Wedding photography kit bag essentials

Essential wedding gear and equipment

Capturing someone’s BIG DAY is a huge responsibility and can be intimidating to say the least. So whether you’ve just finished studying or simply taking that next step to become a full-time wedding photographer we’re here to provide you with a few tips and kit bag essentials to make sure you rock your first wedding.

A couples wedding rings photographed by Taylor Hernandez

Camera

When it comes to cameras, you don’t need the biggest, baddest, most expensive one on the market (you’ll get there one day). While a full-frame is ideal, a crop sensor will also do the job. No matter what your camera’s make or model is, what you should remember is the importance of having a back-up camera. If you don’t have one, hire one! You don’t want to scramble around thinking of faking your own death because the only camera you have is malfunctioning.

Extra camera battery

Pack an extra camera battery and your charger. And keep your eye on the camera’s battery levels and change/charge before it’s too late. (The bride is not going to have sympathy with you for missing their first kiss because your camera’s battery has died.) After some time shooting you’ll learn how many shots you can roughly take on one charge and plan accordingly.

Photograph of bride with mountains in the background by Zelle Duda

Typically you can go through a whole wedding with two lenses; a prime and a zoom. A wide-angle lens also comes in handy and who says that you only need (want) one prime lens?

A Zoom lens & Prime Lens

A zoom lens like the Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 is there to help you keep your distance giving the couple their space, while still getting the shot you’re after. With a prime lens like Canon or Nikon’s 50mm f/1.8 you can capture whimsical portraits and intimate moments with beautiful bokeh in the background. It’s also a great lens that performs excellent in low light conditions like shooting inside of the church. Besides the famous 50mm, there are two more prime lenses that you won’t go wrong packing. The 35mm, for example the Sigma 35mm f/1.4, works well for portraits and for wide-angle shots making it a good all-rounder investment lens. The 85mm gives the most visually “correct” representation of your subject and will melt away the background putting the focus on your subject. A very popular 85mm is the Tamron 85mm f/1.8.

Wide-angle lens

A wide angle lens like the Nikon or Canon 16-35mm f/4 is perfect if you’re looking to capture scenic shots of the couple surrounded by stunning landscape, or to fit the bride’s big family into one shot.

* Note: Your lens’s effective focal length will differ depending on whether you’re shooting full-frame or crop sensor.

This checklist doesn’t mean you’re doomed for failure if you don’t own all of them. You can rent a lens and pick one that best suits your photographic style and budget.

A photograph of bride dress Sweet Ice Cream Photography

Memory cards

You’re going to need memory cards, lots of them! We recommend about 3 or 4 good ones. If you’re looking to buy a more affordable card, the Sandisk Ultra SD 32GB is perfect for you. Something like SanDisk’s 32 GB Extreme Pro or Lexar’s 64GB SD Card & Reader are both great quality SD cards that provide high transfer speeds. (Remember to check that your memory card’s performance matches that of your camera. If you’ve got a high-speed camera you don’t want to be held back by a slower memory card.)

Camera bag

To ensure that you are taken seriously and all of your gear stays safe you should consider getting a high-quality, easy-access camera bag like the Lowepro Pro Runner Backpack 450 AW II or Lowepro Photostream Roller Bag 150. Both of these bags provide enough space for your equipment to stay neat and safe. People tend to underestimate the importance of having an organised bag. You’re going to get overwhelmed if things are a mess so ensure that you pack your bag neatly before heading off.

Post-processing

As you would know, (or will find out) your job doesn’t end when the wedding does. The real work only begins with you sitting behind a screen editing and retouching. Get yourself an Adobe Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC Photography plan subscription. Using these editing tools you can keep your photographs sorted and deliver to your client with quality, printable images they’ll treasure. Another sweet tip is to make external backups of all your work. You never know what might happen with your computer.

Bride and Groom by Sweet Ice Cream Photography

Stay one step ahead and surprise clients by packing the following:

  • A raincoat and umbrellas (at least two) cause you never know when the weather might take a turn.
  • Tissues. For the bride, her father, the groom or for you. (You never know, weddings are emotional events and it might just make you well up)
  • The ODP Wrap has many different uses and is always good to have close by even if it’s to wipe her shoes clean for the photo.
  • Plasters. Accidents happen and you, the fancy photographer, will be prepared 😉
A special wedding moment of the bride getting ready by Sweet Ice Cream Photography

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info@outdoorphoto.co.za
The Outdoorphoto Blog strives to inform, educate, engage and inspire South African creatives - it's all about the photographic lifestyle.

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