8 Pieces of Gear Photographers Need For Weddings/Events
One mark of a true Professional is being prepared. Not being prepared for a shoot can not only be embarrassing, but also detrimental to your reputation. Make sure you’re stocked with these 8 essential pieces of gear for your next wedding or event shoot!
1. Backup camera. While you hopefully shoot with a nice full frame camera like the Nikon D750 or Canon 5D Mark III, make sure you have a backup of any model in case anything happens to your main camera. Not only is it good to have a backup body for safety, I like to keep an ultra wide angle lens on my backup so that every once in a while I can grab it to get a totally different view on the scene, which provides my clients with some variety in their images.
2. Harness or sling. If you’re shooting with just one camera out all day, a camera sling makes it so you have your hands free while moving about. This way you can navigate crowds, help pose the couple or even fluff the bride’s dress, all with two free hands. If you want the duality of shooting with two different cameras and not having to switch lenses back and forth, get a good harness and adjust the straps to the point where you can easily grab either camera quickly.
*Tip: be careful when bending down with either a sling or a harness as your camera/s may scrape or bounce against the ground if you aren’t paying attention. Always be aware of where your camera is swinging. I admittedly knocked a couple of things over during ceremonies while I was still getting used to my harness. Those were all extremely embarrassing moments.
3. At Least One Prime or Fast Lens. More than half of the wedding ceremonies I’ve shot were in a dark, poorly lit church or chapel. Most of the time, the officiant will prefer you not use flash as it is distracts not only the guests but the officiant from the ceremony at hand. Therefore, you’re going to need a good, fast lens that lets lots of light in. If you’re on a budget, I recommend the Nikon 50mm Nikkor f/1.8 I’ve used this lens for almost 10 years and it still works great for me today
4. Backup/Extra Camera Batteries. If you’re venturing into the world of pro photography, this is something you MUST do if you haven’t already. If you don’t go with a battery grip, at least do yourself a favor and have one or (preferably) two backups of whatever battery your camera takes. Don’t forget to charge them all up the night before 😉
5. Speedlight or simliar external flash. I’m going to suggest that you never use the on-camera flash your DSLR comes with. With the investment, you will be more than happy with the quality of light your external flash. You can buy off-brands from China on the cheap, but you get what you pay for and when you pony up for a good flash, you get all the more power for lighting the scene. I use two SB-800s which are now discontinued but you can still find (cheap) used. I’ve heard from fellow photographers that the new SB-910s are excellent and more user-friendly than the 800s. *Make sure you get a diffuser, a basic plastic cap one will do*
6. Backup Flash Batteries. The first thing you will notice when your flash batteries start to fade out isn’t how bright the flash is, rather your flash recycle time getting longer. This can be frustrating when you need to re-take a photo and the subjects are standing there, waiting for your green flash light to come back on. Always keep at least two backup sets of AA batteries (or whatever kind your flash takes) in your bag. One-time batteries are wasteful and expensive; instead invest in a good Battery Bay Charger. This one comes with a car A/C charger which I like to use in between shooting locations.
7. Flash Battery Pack. This will help you keep a fast flash recycle time. Although your recycle interval will be much quicker, be sure not to pop your flash off too many times in a row – that could overheat your flash unit and shut it down or even ruin it.
8. Microfiber Cloth for wiping your lenses off. This may sound very basic, but trust me-you’ll want easy access to one. Keep it in your pocket, and throughout the day make sure to check that you haven’t smudged the lens with your finger. Those simple smudges can affect the sharpness of your precious images.
Don’t forget plenty of water and snacks!
*Pro Tip: Carry around a bleach pen in your gear bag, just in case your bride happens to spill wine on her beautiful white dress on the dancefloor. She’ll thank you and wonder how you managed to see the disaster before it happened!*
Is there any gear you wouldn’t be caught without at a wedding shoot? Comment below.