I get a good amount of emails asking pretty much the same thing so I thought I'd share some of the answers here.

What bodies do you use?


I use Canon 1Ds MkIII and 5D bodies. The 1Ds MkIII is my main camera. It has an amazing focusing system and produces BEAUTIFUL files... incredible, amazing.

I'm actually shooting a lot of film now as well at weddings and I'm using an EOS 3 and a Contax 645 for that. The EOS 3 has basically the same focusing system and controls as my 1Ds MkIII which make it really easy to go back and forth between the two cameras and the Contax 645 is just amazing. Its almost funny how good the lenses are for it too. The Zeiss 80 f2 makes every other lens I have look like a toy... no joke. As far as film I shoot Fuji Pro 400H and 800Z color film and Ilford 400 and 3200 black and white film.


Why don't you shoot the 5D MkII?

As far as the 5D MkII goes, I think it's a poor excuse for an upgrade. Also, the files are terrible, awful color casts. I had to work those files longer than any I've ever worked with, just to get something useable... not even good. They're the worst files I've seen, which is saying a lot since I used to shoot the old Nikon digital cameras. I actually had one for a few weeks and was so unimpressed I sold it. I'm not saying its "bad" camera I just wouldn't buy one if I already had a 5D. The original 5D is an amazing camera. If all they did was put the 1 series focusing system in it I'd shoot that camera the rest of my life (I'm only halfway joking). But nope, Canon neglected to address the focus issues and instead added more pixels and video. C'mon people, let's leave the video to the videographers and maybe they'll stop bringing their still cameras to the weddings.

What lenses do you shoot with?

I use all Canon lenses and for the most part shoot all prime lenses, the exception being the 70-200 2.8L IS. I use it mainly in the ceremony for tight shots and when the church lady relegates me to the back of the church. I use the IS almost every shoot so if you're wondering if its worth the extra few hundred dollars, I'd say it is. Being able to shoot at 200mm at a 50th or 60th of a second and get sharp shots is huge in dark churches. After the ceremony it pretty much goes back in my bag for the remainder of the day.

The rest of my bag consists of all prime lenses, no more zooms: 20mm 2.8, 35mm 1.4L, 50mm 1.2L, and 100mm 2.8 macro. I use primes for a couple of reasons. First, they are noticeably sharper than even the best zooms. Second they are generally faster than any zoom, meaning they have larger apertures (notice the 35mm, 50mm are either f1.4 or f1.2). This fits my style in several ways. I shoot available light whenever possible and having an extra 2 stops over a zoom is a lifesaver in lots of situations. I'll often go up to ISO 1600 or 3200 before putting on the flash. Also I shoot wide open (or close to it) most of the time. This gives me really shallow depth of field which blows the background out of focus and makes the subjects pop out of the background, drawing the viewer's attention to them.

The 20mm doesn't get a ton of use. If you notice, I don't shoot people with wide lenses too often. Some of my good friends can rock the wide on people. Its not really my style. I use the 20mm for environmental shots... wide shots of the ceremony or reception or backed way out away from the couple but I try to be very conscious of the distortion. I also use it for dancing shots in the reception but I try to keep the people in the middle of the frame so they don't get too distorted.

The 35mm and 50mm are my bread and butter with the 50mm handling the bulk of the work.

The 35mm is an amazing lens and is about as wide as I'll ever shoot people up close. It's awesome for getting in really close to the subject and giving the viewer a feeling of being a part of what's going on in the image.

The 50mm is my go-to lens. Its the default. Before I walk into any situation I put it on. I think I could shoot a whole wedding with just that lens if I had to. I love it because its the way I see. No distortion, just what you see is what you get.  And the 1.2 version is the best thing Canon has ever done. Beautiful, buttery bokeh and its sharp, sharp, sharp. I shoot 99% of my details with this lens and a good portion of the portraits as well. It's my pride and joy.

I used to have the 85 1.2 but I recently got rid of it. As far as bokeh nothing even comes close and at 1.2 nothing else looks like it. The problem was that when I looked at the images I never saw myself in it. Does that make sense? The images I took with it, no matter how much I liked them, didn't look like something I'd take. They weren't not my style. I think its important to develop a style and remain consistent and no matter how much I liked the lens, if it wasn't producing images consistent with my style I shouldn't be using it. So its gone.

The 100mm is the least used lens in my bag. I use it for ring shots and the occasional detail shot.


What type of CF cards do you use?


I use Hoodman Cards. I saw an ad for Hoodman in a magazine a few years ago that said "Better, Faster, More Expensive." I loved that they thought enough about their product to not apologize for being more expensive.  They make an amazing CF Card and have an astonishing 0% failure rate. ZERO cards have failed. I'm psychotic about image back-up and safety and I'll gladly pay more that have that piece of mind.

