Every once in a while, you’ll hear that classic saying, “A craftsman is only as good as his tools.” This statement has never been more accurate as when it comes to matters on wedding photography occasions.
Wedding ceremonies are a joyous and special day for the couple and their guests. What makes them more memorable is the captured moments that can be enjoyed even decades later. But what gear do you need for your wedding photography setup?
For beginners, the basic recommended wedding photography gear should be of excellent quality to produce high-quality photographs. Here are some of the essential or typical wedding photographer equipment pieces you’ll need to kickstart your wedding photography career.
As a beginner, you must be wondering, “What cameras do professional wedding photographers use?” Any professional photographer knows that a good camera for wedding photography excels in low-light conditions and has fast shutter speeds. These features are crucial. With the right gear, you’ll be able to produce top-notch images even in situations when there’s minimal natural lighting.
In addition to this, newer cameras come with improved technology that has noise-canceling features. You should invest in high-tech wedding cameras like Nikon D850, and Nikon D750, whose large sensors produce sharp and detailed images. The resulting advantage is that you can enlarge or crop your images without sacrificing quality.
You know how things always seem to go wrong on the D-day? Either your camera isn’t fully charged, or it just won’t power on. Well, seasoned wedding photographers always stay prepared by carrying backup wedding photography gear to avoid such embarrassing situations. Even though you may not need to use it, you’re better off safe than sorry. Some of the best backup cameras you can consider are Nikon D500 and Canon EOS 7D Mark II.
Great shots go a long way! They’ll be enjoyed for years on end by everyone who attended. In fact, the bride and groom will relive these moments during tough times, and even at old age. That said, to create said great shots, you’ll need a great lens. Let’s delve into some of the best lenses you should invest in.
• Prime Lenses
As part of your wedding photography kit, you’ll need to buy the 35mm or 50mm prime lens. Why? Because they provide a larger aperture. Aperture refers to the lens opening through which light passes to get into the camera. It works similar to human eyes, which adjust to the brightness or dullness of the environment.
We recommend lens with a low aperture value such as f/1.4 and f/1.2, but even f/1.8 will suffice. The lower the denominator value, the larger the view, and vice-versa applies. This means that a larger aperture lens allows you sufficient room to control the amount of light entering the camera.
• Zoom Lenses
Just like the name suggests, zoom lenses allow you to capture subjects that are close or further away. You can achieve these tasks by twisting your lens from left to right to zoom in or out. If you’re attending a large wedding ceremony, this is the ideal lens for you.
For this category, give the Canon EF 11-24mm f’4L USM lens a try. You’ll perfectly capture crucial moments, from group photos at the chapel to the couple’s first dance at the wedding reception.
• Macro Lenses
Other than group photos that entail scenic backgrounds, macro photography is also essential. It adds finer, and much needed details to the wedding photos. Macro lenses are perfect for capturing details in floral arrangements, rings, wedding gowns, cake, decorations, etc.
Every bride takes pride in showcasing her magnificent dress, the rings, floral decorations, and other finer details. Capturing such fundamental items will earn you a soft spot in their hearts, and endless referrals.
• Fisheye Lenses
Designed for shooting extremely wide angles, typically 180 degrees, fisheye lenses were initially used in landscape and sporting activities. If you want to make a name for yourself in the wedding photography industry, invest in fisheye lenses. These gem lenses enable you to capture unique images that will earn your work a lot of popularity. Since fisheye lenses produce curved lines and strong visual distortion, they are perfect for capturing unique, eye-catching wedding photos.
Memory Cards & Extra Batteries
You can never have too much of something, especially something good. In this case, you can never take too many wedding photographs. Everyone is always willing to smile for the camera, especially if they can sneak in a shot with the couple. That said, it would be regrettable if your camera denied you the chance for a perfect photo.
There’s a famous saying, “A bad craftsman blames his tools.” In this case, it’d be inexcusable to blame your limited shots on a dead camera.
The moral of the story is always to be prepared. Carry spare batteries, memory cards, and any other wedding photography gear – you never know when you’ll need them.
Although they do the same job, memory cards are not the same. Quality and quantity are everything! If you’re using SD cards, the best variety for shooting stills are UHS-II cards with U3 speeds. They’ll give you faster write times and transfer speeds.
On the other hand, when shooting videos, use SD cards with V30, V60, and V90 ratings. Nonetheless, when it comes to cards, be sure to follow your camera’s manufacturer recommendations.
Most recommend the well-performing CF (CompactFlash) cards, such as SanDisk Extreme PRO with UDMA 7 speeds (around 160 MB/s).
As for spare batteries, always have an extra set of fully-charged batteries ready to go. Take an additional power pack with you to charge all battery-powered devices – cameras, lighting equipment, flash units, and wireless remotes. Lastly, don’t forget to pack the accompanying power pack cables.
Ever been to a night wedding or a dark church and wondered how photographers still manage to take stellar shots? The answer is flash photography!
Speedlights (or Speedlites) are on-camera or “hot shoe” flashes that provide additional light when it gets too dark. They’re compact and very versatile since you can set them up away from your camera. Either way, a hot shoe flash (or two) will allow you to get perfect shots even in extremely dark settings.
Most cameras come with in-built flashes. However, having a dedicated external flash gun comes in handy by illuminating your photograph subjects. It’s one of the crucial wedding photography accessories!
Since they’re more powerful than their in-built counterparts, they provide more light, making them perfect for nighttime weddings. Most flashguns can rotate and twist, making it easy for you to direct the light in your preferred direction.
Tripods, Monopods and Light Stands
Certain wedding photography gear, such as tripods, can be cumbersome. This is where monopods come in handy. Although monopods aren’t as stable as tripods (they are one-legged), they’ll provide your arms with relief.
All you’ll need to do is support your camera horizontally, set it at eye level, and voila! For perfect high-quality video, make sure to pick a tripod that supports three-way panning and tilting.
Light Diffusers and Modifiers
Soft, natural lighting is what you need to give your photographs that much-needed warm touch. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll find diffusers and light modifiers that will provide you with numerous color effects.
If you can’t buy one, you can always come up with a DIY option. Using parchment paper, a pillowcase, or even a frosted shower curtain can provide amazing results on the cheap.
A direct flash can be harsh in certain conditions, offering rough shadows and bland colors. Light diffusers make an excellent option when you need soft, even, flattering lighting for your shots.
Lens Cleaning Kits and Lens Hoods
As weddings are very dynamic events, keeping your lens clean can be somewhat challenging. Aside from keeping sun flares down, lens hoods also protect camera lenses from getting dirty. As a photographer, you should always be ready to go. It’s crucial to keep lens wipes and a cleaning kit close by to avoid missing great shots.
Last but not least, this checklist wouldn’t be complete without a wedding photographer camera bag. As a professional, you understand the value and fragility of cameras. What better way to protect them than to invest in a well-padded, high-quality camera bag?
Whether you prefer a typical backpack or a messenger bag, the choice is yours. Your top priority should be safety and comfort, given that you’ll be on the move all day.
Remember to pick something with lots of compartments for your lenses, flash packs, and other wedding photography gear.
It may seem pretty obvious, but having clean and well-maintained equipment is paramount to your success.
Don’t just buy the cheapest gear on sale. Instead, do your research and invest in the best camera for wedding photography. Check out reliable brands like Canon, Nikon, and Sony for the best wedding photography gear. Make sure to avoid any impulse purchases. Take your time and do your research.
With this wedding photography gear checklist, you have everything you need to put together a stellar wedding photography setup!