Wedding Photography Gear Checklist

Wedding photography gear! What do you need? What do I take? and what little extras do I take?

After having my calendar fully booked over the last few years I have become very attached to my photography equipment and got to know it very well.

A few days before each wedding I start to check over all my photography gear and carry out any last-minute adjustments. Are my batteries fully charged? Are all my memory cards formatted and in the holder? Is the camera set up beforehand so I can start shooting from the get-go?

It’s all the little things that make a big difference on the day!

When I was in the Royal Navy we had something called the 6p’s.

Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Its worked so far.

 

With my 2020 wedding season about to start in the next few days, I have decided to put together a checklist of all the wedding photography gear that I will be using.

There’s some old gear in there, but some new stuff that I am looking forward to trying out this year and adding some new features to my wedding business.

My Wedding Photography Gear

Main Camera

My main wedding camera is the Fuji Xt3. I love this camera for all kinds of photography but I think it excels at wedding photography.

It is light, which means you can carry it all day and because of its small size, it means you can go fairly unnoticed when photographing in a candid/documentary style.

I always find it hard to believe when photographers say they photograph in a documentary style, but then turn up with a breeze block size camera with a drain pipe lens attached on the front.

I also love the button on the top of the camera. It allows me to change setting without even taking my eyes away from the view finder.

When buying your first camera to be a wedding photographer there are a few things you need to consider. You don’t need to spend a fortune (save the money for the lenses), but your camera does need to be good in low light and can autofocus fast.

You only get one chance to photograph the bride walking down the aisle or that first kiss, so you need a camera that can nail focus fast. Don’t forget wedding venues can often be dark so you might need to push your ISO up a little.

Second Camera

Wedding photographers these days are photographing with two camera’s side by side and then have a back up in the car. I don’t do this my self but always carry a second camera ready to go in my bag.

If something goes wrong with your main body you need a second camera so you can carry on photographing.

However, if you can’t afford to buy new then buy second hand or hire a camera for the day.

I always recommend Lens for Hire. They are a brilliant company who have never let me down.

Camera Lens

I only use prime lenses mainly because they are fast in low light and are more versatile. I do use flash but try not to if I don’t have to.

Fuji lenses were one of my main reasons for picking them over sony. Firstly they are a lot cheaper, but the results they produce are spectacular. Even the cheap 18mm is a brilliant lens.

When picking your lenses its a good idea to try and cover most bases if one gets damaged.

Fuji 23mm f1.4

The Fuji 23mm f1.4 is my main lens when photographing weddings. The picture quality is brilliant and the f1.4 is such a bonus in those dark churches. This lens is on my camera for about 90% of the day.

Fuji 56mm f1.2

The Fuji 56mm f1.2 is such a good back up lens. I don’t use it that much, but when you need just that little bit more reach or if a venue is particularly dark then that f1.2 can’t be beaten. Also, the bokeh is second to none.

Fuji 90mm f2

The portrait lens! It’s stunning, there’s not much more to say. If I want that dreamy look of the bride at sunset then this lens comes out. I love it!

Fuji 18mm f2

There’s something about this lens that I just love. Its not the sharpest and its not the fastest, but it is just such a fun lens to use. It’s also really cheap. I mainly use this lens during the gap between the meal and the first dance. Because of its size, combined with the Fuji xt3, you can go unnoticed and get really close to people.

Camera Straps

Over the last few years, I have been using camera straps from Peak Design. They are really well made and super comfortable. What I love about Peak Designs strap the most though is their quick release function. If you need to swap cameras you can do it in a flash.

They retail for about £45 on Wex. Click here for more details.

Batteries and Charger

Its common sense to me, but have more batteries than you will ever need. I take ten to every wedding or photoshoot. Do I use all ten? NO, nowhere near that, but I like to have the peace of mind that I am covered. this goes with batteries for my flash. I also take a charger for my camera batteries and a double AA charger. It’s all about covering yourself in the worst-case scenario. remember the 6p’s!!

Memory Cards

I use Sandisk Extreme Pro memory cards. I always carry more than I need and always make sure they are formatted in the camera beforehand.

When photographing weddings I mainly shoot on 32GB cards. I once was told to shoot on low GB cards because if one fails then you won’t lose too many images. I also have the option to shoot back up in camera because the Fuji Xt3 has dual card slots.

Always have a backup!

Also, carry the cards in a protective case at all times. This case never leaves my side until I get home.

Flash

For the last two years, I have used the Nissin flash system. For me flash is essential to any wedding photographers camera gear. I carry two for obvious reason, but also with the Nissin air device I can pair both flash guns together when off-camera flash is required.

During the winter months when the dark nights set in I love getting creative with my couples and trying out different images with some off-camera flash.

I have also invested in the Magmod system of diffusers to help soften the flash and to help create looks.

Getting Creative With Flash

Tripod

Early on I invested in a lightweight travel tripod. For something that was only going to be used for twenty minutes during the day for group photos, I didn’t think to spend hundreds on a heavyweight tripod would be worth it.

It also backs up as a second tripod when I need one to mount my flashes on.

I went for the Manfrotto travel tripod and was about £50 from amazon when I bought mine.

Bags

I have two bags I take with me when photographing a wedding day. I have my trust Manfrotto rucksack. It is the

Manhattan Mover-50 Backpack

Is it perfect, NO, does it do a good job? YES

I wanted something that looked pretty discreet but was functional. It has enough space for all my equipment, including a Macbook Pro, a few snacks and a bottle of water.

Manfrotto Camera bag

 I also have the Manfrotto Windsor bag

Manfrotto Windsor Reporter Bag for DSLR Camera

This is just for the spare equipment that I don’t need to carry all day. It mainly stays in my car, but I do use it for smaller projects.

 

Laptop

I always take my laptop with me to every wedding. During that down period between the meal and evening guests turning up I always found my self sitting around while the guests ate. So to be a bit more productive I started backing up my files from earlier in the day so I didn’t have it to do when I arrived home.

You are getting paid while you are there so you may as well fill the time.

Along with my laptop, I also take a portable external hard drive and all adapters.

Extras To Think About

As well as all the photography gear above it is also important to think about other little extras that might help you throughout the day.

You never know what is going to happen at a wedding and it is always good to keep in mind if something does happen then all eyes will be on you to come up with an answer.

This isn’t something to be worried about as long as you plan ahead.

 

  • Water – I always carry a bottle of water on me. Weddings are long days and you need to concentrate for 95% of the day. Keep that brain hydrated.
  • Paracetamol – To combat those headaches when you haven’t kept hydrated.
  • Umbrellas – One type for keeping your clients dry and the second type to use with your off-camera flash.
  • Walking boots – I have lost count the number of times I have had to walk through muddy fields or long wet grass. You don’t want to be spending the rest of the day in muddy wet feet.
  • Printer – I have a small fuji printer that prints polaroid photos. It’s a brilliant little keepsake for clients on the day
  • Gimble – I use this when recording small videos of the day.
  • Sound recorder – Perfect for adding sounds to photo films.

Conclusion

Camera gear for wedding photographers is easily available these days and is relatively cheap if you look for a good bargain. The main thing is to always have a backup in case something does go wrong.

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