If you are a photographer that has shot any events, weddings especially (as that’s what I am, a wedding photographer!), since I guess June or so last year, then you’ll have been tasked with shooting with a face mask on. Easier said than done! Not all masks are made equal.
The main reason that mask, for me at least, is an issue, is the fogging up of the viewfinder. While I thankfully can get away with using the Canon 5D Mk4 screens for a large portion of a wedding day, there are parts of the day when I have to use the viewfinder…the bride walking down the aisle for example, critical moments when I need to see through the viewfinder, with no fog!! Every other issue some people complain about regarding masks, I do not mind – I have no issues wearing it for 8 hours, no issues breathing with it. But the warm air escaping the top and fogging the viewfinder is a massive issue. This image underneath is the issue! Photographers often have issues with lenses fogging up in winter, especially going from the cold outside to the warmth inside, but the mask is a different issue though and nothing to do with the lenses.
If you’re a photographer, or even full-time mask user because of your job, with any other mask ideas, just leave a comment below, I’d be super interested to hear your take or ideas.
So far the best mask I’ve tried and used is the disposable one that looks like the kind surgeons or dentists use…the blue one!! It does help that it’s easy to breath in it, which means wearing it for a full wedding day is easy. But because it has a little metal strip around the nose, it can help eliminate some of the fogging of the viewfinder…not all the time unfortunately. And I do find I have to keep pressing down around the nose area to keep the metal strip against my nose to help matters. To put the mask on a little tighter and help even more, I find looping the ear straps around my ear brings it even closer. I tend to bring a couple of these masks to weddings and change during the day if necessary.
Next up is the Buff filter mask, pictured below. Full disclaimer here – I was given this mask to try by Call of the Wild in Sligo. I’m a Buff product user anyway, I always use the classic one for running in winter or kayaking in the summer sun, along with a neck gaiter for hiking in snowy cold conditions!
This differs to the other masks by having larger, adjustable straps that go around your head rather than your ears. The fact the strap is adjustable is why this mask does actually work. To get it to work at its best to help avoid fogging the viewfinder, you have to wear it tight, and it’s probably going to become a little uncomfortable a few hours into a wedding – I haven’t used this at a wedding yet (none until April unfortunately) but from testing around the house, I can feel that because it’s on so tight, it would become uncomfortable, but I’ll sacrifice comfort for something that doesn’t fog my viewfinder.
As with the blue disposable mask above, the Buff mask isn’t a 100% sure thing. The viewfinder still fogs up on occasion, but it doesn’t do it all the time. This mask would undoubtedly be better if it had a nose strip along the top. It also uses disposable filters inside, so there is an extra cost to it but they aren’t too expensive.
In terms of looks and how it fits with my wedding attire, yeah it’s pretty nice, and does come in other colours also. I can see me wearing this Buff one at most weddings in 2021 for sure, and if it does get uncomfortable I’ll just swap it out for a blue disposable one for part of the day. The cotton masks such as the ones below with filters in them, look better, but ultimately don’t do the job. Put it on, walk into a brides home, put the camera to your eye, and boom, fog city in that viewfinder. So while it might look better with my wedding attire, it doesn’t do the job, so got changed out very quickly for the blue mask mentioned above.
Now on occasion I have wore the cotton mask below, with a blue disposable mask underneath…double masking before anybody even said to double mask! That works to a point with fogging. It is still pretty comfortable to wear, but I still had the issue of pressing on the nose piece to secure it. The main issue with this is having to shout a bit more so people could actually hear me speak!