When I first began my photography journey some years ago, I had an instructor that once told me that it isn't the camera but what is behind the camera that makes for great photography. This was something that I needed to hear at the time because as a new photographer, I had no clue what camera to use. With the crazy amount of camera equipment on the market, it was dizzying trying to figure out what I should purchase and what would make me the best photographer. Over time I came to figure out that my instructor was correct and it wasn't my equipment but my artistic eye and experience that was my greatest piece of equipment.
Over the years I have experienced a lot of different equipment which included cameras, lenses, lighting fixtures, strobes, flashes and the list goes on and on. I've had my ups and downs but I have settled on what feels best in my hands and what I believe gives me the kind of images that I desire. Here is a list of equipment that I use on every wedding shoot and that I will never leave behind.
A camera body is simply the camera itself without a lens. Most professional cameras come with removable lenses to accommodate all the different focal points to capture the desired effect. My chosen primary camera for shooting weddings is the Sony A7III. The A7III is an awesome versatile camera which produces stunning images. There is a lot of debate in the photography world about which is better, a DSLR or mirrorless camera. I'm here to say that I love the mirrorless camera and I wouldn't go back to a DSLR. The Sony A7III is small and lightweight and comfortable to handle when shooting for 10 hours straight. Not only does this amazing camera take beautiful images, but it will also record video in 4K. Now that's amazing!
I have quite the collection of lenses and when at any wedding, my bag usually contains 3 to 5 different ones. I carry a nice mix of sony lenses but also have others such as the Tamron. The lenses that I find myself using the most at weddings is a 35mm, 50mm, 85mm and 28-75mm. The 35mm is great for capturing detail shots such as intricate bead work on a wedding dress and those beautiful little goodies like the wedding rings. My 50mm is a great go to for capturing close ups of the bride and groom. The 50mm is the closest to how the naked eye sees so it's a great lens for a natural look. I use the 85mm to shoot at a little bit of distance from my subject and can capture stunning images of the bride, groom or the entire wedding party. This lens is crystal clear and produces a very sharp image. In a low light situation, this is a great lens to photograph details. Finally is my 28-75mm Tamron lens. This is the lens that I have on my camera throughout the majority of the wedding day. This is a very versatile lens with a great focal range allowing me to capture shots at a medium distance and close up. Like the 85mm, this lens is very clear and produces a beautiful image.
Light is photography. That's an important concept to understand and when a person can master how to use flash, they will produce amazing images. I use flash a lot. I do mean A LOT. Flash lighting is a great tool to manipulate the light in a way that allows me to get the look that I'm going for in an image. Bouncing flash off of a ceiling or wall can dramatically change the picture and can fill in those pesky shadows that make a photo dark. My go to flash is the Godox TT685S. This little beauty packs a punch and works flawlessly with my camera. With a trigger I use this flash off camera to create dramatic images that have a lot of depth and character. Using this flash as a kicker light in the background produces really cool images. There are numerous different flash manufacturers out there but Godox is my go to because of the high quality, reliability and cost.
Strobe lighting is amazing and when used properly it can create a very dramatic effect with outdoor photography. I use the Einstein 640ws for all of my strobe work. When I pair this strobe light with a great softbox like the Westcott Rapid Box, I can actually overpower the sun and make images that are full of depth. Have you ever noticed when taking a picture outdoors that the sky is a brite white? That's because the camera is accounting for the brightness and the sky is blown out. With this high power yet compact strobe, I can push the background light down and the true colors of the sky can be seen. It's a must have for great outdoor photographs!
This is a list of the main pieces of equipment in my bag that I use when photographing weddings. There are other items that I use such as a tripod, different types of softbox, reflectors, diffusers and some other wonderful pieces of equipment. One thing that I can say is that these are the tools that I'm most comfortable using which produces the best images in my hands. Every photographer is different with their own unique style and have their own preferences when it comes to equipment.