John and Diana's Arizona Wedding

It was a whirlwind wedding weekend! My gift to the bride and groom were their wedding photos. The goal was to make sure these two kids got off to a happy and fun start!

John and Diana's Arizona Wedding
John's best friend Allen performed the ceremony.

Packing for the trip.

This is the hardest part of any photographic journey for me. I spend days thinking about it, packing different kits, different bags, changing it up, and finally settling on the right gear and bag while trying not to second guess if I should have packed something else instead.

I had a couple of concerns regarding which gear to pack. Number one, everything had to fit under the seat in front of me. Number two, the shooting conditions would be less than ideal both in terms of lighting, but also in terms of visual background noise.

Originally, I had considered packing a camera with one lens - a 24-105mm zoom, but instead I opted for the following:

  1. Canon EOS R5 - excellent focusing, fast FPS, and a high megapixel to allow for cropping as needed.
  2. Canon RF 28-70mm f/2 - an absolutely gargantuan lens, but the large aperture can hide the background distractions in bokeh.
  3. Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8 - this focal length is ideal for portraits, the background blur hides a lot of undesirable visuals, and the lens is quite compact for shorter camera bags.
  4. 13" MacBook Pro M1 to cull and edit photos.
  5. Wires, chargers, batteries, circular polarizer, and more.
  6. Think Tank Retrospective 7 V2.0 - all of the above fit! Here's a link to a review about this bag that I wrote some time ago:
Think Tank Retrospective 7 V2.0 – What Really Fits? – Bershatsky

Impromptu engagement photo shoot. The sun sets in less than an hour!

We did their engagement photos the night before the big day - just as the sun was setting. It was all spur of the moment, rushed, and still quite hot outside. Nevertheless, it was fun and the soon to be newlyweds were as laid back and easy going as could be - which made things all the more enjoyable.

No time to get in a car and drive to a fancy location, we had to make do with what was in their backyard. Luckily, their housing development had a nice walking path down the street from the house that worked out well.

It didn't matter where any of us stood, in all directions were homes, gates, yards, dogs, and super bright sunlight with really dark shadows. I tried to make use of creative angles, different backgrounds, ever changing shadows, moving sunny patches, and worked as fast as I could. The 70-200mm lens with a circular polarizer attached is what I used for all of these shots - except the last two photos. Those were of friends and family taken on their back patio using the 28-70mm f/2 after the sun had gone down.

Photos were edited using Capture One and further refined using Exposure.

The wedding ceremony took place at 2 p.m.  The temperature was 89 degrees. The ceremony took place in direct sunlight, at a crowded park, with lots of people, cars, and activities all occurring simultaneously in the background.

Like the night before, I opted for the RF 70-200mm f/2.8 lens with a circular polarizer attached. The goal was to retain the blue in the sky as I was trying to preserve the highlights as best as I could. I kept the aperture fairly wide open most of the time to hide the parking lot, picnic structures, playground, cars, restrooms, and passer-bys in the blur of the bokeh.

Immediately after the ceremony, the reception was held under a few of the picnic structures right next to where they were just wed. While this area was mostly shaded, there were still background distractions in every direction. Also, I had to expose for the people and thus sacrifice the background highlights. Due to the close proximity to everyone, I shot all of these pictures with the 28-70mm f/2.

All of the wedding day photos were edited using Capture One and Perfectly Clear.

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