Today I'm talking a little bit about what gear I typically carry on a wedding day. I get questions about my gear all the time, and to be quite honest most work you see here and Facebook was shot with my Mark 3 and 50 f/1.2 lens or my Contax645. They are my little dream team and produce images in line with my style and aesthetic. However, it is quite impossible to shoot certain things, like an entire wedding day, without changing out lenses, so let’s get started….
-Canon 5D Mark II
-Canon 5D Mark III
Although I have a personal vendetta against the Mark 2 (seriously, I thought I had an issue with focusing, when really it was the camera) I always have it on wedding day. It’s so important to have backup gear and a back up camera in case your equipment fails, or you accidentally trip and fall into a large body of water (hey, I have heard it has happened!) The worst thing you could ever do is have something go wrong and be stuck staring at your bride and groom, unable to shoot. You don’t have to have the same camera on stand-by, and most of the time a lesser model will be fine. Just make sure you have something!
50 f/1.2 This lens is my baby. I call him Stephan. (Not really, I just made that up). I love this lens so much, I rarely take it off. In fact, at engagement sessions I usually don’t take it off. I have used it so much, I know where I need to stand and what I need to do to get the shot I want without thinking much. Plus, the glass on this guy is dreamy when it comes to bokeh.
50 f/1.4 This was my first lens ever and I still carry it with me. Sometimes I will give it to my second shooter if we are in low-light situations. Otherwise, it is a nice backup.
35 f/1.4 I have been loving this lens more and more. Perfect for large bridal parties and families. I also like to pop this on to get some reception shots. It’s a winner.
Everyone has their own reasons for why they love certain lenses. I have been drawn to primes not only because of the quality and the glass, but also because I really like being an active part in creating the photo. Primes force you to move, and engage with your subject and surroundings. It constantly keeps me thinking and aware of my environment instead of standing in one spot and twisting my lens in and out, in and out.
70-200 f/2.8 IS: This is a must-have for weddings. I use this during every ceremony so I can stay back in the middle of the aisle without having to get too close. We are there to capture the moment, but in the most unobtrusive way possible. The best compliment to me is when someone says “Wow, I didn’t even notice you!” in reference to a ceremony. Only bad thing? This is one heavy bad boy. Talk about a sore arm if you carry this around for more than an hour or so! The pictures you get from it are nothing short of amazing! Also, I think the image stabilization is a key. This lens is so heavy, it is easy to get "camera shake" when you aren’t on a tripod.
24-105: I hate this lens, the end ;) Not really, but I do hate this lens. My photos always look like they have come from a point and shoot when I use this, because there is no dimension. The glass isn’t as nice, even though it is an l-series. I keep it just in case we need it, and sometimes my second shooter uses it. I’ve used it for very large extended family portraits, but in general I run screaming in the other direction before mounting this on my mark.
Macro 100mm f/2.8 IS: This lens has been such an amazing addition. It’s has added new dimension and variety in my detail photos and I don’t know what I did without it. I know some photographers who get really great detail shots without this, but I wasn’t getting anything worth anything, until I invested in the macro! I have even used it on portrait and engagement sessions from a distance and I love the photos I get when I shoot wide open with it in those situations. Very cool lens!
580 EX II: Flash. Necessary evil for the dark months and low-light receptions. Some days we get along great, other days I feel like I need to re-read the manual all over again. However, it is essential you know how to use off-camera lighting and flash so if the situation calls for it, you don’t miss any moments!
Contax 645: I am in love with my latest addition. It has been so fun getting to know this camera, and trying something new. I am finding myself putting down my digital and trusting this guy more and more. The grain, the inimitable colors, the depth, the emotion and timelessness are just a few of the reasons I love it so much. I also love the fact that I can send rolls off to my lab, get scans back, and have photos ready to go out to clients just like that!
Sekonic L-358 Light Meter: A must have for a film camera! I started out using it incorrectly (another post for another day) but figured it out quickly, and now I rely on my meter to choose what shutter speed to shoot at in order to get as close to the correct exposure as possible.
A few other things you'll find in my bag: batteries, memory cards, tripod, eneloop batteries. For large bridal parties or families, I always mount my camera on a tripod. Chances are your aperture will need to be high so your shutter speed will be as low as you can go (I try and avoid going below 125) so I always mount it to avoid camera shake! I also am obsessed with my eneloop rechargeable batteries for my flash. I can charge these and use them for up to 3 reception events without needing to recharge or replace them.
I hope this was insightful, if you have any questions please leave them in the comments and I am happy to share with you! Photographers, what's in YOUR camera bag?!