Wedding Photography Equipment
I am often asked by other wedding photographers, what equipment do I use and why. First of all, let me quote one of the most legendary photographer's in the world, Mr Ansel Adams who said:
“The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.”
So let's get it out of the way first. Equipment is not a replacement for skill & experience. That being said, professional grade equipment is much more expensive for a very good reason. The performance, handling and ultimately image quality are much better than your standard entry level 'kit' lenses.
Plus as a professional wedding photographer, documenting once in a lifetime events. We need to make sure we have backup equipment. We can't stop the ceremony half way through and say to the bride "Erm...awfully sorry but my camera is broke. Hope you don't mind. Bye!"
All this equipment costs money. I get that. And I not for one moment saying that you need to go out and blow a fortune on the best equipment money can buy. Wedding photography is often all about being flexible and balancing this, for that. The same principle applies for equipment selection. We can buy this lens. Or this flash. Which will be more useful for say lighting speeches? Or bridal preparations? Only you can decide.
OK, so with that in mind, here is a list of my current equipment which I use. I've tried hard to slim down the amount of gear I carry since it can get a bit heavy and impractical. I can pretty much fit everything into a single roller case now!
Main and Backup Camera
The reason I love the D750 is simply performance. It has the right blend of features such as fast AF, dual card slots and great low light performance. In my opinion the three most important features for any professional shooting weddings.
I used to own the D610 but found the AF is too slow to auto focus in low light situations. I tried the D4 but once the novelty of being able to shoot at 10fps wore off, I found the low light performance on the D750 to be equal. And given the cost difference and weight savings, it became a bit of a no brainer. So back to the D750 I went.
My backup camera is the same D750. This is because I dual shoot and as a result having the same camera means colour consistency which in turn makes post processing faster.
Lenses are arguably THE most important item. Even more so than a good camera body. I often advise people to upgrade their lenses first before their camera body. I have used many lenses during my career as a Nottingham & Derby wedding photographer but here are the ones I have currently in my bag.
I have the Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 VC after buying a cheap one second hand as a 'backup' to my Nikon 24-70 f/2.8. Surprisingly I found the Tamron performed better. It is sharper and the addition of vibration control means I can shoot at slower shutter speeds and still get tack sharp photographs.
The Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 is also one of the most popular lenses in any wedding photographer's arsenal. I consider it to be a bread and butter lens. Perfect for capturing what happens at a wedding without needing to get too close. If you are banished to the back of the church during the marriage ceremony, 200mm is going to save your bacon!
The king of portrait lenses at the moment is the Sigma 85mm 1.4 ART. I just love the 85mm focal range for portraits. I often take bridal portraits using this lens since at 85mm there is little to no distortion and being able to open up the aperture to f/1.4 means I can throw a lot of the background out of focus to give that creamy bokeh we all dream of. I used to use the Nikon 85mm 1.8G which I highly recommend if you can't quite afford the Sigma but OMG this lens IS. A. BEAST!