Inside My Camera Bag | Jaakko Perälä

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My name is Jaakko, and I’m a European elopement photographer based in Finland.

In 2015, I became a professional wedding photographer. This was the same year I got married. I had already photographed several weddings when it was my turn to get married. But it still surprised me, and changed my entire life.

When I woke on the morning before our wedding, I felt completely different.

It was much more emotional than I expected, and I couldn’t be close to my wife because of the guests. I finally understood that I get self-conscious in front of crowds especially when I’m not the one who is in charge.

It was because of my own wedding that I began to consider elopments.

I wanted to let couples experience their wedding the way we wished to have done it.

Starting in 2023 I will offer elopements in Europe on specific dates, either as a full-day experience or a multi-day experience.

I can then show couples how to be truly present at their wedding. In my chosen places, nature’s force sets the rhythm, and we humans are only a tiny piece of it all.

These settings are perfect for focusing your attention on the person you love and removing yourself from the everyday.

Regarding photography equipment, you don’t need the fanciest gear to create beautiful art.

The limitations forced me into being creative and I learned things because I didn’t have any other choice. It’s been almost annoyingly popular to take blurry photos recently and I had to learn how to take them a decade ago because my gear was so limited that “normal shutter speeds” were out of the question.

I think the best way to learn more about photography is to use a camera with a single lens. It forces you to move and think about different perspectives and how to use depth if you don’t have the fastest lens on the market.

I began my photography journey with an original Fujifilm X100A compact camera which has been very popular in the 20th century.

I gradually upgraded to Nikon full frame and then Canon and Leica. Last year, I decided solely to use Canon because I was shooting in rainy conditions. Leica M10‘s too much.

Canon EOS R6 Mark II – is probably the best current camera for wedding photographers. It has fast autofocus; it can shoot stills and video, and it’s super light with Canon’s smaller lenses.

You can just forget about it. This is important when creating art. I love the fact that you can do double exposures with your camera.

Canon EOS R6 Mark 1 – I like some things about the Canon EOS R6 Mark I, such as the autofocus system. I can use the facial recognition and still take photos even when people are in the background.

With the Canon EOS R6 Mark II I have to change the focus mode because it easily focuses on people’s faces that you may not want.

Canon EOS-1N – my inspiration to shoot film comes and goes. This camera is a real workhorse and I love the fact that I have so many Canon EF lens to use with it.

Olympus Mju-II – this is my best buddy when spending time with my family or friends. I don’t have to worry about it, and I know it won’t last forever, so I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.

I always use two cameras when working. It’s mostly because I don’t use zoom lenses, but taking a backup photo on another camera is also great.

Specially with the Leica M10I used to backup every important moment when there was only one SD-card.

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II – is my most used lens. I bought this brand new in 2017, and I’ve taken over 200K photos through it. I’m unsure if I even want to update this when the RF version comes.

Canon RF 50mm F/1.2L – I love this lens, but to be honest, I would’ve survived with the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2LI used to have it before. It feels a little more clinical sometimes than the EF version, but I still use this on every elopement.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L – I’m not the biggest fan of the 85mm focal length, but this lens gives me the extra reach I often need. It’s sharp and fast enough, and I haven’t even considered upgrading it to the RF version. I could replace it with the Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8 someday.

Canon RF 28mm F/2.8 Pancake – this lens is Canon’s hidden gem! It’s so tiny that it almost makes your camera disappear.

It’s perfect when I’m trail running with my Canon R-system. I’m so happy I bought it, and it’s the perfect lens to shoot some opening scenes on an elopement day.

Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 – although this is officially my backup lens, I use it regularly when taking images and videos of my family and friends. It’s completely fine to use it professionally as well.

Canon EF45mm f/2.8 TS – I use this lens when I am feeling inspired. It gives you a totally different look, and it draws your attention to the desired location. Sometimes, it can be a bit of trial or error, but that’s when the most cool photos happen.

I use artificial lighting very rarely but I can use it if necessary. Mini-LEDs are something I recommend to other elopement photographer. They are great for when it gets dark or if you just want to light up your couple a little bit, like when photographing the Milky way or Northern Lights.

Peak Design Everyday Sling, 6L – is a perfect bag for situations where you don’t know about the weather and don’t want to bring too much gear. I also love some special things about it as you can add your water bottle or camera using Peak Design’s Capture or a jacket, even if they don’t fit inside the bag.

Peak Design Travel Bag 45L – is my carry-on bag and the one I use during my elopements. It’s big enough to carry all my gear including a laptop, but not that big that it wouldn’t fit inside the plane. Also, I can add Peak Design’s Capture to it.

Peak Design Travel Duffel 65L – is the bag I usually check in when travelling to destination elopements. It’s big enough, and it doesn’t matter if it’s raining or muddy. I do wish that it had wheels.

Gunslinger Dual Camera Harness – this brand is owned by a superwoman who makes super-special harnesses. I originally bought it because I didn’t want the harness to be too big, and I wanted it to match with my leather shoes!

I’ve had it for several years now, and I’ve sold my other dual harnesses.

LightroomYou can also find out more about the following: Photographs – I use LightroomI can edit all my images. It’s fast and affordable. I rarely use Photographs I’d rather correct my image taking technique than clone later in Photoshop.

Imagen AI – I’ve used Imagen AII’ve been using it for several years and I love the results. It saves me a lot of time and produces better results than any human could ever do. I would highly recommend using this program. I have a profile.

Pic-Time – I’ve used Pic-Time for a few years now, and it’s better than the alternative Online galleriesI’m excited that you can now blog using Pic-Time. I haven’t tried it yet, but I am looking forward to it.

For clothes, I’m a big fan of Arc’teryx, Patagonia, and Satisfy Running. These are the brands I use for trail-running and sometimes my photography work.

For shoes, I love my Hanwag Grünten and Red Wing shoes. If you’re looking for new shoes as an elopement photographer, choose shoes with enough grip on the outsole.

I don’t think I ever wanted to be a professional photographer. Life just happened and I got sucked in.

I have met a lot of lovely people over the years and am looking forward to meeting more this coming year!

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