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The Gear of a High-End Wedding Photographer | John Solano Interview Part 3

By Pye Jirsa on August 25th 2014

What John Solano Shoots With

I’ve had the good fortune to get to know John Solano, an extremely successful wedding photographer who also teaches. He is my mentor and friend, and he stopped by for an interview. Today, John Solano talks about all his favorite gear that he uses for his high-end weddings in this third and final installment of the John Solano interview series. And if you haven’t already, be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2.

The Gear of a High-End Wedding Photographer | John Solano Interview Part 3

Why John Shoots Nikon


John shoots with the Nikon D4. Why does John Solano shoot Nikon? Is it the advanced autofocus system? Dynamic Range? High ISO ability? The reason is not at all technical. Many years ago, John’s mother walked into a camera store and wanted to buy a 35mm film camera. The sales associate brought out two cameras, a Canon AE-1 and a Nikon FG. She picked up the Canon and knocked on it, then picked up the Nikon and knocked on it, and then chose the Nikon because it was made of all metal. And that is the story of why John Solano shoots Nikon.

John’s Favorite Lenses


John’s favorite lenses are the Nikon 28mm f/1.4 (discontinued), Nikon 24-70, and the Nikon 70-200. For obvious reasons, the 24-70 and the 70-200 focal lengths are ideal for weddings and events, but John also commits one body for the Nikon 28mm f/1.4, and that is his go-to lens. John also loves his Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 for when the dance floor is packed, and the Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR for its incredible versatility.


nikon 910

For Speedlights, John uses Nikon 910‘s triggered by PocketWizards. Recycle time is important so he hooks up his Nikon 910‘s to Quantum Turbo Compacts. For his on camera flash, John uses the Really Right Stuff L Bracket. One unorthodox reflector that John loves to use is the Lastolite Mcnally TriGrip reflector. One impressive feature this reflector has over its competitors is that because of its unique design, you can hold the reflector yourself and take the photo.

John Making The Lowel GL-1

gl-1 zoom function

Many of you may not know that John Solano invented the Lowel GL-1. He was in his bed one night thinking about a continuous lighting solution for photography. John thought to himself “I have the parts, they’re downstairs,” and he went down and built a prototype. After this initial prototype, John started looking at battery solutions, and he wanted it to be in the shape of a handle. Eventually John picked up a drill from Home Depot, took off the top and put on his light. Long story short, after showing off this design to Tiffen and Lowel, the GL-1 was born.


We enjoyed having John Solano in our studio and we hope you enjoyed this interview series. Be sure to check out John Solano’s work and Google+ page. Also be sure to check out the GL-1 hotlight, a light created by a professional wedding photographer for professional wedding photographers.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our Youtube Channel for more interviews!

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Q&A Discussions

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  1. Troy Barboza

    Amazing photographer, and awesome article!

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  2. Aaron Cheney

    Thank you for sharing

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  3. Mike Preter

    28-300mm? Good to know that a pro has it in his bag!

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  4. Wendell Fernandes

    GL1 is a nice product, but there is a need for product renewal

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  5. Brian Drumm

    Funny how he started with Nikon. I was the exact opposite. When I first wanted to get into photography my father gave me his old broken AE-1 Program. It was a gift to him from his father for graduating from West Point back in 1979. I paid the have the shutter fixed, and the rest was history.

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  6. Jesse Rinka

    Team Nikon! I do admit to wishing Nikon did make some of the same Canon 1.2 lenses but it wouldn’t be worth the switch for me personally. Cool interview, love hearing about the personal experiences and how the pro’s have dealt with them.

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  7. Vince Arredondo

    What I can keep from this is: 1. Asking if Nikon D4 is a full frame camera?? and 2. McNally… who? haha!

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  8. Austin Swenson

    That’s funny, his mom just walked up and knocked on the cameras and then chose the nikon… Kind of reminded me of how a pirate bites a coin to make sure it’s real, haha!

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  9. Mi Guel

    Yes…Been waiting for this. will be reading tonight…Thanks SLR Lounge and John Solano

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  10. Eric S

    Seeing a pro favor something like the 28-300 is in some way extremely refreshing!

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    • Rafael Steffen

      The great thing about the High ISO is that you can use these great zoom lens and still get great shots!

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    • Rafael Steffen

      This is such a great vídeo to watch and hear from great professional that make a difference is this hightly competitive Market.

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