Wedding Photography Equipment List - Wedding Photographer in Atlanta
This post is part of a series of posts taking our readers along with us for the ride as we talk about our own processes for wedding photography. What equipment should I bring to a wedding shoot? Pl...
This post is part of a series of posts taking our readers along with us for the ride as we talk about our own processes for wedding photography.
What equipment should I bring to a wedding shoot?
Please excuse this technical post and allow me to shift into Nerd mode :). This may be one of the most common questions on photographers minds, both new and old. If you read our previous post on previsualization, hopefully you have an idea of the types of shots you want to take at the wedding. Now that we hopefully have a general idea of the types of photos we want to make, let’s talk a bit about the technical side of how to make that happen along with a few other tips.
Here is our personal equipment list which varies slightly each shoot due to items which may be rented out through our other camera equipment rental business: Camera Concierge. This should give you a general idea of what we prefer to shoot with, next we will talk about the why.
Primary Shooter (Zac)
Canon 5D Mark II
100mm f/2.8L IS Macro
70-200mm f/2.8L IS II
580 EX II
Spare Batteries & CF Cards
Second Shooter (Betty)
85mm f/1.4 IF ED
105mm f/2.8 Micro
70-200mm f/2.8 VR II
Spare Batteries & CF Cards
Both of us start with the basics: a main camera (5D Mark II and D700) as well as backup cameras (7D and D90) just in case something goes wrong. We are usually carrying both cameras around ready to go just to be able to have two lenses always at the ready and vary the shots. Typically an example for the ceremony would be a 70-200mm on one camera and then a wide angle on the other (16-35mm or 14-24mm) to allow us maximum flexibility in getting the shot without fumbling for changing lenses. This brings up an interesting point, for as much as I love prime lenses I choose to shoot a zoom for the flexibility during those key moments such as the ceremony. One of my favorite lenses is the Canon 135mm f/2.0L prime which is just beautiful, if I were shooting this lens for the zoom reach to get the ceremony I would without a doubt also have a second body with a shorter lens to take advantage of any situations that might occur closer to me and again to make sure I get the shot!
What’s Working or Not Working?
This seems like a long list of equipment, so I wanted to spend a moment talking about in “real life” what is working or what I wish I had brought/bought. The lens I used the least was the 24mm, mainly because I kept the 16-35mm attached 80% of the time to the 7D. The lens used the most by myself and Betty: 70-200mm (no surprise there?). From the ceremony to the first dances we both used this lens extensively to cover every angle and they performed beautifully. When we moved on to the formal portraits I switched over to the primes of 50mm and 85mm to get a nice creamy bokeh (blurred background) and crisp, sharp images. I also alternated between these two lenses on the 5D Mark II during the reception and preparation stages of the day again for those rich images. As for Betty, being in second shooter mode she primarily used the 70-200mm for important events and the 105mm Micro lens for the detail shots. I don’t think she ever touched the 85mm nor the 24-70, instead opting to switch out the macro lens with the wide angle 14-24 to complement her 70-200mm. One advantage of having the 105mm Micro (Macro) lens is that it works great for portraits as well with Vibration Reduction built in for both the Nikon and Canon versions. Even though the lens is labeled as a macro lens it can work in a variety of situations.
Areas for Improvement
We have a set of Pocket Wizards and I would like to attempt to utilize those more for some off camera flash during the dances and reception. There’s always the saying about flash that you should “get the darn flash off the camera” and I totally agree, though carrying a flash with you gives maximum flexibility during an ever-changing wedding. For an upcoming wedding I would like to set up a remote flash on a simple portable light stand (we use the Manfrotto Micro Stand) in a corner for that extra pop, and carry a Pocket Wizard with me should I want to experiment from time to time. This might confuse things with a static second flash so obviously it won’t work for every shot, but for some creative side light it might work!
The other area I would love to improve on for overall shooting is to use more prime lenses. I do indeed fall back on the 50mm and 85mm a good amount of the time, but I want to throw the 135mm into the mix and start relying on them exclusively during the shoot because they force me not to be lazy. With a 70-200 I can sit in one spot and get beautiful 3/4 shots and them zoom in tight for reactions. Primes with their fixed focal lengths really make you get up and move, and with that movement you have to get more creative because you may see something new at the new angle. Always learning, always room for improvement.
Thank you for reading this rather boring gear-centric post. From time to time I can easily geek out and talk a bit about the technical side of photography and that while the gear doesn’t make you a better photographer, it allows you to express a creative vision or see the moment in new ways that other equipment might not.