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Rim Lighting

Photography TipsHave you ever tried to use rim lighting? It's a great thing to know if you haven't learned yet, and here's a short refresher if you already know. When there's a light on the far side of someone, the light leaks through right around their head illuminating their hair or hat. Sometimes the line can be so crisp that it looks as though they're being cut out. Rim light is beautiful, and it adds a ton of visual interest to a photo. The real win here is taking an extra second to try and look around your environment for some kind of rim lighting. Don't settle for the light you're given, find better light. And also plan to show up during golden hour, instead of trying to do photoshop later and add in something fake. More about rim lighting from New York Institute Of Photography: https://www.nyip.edu/photo-articles/cameras-and-gear/what-is-rim-lighting

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Recommended Gear

This camera gear is all stuff that I’m a fan of! I don’t waste time writing reviews of gear I don’t like. I hope you can find some new stuff here that you haven’t heard of yet, or if you’re looking into some new gear, these are all products I give my two thumbs up to.

The purchase of gear through this page helps me spend more time growing Grainhappy and create more awesome resources for y’all! Thanks for checking it out.

Disclosure: Please know that some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that I will earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I believe in. Please do not make any purchases if you don’t think they will help you achieve your goals.

CAMERAS

Canon 5D Mark III

This is my main camera! I upgraded from a 5D Mark II and it was absolutely worth it. Some quick things I love about this camera: First, the silent shutter (which, in a wedding ceremony, is the BEST. I’m not cringing from the noise every time I take a shot). Second, the low grain. Crank up the ISO and you still have pretty good sharpness. It’s not a miracle machine but it’s real good. Third, the customizability. I spent a bunch of time just sifting through the menus to make the camera work exactly the way I wanted it to work. With cheaper cameras you have less options – I was super happy with the amount of settings I can change.

LENSES

Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II

I use the older version of this lens ALL. THE. TIME. It’s my main lens when I shoot weddings, with the exception being ceremonies when I give it to my wife, and I use the 70-200mm. So versatile, and the aperture down to 2.8 is fast enough so I can shoot really dark. I love being able to snag wide shots and then zoom quick to 70mm and get a totally different feel of a shot. Some people love their prime lenses but I have to say that this is my go-to. If you don’t have enough money for the new version II of this lens, look around for version I!

Canon 50mm f/1.4

This is the middle version of the three different qualities of the Canon 50mm lens. Lowest is the f/1.8, Highest is the f/1.2, and this guy is right in the middle at f/1.4. I love it though. Real light (and quiet, it’s got USM – Ultrasonic Motor), and opening up to 1.4 is perfect for low light. Bokeh is beautiful on this lens, and I really couldn’t find a reason to spend an extra grand for the extra stop of light. For the price, it’s a great lens. Note: Keep in mind that if you put this on a crop-sensor camera it’ll end up looking more like 80mm.

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II

This lens! Man, if you need to shoot headshots/portraits/wedding ceremonies, this is where it’s at. The f/2.8 is great even in low light, the IS (image stabilization) is great because you’re zoomed so far in and you’ll get shaky, and version II is even sharper than version I. I have version I of this lens and I’m so happy with it. Now, I don’t use it near as much as the 24-70mm because I love working more up close and personal with the people I photograph, but it’s got such a distinct look and especially at 200mm, you can flatten that background right up against someone and get that beautiful bokeh background. Definitely give it a look if you have a budget close to this lens!

Canon 35mm f/1.4L

My wife LOVES this lens. It’s the lens she starts the day with every time. It’s got a very specific look (and you need to be careful with it — don’t shoot underneath people with it!) along with a low f-stop so you can grab that bokeh too if you want that style. Built very well, and it’s an L series which means it’s got that good glass. 35mm is a classic look and you’ll know why it’s been so popular over the years when you start shooting with it!

LIGHTING

Yongnuo RF-603 II 2.4GHz Wireless Flash Triggers

You use these to wirelessly trigger flashes off-camera. One goes on your camera in your hotshoe mount, and the other one connects to the flash via hotshoe. You can use more of them to trigger multiple flashes at once, if they’re on the same frequency code (easily changed by opening the battery chamber). I am amazed with the quality of these triggers, and for the cost you really can’t beat them. NOTE: You can also use these triggers to wirelessly take photos, but they require a specific cord for your camera. This specific link above to Amazon is for some Canon cameras (make sure yours is listed), but if you’re Nikon, use this link instead.

Yongnuo YN 560 II Speedlight

Great great flash. I bought five of the previous version of these. I’m amazed with how cheap they’ve gotten, and they work perfect for everything we need them for. If you need ETTL this probably isn’t the right buy for you, but honestly I would say that you can get better shots when you think through the lighting yourself and don’t just depend on the camera’s brain to figure it out! If you’re nervous about the build quality on these, keep in mind that you could buy 4-6 of them before you caught up to the cost of a similar Canon flash (which is fine for me), and truly I haven’t had any issues with them at all.

Eneloop AA 2100 Cycle Ni-MH Rechargeable Batteries

THESE BATTERIES. Can’t say enough about Eneloop. I bought a charger and then sixteen. Then I bought another 8 pack. Then another. Then some AAA’s haha. They last and last, and I like them even better than straight up alkalines that I used to buy. Using them in flashes, I can tell that they recycle faster than regular alkalines, and they really last a long time too. Sometimes near the end of the night I change my batteries, but sometimes I don’t have to change them at all. If you’re a wedding/event photog and you need batteries for speedlights, you’d better be using rechargeables! A little more up front but you’ll make your money back after a few events.