Have you ever wondered what items and gear you need to shoot a wedding? After 10 years in the industry, we have designed and filled our camera bags with all the essential to be successful and prepared on any wedding day.
Here is a detailed list of our must-have camera bodies, lenses, lighting and accessories that we bring with us to every wedding.
“When people ask me what equipment I use – I tell them my eyes.” - Anonymous
Before we jump into all the gear, I want to remind you that no camera, even the most expensive one, will every replace the eye of the artist, which is you, the photographer. Putting time and effort into growing your creative eye is the best way to improve your images and the feeling you capture inside of them. Ok, now let's get into the gear.
2 - Canon 5D Mark iii 1 - Canon 1DX Mark 2 (in Dana's bag and not pictured above) 1 - Canon 5D Mark ii (only an emergency back up camera body in case all the other cameras fail for some reason)
Canon 24mm f/1.4L - Quality wide-angle lens, and the first prime lens I ever bought. I LOVE this lens for engagement sessions to capture the vibe of the location the couples choose, as well as for close up's as they share an intimate moment. It's also amazing for large bridal party pictures on a wedding day. It's also great for any tight getting ready locations on the morning of the wedding. *WARNING - there is distortion at the edges of this lens so I am always very careful to center my subjects and not have anyone to close to the edges of the frame.
Sigma Art Series 35mm 1.4 - use this lens a lot! It's perfect for most portraits throughout the day (I say most as I like to switch it up with other lenses for diversity) especially larger family portraits. It's a beautiful perspective that allows me to be close to my clients as I instruct them for poses and give directions when asking for movement.
Canon 50mm f/1.2L - This was the second prime I ever bought and read that it's the lens that's closest to what the human eye sees. It's amazing for details on the morning of the wedding (shoes, rings, flowers) as well as individual or two-person portraits.
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens - With the wide range of focal lengths from 24-70mm, this lens is very convenient when it comes to the ceremony and the reception (specifically entrances as subjects are moving quickly towards you) It's also great for the dance floor pictures. Keep in mind, it doesn't replace prime lenses. The quality between prime and zoom lenses is noticeable and as convenient as it would be to keep the 24-70 zoom on is, it's very important to keep your prime lenses as the main go-to, before the zoom..in my personal opinion.
Canon 85mm f/1.2L - HELLO BEAUTIFUL - This baby took me a hot min to afford with such a hefty price tag, but I knew it was the right investment and it was love at first snap. It's the QUEEN when it comes to breathtaking portraits and although it takes me farther back from my clients then I would like, the quality and beauty coupled with the perfect amount of buttery bokeh is worth it every time.
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens - In my opinion, this zoom lens is the exception to the quality rule. The images that we produce from this lens are AMAZING CRISP QUALITY and it's become a full-time favorite of Dana's. He shoots primary with this lens 80% of the day (ceremony, receptions, and portraits) and the other 20% he shots with the 50mm f/1.2L (details and getting ready)
Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro IS L - This lens only comes out in the morning during the getting ready time. It's heaven for all the smaller details - rings, earrings, jewelry, any additional sentimental items of a smaller scale. It's also the only way to capture any engravings a couple may have inscribed on the inside of their wedding bands.
Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 - This wide-angle zoom lens is used when we need to include more of the landscape and/or architecture in a shot. Surprisingly, it also has a beautiful portrait quality at 30mm.
3 - Canon 600EX-RT Flash - This flash has a wireless transmitter built-in for amazing convenience. During receptions, we set up one flash on a stand and keep one on Camera.
2 - Canon 580 EX ll Flash - backups just incase
Bags Dana's Bag: Think Tank Photo StreetWalker V2.0 Backpack
Janine's Bag: Evermore By House of Flynn
I personally carry a lot of CF and SD cards (like 20) in my bag at all times so that I always have enough for both of us in case anything happens to either of our cards. For weddings, I shoot with both a 64GB San Disk Extreme CF card, and a 32GB Extreme Pro SD in each camera. Dana shoots with a CFast 2.0 64GB Extreme PRO SD card with the Canon1Dx.
Hard drive/card reader:
1 - Western Digital 1TB My Passport Portable External Hard Drive-USB 1 - All-in-one High-Speed Memory Card Reader (reads both SD & CF)
Holdfast Gear - Camera Holder HoldFast Gear Camera Swagg Money Maker Cotton Canvas Harness for 2 Cameras, Copper
Pelican Mini Case series Monopod
Manfrotto Lightweight Element Monopod Red Aluminum (used mostly at receptions) Camera Rain cover:
OP/TECH USA Rain sleeve-18-Inch Rain Poncho
Disposable Raincoats Emergency Outdoor Poncho
Mini sewing kit / mini scissors
Crochet hooks (this gets used SO much)
Beauty kit with :
Mini travel hairspray / mini brush / bobby pins / safety pins / tinted lip gloss / feminine products / sunscreen / nail glue / faux eyelash glue
Bag of candy to bribe kids with
Gum / breath mints / perfume rollerball
Lens Puppet scrunchy to put over the lens with squeaker toy inside to get kids attention
Pens / Highlighters - for crossing off the family list
Q & A
Where do we buy our gear? B&H - online
Vistek - Local in Calgary How do we take care of our gear? Before and after every wedding or e-session, I use my CamKix Professional Camera Cleaning Kit for DSLR Cameras to blow out and wipe down any smudges or dust. I also carry individual Lens Cleaning Wipes on me at all times. For deeper cleaning and maintenance, I send my gear into Canon through their Pro Plan. Is our gear insured? OH YAY! It's so necessary. Make sure to talk to your insurance company about the total value of your gear and how you can go about getting it insured...and do it ASAP!
Ok, that's it! It seems like a lot now that I have written it out, but all of these things have come in handy throughout each season that we shoot. I try to not carry anything extra that I don't truly need. I hope this was helpful for you friend! Shine on!