Brides Magazine Says Professional Wedding Photographers Only Use 'Cannon or Nikon'

Brides Magazine Says Professional Wedding Photographers Only Use 'Cannon or Nikon'

If you're a wedding photographer and you're using a Sony, Fujifilm, or even a Hasselblad, sorry, you're not a pro. At least, that's what Brides magazine would have you believe.

I try to exercise a lot of patience in life, but seeing publications in a position to educate instead pass off obvious misinformation is a pet peeve of mine. Such is the case with Brides Magazine, which recently published an article titled "Essential Questions You Need to Ask Your Wedding Photographer" with a glaringly wrong piece of advice that could compromise both work for a photographer and a couple's ability to choose an appropriate wedding photographer. In the original version, the article advises brides to ask their photographer what sort of equipment they use:

What kind of equipment do you use?

'They should say either Cannon [sic] or Nikon, which are the most readily available professional cameras available,' says Tiffani. 'However, there are professional and amateur cameras in both brands. A professional camera should be a 'full format' camera. This will ensure that you can print large-scale prints easily.'

Obviously, there are numerous things wrong with this statement. Our own Jason Vinson does gorgeous work with crop-sensor Fujifilm cameras. Plenty of shooters have made the switch to Sony mirrorless. And we haven't even mentioned those who use medium format systems. Beyond the fact that this is just plainly bad broad-spectrum advice that's demonstrably incorrect, I find it all the more annoying because it encourages clients to ask questions they probably don't fully comprehend the answers to (through no fault of their own considering they're likely not photographers). It would be like me refusing to go to a restaurant because of the brand of knives the chef uses when I don't know the first thing about knives. But more importantly, what about how the food tastes? What about how the photos look? Why is Brides not encouraging couples to really study portfolios to find a style they love instead of interrogating photographers on their brand choice, sensor size, whether they use film or not, and what type of file they shoot? If you don't know photography, their answers will mean nothing to you anyway, and if you do know it, you'll know that the final images matter way more than if it wasn't shot on a full-frame Can(n)on. A properly educated client makes better choices that make for more compatible working relationships, and that's better for the everyone involved. 

Interestingly, it seems that after PetaPixel broke the story, the magazine updated the article without comment, in which the aforementioned section now reads: 

What kind of equipment do you use?

Ideally, your photographer would use the most readily available professional camera.

I'm sorry, but I don't even know what "readily available" means. The latest model? The most popular? Again, this sort of thing is frustrating for me not because I'm sitting here, itching to snipe at some publication for giving poor advice, but because people read magazines and give them assumed authority, and they take what they read and come to wedding photographers with it. And when they unnecessarily pass on a photographer they like because of some technical piece of information that they don't understand and that doesn't matter, it hurts the photographer in the lost income and it hurts the couple in that they possibly pass over the right photographer for irrelevant reasons. 

What do you think? Should couples be asking photographers about their equipment? Or is it just the images that matter?

[via PetaPixel]

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Amber Goetz's picture

I love that you wrote this! I hold back full eyeroll everytime I get asked the "what kind of gear do you have" question. This statement by Bride magazine is almost as bad as the article they put out a couple months back about "Why You Should Not Feed Your Vendors". I think it's time to boycott Bride magazine as they sure don't seem to like us pro photographers.

Alex Cooke's picture

Maybe it's because I'm a teacher, but misuse of a position of educational reach strikes a particular nerve with me.

Simon Patterson's picture

I've been boycotting Brides magazine all my life, without even realising it! I suspect most FStoppers readers have been the same, so I'm not sure a new boycott will be super effective...

Anonymous's picture

"A professional camera should be a 'full format' camera"

full format? like the largest format? sweet! bringing an 8x10 camera to shoot my next wedding!!

seriously though this magazine is nutty. I think a couple should look at images and find a wedding photographer who shoots the kind of images they want, then hire said photographer(as long as they are pros and have their shit together). Gear should be the last thing on the couples minds. Making sure the photographer has backup gear might be a good thing but the brand of camera your photographer shoots with shouldn't matter to you.

Andrea Re Depaolini's picture

Just make sure your "full format" 8x10 camera is a "Cannon" or a Nikon otherwise you are just an amateur

jean pierre (pete) guaron's picture

If I was looking for advice on how to take a better photograph, I think it is wildly improbable that I would go & get a copy of Brides magazine to get the information I was looking for. And after reading this article, I can't think of any other reason I'd get a copy of it. What a load of crap!

