Shooting with two cameras seems to be a growing trend in the wedding industry. When I first started shooting, I saw people doing this and I just didn’t see the point. I figured I could always change lenses, and then I would be good to go. Once I gave it try I completely fell in love. Here is my “how and why” I shoot with two cameras.
What Lens On Each Camera
For the most part, when I shoot with two cameras, I utilize a 35mm and an 85mm lens attached to each camera. These two lenses can accomplish 80 percent of what I need to do on a wedding day. The 35mm is perfect for cramped hotel rooms and hallways, and the 85mm is perfect for more close-up portraits and ceremony images where I can't get close enough.
When the reception comes around and traditional events are over, I will trade out my 85mm lens for my 20mm lens. I’m usually right up in the thick of things so I don’t need a lot of reach. I also like to shoot with lower shutter speeds to create light streaks across my images and I’m not a huge fan of this look when shooting at 85mm.
It can be argued that if I shot with a 24-70mm, then I would only need one camera and one lens, and that’s perfectly acceptable for a lot of people. I shoot weddings with my wife and she prefers the 24-70 and she rocks it. It’s just two different styles of shooting. You could also shoot with a 24-70 on one camera and a 70-200 on the other and cover a greater focal range, but then you are left with greater weight to lug around. The reason I stick with the 35mm and 85mm is because they are both f/1.4 lenses. Since I can get a lot more light through them, I am able to use them in darker situations without having to bump up my ISO. I also do a lot of playing with depth of field, so being able to shoot wide open at f/1.4 is very important to me. Because prime lenses have a simpler construction, they are also generally lighter and cheaper to purchase. By shooting with two cameras, I now get the benefits of shooting with a zoom lens along with the benefits of shooting with fast prime lenses.
Aperture Priority + Auto ISO
In a past article I explained how I have my camera setup and why I prefer aperture priority and auto ISO. To expand on this a little more, another reason I use aperture priority with auto ISO is because I shoot with two cameras. If I’m using camera one outside for a while and then switch to camera two and move inside, I want to be able to quickly grab camera one and start shooting. If I shot both cameras in manual, then I would have to constantly think about what lens I had on and what shutter speed I need to stay above. Also, if I’m shooting with camera one for a long time, I have to constantly remember what my settings are on camera two in case I need to quickly change. Instead of this, I let my camera know not to go under a certain shutter speed for each camera, and I just shoot. I will, however, always shoot in full manual for both cameras when I’m using any type of flash.
Double Camera Strap
It can get pretty annoying trying to have two cameras hanging from your neck or trying to manage two different sling straps. Because of this, I knew I wanted a strap that was specifically designed to hold two cameras. When searching for “double camera strap,” you are presented with a lot of options and I’m sure they all work very well too. However, in my opinion, none of them look as good as the Moneymaker from Holdfast. I know there are a few cheaper DIY options out there and I even tried to go that route, but it just didn’t look and feel like I wanted it to. So I broke down and got the Moneymaker and I’ll never be looking back. I can wear this strap all day without issue and the cameras are always in a good position for me to shoot. They stay very secured to the straps and I have actually ditched the little black safety clips that come with the strap because the sail clips they use are solid. I enjoy the ability to quickly remove a camera from the strap for various reasons and didn't want to have to deal with the safety clips in order to do this. Receiving a few compliments on the strap at every wedding isn't such a bad thing either.
Two Identical Cameras
When I first started using two cameras at the same time, I had my DSLR on one strap and my Fuji X100 on the other. When I would switch from one to the other, I constantly had to take a moment and make that mental switch saying “I’m using this camera now, this camera has these buttons and features.” Because of this, I feel it’s important that both cameras are the exact same camera and have the exact same settings. The reason for shooting two cameras is to seamlessly switch from one camera to the other. If you have to make a mental switch as to which camera you are using, and where this camera has that button you need, then you could miss the shot you wanted because you were fumbling around. The same thing happens with your settings, if you have your Fn button mapped to ISO on one camera and the other Fn button is mapped to white balance, then you could make accidental changes that can ruin your shot.
Two Cameras at the Exact Same Time
On some occasions I will shoot both cameras at the exact same time. This takes some getting used to and practice. I have not fully mastered this yet, but figured I would share it anyway. I basically hold a camera in my left hand and a camera in my right hand. The camera in my right hand gets braced against my left shoulder. The camera in my left hand gets braced against my right hand. The strap for the camera in my left hand gets a little tight in this position and I can use this tension to stabilize everything. Then, utilizing live view I get both cameras lined up and I’m ready to shoot.
The reason I started playing around with this is for the first kiss. I like to get multiple focal lengths of this occasion, if I can, but most of the time it happens so fast that switching cameras is impossible. Therefore, using both cameras at the same time I can get two focal lengths of the same moment.
What are your thoughts? Does this make you want to shoot with two cameras or stick with just one? Does anyone have a different technique to using two cameras at the same time? What lenses do you use when shooting two cameras? What strap do you prefer?