ARTICLE

How EOS R changed a wedding photographer's work

Canon Ambassador Katya Mukhina's latest project, Iceland Elopement, featured a couple on a romantic photo shoot in remote Icelandic locations. Taken on a Canon EOS R with a Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM lens at 1/4000 sec, f/2.0 and ISO250. © Katya Mukhina

Russian wedding photographer and Canon Ambassador Katya Mukhina has shot in over 35 countries on five continents, from the lush landscapes of Tuscany and Tahiti to the wide-open spaces of Bolivian salt flats and Brazilian sand dunes.

"I love to create stories and to show all the kinds of feelings the couple is experiencing that moment," Katya says. "I also love that excitement of seeing the couple discover new places."

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The challenges of working in these places, Katya says, are all part of the experience. "With my location shoots, I attract clients who are happy to go outside their comfort zone," she continues. "They appreciate that the time-consuming process involved – from planning and preparation to the shoot itself – will give them something nobody else will have."

In an average wedding or pre-wedding shoot, Katya shoots a mixture of environmental portraits, reportage, fashion portraits and action. Her work demands a variety of photographic skills, and her kit has to be equally adaptable to changing situations. She might have to work in a dark church, where she has to shoot silently in low light, or among a fast-moving crowd, EOS R's full-frame mirrorless autofocus (AF) ensures she walks away with the shot.

A woman in a flowing white wedding dress stands at the base of a steep, grassy rock face.
"The camera’s controls are very similar to my other Canon cameras and it was easy to start shooting," says Katya. Taken on a Canon EOS R with a Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM lens at 1/1328 sec, f/5.6 and ISO1600. © Katya Mukhina
A strawberry blonde woman in a white lace wedding dress and flower headband holds a small bouquet of mixed red and blue flowers against an out-of-focus background of ice.
The Canon RF 24-105MM F/4L IS USM lens is fast, exceptionally sharp and produces a beautiful bokeh, making it a perfect portrait lens. Here, Katya used a Canon EOS R with a Canon RF 24-105MM F/4L IS USM lens at 1/1328 sec, f/4.0 and ISO800. © Katya Mukhina

For her latest shoot, Katya took a couple to central, south and eastern Iceland. She used the Canon EOS R system – the compact full-frame Canon EOS R and two EOS R lenses: the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM and the Canon RF 24-105MM F/4L IS USM.

Utilising the ability to mount her existing lenses on the Canon EOS R, she shot with the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III, EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II and EF 85mm f/1.4 L IS USM – fitted to the camera using the Canon Control Ring Mount Adapter EF-EOS R adapter, which enables you to seamlessly move between EF, EF-S and EOS R lenses without loss in quality, and features a programmable control ring.

She chose Iceland for its rugged and remote landscapes. "Iceland has a lot of visually strong landscapes for powerful emotional moments, so the pictures look more epic," she says. She describes the concept for the shoot as "adventurous young souls run away into the Nordic wilderness to be happy together."

A strawberry blonde woman in a white dress stands a short distance from the camera in a field of lilac-coloured lupins.
Katya, the couple and her assistant drove around Iceland during the shoot, stopping off at photogenic and remote locations such as fields of flowers. Taken on a Canon EOS R with a Canon RF 24-105MM F/4L IS USM lens at 1/1328 sec, f/4.0 and ISO320. © Katya Mukhina

The shoot lasted five days with Katya, her assistant, and the couple journeying across Iceland in a campervan between ever more scenic locations.

With around 20 hours of daylight each day, they worked until late at night in often-inhospitable terrain and notoriously unpredictable weather conditions. Katya photographed the couple in snow, rain, sunshine and mist; on deserted roads and vast other-worldly landscapes, beside a dramatic waterfall, in a ravine, in fields of flowers and standing on ice floes.

"While we were there," she says, "temperatures ranged from 0 to 10°C – the hugging looks even more natural when it's cold!" she laughs.

A bride and groom embrace on an ice floe with snow-covered hills in the background. The couple are reflected in the still water in front of them.
During the shoot, Katya would often use a landscape feature, such as the iceberg in the above image, as a focal point in her photographs. Taken on the full-frame, mirrorless Canon EOS R with a Canon RF 24-105MM F/4L IS USM lens at 1/2656 sec, f/4.0, ISO1250. © Katya Mukhina

Although it was her first time using the Canon EOS R, she quickly adapted to using it. "The camera’s controls are very similar to my other Canon cameras and it was easy to start shooting," she says. "It only took about 10 minutes to understand how to start working with it."

Katya sees the Canon EOS R system as an important part of her kitbag in the future. "The Canon EOS R is lighter than my DSLR cameras and there's even more functionality," she says. "I would happily take two EOS R bodies on a shoot."

"The camera is very comfortable to use, everything is fast and responsive so I can shoot spontaneously, and the weather sealing is robust. The combination of new features delivers a product that's on another level. It's perfect for my kind of work."

A man and woman in casual clothing walk closely together in light snow with a mountainous Icelandic landscape in the background.
"The Canon EOS R is very comfortable to use, everything is fast and responsive so I can shoot spontaneously, and the weather sealing is robust," says Katya. Taken on a Canon EOS R with a Canon RF 24-105MM F/4L IS USM lens at 1/1000 sec, f/4.0 and ISO2000. © Katya Mukhina

For Katya, the quality of her output is paramount, and it's vital to future-proof files that can continue to be printed for generations to come. "I love the fact that people cherish my photographs," she says. "It's not like you do an event and the pictures are interesting for a day, then the next day everyone has forgotten about it. I love to create stories that are meaningful to people. Then they put these pictures in their albums and one day I hope they will show them to their children and grandchildren."

