As many of you might know, I have a major sweet tooth. And honestly, shopping for camera gear makes me feel like a kid in a candy shop! There is such a wide variety of equipment available for all of your photography needs. Whether you’re shooting headshots or landscapes, indoors or outdoors, there are so many different scenarios and different gear needed depending on what your style requires. The primary part of my business is shooting weddings, so I have built up the perfect setup to accommodate this!
Many people have inquired about the gear I use for weddings. Some clients want to make sure that I have the proper equipment to get the job done. Others have an interest in photography and are curious what I use to create the work I do. Whatever your reason, I am happy to share with you! Keep in mind that this is the gear I own now, but there is always room to update and grow accordingly.
There is definitely a difference between my everyday camera bag and my wedding gear bag. There is a separate blog post discussing the smaller (and thankfully lighter) gear set-up. Go check it out if you’re curious! Here, I will be discussing the heavy duty setup I have for weddings! The “Big Day” has the “Big Gear” to match.
So many questions, so little time! Jk. I have answers! The infamous question: Nikon or Canon? People love asking this question. And then their next questions usually revolve around which specific camera I use and what lenses I like. Ask no more, I shall reveal all here!
While both companies offer products with good qualities, I am a Canon girl! I primarily shoot with a Canon 5D Mark III and a Canon 5D Mark IV. I also have a Canon 80D, but I just use that camera as a on-the-go for light weight traveling and test shots. I use the 5Ds for my photoshoots. I make sure to use the best possible equipment when working with my lovely clients.
Some people are perplexed when I tell them I have multiple cameras. But accidents happen and it’s better to be safe than sorry. It’s incredibly important to have backup gear (including cameras!) in case of equipment failure. Or in case you trip and your camera dramatically falls to its death in a giant puddle. It sounds funny, but it can happen and would be devastating. Imagine your camera dying before the bride and groom exchange rings and kiss! I cannot emphasize how important it is to have a back-up! Also, make sure to carry extra batteries and memory cards. Those run out faster than you may think! It’s always better to be more prepared than less.
As for the camera body, I mentioned earlier that I primarily shoot with a Canon 5D Mark III and a Canon 5D Mark IV. I also have a Canon 80D for my everyday camera bag. The 5Ds are great because they have full frame sensors and that is a must for professional wedding photography. When my business grew more, I decided to upgrade and buy the Mark IV. I know how expensive camera gear can be. So you may have to start with a smaller, less expensive body and upgrade as your business grows and as you see fit!
Onto the lenses! I could talk about lenses all day! There is such an amazing variety to select from to help you achieve exactly the look you are going for. Here are all my sweet Canon lenses!
The “Nifty Fifty” as many call it. I LOVE this lens! Who doesn’t love bokeh? This lens is great for achieving beautiful bokeh and that super dreamy look that makes people tear up. I use this lens so much that I know just what I need to do in order to get the shot I want. This lens is definitely a must have. Put it on your wish list.
This lens has grown on me the more I use it. I use it for weddings with large families and bridal families. I also use it during receptions.
This lens is small and light (which I’m grateful for considering all of the heavy equipment I have). It’s a short telephoto lens. I use it throughout the day because it has a focal length that is very flattering, which makes for amazing portraits.
I also have a few zoom lenses of course!
I use this lens as a back-up to my 35mm lens. It’s good for when I need to capture a shot wider than what the 35 can get. It’s super versatile and is great for when I can’t move around much.
70-200 f/2.8 IS
This lens is great for portraits, ceremonies, and toasts, but as aback-up to my 85mm and 135mm lenses. It’s definitely a must-have for weddings. I usually prefer to use smaller lenses because guests don’t notice them as much so it’s more non-intrusive. Plus, it’s easier to capture more candid moments when people aren’t paying attention to your giant lens. But this lens is so great for capturing portraits, ceremonies, and toasts. Even though it is SO big that I feel like a paparazzi! I tend to use it during the ceremony because it allows me to stay in the middle of the aisle toward the back so I don’t have to be too close or noticeable. You can get amazing pictures with this lens, but remember to be aware of image stabilization. This lens is so heavy that “camera shake” can be an issue if you aren’t using a tripod. It’s definitely a workout lugging this brick around, but it is totally worth it.
Enough about lenses! Onto lighting! I also carry four flashes with me. I try to shoot as much of the ceremony I can using the available light. But when it comes to the reception (which is usually later in the day or indoors), I’ll usually put on of the flashes on my camera. I may also use an additional flash off-camera if need be. I use several LED lights in order to sync my on-camera lights with my off camera ones. Lighting is key! So I make sure to use all the light that is available to me. And if that isn’t working to my advantage, then I create my own light the best I can!
Whoo! That’s all! Just kidding, there’s more. I wasn’t kidding when I said I have a heavy duty setup for weddings. To hold all of my compact flash cards, I have a Think Tank cardholder that is always attached to me, a Manfrotto Justin clamp (I use this to put up an off-camera flash when needed), and a small video light (we have to make sure the dancing couple is illuminated!).
And what in the world can fit all of this stuff?? I use a couple different bags to fit all of my lovely gear in. One is the ONA Brixton Messenger Bag, which I talked a bit about in my other camera gear post. Quick recap is that it is a super stylish yet functional bag. It can fit a good chunk of my gear in it comfortably and if I’m traveling, I can usually manage to squeeze in my little 13” Macbook Pro as well. And the brown leather makes it easy to pair well with most outfits. It’s important to dress nicely at weddings to maintain a professional air, so it’s nice that I never have to worry about what bag to carry! The bulk of my gear is transported using a Think Tank Airport International V 2.0 rolling bag. All of this gear is so heavy when it’s altogether, so I definitely need some wheels to help me out.
Alright! Now we are finally done with all the gear! The last item that I carry in my bag (and it is very, very important) is a snack! There’s no way you can lug all this gear around if you have no energy! I usually make sure I have a Kind bar (or two because weddings make for some very long days and nights). You have to make sure you keep your spirit lifted and energy high.
Well, that’s all the gear I have for now! Stay tuned for any updates. Good luck with your own photography adventures and keep asking questions! It’s important to learn and grow as much as you can. 🙂