I did a poll on my Instagram story and almost everyone wanted to know all the equipment I use on a wedding day! So today, I’m sharing everything on the blog! This is a topic that I thought would be helpful to other photographers and also to clients who are interested in learning more about how I achieve my best work on a wedding day.
Before I share this, keep in mind that when I started in 2008, I didn’t have all this equipment. I had 2 lenses that I owned, and then I rented others only when I needed them. Which was about once or twice per month. I learned my lenses and got really comfortable with them first and then I decided which ones I needed to buy to elevate my photography.
When you can afford it, I’m a big believer in making the investment in great lenses first and foremost. I have a variety of options in my bag for various parts of the wedding day. I carry at least 6 lenses with me to make sure I’m ready for every situation and in case I need a back up if something happens to my gear. I’ve heard of nightmare stories where lenses have fallen and cracked, luckily this has never happened to me, but still, it’s better to have backups just in case. This is a wedding after all, there are no do-overs!
I usually carry the following lenses with me in my bag:
When I’m working, at a ceremony, I almost always use the 70-200mm and the 35mm or 50mm. My portrait sessions with the bride and groom and the bridal party is when I usually stick to the prime lenses. My 50mm is on my camera the most. I also like to use the 50mm or 85mm when I’m capturing details during the pre-wedding and at the reception. I have the macro lens in my bag, but usually only use it for ring photos. I like to capture other fine details with a macro lens, like the cuff links or earrings.
In some situations I use the 24-70mm when I need to capture a dance floor or a really large group photo. The 24-70mm is extremely versatile and can be used at any point of the day. It’s the first L series lens I invested in when I started shooting weddings, and I always have it in my bag to this day.
When it comes to my camera bodies, I use the Canon 5D Mark III and the Canon 5D Mark IV. I also have a Canon 5d Mark II as a back up camera. As I mentioned, backups are important!
I’m always wearing my camera straps from Holdfast. I use their Solo MoneyMaker Strap and the Skinny MoneyMaker straps all the time. The HoldFast Gear straps are exceptional and keep my hands free if and when I need to carry things, or fix a wedding dress. I wrote more about the experience with my camera straps in this post here!
I usually have about 3 flashes in my bag. I use third party flashes. They are inexpensive and work pretty well for me. I use the Yong Nuo EX RT-II for Canon. I’ve heard great things about Godox flashes as well but I haven’t tried them yet. If you’re interested in learning more about how I use my speedlights at weddings, you can learn my top techniques in my Lighting Course!
My rechargeable batteries are Eneloop rechargeable batteries by Panasonic. They are crucial to making sure my flashes are working well. Weak batteries are the absolute worst when you’re shooting fast moments in a wedding reception. I recommend these batteries over all others! I also use a great rechargeable battery charger that charges 8 batteries at a time, plus the light turns green once they are finished charging.
My modifiers are by MagMod! I’m a huge fan of their lightweight design. They are extremely convenient and not bulky at all. If I have my flash on my camera, I will usually have the MagSphere on it as well. I use the MagGrid, when I’m using off-camera flash and want to focus the light in a particular spot without losing the ambient light in the room. When ever using any of these items, you have to also have the MagGrip that attaches to your flash and keep the MagSphere and MagGrid in place.
All of the MagMod gear is magnetized so they are easy to assemble. You don’t have to worry about screwing them in to make sure they are secure. The magnets are really strong and they do a great job on a busy wedding day when there never seems to be enough time. I have plans to invest in a MagBox soon, I will definitely share more information about that once I do. The MagBox is a small softbox that is great for wedding photographers, because it’s great to shoot with while on the go.
If you’re interested in making an investment in the MagMod system, I encourage you to use my coupon code, type in samanthaclarke at checkout on their website at magnetmod.com to receive 5% off your purchase!
I also use the Glow EZ Lock Deep Parabolic Umbrella for portraits. This is a small softbox that helps because it’s really easy to set up. I usually carry a light stand and the umbrella in a the easy carry bag that it comes with. It really makes your off-camera flash photos look amazing without it looking harsh! You’ll also need an S-bracket with a bowens mount to set it up. I also have used the white translucent umbrellas and they also do a great job if you’re just starting out.
My camera bag is by Think Tank and it holds all of my stuff perfectly! It’s the ThinkTank Airport Advantage and I love it because it fits in the overhead compartment and under the seat on planes, plus it has wheels! I use to think that I could carry everything in a backpack, but when everything is in my bag, it gets very heavy. I love the ability to carry my bag or roll it on wheels while I’m on the go. It also holds my laptop perfectly!
I hope this post is helpful for your if you’re wondering what I use while I photograph a wedding! I’m definitely available if you have further questions about what I carry on a wedding day. As I mentioned before, you can always rent your equipment before making the huge investment in these items. Start where you’re at and build from there.
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