Ariel Martini's picture

that's actually advice for choosing your wedding photographer, which just make it worse.

Simon Patterson's picture

I'm tipping you're not the target audience for a magazine named "Brides", so I'm not sure they will be too disappointed. 😊

Great article, however "Cannon" ?? Dont you mean Canon?

Stephen Kampff's picture

I believe that's what the original (Brides) article said.

Ansel Spear's picture

That's what (sic) means. Doh!

Being the devil's advocate - the Canon with two "n"'s and the "full format" not "full frame" could be typos. The "readily available professional cameras" could refer to that Nikon and especially Canon has a large dealership and pro services that will most likely come to rescue if gear brakes down or is lost in the days up to the wedding. Sonys and Fujis are not as reliable as Canon and Nikon cameras - they are getting there - but not quite. If a bride has the money to hire a high-end wedding photographer using the latest Hasselblad or Phase One gear - she will not be asking them about what cameras they use - but what it will cost to give each of the guests a personal leather bound gold-embosed wedding album from the day. - Not being the devil's advocate - yes - it sounds a bit lame

What do you do if a couple asks you if you can photograph the entire wedding with manual focus lenses from the 70s and 80s? (I have two dozen of those)
Its definitely not the newest equipment, are the lenses great? Hell yes. Some are even greater than some L glas from cannon*. Is it difficult to focus? No, but it's alot more work but you can bet every image is worth the hassle.

Patrick Hall's picture

If a client asked me to shoot with manual lenses and it was something I never do, I would run for the hills. If a bride asks about something as specific as manual focus then that sound like they would be a nightmare to work with on so many other details.

Norbert Tukora's picture

It's not that hard to get used to shooting with manual lenses! I did it for a year (even weddings) because my Sigma Art 50mm had unusable AF and was unrepairable. With Canon cameras you can use Magic Lantern and add your custom modules to get focus peaking and correct-face-auto-exposure.
Half a year ago I switched to a D810 and in extreme situations I still have to fall back to manual focusing.
So it's not a bad skill to have. :)
Oh, and by the way, I live in middle Europe, and most people here are poor. They usually can't afford L glasses but have a ton of Helios lenses from the 70's and 80's. And brides love vintage photos taken with them!! So they aren't a nightmare to work with if one asks for it. :D

Patrick Hall's picture

Ironically the most unreliable cameras I've ever used and seen used by other professionals are by far Hasselblads and PhaseOnes. Fuji and Sony are fine

Patrick: I only shot Hasselblad back in the film days - only real issue were light leaks in the film mags - I just made it a habit changing seals every 3-4 months and no problems. I'm not a Canon fanboy but I have never been let down by my Canon gear - Sometimes my Fuji x100S goes all haywire on me - and once I had my trusty old workhouse Fuji GX 680 die on my at a very important shoot (had a Canon in the bag and made it anyway). As for Sony - all I can say is - if it breaks down on you - there will be a long way to get a replacement in many parts of the world - and Sony service towards pro photographers are not standardized - so you could be in luck in the US but in real big trouble in the UK. David: Manuel focusing old lenses on Canon sucks with their new Focusing Screens - I would not want to shoot a wedding that way.

Anonymous's picture

I'm not 100% sure but I think Patrick was referring to digital medium format when he mentioned hasselblad

Patrick Hall's picture

The specific issue I've seen with Hasselblad is the shutter blowing out. Peter had his shutter blow out while we were filming him and he told us it blows out every 3 months and he has to mail it back!

Percy Ortiz's picture

Patrick do you mean the curtain? because the shutter on a Hasselblad is actually on the lens. or does he blow out his lens shutter every 3 months?

Patrick Hall's picture

Yeah must be the curtain, whatever is actually in the camera not the leaf shutter in the lens.

gabe s's picture

" Nikon and especially Canon has a large dealership and pro services that will most likely come to rescue if gear brakes down or is lost in the days up to the wedding"

Unless you are sponsored by Nikon or Canon, good luck getting a company repair within days of a wedding. This obviously excludes cities that have said company repair centers, but still.