I also download my images during the day using an Epson P-5000. It's one of my favorite things in the world. As soon as I finish shoot a card I stick it in to download. By the time I fill my next card its done downloading and I switch them out. At the end of the wedding day I put my last card in and by the time I get home all of my cards are downloaded.

I used to spend hours waiting for cards to finish downloading to my computer at the end of the wedding, switching out 10 or 12 cards as they finished. I LOATHED the process. Now all I do is plug the Epson in and drag over the entire contents of the wedding day onto my hard drive and go to sleep. In the morning its all done.

Another benefit is immediate backup. Like I said I'm psycotic about making sure things are backed up and safe and with the P-5000 I walk away from every wedding with 2 copies of the images. You can never be too safe.


Do you have back up equipment?

Heck YES! I'm prepared like a boyscout. If you are shooting someone's wedding you have to have back up gear! I have at least 2 digital bodies with me at every wedding and also carry a couple of film bodies and a bunch of film. I never want to be in a situation where I can't keep shooting because of an equipment malfunction. I've also had friends have their equipment stolen. I use a shootsac and have 4 lenses with me at all times. I also keep my CF cards and my Epson P-5000 in the Shootsac. This way even if my bag is stolen I have a body, 4 lenses and all of my cards. I could shoot the rest of the day and be just fine.


What do you use for reception lighting?

I use 580EXII flashes on my cameras. I never... well hardly ever... point the flash directly at my subject. I'm always trying to find a wall or ceiling to bounce the flash off of. I also use off camera lighting at every reception. I have an old manual Sunpak speed light mounted on a Manfrotto light stand triggered by a Pocket Wizard. The Sunpak is awesome because, one, its cheap... there's no reason to put a $500 flash up there when its going to be set manually anyway, and, two, it never goes to sleep! The Canon and Nikon flashes all go to sleep if they're not used for a couple of minutes then you go to take a picture and the flash doesn't go off because it fell asleep. I know you can set the custom functions so it doesn't go to sleep but like I said, the Sunpak is cheap! The Pocket Wizards on the other hand are not cheap but they are by far the most reliable wireless triggers so unfortunately you just have to deal with the high cost.

When I get to the reception I set the light stand up in a corner or near one of the dj's speakers and set it to 1/16th power. I'm not trying to light the whole image with it, just add some back or side light to the image and maybe get a little lens flare. I set my on camera flash to eTTL and usually power it down about a stop, but that all depends on the room. That's it.

From there I just grab my second shooter and take a few test shots adjusting my ISO and shutter speed. I like to bring some of the ambient light into the shot so I'm usually shooting at ISO1600 and between 1/30th and 1/80th of a second, relying on my flash to freeze the motion rather than the shutter. I shoot most of the reception at f2.8 because its usually dark so focusing is an issue and the subjects are almost always moving so 2.8 gives me a little play with my depth of field.


How do you process your images?

This is not as easy a question to answer. I shoot RAW first of all. I use Lightroom 2.0 to do a very thorough RAW process then Photoshop to finish the images. I don't use any actions other than ones I created to do a few things such as sharpen or resize images for my blog. I have a product coming out very soon that I've been using and developing over the past year that helps me get the look that I want. Its something I'm really excited about and something I think will help a lot of photographers.


Any workflow tips?

I worked 40 hours a week for 4 weeks to process my first wedding. After that I decided there had to be a better way so I worked long and hard finding ways to make my life easier after the shoot. The biggest things I did were switching to RAW and buying Photomechanic. Photomechanic has given me months of my life back. I use it to edit, rename, resize and sort my images. It is so fast it boggles the mind. I don't know how it does it but I think it has something to do with a deal the developers made with the Devil. I'm not sure but I'm not going to ask any questions.

So my workflow is: download, rename, edit... all in Photomechanic, RAW process... in Lightroom, finish with my nifty new product... in Photoshop. I can now process an engagement or portrait session in an hour or so and a wedding in 2 or 3 hours. (Of course most of the time I have an employee doing all of that except for the Photoshop part which I still handle)

One thing that has made my blogging life so much easier is an action set from the guys at BlogStomp. These guys have made actions that make it AMAZINGLY fast and easy to resize, sharpen, brand (add your logo) and save your images for web. It is seriously just one or two clicks from a full size image to the finished, saved, blog ready image. Its taken my blog prep time from an hour or more down to a couple minutes... literally. Go get your own set... now.


Who do you host your site through?
Eleven2 They're amazing... and cheap. And they offer HUGE storage/bandwidth plans for next to nothing.

I want more MNP. How do I get it?

I offer workshops from time to time so if you'd like to get down and dirty with all of this info that would be the way. Shoot me an email if your interested in private or group workshops.