Have you ever wondered what kind of gear it takes to shoot a wedding? Maybe you’ve scoped your cousins wedding photographer at the back of a church sporting a lense bigger than her forearm or maybe you’ve actually booked your first wedding (congrats!) and you’re ready for what comes next. I’m here to provide you with an ESSENTIALS LIST of equipment you absolutely need to shoot a wedding:
A CAMERA - Full frame or cropped sensor DSLR. Of course you’ll want wider lenses if you’re working on a crop sensor camera but nowadays, the quality of both, dare I say, are pretty much the same if you’re shooting and printing for a wedding.
CAMERA BATTERIES - Battery life is KING when you’re out all day shooting. During the day it’s going to be really frustrating to try and find a wall outlet to recharge your batteries. You won’t have time and you’ll miss a TON of shots and no one will ever call you again, so always have backup! The night before, charge ALL of your batteries and make sure you’re all prepped for a full day of shooting. You’ll probably go through them throughout the day and be on your third by the reception. At this point you can find a wall outlet to recharge for the reception.
A SPEEDLITE - Not every room you walk into is going to have wide, floor to ceiling windows flowing with beautiful natural sunlight. Actually churches are usually dim, painted various shades of yellow, and although very pretty, the stain glass offer little help as a light source. That being said a SPEEDLITE is a great investment and unless your camera reaches 100,000 ISO you’ll need one to give you an extra kick of light, some fill, even to beat the sun on really bright days. It’ll be a great tool for inside the church and definitely at the reception!
MEMORY CARDS - How many? What size? What speed? I learned this one the hard way but invest in FAST, GOOD QUALITY memory cards! They’re the holy grail of where all your files are being stored and trust me, fast memory cards are worth the investment. I would recommend SANDISK (this happened to me) but if you lose any of your files, they have a free software you can download off of their website that helps you retrieve anything that’s been corrupted or lost. Also, if your camera shoots dual memory cards you can use this feature to double backup your files when shooting! That being said, you can never have enough memory cards, so I recommend starting with 3 32g minimum and working your way up from there. Remember you’re shooting RAW files, which are massive! You can never go wrong with the extra space.
A BACKUP CAMERA - I know this sounds excessive but it’s not. If someone has paid you a good chunk of their savings to have you come out and shoot their wedding, you need to be prepared under any circumstances that you can get the job done! Buying a used camera that is the same brand as your main, with a few extra batteries is going to be your safety blanket should anything go wrong and will give you the comfort of knowing that come hell or high water, you’re going to get the shots!
BATTERIES - Rechargeable ones are a GREAT investment, otherwise you’ll be spending a huge chunk of change constantly buying batteries. Bring at least 12 with you to start. Again you won’t have access to outlets during the first part of the day so you essentially want to be like the energizer bunny and have the juice to keep you going and going and going…
This besides your lenses (which I’ll do another post on!) is the bare minimum you should be walking into a wedding with.
Having fun at a wedding is essential to getting the shots as well and that becomes easier knowing you have everything you need to get a (great) job done!