Camera equipment can be a confusing subject at times as there really is no right and wrong answer as to what gear you should be using. The majority of the time, it will come down to a photographers personal preference… So here’s me sharing my personal preference, as a wedding photographer.
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When shooting weddings, you need to have variety and versatility in what you can offer. You need to be prepared to capture anything at any point in time. With this in mind, it is usually beneficial to carry two camera bodies. This part comes down to what you own and are used to. Never take out a camera you have never used before to a wedding. Personally, I use two Canon 5D Mark III’s.
What your product really boils down to often times depends on what lenses you have in your camera bag. I often have a set of two prime lenses and one zoom.
I often have a generic wide angle prime lens on one body at all times. Personally, I love the Canon 35mm f/1.4 for a wide angle – it offers a safe shot without causing as much distortion (around the edges of the image) as a 24mm would. But this is of course because I shoot with a camera which has a full-frame censor, so having a lens wider than 35mm’s makes everyone look like they are in a fishbowl. Having a wide angle helps immensely especially when the bride all of a sudden decides that she wants a group image with all the attendees…
I then make sure to pack my trusty Canon 85mm f/1.2. The 85mm offers such a crisp image without compromising the ability of giving such creamy depth, that it makes a great addition to the toolkit especially for when you are shooting portraits of a couple. Here are some examples of images taken on the 85mm.
And last but not least, I add in a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II. This lens is incredible. It is incredibly important to have a telephoto lens in your toolkit if you specialise in wedding photography. It allows you to keep your distance and give your clients the privacy and personal space which they deserve and also makes the guests at the event feel more at ease. If you don’t consistently have to be in the middle of the crowd, chances are that you will be able to blend in slightly more and catch more authentic and genuine moments. This lens also provides excellent depth of field as you can see from the images below.
Another point worth mentioning is that all of the above lenses handle low-light quite well, especially the two aforementioned prime lenses. You cannot always predict what your lighting situation will be so making sure your camera will be prepared for darkness is a point worth mentioning.
With that in mind – flashes. Now personally, I only use flashes when absolutely necessary (in low light situations). I know many photographers will disagree with me on this point, but again it simply boils down to personal preference and deciding what your style is. I usually make sure to have at least one external flash on me in case lighting isn’t great (and no, your internal flash on your camera is not good enough). I use the Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite and it does the job. I know there are many greater companies who make flashes, but for what I need – this one has never failed me.
And last but not least, always make sure to have plenty of storage and batteries. The last thing you want at a wedding is to run out of space on your memory card or run out of battery. I usually keep six fully charged batteries and three 64 GB cards on me to insure that I have a backup in case one fails (worth noting that I photograph RAW so space on your cards really can creep up on you sometimes).
For other information about handy resources in the photography game, be sure to check out our Resources page, including to find out which SD cards we suggest using!
About the author:
Viivi here. You may see my name on a few posts around here. I’m a photographer currently based in Plymouth, UK. I travel with Viivi N. Media worldwide covering weddings, engagements, portraits and family shoots. Head over to our Facebook group and let’s have a chat!