Wedding Photography Camera Equipment.
Camera gear changes and different situations call for different gear but there is always the goto gear when photographing a wedding.
My gear is pretty standard for a wedding photographer and there’s a good reason why most of this is standard equipment. It does the job and helps me deliver quality images.
If you are looking for some revolutionary or exotic equipment that will define you as a unique artist this probably isn’t the right post for you.
If you want to know what the vast majority of professional wedding photographers use, carry on and enjoy.
I use mostly Canon equipment, not because I am a fanboy or think they make the best camera equipment but simply because the first DSLR I bought was a canon and my equipment just grew with them.
I know how they work, I can quickly adjust my settings and that’s important especially when photographing a wedding. I need to nail the shot and not be trying to figure out how to change my ISO or focus points.
As I said I generally follow the tried and tested line up, especially when it comes to lenses. I have tried others over the past +10 years thinking I knew best but I always come back the main lenses I have mentioned below.
I know I am taking Canon gear here but every manufacturer has their own version of this line-up. That in itself should tell you something, they are the best tools for the job.
When it comes to the quality of images the most important piece of equipment is you, Invest in yourself, your training, practice practice practise then practice some more.
Go out and take terrible images, then come home look and them and figure out why they are so bad, then think about how they could be better, then head out and start again.
The more you do this the less bad pictures you’ll be taking and your keepers will just keep getting better.
If you are looking for the magic camera & lens combination that will make your pictures amazing I have some bad news for you.
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The standard workhorse ~ I’ve found these bodies reliable, sturdy and I love the colour and dynamic range it provides.
The Canon 5D has been around for a while and for good reason and not just for photographing weddings. Paparazzi love them because they just keep shooting. They get tossed onto the back seats of cars or slung over the shoulder on the back of a motorbike and they are always ready to go and catch the image of the current celeb leaving the bar in the early hours with a mystery person on their arm that will be spread over the front page of the national rag.
I treat mine with a little more care than the average Pap but I always feel confident it’ll take whatever happens and help me get the shots my couple will love.
In many ways it’s a 5D but lighter and a little smaller, The auto focus points and the max shutter speed of 1/4000 limit it slightly but it is still a fantastic camera to have in my bag.
Carrying a couple of cameras around all day and the reduced weight makes a difference and of course, you can save quite a bit when buying the 6D over the 5D.
I also love to travel with the 6D, you have pretty much a 5D, just lighter and less costly.
Canon 70-200mm f2.8
I love this lens on a full-frame camera like the 5D or 6D for candid photographs and headshots.
It’s big, it’s heavy but it gets beautiful results. I will normally have this on a black-rapid shoulder strap so I can let it hang comfortably at my side when I’m not using it.
The f4 version is also a fantastic option and a big cost saving but in lower light like during speeches, the f2.8 just gives me a little more and a slightly better depth of field.
The f4 version is also considerably lighter than the f2.8.
Canon 24-70mm f2.8
Like the 70-200mm I love the extra light this lens takes in. This is a fantastically versatile lens and is my goto throughout a wedding day.
It is perfect for getting pictures that take in some of the scenery or for the formal wedding groups.
I also have the older f4 version of this and it is an incredibly versatile lens especially as it gives you a little extra reach at 24-105mm. This is the lens I take with me when travelling. Mounted on a 6D it goes everywhere with me.
Canon 50mm f1.4
Love love love this one, is the best value lens I have found on any camera manufactures line up. For around £300 the image quality is fantastic.
The depth of field of the f1.4 is beautiful and the extra 2 stops of light it gives me over the f2.8 (x4 the light) is amazing in low light situations.
The f1.8 is one I recommend the anybody just looking for great quality at a low price, for less than £100 it can’t be beaten. It doesn’t feel as well made as the f1.4 but if it’s not for professional use it’s worth a look.
I’ve used and really liked the f1.2 version but it’s a big price jump from the f1.4, and a big lens, maybe I’ll switch eventually but I can’t fault the 50mm f1.4
Canon 100mm f2.8 Macro.
Sometimes this lens feels like a one shot wonder because it generally only gets used for detail shots like the wedding rings but it does the job better than pretty much anything else.
If you want to get close with an incredibly shallow depth of field this is the best option although it’s unlikely you’re going to be using it at f2.8 for close up detail shots because in most cases that is way too shallow. f5.6 -f8 is probably the sweet spot on details like rings.
So even if it only comes out in the morning this lens is well worth having in your bag.
The Canon 100mm f2.8 also makes for a fantastic portrait lens but during the hustle and bustle of a wedding, I like the flexibility I get from the 70-200mm more although the 100mm is so much lighter and would be easier to use all day.
For a long time, I used Canon speedlites and specifically I bought a few 580ex ii’s until I dropped one (and this happens much more than it should)!
I swapped over to Yongnuo for a few reasons, First I could get 6 of these for the price of one Canon.
They are quicker to adjust the settings than the Canons.
I don’t use ETTL.
Their flash trigger is compact and easy to use.
My heart doesn’t sink when one hits the floor.
I swapped over to apple when I started my business in 2009. I’d always had PC based laptops throughout my previous working life and after about 18 months -2 years they’d be running slow.
I bought a 13″ MacBook pro in 2009 and it finally gave up on me in February of 2020. I did swap the HDD to an SSD and upped the ram to 8gb about halfway through its life, plus a new battery around the same time but I still edited last December wedding on it and my images from my trip to Barcelona over the new year.
I had carried that laptop halfway around the planet and back over the 11 years I had it and think it was fantastic value. If this one works out as well I’ll be a very happy customer.
Lightroom & Photoshop.
I’ve used Lightroom since version 1 and Photoshop going back to the 90’s. I get about 95% of my work done with Lightroom but still need the occasional round trip through Photoshop.
Every image that goes to my clients or is published in public goes through Lightroom. I’ve tried other programs but these two just work and help me give a consistent product every time.
If you’re serious about the quality of your images I highly recommend joining them.
I can’t stress enough how important these are and how you NEED to have backups, not a backup but multiple backups.
I travel a lot with my weddings and when I’m not photographing weddings I’m generally just travelling.
Once I’ve finished at a wedding all the files go onto my laptop, a second copy goes onto the portable hard drive I am using. The images stay on the memory cards and sometimes I’ll even post the memory cards back home so I have a backup somewhere other than with me.
Once I get back to base a copy of all the files goes onto an external drive stored off-site.
I have had hard drives go bad. Like every piece of equipment, it will break at some point that is guaranteed, it’s just a matter of when it will fail and it is unlikely to wait until you are ready for it to fail.
Don’t trust somebodies precious memories to one storage device. It might feel like overkill but when a drive fails you’ll be so glad you have options.
Maybe not key but important extras.
Blackrapid Camera Strap.
There are many copies of these straps out there and many much cheaper, but if I’m going to trust nearly £5,000 worth of camera and lens to hang by my side while I’m bouncing around at a wedding I’m not going to get too hung un on saving £30.
Plus they are really comfortable and easy to adjust.
A very minor piece of kit but if I finish a wedding and have 3 or maybe 4 memory cards to copy depending on how many cameras I’ve used that day I want them to copy on to my laptop quickly.
I’ve tried a few over the years but I really like the Lexar range.
I recently updated my card readers and went for the Professional Workflow system from Lexar. They are fast, so far very reliable, feel very well put together and can be built into a doc system with multiple card readers of different formats to make a quick and easy backing up system for the office.
That said they work perfectly as a stand-alone solution too.