The equipment of a wedding photographer

The equipment does not make the photographer… I’m sure you’ve heard it before!

Well, it is true that it is not according to the choice of this one that you will be considered as good or bad photographer!

However, the choice of the material remains essential to guarantee a quality work.

Because let’s not forget that the job of a wedding photographer includes lot of responsibilities: it’s not just about taking pictures, the most important thing is to know how to tell a story with them.

In this article, I’ll talk about the wedding photographer’s equipment needs and then reveal the ones I use.

The equipment needs of the wedding photographer

A photographer is a very observant person and, depending on the context, he or she must adapt. To be clear, when you photograph a wedding, sometimes the space is not set up properly, the light is not adapted… Very often, town halls are small and churches are very dark for example.

And in this case, it is always necessary to have the right equipment for this kind of situation.

So here are the 3 equipment to bring with you to every wedding (in my opinion):

Backup equipment

In fact, backup equipment is not an option for the photographer. And you’ll soon understand that!

In 2018, at a wedding, I dropped my camera (Nikon D7200), and found myself unable to restart it. If I didn’t have my backup camera with me that day, I would have been faced with a very embarrassing situation.

As you can see, even if you choose to use only one camera, as a professional, it is extremely important to have a spare camera in your bag.

A wide focal range

Through his photo reports, the wedding photographer tells stories. The story of a day, of a couple and their emotions. The story of an event. The story of a wedding.

A report should never be monotonous!

Have you ever seen a movie where the same shot is used in every scene? I have not.

The same is true for photo report. To tell these stories, the photographer must vary the shots, tell the day through different perspectives.

Let’s take the example of the church ceremony. You will start by photographing the church, the outside setting, the guests… Then you will get closer to the details, the emotions of the bride and groom, the exchange of rings…

In a few words, having a wide choice of lenses with different focal ranges will allow you to capture the global context as well as the details of the day.

Luminous lenses

Some churches are sometimes very dim, and this can be annoying. Besides, it’s not really the right place to activate the flash!

Hence the importance of bright lenses. Honestly, today these lenses with a large aperture are a must have for photographers.

Personally, I very rarely work with flash. I like to use fixed lenses (35mm, 50mm, 85mm, etc). These lenses have a large aperture allowing me to capture very bright pictures even in the worst low light situations.

What equipment should I carry in my bag?

After 5 years and over 130 weddings, I now know what is essential to take with me to every wedding.

Two Nikon cameras

I use to take two cameras at a wedding: one wide angle and one closer. This allows me to be more flexible in catching each important scene. In fact, I can use two different focal lengths.

The disadvantage is that SLRs are relatively heavy. So, carrying 2 of them during a wedding can be exhausting. I hesitated to switch to Sony or Canon a few years ago for this very reason.

Then, Nikon released hybrid range Z! Today, I can’t get rid of my Z6. And I plan to invest in Z frames very soon!

SIGMA 35 mm 1.4

If I had to choose only one lens, I would definitely take my SIGMA 35 mm 1.4.

Indeed, it is extremely versatile since it is halfway between wide angle lenses and portrait lenses like the famous 50 mm…

You can use it all day long, from the preparations to the evening, including couple photos, different ceremonies and the opening of the ball. It allows you to have both overviews and portraits.

Nikon 24-70 2.8

If you prefer zooms rather than fixed lenses, I highly recommend Nikon 24-70 2.8.

In fact, it is the most malleable lens. The 24mm allows you to take very wide shots while the 70mm allows you to capture much tighter shots.

A 85 mm 1.8 lens

My latest purchase. I bought this 85 mm 1.8 lens for my Nikon Z6. And I am extremely seduced by its quality! It is very bright and therefore the sharpness is impressive.

With its fast autofocus speed and wide maximum aperture, the 85mm 1.8 allows you to capture emotional, intimate, close-up moments. It is also ideal for low-light situations.

A 70 – 200 mm 2.8 lens

There are certain moments of the day when it is important to be discreet to have natural photos. 70-200 mm 2.8 is perfect for it! 

This lens is very popular with professional photographers because of its versatile focal range and large aperture.

I have been using it since I started and I highly recommend it!

I like to use it during couple’s photo sessions. It allows me to not be too close to the bride and groom and thus, to give them enough space to be as natural and relaxed as possible.

A 50 mm 1.4 lens

This 50 mm 1.4 lens is the closest to the human eye. It has a very nice sharpness as well as a superb bokeh. In my opinion, it is a basic lens to have, a must have!

It is ideal for portraits, but not only!

A flash cobra

As I said earlier in the article, I work exclusively with natural light. However, in some low light situations, the flash is essential.

In this way, I prefer to use the flash cobra which allows to fill the lack of luminosity.

I advise you to use it during the opening of the ball. Be careful, remember to point the flash upwards, it avoids dazzling the bride and groom!

As a professional photographer, it is essential to invest in quality equipment. But be careful, you must master it perfectly.

There are many products on the market today, so take the time to think about which one you’ll feel most comfortable with. And don’t hesitate to look at hybrids!

Also, think of varying your lenses, that will allow you to have various shots. These shots will give you a quality photo report. And moreover, you will be able to become a real storyteller!