Unlike still life photography, wedding photography is an uphill task. You not only have to pay attention to the minute details, but also have to appease the bride and groom with satisfactory pictures. After all, the wedding pictures are not something everyone takes lightly. Besides, wedding photographs are the only means for a couple to reminisce their wedding day long after the actual day has passed. All this just points us in one direction―of getting the perfect shots during a wedding photo shoot. For this, you need not just a camera but a lot of other equipment as well.
One of the most essential equipment for wedding photography is a good full-frame DSLR camera. Wedding photography demands superior definition, detailing, and sharpness for which you need to possess a full-frame 5D camera. For obvious reasons, it is always better to carry an extra camera body with you at all times, especially for weddings. After all, you wouldn’t want to run out on business or customers because your primary camera decided to give way in between a photo shoot.
Cameras like Canon EOS 5D, Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Nikon D800, Sony a99, Nikon D600 among others can be your companion for photo shoots.
Owning a camera is not sufficient to call you a professional. You also need a variety of lenses to go with the main body of the camera. Candid photographs taken during receptions require long-bodied lenses that will be able to zoom into the subject without actually intruding. You will need wide-aperture lenses that will allow you to shoot at lower ISOs in low light settings. You could place your bet on a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens and a 70-200mm f/2.8, for delivering perfect intimate details of shots taken both indoors and outdoors. You will also need macro and fisheye lenses for a couple of shots during the event.
Popular choices are the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM Lens, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens, and the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens.
Wedding photography calls for working with natural light settings; however, one cannot rely on natural and ambient light to click photographs. As a photographer, it is always recommended that you carry your own light source. You could breathe life into those pretty wedding portraits set in low light with an additional source of light. Use of digital flash or slave flashes along with your camera flash should effectively bounce the light and produce soft directional light. Besides, flashlights can effectively light up nooks and crannies that your inbuilt camera flash won’t reach, and effectively provide you with a side light for enhanced photographs. Shoe-mount flashes can rotate to any angle, thus, giving you the variation you need to get the best light. Slave flashes, on the other hand, can be connected to the camera using a cable extension. Needless to say, it is always better to have an extra flash unit in hand during wedding ceremonies.
When choosing a speedlight, rely on a SB-800/900 or 580EX II; however, even a SB-600 or 430EX II will do the trick. Canon 600EX-RT, Nikon SB-910, Sony HVL-F60M, Vivitar 285HV, Canon 580EX, Nikon SB-700 are some of the best flash units you can lay your hands on.
Using flash units will allow you to take great pictures; however, the pictures could also include harsh shadows cast behind the subject and overexposed or unnaturally lit subjects. You could use different flash bouncing techniques and even control the flash output from the camera, but the easiest way to eliminate harsh lights is by using flash diffusers. Using a flash diffuser allows you to attain more natural-looking pictures by canceling out harsh lights and shadows that become a part of the picture when using flash. Depending on your needs, you could use flash reflectors, umbrella reflectors, and flip-up flash diffusers.
Battery and Charger
Attaching a flash unit to the camera is sure to drain out your camera battery faster. When shooting for grand ceremonies, it is always advisable to carry along extra batteries as well as a battery charger to immediately replenish the used up batteries.
Photo filters alter the way your camera lens views the light. They can reduce glare, alter the hue, block out haziness, change the appearance of reflections, and will also protect the camera lens from scratches. You can sharpen those black and white wedding portraits and enhance the hues of colored photographs with colored filters. In short, filters will help you as a wedding photographer to add dimension to the photographs.
Wedding photography employs taking loads of pictures for which you need to have a good storage capacity. It is imperative that you should have additional memory cards with you just so that you do not restrict yourself from taking great pictures. Remember, the more you experiment and go about taking natural pictures, the happier your clients will be.
If you are going to be experimenting with vintage cameras, it is imperative that you keep a couple of film rolls in hand. This will ensure that you do not run out on rolls and extra storage space at all times.
You Will Also Need
Wireless Flash Receiver
Do not forget to put in a tripod or monopod stand, as well as an additional battery grip into your kit. You would need a couple of super clamps to hold the slave flashlights in place. That about covers the essentials you need as a wedding photographer.