There are some days in your life that are too amazing to forget. Booking our first wedding photo shoot is near the top of that list for me. Someone was taking a risk on us and it launched our photography career to the next level. We were so excited to get ready for this shoot however, I quickly realized that we did not have enough equipment for the wedding. We had experience with shorter shoots such as portrait, engagement, and others that only required one camera. We had NEVER photographed for 8 hours straight.
The next few weeks I spent hours and hours researching on what exactly I needed to purchase while on an extremely tight budget. My research paid off. I purchased all of the equipment that we would need and the wedding went wonderfully.
I was recently looking at our gear, and while I have nicer versions of everything, I still have the same stuff in my bag. Yes, I have added unnecessary gear into my bag from time to time but I have weeded out everything I don't need and still have my core equipment.
This post is dedicated to photographer that just got their first wedding. Good job! Now, here are all of my hours of research and now experience put into a single gear list. I hope the helps take the anxiety out of the preparation so you can enjoy this awesome feeling. Good luck with your shoot!
Since Jada and I have never shot a wedding alone, I always have to purchase two of everything. You don't need anything too awesome right away but you do want something a little nicer than your plastic bodied consumer camera. You are selling a "Professional" service so your equipment should be at a professional level. To save cost, look for a nice crop sensor camera. For our first wedding, I found two used Canon 7ds for super sweet deals. We have since upgraded to full frame but I loved those cameras. I was nervous about these cameras being broken when I was purchasing them from Craigslist so both times I had the seller meet me at Richmond Camera. I played with the camera and asked the guy working there to look over it with me. It is always good to get a professional opinion or help from a more seasoned photographer, so don’t be afraid to ask!
You do not need to over do it here. For our first wedding we had three lenses. I bought two and rented one lens. You basically just want to cover the full spectrum of focal length and then have another for detail shots. I have a bag full of lenses and we still pretty much just use these lenses. Here is what I recommend when it comes to lenses. Sorry Nikon people, I am a Canon man!
This guy is super cheap! Just a little over 100 dollars but man I still love it. Use this lens for detail shots and anything else you want to score a bunch of depth with. I would not recommend taking any portraits with this guy. You will not consistently capture sharp images. Trust me.
This lens is a perfect all day lens. We shoot portraits, family portraits, ceremonies, and receptions with this lens. Very versatile and a solid add to your collection.
This is to get the up close shots during the ceremony. I love this lens and tend to use it a lot during a wedding day.
Before I begin, I just want to say, don't be that photographer that uses strobes or flashes during the ceremony. It gives us all a bad name and makes churches restrict our positioning even more. It is the main reason why I recommend such wide aperture lenses. They help you deal with the low light.
**Steps off of Soapbox** Canon and Nikon brand flashes are awesome but you don't need to spend your money on them right away. I found this company on Amazon (YONGNUO) that basically makes cheap versions of everything. My first two flashes still work to this day.
During researching, I randomly came across Gary Fong's YouTube channel. I was instantly infatuated with him and his product. I ordered two and we have used them ever since. They simply rock and take your indoor and tent photos to the next level without producing harsh, shadow-ie light.
Good batteries are a must for both the camera and your flash. For your cameras, I would buy three for each. We go through about one and a half per camera during 8 hours of wedding coverage. For your flashes, go the rechargeable route. It saves money in the long run. Buy a bunch and purchase a holder to organize them in your camera bag. You don’t want to be stuck mid-way through the shoot with a dead camera and no batteries!
This was where I messed up big time during our first wedding. I did not buy enough cards. With an hour left during the wedding, I was deleting bad shots from the card. This was stressful and I never wanted to do that again. While everyone's shooting style is different, we shoot about 5,000 photographs during a wedding day. I prefer to stick to smaller cards (16gb) and change them in between the main events on both cameras. This helps me organize the photographs when dumping them onto my computer. It also ensures that if a card does go bad during the time between photographing and dumping, it is not a huge loss. Each 16gb card holds about 500 pictures. Minimally you will need 10 cards for two cameras but I have about 15 in my bag just for back-up. For me, my favorite card is the 16gb SanDisk Extreme.
Find yourself a comfortable bag that can hold all of your equipment. Organization is key so make sure the bag's pockets work in your favor. The equipment can be heavy, so make sure there is proper padding and your back is supported as well.