Katya Mukhina on using the EOS R system

A strawberry blonde woman in a flowing white dress runs on a beach of black sand.
Katya shot a number of images of her models running, while she ran with them, keeping them in sharp focus by using the Servo AF mode of the Canon EOS R. Taken with a Canon EOS R with a Canon RF 24-105MM F/4L IS USM lens at 1/1600 sec, f/4.0 and ISO250. © Katya Mukhina

1. Shooting moving subjects

Katya aims to keep her pictures natural, so she avoids formally posing her subjects. As part of her preparation for this shoot, she asked the couple what music they like, made a playlist and then played the music to them on location using her Bluetooth speaker. This encouraged the couple to feel comfortable in the situation and to move or to dance together in a relaxed and playful way.

"I did a lot of pictures where I asked the couple to move or run and I would run with them… and have fun, creating million of poses, and I could take pictures that looked more authentic," Katya says. To shoot pin-sharp images when they were moving, she made use of the Canon EOS R's 5fps Servo AF frame-rate (8fps when using One Shot AF), the IS in the Canon RF 24-105MM F/4L IS USM lens and reliably accurate AF.

A casually-dressed couple hug as they walk along a deserted road in a remote Icelandic landscape.
Katya used the Canon EOS R's vari-angle touchscreen to shoot from creative angles, which included shooting from above head-height or placing the camera on a road and shooting from ground level. Taken on a Canon EOS R with a Canon RF 24-105MM F/4L IS USM lens at 1/500 sec, f/4.0, ISO640. © Katya Mukhina

2. Greater creativity using the vari-angle screen

The Canon EOS R's vari-angle screen enabled Katya to be more creative with shooting from different angles, positioning the camera high above the couple or using a ground-level viewpoint.

"The vari-angle screen definitely helped me get more spontaneous images," she says. "Knowing it had sharp Servo AF allowed me to have eye contact with the couple, because I could hold the camera away from my face and look into the screen, not through the viewfinder. When they could see my eyes, they responded more to me. Also, the screen had no reflections on the surface and was easy to see in sunlight."

A young couple, the woman in a flowing white dress, hold hands as they stand on a rocky outcrop with a steep rock face behind.
"Being able to shoot in very low-light conditions, in locations such as sheltered ravines, enabled me to broaden the range of shots I am normally able to do," says Katya. Taken on a Canon EOS R with a Canon RF 24-105MM F/4L IS USM lens at 1/1000 sec, f/7.1, ISO500. © Katya Mukhina

3. Refocusing at a touch

"As a wedding photographer, I look for a camera with superb autofocus, because the moment will never be repeated," says Katya. With a touchscreen and a remarkable 5,655 AF points – covering 88% of the frame vertically and 100% horizontally – she was able to focus where she wanted, when she wanted. "I could also stand still and track the couple's movements with my finger on the screen using touch AF," she says.

"Even in shots where the woman was wearing a dark dress and was running in front of black sand dunes, the camera's autofocus still followed her. To make sure there was only one set of footprints, I had to get the shot on the first attempt. The speed of the Canon EOS R's autofocus is amazing."

A young couple embrace in a remote landscape with icy rivulets on a broad plain and snowy mountains in the distance. The woman's flowing white dress and the man's hair are blown by the wind.
Katya says Canon's EOS R system performed excellently in a range of weather conditions. Taken on a Canon EOS R with a Canon RF 24-105MM F/4L IS USM lens at 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO640. © Katya Mukhina

4. Perfect in low light

"I look for a camera that gives perfect images in low light, because many wedding events happen at night or in dark environments," Katya says. The market-leading capabilities of the Canon EOS R mean it can focus in conditions where the naked eye struggles – the AF will function at an impressive -6EV. "I'm able to shoot in darker conditions than ever before," she says.

Another feature that enabled Katya to work fast in low-light conditions was the camera's customisable multi-function bar. "I used it to quickly change the ISO setting, so I could control the aperture without changing the shutter speed," she says.

"Being able to shoot in very low-light conditions, in locations such as sheltered ravines, enabled me to broaden the range of shots I am normally able to do."

A woman in a sleek white dress, with her back to the camera, walks through a field of lupins with the sun low on a mountainous horizon in the distance.
Using the Canon EOS R system’s Control Ring Mount Adapter EF-EOS R adapter, Katya was able to use one of her existing Canon EF lenses on the full-frame, mirrorless EOS R body. Taken on a Canon EOS R with a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM lens at 1/640 sec, f/14, ISO1600. © Katya Mukhina

5. Using the EVF

"For me, one of the camera's main advantages is being able to see the picture you will get in the electronic viewfinder," Katya says. "Other features accessed via the viewfinder, such as histograms and focus peaking, enable you to quickly analyse your pictures and see what you need to change.

"I'm not a very technical photographer and I often forget to change the parameters, because I'm in the moment, looking at my composition or talking to the couple. In this camera I can already see the picture I will get. If my parameters are wrong and I overexpose or underexpose, I see it immediately, so I can change it. So that's why all my pictures came out of the camera correctly exposed."

Autor David Clark


Katya Mukhina's kitbag

The key kit pros use to take their photographs

Photographer Katya Mukhina stands in front of a body of water with icebergs in it, holding a Canon EOS R in her right hand.

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