If you own a certain amount pro-Canon Bodies and L- Lenses, you get a silver, Gold or Platinum membership of CPN / Canon Professional Network that entitles you to very fast repair and loaner gear - and if you are in a place with no coverage you can rent a Canon body or a Canon lens almost any-ware - good luck finding a Sony G-master lens in the local mom and pop shop if it dies hours before a wedding. I might have an OCD, but I always carry a lot of backup gear plus the CPN membership plus full covering insurance - but rather that than to disappoint a couple on the most important day of their life. I see a lot of great development with Fuji and Sony and some features I would love to have on Canon 5dsr - some of them have reached the 5d MK IV - some not - But at the end of the day I shoot with what I'm comfortable with and generally it gives the clients some kind of confidence when you pull out pro-Canon gear - and the Clients pay the bills

This is a question of someone writing an article who doesn't know anything about the facts but just want to write an article.
I'm not a pro at all but I have two cameras, an older Sony A77 with a big lens and a smaller Sony a6300.
The a6300 runs circles around the a77 but sometimes I carry both, and every unknown person just assumes that the big one is better than the small one. Just goes to figure.

Dallas Dahms's picture

Good grief, Alex...

Fujifilm cameras are NOT CROP SENSOR cameras! Reading that is almost as bad as reading the preceding paragraph about what are considered professional cameras.

As far as I can tell, all the lenses that are made for the Fujifilm X system are "full format" lenses. That means they are designed for the size of the sensor in the camera and there is no cropping going on at all. Same thing for Micro Four Thirds cameras and their sensors. All full format cameras.

The only cameras that suffer from "cropping" are those 35mm mounts where they don't put a sensor big enough to capture the entire image circle of the lenses designed for 35mm systems. Like Canon's APS-C range and Nikon's DX range. Sometimes you get lenses for those mounts designed for the size of the sensor but for the most part they are your "crop sensor" cameras.

Ariel Martini's picture

They could be called cropped if compared to a full frame. Sensor-wise a Fuji X is no different than a Nikon D500 with a full DX set, for instance. That part was understandable, in my opinion.

Dallas Dahms's picture

The D500 mount is designed for a 35mm lens, not a DX lens. The Fuji X mount is designed for that specific size of sensor. It is not cropped from anything. The DX is cropped from 35mm. There's a big difference. One is cropped, the other isn't.

You cannot call a Fuji X mount camera a crop sensor any more than you can call a 35mm sensor a crop when compared to medium format.

Alex Cooke's picture

It's become entirely ubiquitous to refer to sensors small than 35mm as "crop" sensors and is something I agree with, as it's not completely logically consistent to refer to sensor size partially in reference to the lenses attached to it.

Anonymous's picture

why do we refer to 35mm as full frame though? why is that the standard? it's never been the largest format. In reality 35mm is a "crop" as well. I don't think it's logical to refer to 35mm in that way. I think referencing the lens size to sensor size is actually more logical when you think about it.

I agree with Dallas on this one. 35mm isn't the be all end all. it's tiny compared to digital MF and extremely tiny compared to MF/LF film.

Alex Cooke's picture

I didn't coin the term. If you want to go by the strict mathematical definition you're suggesting, then what is full frame? Is it 4x5? No, that's a crop to 8x10. 8x10 is a crop to 16x24. And so on. It completely undermines the utility of the term because there is no absolute upon which relative comparisons can be based. There is no absolute "full frame." I think you're getting caught in the desire to invest the term with the most literal interpretation of "full" as opposed to a working definition that trades a degree of colloquialism for utility.

When I say "logically inconsistent," I mean that the lens/sensor size method is using an external factor that in no way affects the quantitative measurement of an internal property of a system to nonetheless define said internal property, which should never be. By that logic, if I adapt a 6x7 lens to my 5D4, my 5D4 is now a "crop" sensor. "Crop" sensor cameras also have canonical lenses for their mounts, which by that logic suddenly makes them "full frame," which is absurd given that we're talking about a quantification of the size of the sensor and that that is entirely unaffected by the lens that happens to be attached to the camera. Even worse, if you follow that logic to the extreme, a camera with no lens attached is an... infinite-crop sensor?

On the other hand, the colloquial term exists and is useful because it provides a standard of comparison, obviates the logical inconsistencies of the other systems, and introduces a very useful concept when talking about how one sensor behaves relative to another: the crop factor. That's why the terminology has endured.

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