Must-Have Gear for Wedding and Engagement Photogs
Am I the only one out there who gets overwhelmed thinking about the amount of gear there is in the world? I could go on and on about different lenses, camera bodies, brands, SD and CF cards, camera bags, editing software etc...
It can be super confusing when you're just starting out and even more frustrating when you want those incredible IG worthy photos but don't know what equipment you need to achieve it.
So today, sitting at the airport waiting for my six-hour layover to end, I thought I would help you out a little bit and share what gear I currently use for weddings and engagements (and the gear I started with).
*Disclaimer* This is in no way what I think you need to buy in order to take phenomenal photos, this is just what I have and what I've found works for the art I'm trying to create.
Alrighty, let's start with the basics. I shoot on the Canon 5d Mark iii.
I did A LOT of research before purchasing this camera since they run around $2,750.00. ( I'm cringing just writing this out) I guess could have gone with the IV, but I knew that I could get what I needed out of the iii. That being said, I don't think you need this expensive camera - I started out my business on a basic Nikon, yes, Nikon, D3400. It was my first DSLR and I think that it's a great starter camera for the price. The reason I chose to make the switch is that I found Canon had more of what I was looking for as far as the autofocus and lens selection.
For me, I knew right away that I wanted to make this a career. I also knew that starting a business was going to be SUPER expensive and that photographers usually charge a lot for their services.
Bottom line: I didn't want to have competitive prices without professional gear.
I'm currently using two really versatile lenses, but I've been looking around for a few others to finish off my kit.
My main lens is a Sigma 35mm 1.4. I love this lens it's so sharp and hardly ever misses focus. Since it's wide I like to use this the majority of a wedding day. I can fit a lot into the frame without it looking cluttered or forced. This is also the cheaper of the two lenses coming in at around $900.00.
The second lens I have that lives in my camera bag is the Canon 50mm 1.2L. This lens is magic. The bokeh is so buttery and smooth, the autofocus is tack sharp and it's super fast. I HIGHLY recommend this lens if you have the money for it - it's pretty up there in price, around $1,300.00, but for the quality, I think it's 100% worth it - especially if you're using it to grow your business. I typically use this lens for portraits, but I've also used it for the ceremony for a closer cropped in look. It's really great for detail shots as well and makes taking action shots easy breezy.
My next two big lens purchases will include the Canon 70-200mm 2.8L and the Canon 100mm 2.8L Macro. The 70-200m will help you get those super crisp close up shots of the bride and groom during their ceremony without being too up close and personal. It's also widely known to be a great portrait lens and I think the versatility will come in handy as a part of my kit. I honestly only want the macro for one purpose: Those tasty ring shots. You know the ones I'm talking about! Where you're so close you can almost reach out and grab it? Yea, I'll be over here drooling.
Sigma Art 35mm 1.4
Canon 50mm 1.2L
The Camera Bag I Have!
When it comes to camera bags I wanted something functional, easy to carry, secure, big enough to fit my 15" laptop, and travel-friendly. I went back and forth looking through leather crossbody bags, bulky backpacks, side sachels, more leather bags, and then I finally stumbled on this: The Kattee Canvas Camera Backpack. It's perfection. And the best part? It didn't break the bank. I paid around $60 on Amazon and I got in two days with Prime.
It's simple and fairly small, but there is SO much room to put stuff. My laptop slips right into the designated pouch and I can put my lens hoods, memory cards, battery charger, and anything else I need in the big compartment.
Where does the camera go, you might ask? It's strategically placed in the BOTTOM of the bag inside a separate bag to keep all of your gear nice and safe. I only use this with my mark iii and two lenses, but if you have more I would recommend a bigger sized bag. This backpack works for me because it's so compact, but when I add to my arsenal of lenses and get a second body, I'll need to use a more sizable bag. But until then, I'm LOVING this one!
The Flash I'm Loving!
When I first started, I didn't know the first thing about a "Flash", (other than it popped up out of my camera!). Basically, it takes time to really learn everything, and I love that because it means that I won't get bored.
The flash I use is the YONGNUO YN600EX-RT II Speedlite. Again, I did a lot of research trying to figure out what to use. This is fairly inexpensive as far as flashes go and it works REALLY well. The recycle time is super fast and I haven't had too many issues with it (user error the first time I tried it out).
Basically, it works great, the price is awesome, and it's one of those rare off-brand products that actually perform as well as the name brand. I would like to eventually upgrade to a canon flash, but until then, this little guy is working just fine.
Well, friend, we've made it to the end. CONGRATS if you've got this far! The only other things I carry in my bag are basic Canon chargers, batteries, and my camera strap. I use the Extreme Pro CF (Compact-Flash) cards and SD cards for my memory and I use Adobe Lightroom + Photoshop to edit on. I have an external hard drive as well, but I don't actually know what it's called (sorry!). It was my husbands and he let me have it, but I think any kind of external hard drive will work fine! Always do your research before buying ANYTHING. Sometimes one product will work great for someone else but suck for you so be aware of that.
Final food for thought: Know yourself and the type of photos you want to create. It seems so simple, but that really will determine the kind of gear you end up buying. I hope this list helps anyone who needed a little bit of guidance ( I know I sure did, and still do if I'm honest!)
Have a-rockin' week, friends! Until next time, stay creative!