I’m often asked what I’m carrying and what I shoot with – here’s an inside look into my camera gear for wedding days.
First of all, I’m a Nikon shooter. I’ll get that out of the way now – once you’ve picked yourself off the floor, feel free to read on!
I shoot weddings – they’re anytime, anywhere and flat out, so my gear is designed to give me the maximum flexibility possible. When you’re buying gear, make sure you know what you want to be shooting before you invest. Gear is expensive and you don’t want to be left with things you don’t use.
I use pro gear – the only reason I invested in such expensive gear is because I’d be generating money from it. If you’re a hobbyist, it’s likely that this will be beyond your price range. That’s ok – there’s loads of great gear out there for a lot less, and hopefully this post will help you decide what you need.
1. The camera – Nikon D800
I wanted a full frame for the maximum depth of field (DOF) possible as I love that style. As I’d be shooting on the fly in can’t afford to miss it situations, I also wanted lots of megapixels for cropping if I need – which I often do!
Nikon? I just love Nikons. You get a lot more for the money, (for me) the button layout is much faster and they have great flashes. When I got the camera body it was the best on the market. Today it might be different, but I’m very happy with my decision.
2. Lens 1 – 24 – 70mm F2.8
I wanted three lenses – one for wide, one for long and one for close up. This one’s for wide shots, like all the guests, the buildings and environmental shots. On a full frame, 24mm is the widest you can get before you move into wide angle which can bring in distortion. On a crop sensor (or not a full frame sensor), 24mm would be closer in, so you might want to consider something like an 18mm.
As it’s an F2.8, it’s also very shallow and very fast as it lets in more light for better handling of low light conditions.
3. Lens 2 – 70 – 200mm F2.8
The long lens – great for things far away, but also great for compression – that’s the effect where the background and foreground are pulled together. For more information see my ‘Aperture in action’ video. Again, F2.8 so lots of nice DOF and low light handling.
4. Lens 3 – 85mm F1.8 prime
No zoom, just a fixed focal lens. Small, robust and amazing, I LOVE this lens. The extra wide aperture is amazing for portraits, especially photos of women and children. As the DOF is so shallow, you just need to get the eyes in focus and it’ll do the rest. Soft skin, beautiful tones and so so sharp as it’s a prime lens.
I went with 85mm because I’m often floating around taking photos of guests. I don’t want to be in their face, so I got something a little further in than a 50mm, which is equivalent to what you see with your eyes (on a full frame). On a crop sensor, a 50mm full frame equivalent is around 35mm.
5. Flash – Nikon SB-900
Always always carry a flash. Even if you’re a natural light shooter, you’ll need it at some point so make sure you have it. Nikon flashes are great as they have TTL, an automatic flash mode that just delivers. Others have equivalents, but Nikons has always been the best
Tripod – wait… where?
So this is my camera bag and what I carry. I don’t carry my tripod around with me all day at weddings but I do keep it in the car for when I need it. No doubt about it, you need a tripod, but when you shoot outside / during the daytime, you can get by without one for a while and save the extra weight. With this bag it’s heavy enough already!
I case you’re interested I use a Manfrotto tripod with ball head. Rock solid and always delivers – even if it does weigh a ton!
Extra camera body
Again not something in my bag per se, but I always have a spare camera body close to me. You never know when one will break – or I fall in a lake!
6. Nikon CoolPix
I mean, why not? Love this little thing – there’s only one button to shoot so I can’t get too hung up with changing settings – that was deliberate! It’s great for the post wedding party – chuck it around and get some little keepers. They’re not going to be made into prints, but they’ll mean a lot to the bride and groom.
7. USB cable
If I get time I love to put some of the days photos on my iPad for the guests to see. It’s a great way to show them and with a few business cards dotted around it, drum up business.
8. Business cards
Of course, just make sure they have the right details on them – yes I have printed them with a typo before!
Spares for the flash and any other battery powered things you have.
10. Memory cards
Loads and loads (but not too many). Get the amount you need plus one or two and be safe with that. Don’t let cheap memory give you an excuse to overshoot. Keep your shot quality up, it’ll help you get better in the long run and save a load of post processing time.
11. Bits and bobs
Lens cleaners, SD card adapters, iPad USB cable adapters and any small handy things. This includes cable ties – yep they are literally the most useful thing ever created. I think I’ll need another post for that one…
12. Battery and charger
Always have a spare battery. And when one battery runs out, make sure you put it on charge while you use the second.
13. Light meter
Great for quick assessments of light situations and even better for using flashes with. This one has a setting where it’ll wait for the flash before metering. It’s a godsend – not that cheap at £150, but well worth it and you’ll only ever need one.
14. Flash filters
Handy for weirdly lit situations. If I’m honest I don’t alway remember to use them, but always good to have them in your bag.
So that’s it! Hope it helps – tell me what’s in yours by leaving a comment below.
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