I often hear, "You should only pick your wedding photographer if they use a particular brand of camera/lens and use full format." - Usually Canon or Nikon. Let's dispel one myth straight away, there is no such thing as full format! There's full frame, medium format, crop format and four thirds and micro four thirds format.
Full frame is equivalent to the 35mm film format, medium format historically refers to the 120 size film format that was used in the Hasselblad V System cameras. In digital photography, medium format refers either to cameras adapted from medium format film models or to cameras making use of sensors larger than that of a 35mm film format.
Crop format usually refers to a smaller sensor than full frame and usually has a crop factor of x1.5 in the case of Sony, Nikon and Fuji crop sensor cameras and 1.3x or 1.6x crop in the case of Canon crop sensor cameras. So the lenses used are 1.3, 1.5 and 1.6 times the focal length in use. For example a 70-200mm lens on a Canon 1.3 crop body would equate to 91-260mm.
In March 2014, I was introduced to the Micro Four thirds mirrorless camera system which was developed jointly by Olympus and Panasonic and are the only two companies that make the system. The advantage is all their lenses are compatible across the two brands.
Micro four thirds is x2 crop factor, effectively doubling the focal length of micro four third lenses - see below for more explanation. Panasonic cameras and lenses are branded as Lumix.
In the case of some lenses, they're branded as Lumix Leica, as the two companies are in partnership with certain lenses.
Leica lenses are synonymous with superb quality and very sharp images, especially their prime lenses (fixed focal length.) Having said that, all the lenses I use are capable of producing high quality images, which at the end of the day is what you're paying for.
This system is smaller and lighter than the Canon kit I was using at the time but with equally good image quality especially when using professional lenses from the likes of Panasonic and Olympus.
Other manufacturers have now taken up the mirrorless system and offer full frame alternatives to the micro four thirds system.
I dipped my toe into the micro four thirds system but kept my Canon DSLR kit at the same time. However, in November 2016, I finally took the plunge and now exclusively the mirrorless system and for my professional work, I use the following kit:
One Panasonic Lumix G9 camera with either of the following lenses:
Leica 42.5mm or Leica 50-200- these have a 35mm equivalent of 85mm and 100-400. Both have their unique use, the 42.5mm, the best portrait lens made by Panasonic/Leica for those dreamy shots and making you stand out from the background.
This 85mm equivalent lens is the industry standard portrait lens. The 50-200 will be ideal if I'm stuck at the back of the venue as I have been quite often or even have my movements restricted.
It's not been unknown for some celebrants, particularly in church, not to allow photographs at all during the ceremony but I can always work around this,
My G9 camera has dual memory card slots and I always save to both cards and I also have numerous high capacity memory cards, batteries and two off camera flashguns, although I tend to prefer natural light as flash can spoil the ambient light and the ambience.
However, I will use the flashguns during the evening reception and usually off camera using a remote trigger to give more pleasing light than on camera flash.
I've just added a Canon EOS RP full frame mirrorless camera with a Canon 17-35 and 24-105 lens to my kit so have the best of both worlds. The 17-35 is perfect for those low, wide sweeping shots of the venue and larger group shots. The 24-105, the perfect wedding lens for wide to head and shoulder portraits. I can get close without getting in your face so to speak.
The G9 and Leica lenses are dust, splash and freeze proof down to minus 10 celsius and the Canon RP, 17-35 and 24-105 are water and dust resistant. So if you're having a beach or winter wedding or if it's raining, you can be safe in the knowledge that my cameras/lenses will keep going when your friend or friend of a friend with the entry level/cheap camera/lens will be running for cover.
As you can see, every eventuality is covered with my extensive camera kit and this is something to consider when hiring an amateur photographer to shoot the most important day of your life. Will they have this amount of backup? You only get one chance to photograph a wedding so why leave it to chance by hiring an amateur who will probably only have one camera and lens!
If my images have a "blurry background" this is done entirely for artistic reasons such as the image of the wedding guest below. This is one of the benefits of having a lens with a fast aperture as all my lenses do.
This is known as Bokeh, which is Japanese in origin and refers to blur or a blurry quality, and in photography it is a very recognisable technique.
The same goes if I cut heads off, this is done on purpose to emphasise a particular detail such as the bouquet, grooms button hole etc.
I also offer the services of a second photographer as an extra backup and to cover your wedding from different perspectives, something your friend or friend of a friend wouldn't even consider.