As a photographer, I know how important gear is to capturing a wedding beautifully. When I first started, I looked to Jasmine Star’s blog to figure out what you really need to capture beautiful photos. It was a critical first step and today I wanted to share with you what I use and why.
Also, if you want to know more about all the things I did to grow my photography business, you can click here to see!
When I first started, I bought a Nikon D5300 crop sensor and a 50mm 1.8. I didn’t know much about how the camera body affected my image, but I did know that your lens is probably the most important purchase you can make as a photographer. Why? Your lens refracts light in a way that creates a beautiful image. It essentially controls what the final outcome of the image will look like, depth of field, sharpness, angle of view. These all make up the composition of your image and ultimately affect its quality as well.
Now, this isn’t to say that the camera body isn’t important, as it really is, but when people ask me which camera body to purchase first, I usually respond with “buy a lens before you upgrade the body.” That is where you get the bang for your buck. You also need a camera body that helps you to capture the kind of images that you want. For me, I needed a camera that would support fast refocusing (i.e., when the bride and groom walk down the aisle) and shooting in extreme low light (i.e., dance-floor shots), so it made sense for me to get a camera with a great autofocus system and high ISO range with low noise. I chose my camera based off of the needs I found that my current camera body couldn’t meet.
So lets chat about gear shall we?
- Canon Tilt Shift 45mm 2.8 – This creates a beautiful and unique image. It creates a band that is in focus and blur in other areas.
- Canon 85 mm 1.4 – This is an amazingly sharp lens that lets in tons of light and allows you to shoot far enough away without getting in peoples business. I love this for the ceremony as well as reception to get candid shots.
- Canon 100 mm 2.8 – This macro lens allows me to get the beautiful detail shots of the wedding rings and jewelry. I only use it for those shots, but I’m sure it has other great uses!
- Canon 50 mm 1.4 – This is a gorgeous portrait lens. I love using it for like 90 percent of shots, however when I purchased my 35 mm, I started using that most of the time. There is no way I could get rid of this lens and use it often on my second body.
- Canon 35 mm 1.4 – I use this for most of the portrait work that I do because it allows me to get close to my subject and also capture their surroundings. It is such a fun lens and I love that it allows me to capture everything, but the one downfall is that it does have some distortion on the edges of the images that make it feel a little bit like a fish eye. Nothing Lightroom cant fix!
I have two. One as my main, and one as the backup.
My main: Canon 5D miii – which, who doesn’t own it, but its so great. I love the low light capabilities, its autofocus points, and dual-card slot. The dual card slot is great because you can have one card recording RAW and one recording high-res JPEG. This is important because, what if one of the cards corrupts? At least you’re shooting a backup set of images.
My backup: Canon 6D – which is the most affordable full-frame Canon offers. When I first started, I knew I wanted a backup and wanted it to be a full-frame but couldn’t afford another 5D. When I upgrade to the 5D miv, I plan on keeping the miii as my backup. The 6D is a great backup and does extremely well for what I need it to do.
Flash / SD and CF Cards
Unfortunately you will shoot in situations that require flash. Dance floor’s dark rooms and hallways all require some kind light to fill the shadows. My favorite flash to use is the Canon Speedlite 430 EX II.
I’m the kind of photographer that does a “spray and pray” type of shooting. I shoot really fast and most of the time the SD or CF card can’t keep up. I don’t like seeing the “busy” screen on my camera, so I purchase SD/CF cards usually that can record at 150 mb/s or faster. I still have some that are 95 or 120 mb/s but usually buy 10 new SD cards per season. It might be overkill, but I’m okay with that.
I really needed something durable, waterproof, compact, and could carry my laptop. When I saw this Chrome Niko F-Stop bag, I was sold. It is well worth the $200 and has been one of the best investments I could make to protect my gear.
There are many things you can do to add unique features to your images. The most important of all is your creativity. Don’t obsess over how others create their images, but instead use what you have to create something new. Comparison is the thief of joy and I would argue that it is the thief of creativity.
Use these tools well my friends. And show me what you make!