Whether you’ve been asked to shoot a wedding for a friend or are thinking of going into wedding photography on a more serious scale, the varied nature of the subject, shooting the likes of portraits, reportage, low light, macro and action, means you’re going to need a decent amount of kit to do the day justice. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the key items you’ll need.
This will come down to personal choice and how you want to tackle the day and the pictures you want to take.
A full-frame camera is a popular choice and it’s easy to see why – the large sensors can render exquisite detail, cope well in poor light and can create stunning shallow depth of field images with the right lenses. Offerings from Canon and Nikon in the shape of the EOS 5D Mark III and D810 are obvious choices here and are backed up by a huge array of lenses, but Sony’s mirrorless A7 range of full-frame cameras shouldn’t be discounted either.
Alternatively, recent years has seen a trend of smaller, less obtrusive cameras to be used, with the likes of Fujifilm’s X-Pro2 and X-T1 being popular choices.
Whatever camera you opt for, it’s almost essential to have a second body. Not only to speed up shooting, with a different lens on each so you don’t have to keep swapping lenses but should the worst happen and you either damage your camera or it develops a problem, you’ve got a back-up to hand. Some photographers even have a backup to back up the backup to ensure they’re really covered.
Popular lens choices are 24-70mm and 70-200mm, meaning you can cover everything from group shots to intimate portraits with only a couple of lenses, complemented with a fast 50mm f/1.4 for low-light and defocused shots.
Instead of opting for zooms, an arsenal of primes is another option and as well as a 50mm f/1.4, a 35mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.4 (or equivalents) are great lengths for a more documentary style of photography.
Other speciality lenses which can be useful for wedding photographers include a macro lens for details such as wedding rings and flowers, a tilt-shift lens for interesting portraits, and a very wide-angle lens for capturing venue interiors and for very large group portraits.
Even if you’re planning to shoot the event with natural light and fast lenses, a flashgun is still an essential piece of kit, especially when it comes to the end of the day when shooting the first dance when the lighting can be very unpredictable. That’s not forgetting liberating the flashgun from your camera and shooting some sculptured off-camera flash images. If you’re going to be working this way though, you might want to get yourself some diffusers to control the light, some triggers and light stands.
Other useful kits
A well-positioned reflector can be more effective than a flashgun at lighting your subject and can be a very controllable light source, while a stepladder is incredibly useful for group shots if you can get anywhere high enough to shoot from.
It also goes without saying that extra memory cards, batteries are a must, and an optional storage device to back up as you shoot (along with a laptop) is also very desirable.