February 9, 2012 /

Playa del Carmen Mexico Destination Wedding Packing List | Atlanta Destination Wedding Photographer

Packing photography gear for our destination wedding in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico.


Maybe the most hotly debated topic around these parts, besides whether to buy Miles blue socks or green socks, is what to bring to Mexico for our destination wedding! We’ve photographed destination weddings before but this will be our first international wedding (well, as international as Mexico gets, we’re still in North America…). First things first, we know the wedding party size: 20 people. As in total attendance, 20 people plus a bride and groom, and counting ourselves in those first 20. The largest group photo would only be 21 people (or 22 if I put the camera on a tripod), so we really don’t have to worry about anything too crazy happening with such an intimate wedding. That being said, and with traveling restrictions, we really want to get the most bang for our buck in weight. Flying with equipment is never fun and you really want to avoid checking cameras if at all possible… as in I would fight tooth and nail to hand carry them on board over sending them into the belly of the plane on a conveyor belt. Here is what is on the packing list so far besides swimming trunks:

2x Canon EOS 5D Mark II (one for carry-on, one in the bag, always a spare)
2x Battery Chargers (one for carry-on, one in the bag)
2x Spare Canon LP-E6 Batteries (one for carry-on, two in the bag) (notice a trend?)
2x Canon Speedlite 580 EX II (Flash…)
1x Nikon SB-900 Speedlight (Off camera flash!)
1x Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II (wide angle for shots around town)
1x Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II (wide angle)
1x Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L (general purpose lens)
1x Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II (portraits, candids, etc.)
3x PocketWizard PLUS II Transceivers
22x Eneloop “AA” Rechargeable Batteries (4 per flash, 2 per PocketWizard, 4 spare)
1x Benro Travel Angel Aluminum Tripod (tripod that also converts to a monopod for Betty to shoot video, tripod for tripod-y stuff)
1x Elinchrom Boom Arm (For off camera flash stuff)

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We debated A LOT over what to bring, and many arguments had valid plus and minus points. Three lenses? Is that crazy or conservative? I could go lazy and bring say a 24-70mm and call it a day, that lens alone would probably be enough for everything that is going on given the small size of the groups and wedding ceremony. Or, I might ditch the large 70-200 in favor of a prime like the 85mm or the 135mm, which would make me stand out a bit less with a smaller lens and give me more aperture to work with, but at the cost of convenience of the zoom. In the end I went with my initial three lens setup (24mm f/1.4L, 50mm f/1.2L, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II) and added one more lens, the 16-35mm f/2.8L. I don’t like the distortion of the 16-35mm at 16mm for people, but that extra reach will be nice for just general landscape stuff. Another debate was to bring the Ranger or not to bring the Ranger. On Saturday, Betty was all for bringing the Ranger even with the weight. On Wednesday… not so much. So we switched up the list a little bit and added more speedlites and will hope for the best. Well, not hope for the best, I’ve been using Speedlights for portraits at 100% of my weddings before this, so it’s not that big of a deal to not have our lovely new Ranger and Deep Octa softbox. Can’t wait to report back on Monday with how the wedding weekend in Mexico went!

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