Being asked to be a wedding photographer is a huge responsibility! Someone has trusted you with capturing the memories of what could be the biggest day of their lives!
Have you got the right gear to get the job done?
Gear can be a bit of a sensitive topic, and every photographer is different. Some prefer Canon, others prefer Nikon. Some prefer zoom lenses, others prefer prime lenses. And some photographers are just starting out and don’t know what they need. So, I’ve created this article to give an outline of the gear I take with me to every wedding that I feel is crucial and could not live without!
Firstly, I use Canon gear and only use zoom lenses. A lot of my friends like to use prime lenses, and we often have fun battling about the pros and cons of both options — but for me, I’m a zoom lens kind of guy.
Zoom Lens vs. Prime Lens
Here are six super-important reasons why I prefer to use zoom lenses over prime lenses:
- I can shoot 95 percent of the wedding on just two lenses.
- It saves me from having to shoot using two cameras.
- I feel more prepared with a zoom lens to get “the shot” when it appears in a split second.
- It gives the look of my images more variety. For example, I can shoot the same subject while quickly zooming in and out, and the two images will look completely different.
- It’s also just way quicker to use; instead of running in and out, I can simply just zoom in and out (within reason).
- And my last reason is simply that this is the way I learned to shoot weddings, and I just feel way more comfortable using zoom lenses. Again, everyone is different and everyone has their own style, so it’s simply just my preferred way of shooting a wedding.
Checklist: 13 Must-Have Gear for Every Wedding
OK, so this bag (LowPro Pro Roller x300 AW) comes with me on every shoot. Check out what’s inside:
1. Canon 5D Mark III (with battery grip)
My trusty workhorse! An absolutely fantastic camera that does everything I need it to do to shoot weddings. There are definitely better cameras out there, but for what I need it for — and at this price range — it’s the best!
2. Canon 5D Mark II (backup camera body just in case)
This was my old camera before I upgraded to the Canon 5D Mark III. The perfect backup camera, which hopefully I will never need to use!
3. Canon 24mm–70mm f/2.8 (series 2)
The lens I absolutely could not live without and most used in my whole kit. The series 2 is also a big improvement on the series 1, providing noticeably sharper images.
4. Canon 70mm–200mm f/2.8 IS (series 2)
The second-most-used lens in my kit and another that I could not live without! This lens comes in two versions, with image stabilizer and a cheaper version without. If I could give one point of advice, it’s definitely worth forking out for the IS.
5. Canon 100mm Macro f/2.8
I mainly use this lens for all my detail shots, as the macro lets me get up close and personal with the item and also gives the images a super-nice, soft drop off. Just be careful to check your images on the back of the camera to make sure the thing that you want to have in focus is actually in focus. If you miss by a millimeter, your whole shot will be ruined!
6. Canon 17mm–40mm f/4
This is a great lens that I use to get a lot of my “epic'” shots. The wide angle is amazing and can give you some really dramatic shots. Also great when you’re shooting in a crowd after the ceremony and on the dance floor in the reception. Personally, I couldn’t justify the additional $1500 for the 16mm–35mm f/2.8
7. Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT Flash
I just upgraded from the 580ex and basically can’t tell the difference. I’m sure there are more and better features, but I just use it on ETTL and bounce the light around. Works perfectly, as did the 580EX.
8. Spare Camera Batteries
Always bring spare batteries with you to every wedding! Luckily, I have never needed to use them yet, as I always charge my batteries the night before — but still, for the peace of mind, it’s worth having.
9. Canon Battery Charger
Also have never needed to use this on a wedding yet, as everything is already charged, but it’s nice to have just in case you need to do some emergency charging. Remember, with the battery grip, you can charge one battery while still being able to shoot with the other in your grip.
10. Spare AA Batteries and Charger for Speedlite Flash
Now, these are probably more important than the spare camera batteries. I find I’m way more likely to run out of flash power, especially on some of the longer days, so a spare set of fully charged AAs is a must!
11. Card Folder with 1x 8gig, 2x 16gig, and 1x 32gig Sandisk Memory Cards
To be honest, I should actually have one more card in my kit. I find it is best to have one card for every different section of the day: groom coverage, bride coverage, ceremony, locations, and reception. That way in a worst-case scenario (you end up with a corrupt card), you have only lost a section of the day, not the whole day!
12. Little Baggie with Lens Cloth and Elinchrom Flash Trigger
I find it just nice to have a little bag to put random little stuff in.
13. Business cards!
Always be thinking about marketing — give out your business cards!
Gear to Get That Extra Punch
So apart from everything that is in my camera bag, a few extra bits and pieces make it on the list as well! These things are not crucial, but I still like to take them to every wedding so I can use them if I want to.
1. Elinchrom Quadra
An amazing 400-watt portable studio flash unit that’s totally easy to use and transport. This flash has helped me define my style as a wedding photographer, and I use it at almost every wedding. Remember, I don’t use assistants or second shooters at a wedding, but it’s still easily manage use this flash without any headaches.
2. Dido Video Light
A super awesome warm light that I use almost at every wedding to create really moody shots. I use the light generally during the morning coverage at the groom’s house and bride’s house, sometimes at receptions to get a bit of flare during the dancing, and if we go to any bars or clubs on locations. Works a treat!
3. My Trusty Little Step Ladder
I use this 95 percent of the time for the group photo of all the guests after the wedding ceremony. A bit of a hassle to carry and travel with, as it takes up a decent amount of room in the car, but a must-have piece of equipment if you’re doing group photos. Without it, you might be stuck standing on a chair (which doesn’t give you the height you need) or looking for a tree to climb.
4. Lastly, not exactly something you need to bring with you, but something worth preparing — always have enough petrol in the car to get you through the day.
Thanks so much for reading!
Thanks so much for reading my post about wedding photography gear, a detailed must-have checklist of everything you need to take to every wedding!
About the Author:
Chris Garbacz has 10 years of experience as a Melbourne wedding photographer (weddings.epicphotography.com.au). He’s photographed just shy of 400 weddings, says he has seen it all and experienced almost every scenario imaginable. The best part is that he still loves photographing weddings and jumps out of bed feeling excited to see each couple’s wedding day unfold.
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