's why I always make sure that a preview is ready for you in the online gallery within a week. That way the memories are still clear in your mind and you will experience all the moments again when you view the photos.
Because I pay a lot of attention to selecting and retouching, I need about 4 to 6 weeks to finally deliver all the photos to you via the online gallery. You can share the gallery with all friends and family, but you can also already start making the selection of favourites for your wedding album. When your favourites are submitted, I will design the album and finally upload the design to you again via the portal for approval. You can browse through the pages in your own time and let me know where you would like to see changes before the design is finally sent to the factory. Also, let me know which photo you would like as a print on your wall.

The delivery of the album will take a few weeks and after handing over the album and the print our collaboration will sadly be over. I would appreciate it very much if you would like to leave me some online reviews. Growth is hugely important to me and the best way to find out how my work and approach has been experienced is to ask my clients!

modern tools
Nowadays the internet is indispensable in our daily lives. Everyone owns a smartphone and is online nowadays. This is why I use the most modern tools to provide an experience for you as a wedding couple where convenience, clarity and style are paramount.
Wedding photographer Bart Rondeel
Photo: Roxy Sun
the online portal

All the couples who book me as their wedding photographer receive a complete package. This includes access to the online portal. Not only is this a very cool and handy tool for you, but it's also software that I use on a daily bases and makes sure that all my services and communication run smoothly. In addition, the portal also includes an online gallery that is easy to share with friends and family and can be used to download the high res images, so you can store them yourself. Wonder what your album will look like? The design proofing function will help you to see the design and approve it online.

The gallery

An online environment where all your photos can be seen and can be shared with all friends and family after the wedding. In short, that's the gallery.
USB sticks are already old fashion these days. Technical developments are going forward so fast that the newest laptops no longer have a USB input anyway. Everything is connected to the internet and that is why the online gallery is so enormously valuable.
It is fast, simple, looks nice and very important nowadays, it works flawlessly on all devices. Details such as security and accessibility have also been thought through and photos can even be organised into different categories. Have a look below.

Trouwfotografie galerij voorbeeld

You get exclusive digital rights to be the only one to be able to download the files in high resolution and of course without my company logo. Also, you can decide which photos can be seen by friends and family. You may find some photos a bit too personal and you don't necessarily want to share them, you can easily hide these photos from others who visit the gallery.
The gallery also contains useful functions to select your favourites. This feature is most often used to pick your photos for the wedding album.

Are you interested in ordering prints? Then I can even create a prints gallery for you in which you can easily see what the photo looks like on the wall.

Bruidsfotografie print voorbeeld
Album design

After I have received your favourite photos selection through the gallery, I will start designing the album. The layout depends on the size of the album you choose. Photos really do come into their own when they are printed in large format, so I don't recommend selecting too many photos, it will look messy very quickly.

As soon as I have finished the first design you can review it via the portal in the design proofing section. You can browse through the pages and even make notations where you would like to see adjustments. After the requested adjustments, you can approve the design and it will be sent to the producer. Below is an example of a large album 35x35 cm in which the wedding couple asks to make the text slightly smaller.

Album Design proofing voorbeeld
communication tools

In addition to these parts of the portal, some formalities have also been considered. There is a page that shows all different album types and materials, there are forms to share some contact details with me (for example the ceremony master or contact details of the wedding venue) and there is a very useful form in which you can fill in the planning for the wedding day so there is never a misunderstanding about the schedule. Even the invoices can be viewed and downloaded.
And the best part, it's all online and available whenever you want!