Hanna Saba (@hr_images) is a photographer based in Sydney, Australia who specializes in weddings as well as other events, portraits and landscapes. He’s been using Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras and lenses since day one to produce high quality wedding work. We wanted to learn more about what gear he decides to pack, how he chooses it and why it deserves a space in his bag.
“I have personally found this lens to be the best focal length for capturing a wedding. I could have it on my camera from start to finish.” Hanna Saba
When you’re shooting a wedding, it is very important to have multiple cameras. You need at least one main camera that you use the majority of the time, and a backup camera just in case.
Sony α7 III: I use this as my main body due to its 24 megapixel sensor, that way I can save on storage space. The recent firmware version 3.0 update makes it so much easier to track the subject’s eyes and to make sure they’re nice and sharp. The viewfinder shows me exactly what the image will look like before I capture it, making it less likely that I’ll miss moments because I’m not having to wait to see and then adjust. It does really well in low light at high ISO and with fast focusing. And with the Sony Z batteries I can shoot a full 14-hour day and still have about 6% battery left at the end of the night. With the Z batteries I can get close to a 1000 shots on a full charge, but I do keep four batteries with me just in case.
Sony α7 III. Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master – 1/250-sec., f/2.8, ISO 200 (I had an off camera flash setup behind the couple facing up to the umbrella and bouncing back onto the couple, allowing the light to wrap around them.)
Sony α7 III. Sony 35mm f/1.4 G. 1/250-sec., f/1.4, ISO 800
Sony α7R III: I use the Sony α7R III as my backup camera and also for more candid shots. Since I have the ability to switch the camera into crop mode, I can get that extra reach to capture images of the guests enjoying themselves. Like my α7 III, the low light at high ISO and fast focusing is incredible and the viewfinder makes it easy to get the shot I want. With the recent firmware update, these two camera bodies are really the ultimate combo to have.
Sony α7R III. 135mm f/1.8 G Master. 1/800-sec., f/1.8, ISO 100
Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro: This lens is amazing for its detail and sharpness. To me the 90mm is Sony’s sharpest lens. I prefer to shoot prime lenses and I find this one to be the best of both worlds. Using it for macro and portraits at the same time without having to change lenses is nice since weddings are so fast-paced. This lens makes it easier for me to capture the detail shots and then with no hesitation start shooting the preparation shots without having to change lenses.
Sony α7R III. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro. 1/80-sec., f/6.3, ISO 800. (Using Godox AD200 with Magmod Snoot)
Sony 35mm f/1.4 G: I have personally found this lens to be the best focal length for capturing a wedding. I could have it on my camera from start to finish. I would start with this lens from the bride or groom’s place right through until the end of the reception. It allows me to get some environmental shots of the wedding, showcasing the atmosphere and energy in the room. Many places of worship do not allow flash which does not bother me as I love to use the natural light that comes into the church. I love that this lens allows me to get some nice wide shots of the bride walking in, or some candid shots at a wide aperture – especially if the church has low light.
Sony α7 III. Sony 35mm f/1.4 G. 1/250-sec., f/2.8, ISO 800
Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master: This lens is a recent addition to my kit. One question I have been getting is would I sell the 35mm f1.4 and stick to the 24mm? My answer is no, I will keep both. The reason being that these two lenses have different uses for me. There are times when my surroundings are very tight and so the 35mm is too close for me to show the energy in the room. The 24mm f/1.4 lens is slowly becoming my most favorite focal length. At times I’ll use this lens on my α7R III so if I need a closer focal length I can switch the α7R III to crop mode, bringing the camera to an 18mp and lens to a 35mm equivalent. I will also use this lens for my location shoots depending on the environment and what it is that I want to achieve.
Sony α7 III + 24mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/250-sec. f/1.4, ISO 100 (Both couples were lit with a spot light from the reception.)
Sony α7R III. Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master (crop mode). 1/1000-sec, f/1.4, ISO 100. This is an example where the 24mm was too wide for the location. There were unwanted objects on both sides and if I got too close to the couple they would look distorted. I switched to my α7R III, putting it into crop mode to make it a 35mm equivalent in order capture this shot.
Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master: This is my most used lens for location shoots. It produces amazing bokeh and back separation wide open. I’m able to get a nice tight shot of the couple that’s always sharp. I love using this lens to get those romantic candid shots of the couple without being so close to them that I’m intruding. It’s also a great lens to get out during the reception.
Sony α7 III. Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/320-sec., f/1.4, ISO 100
Sony 70mm-200mm f/2.8 G Master: This is the only zoom lens I own in my kit and a lens I cannot live without for weddings. It’s sharp, has fast focusing and produces amazing bokeh wide open. It’s very versatile and allows me to capture wide shots and close up tight shots during the ceremony. It’s especially nice when you’re shooting in a church and you’re limited in how far you can go in on the altar. With this lens I’m not limited to where I can go and what I can capture. Even if you are on the other side and you see a moment that you want to capture, with this lens I am able to zoom in nice and close without moving to capture that special shot. And in weddings these moments don’t last long, so you have to be quick.
Sony α7R III. Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/50-sec. f/8, ISO 80. I had a pond in between us so I decided to place the couple on the rocks of the man made waterfall and slowing the shutter speed down to get movement in the water.
Sony 135mm f/1.8 GM: This lens is another new addition to my kit. Besides the 90mm Macro, this lens is the sharpest lens I have used. The compression it produces gives a 3D pop to the images with a stunning bokeh. The focusing on this lens is fast and keeps up really well during weddings. It’s a lens that I use if I am not restricted on where I can go and if I needed that little extra reach I would switch to crop mode. I will use it during the wedding ceremony in a location where space is not an issue.
Sony α7R III. 135mm f/1.8 G Master. 1/640-sec., f/1.8, ISO 200
Bags: The bag I use for weddings is the Tenba Roadie Roller 24. I use this bag because of the size – I can fit all the gear I need to bring in this one bag as opposed to multiple bags. It’s well-designed and you can customize the compartments to properly fit your gear. It is a roller bag which makes it so much easier to transfer to different locations. It also has a TSA lock and lock cable so you can keep people from getting access to your gear or picking up the bag and walking away with it.
SD Cards: I currently use the Sony Pro SD cards, I have 64GB and 128GB. It’s very important to keep some spares with you in case one card gets full and need to put in a new card. Both bodies have dual SD card slots, and I’m set up to record on one card and make a backup of the images to the second card.
Sony α7 III. Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master. 1/1600-sec., f/1.4, ISO 100
Dual Spider Holster Light system: Camera straps I say are a photographer’s worst nightmare. I have been through so many cameras straps and am mostly disappointed with them. But now I have thrown out all my straps and am using the Spider Holster Light system, which I have to say is a life saver. Being able to go through a 14-hour day for a wedding and not have to deal with sore shoulders is amazing. The camera straps weigh down on your shoulders and neck, resulting in pain at the end of a long day. The Spider Holster Light system distributes the weight around your waist, making it easy and quick to access your cameras – especially on the go. I have the Dual Spider Holster Light system and am able to fit two cameras on either side of my hip with quick and easy access. The Spider Holster is very easy to set up and I also have the Spider Holster Light hand strap on both bodies. That way my cameras are well secure in my hand so I can’t accidentally drop them.
Sony α7R III. 135mm f/1.8 G Master. 1/1000-sec, f/1.8, ISO 100
2 x Godox AD200 Flash: I use these for flash due to the portability and power. With these two flashes it makes it so much easier to carry around as they both fit in the bag. I would either use them with my Magmod Grid and sphere or the Magmod Magbox.