I’ve had some people ask me what equipment I use for weddings. That’s an answer that has constantly been evolving from when I first started in wedding photography to now; and will be well into the future.

My early days as a photographer didn’t include very much gear. My Canon shoulder bag consisted of my newly purchased Canon 60D, a 24-70mm L lens, and a 430 EX II Speedlight as well as all the accessories such as extra batteries, tripod, etc. I WAS the “sucker” that laid down bigger bucks for professional camera gear when I wasn’t already doing professional work. But I was a very calculated sucker that knew what I wanted to do and where it would take me.

Seven weddings later I finally added a 70-200mm L lens which was the perfect addition to my kit. Most {good} photographers will tell you that if you seek quality, invest in the lens first then upgrade your body. I’m so glad I did. Adding a longer lens definitely opened up more creative options which I was able to play with and ultimately get better photos with. Being able to utilize the mid and long range and switch between them made my photos more appealing and interesting.

Since then, I have invested in a 5D Mark III body, a 600 EX RT Speedlight, several tripods, several backpacks & cases, numerous more accessories including filters & remotes, and plenty of hard drives to store all my media. Needless to say that by adding many more things, my pack has gotten much heavier because of it. I’ve had to learn to be a lot more choosy what goes in so that I can keep my pack light with just the essentials of what’s needed.

What do I currently use in my pack for weddings?

Like I mentioned, keeping your pack light is a smart option. Wedding photographers are constantly on their feet for 5-8 hours during the event. The less equipment you have to lug around during that time will make your day much easier and your body will thank you for it. I stick to the nicer gear that I own as I want to get the most pristine shots I can.

2 camera bodies (minimum):

One of the last things you want happening is your camera bodies malfunctioning during the wedding; or God forbid, you drop it and it breaks. It’s always best practice to have a backup body for worst case scenarios.

A variety of focal length lenses:

I allow myself options for a variety of situations where I may need a longer focal length over the other, and vice-versa. Keep your lens’ focal lengths distinctly different from one another. While overlapping the focal lengths is fine, try to bring lenses that have a distinct purpose for using that particular lens. I have a 24-70mm lens which I use for close-mid shots and a 70-200mm which I use for anything longer or which may require a bigger depth of field. I also sometimes carry an 11-16mm lens as an ultra wide option if I know there will be really tight or small locations which will constrain my movement.

Extra memory cards (& extras for those extras):

Similar to having more than one body, it’s been practice to have multiple memory cards. There have been numerous cases where a card gets corrupted or breaks either on the job or after. My suggestion would be to have at least 1 extra card for every card you’re initially using (minimum). To take it a step further, find a way to back up your photos as you take them. My 5D Mk III allows for two cards inserted at once and you can tell it to save images to both cards. That’s one way of doing it. You can also invest in a wireless transmitter to send the files to a device. Whatever you decide to do, just remember that your client is paying you good money and you don’t want to screw that up.

Extra batteries:

It’s good to have at least one extra battery for each camera body you are using for the event. And not just body batteries but AA, AAA or whatever other batteries you may need. And not to mention that you should make sure to have all batteries charged before the day of. It’s one of those details that’s easy to miss, just make sure you do it.

At least one flash unit:

If you want to take your photography up a notch, pick up a flash unit and learn how to use it. Depending on how you use your flash unit(s) you may be able to get by with just one. Adding additional units will allow you to create more complex lighting options for your shots. The trade-off is that this will take longer to setup and take down. There will be times during the wedding that you can take your time and it may be worth it, but it’s really how you decide you want to go about your shots. You may also want to look into getting wireless transmitters for the flash units.

Lens cleaning cloth:

This one is pretty small & light-weight so there should be no excuse not to bring this. You wouldn’t want to spend hours photoshopping off dust and water marks so take care of it before you shoot and throughout the day. You and your clients will be much happier.

Microphone (for video):

If you’re shooting video, you will most certainly need a microphone you can rely on. On camera shotgun microphones are one of the most widely used types for weddings. Spend some time to figure out your needs and research what’s out there.

Monopod or tripod (optional):

A tripod can be quite a bit to lug around. I would say leave it at home unless you have a specific reason for it. A monopod, on the other hand, could be useful particularly if you’re shooting video. Of course a steadicam or gimbal would be best, but a monopod will give your photos more stability and make your video a little smoother by adding a bit of counter weight and additional hand holds. Gorillapods are a great light-weight options for you to use; just make sure to have a chair or something to mount it on.

Reflector (optional):

Reflectors will be tough to use and setup unless you have extra hands on deck. If you decide to use reflectors you will have opportunity to create some great lighting on your subjects. While you’re snapping pics of the wedding party, ask one of the groomsmen or bridesmaids to give you a hand.

 


I want to hear from you. Did I miss anything that would be a necessary essential for wedding photography? Write down in the comments.

I’ve got a special going on through March for wedding photography & video. Check out the deal by clicking here.

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