wedding photography -- what's in your bag?

Shacklebolt

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 2, 2004
596
0
Really is a question about you, not me (so wedding photogs welcome especially, but input from others welcome as well).

Your typical wedding-outdoors-in-grassy-area-on-beautiful-summer-day. Reception's indoors in your standard big space with high ceilings and dancing. No special lighting considerations. 165 people total.

What gear are you bringing with you? Why?
 
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MCAsan

macrumors 601
Jul 9, 2012
4,542
413
Atlanta
Holy water, rosary, mirrors, wooden stakes, and silver bullets.......for dealing with divas/divos. ;)
 

Bear

macrumors G3
Jul 23, 2002
8,089
4
Sol III - Terra
  • At least one more fully charged battery than you think you need. You never know what a battery might die. And you never know when you might take more pictures than you expected to.
  • More memory cards than you think you need. You might insert a card and it might refuse to work. Or you could wind up taking more pictures than you realized.
  • Memory card should be used for between 50 and 100 pictures each so in case a card has issues you don't lose too many photos.
  • Flash unit with extra batteries.
  • Probably 2 or 3 lenses depending on the actual location.
  • Polarizer filter(s).
  • A spare camera body is also good. Stuff happens.
  • Lens cleaner/cloth. Again stuff happens.
  • Some people also use a monopod.
 

gdourado

macrumors 6502
Apr 22, 2010
417
53
- Two d700 bodies
- 70-200 vr
- tamron 24-70 vc
- Nikon 85 1.4D
- Sigma 35 1.4
- Nikon 20mm 2.8D

All on a lowepro flipside 500aw.
Plenty of batteries and cf cards.

Cheers!
 

mrcam216

macrumors newbie
Apr 22, 2011
24
0
  • At least one more fully charged battery than you think you need. You never know what a battery might die. And you never know when you might take more pictures than you expected to.
  • More memory cards than you think you need. You might insert a card and it might refuse to work. Or you could wind up taking more pictures than you realized.
  • Memory card should be used for between 50 and 100 pictures each so in case a card has issues you don't lose too many photos.
  • Flash unit with extra batteries.
  • Probably 2 or 3 lenses depending on the actual location.
  • Polarizer filter(s).
  • A spare camera body is also good. Stuff happens.
  • Lens cleaner/cloth. Again stuff happens.
  • Some people also use a monopod.

Only 50 to 100 pictures per memory card? Thats an interesting statement and something I never thought of. I guess it would be good to have a 5d mark iii with the two card slots just in case one goes bad after shooting...

But generally I take what Bear mentioned. Two bodies, four lenses, three flashes, four fully charged batteries, two studio strobe flash (although i rarely ever use), cleaners, filters, sample pictures you may be trying to duplicate (incase the wedding party don't understand what your trying to do), also any vital notes the client may have given you prior such as a list of must have photos. (ie. bride and dad, bride and cousin etc..... It can get pretty intense sometimes when your working on a small time frame.)
 

Shacklebolt

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 2, 2004
596
0
_Very_ useful input, especially re: the extra gear. Don't know if I'll bring multiple flashes, but definitely backup batteries etc were (don't judge me) something I hadn't considered strongly enough. Will do.

One important thing:

- The vast, vast majority of work that I do has always been no-flash, and though I do fine when I have bounceable surfaces for my speedlights, in this case, the ceilings are wayyyyy too high for me to do that. (Flash photography is an area where my skills are decidedly mediocre). Bodies are D800s, flash is an SB-910. Would love recommendations for the best diffusing/bounce/whatever systems for these sorts of things.
 

Padaung

macrumors 6502
Jan 22, 2007
462
78
UK
Speak to the couple before the wedding to make sure you know exactly what they require for their wedding photography. Ideally meet them in person. This allows you build up a rapport with them too. A lot of photographers offer a pre wedding photo shoot (about an hour) for this reason, and include it in their fee.

Plenty of batteries (for your cameras and flash guns).
Plenty of memory cards. I use 32Gb cards and fill them (D600 is set to mirror the pictures across two cards in case of card failure - raw files on one card, jpegs on the other).
D600 camera body (main camera)
D200 camera body (spare). No dual card slot either, so I back up any cards asap.
Nikon 12-24 f4
Sigma 24-70 f2.8
Sigma 70-200 f2.8
Nikon 50 f1.4
Nikon 85 f1.8
Two SB-800 flashguns
Quantum battery pack (for super quick speedlight recycle)
Pocket wizard radio triggers
List of addresses (bride's preparation location, church, reception venue), inc. phone numbers. I put the zip/post codes into the sat. nav. in advance.
Phone numbers of bride and groom
List of essential photos (formal and informal, group or individuals)
Lens cloth
Blower brush
Reflector
Small step ladder
Light stands for speedlights
Tripod
Monopod
Small lastolite softbox or plastic tupperware diffuser for a speedlight
Bottle of water
Packet of sandwiches and a chocolate bar (you never know when you may next sit down to eat and drink!)
As someone else said, a small book or print-outs of poses you like.
Don't drink any alcohol, even if offered (I am 90% of the time when photographing the bride preparing, and then later at the reception).
A good night sleep the night before :)

I take two camera bags, the big one holds all my equipment. Then, for any venue/location take what I need for that scenario and put it into a smaller bag (this always includes a spare camera body and flash, batteries and memory cards). I leave the rest nearby in the car boot/trunk. I used to try taking everything with me at all times, but experience allows me to know what is most likely required at any time now, which lightens the load on my feet :)


Other things to seriously consider are:

Professional indemnity and public liability insurance
Camera equipment insurance

Even as a non-professional, you can be sued or damage your equipment.

The list above is what I take now. When I started out it was just a couple of camera bodies, a couple of lenses, a flash gun and plenty of film (I'm showing my age now!)


You also asked about flash technique for times you cannot bounce. You can get small soft diffusers for flashguns, and they do help a bit in my opinion (others may differ on that). Flash light is also quite cold in colour (compared to daylight), so I often put a 1/4 CTO gel on the flash too. But if possible, just get the flash off the camera, even if you just use a flash cable and hold the camera with your right arm and the flash out to the left with your left arm. Not easy, and pretty tricky with heavy equipment.

There are times you just have to use direct flash unfortunately. A friend photographed a wedding where the reception was held in a refurbished pig stye (I'm not kidding). Black ceiling, tiny windows, no room to move about or place light stands. Nightmare. Direct flash with a diffuser was all he could do.


Enjoy the day, weddings are fun to photograph, although busy and stressful and hard work. And that's not counting the hours spent editing the photos afterwards!
 

MattSepeta

macrumors 65816
Jul 9, 2009
1,255
0
375th St. Y
Too much stuff

I bring and use the following pretty much every wedding I shoot.

5D mk III as main camera w/ grip
7D for backup / reach

64GB CF Card
64GB SD card as backup

70-200 f/2.8L IS II (I use this about 40% of the day)
35L (I use this for about 40% of the day)
Tokina 16-35 f/2.8 for the occasional UWA shot (Remaining 20% of the day)
40mm Pancake for odds and ends, it was a great MFD
(I am trading my 70-200II for a 70-200 f/4L IS + 85L II, the monster 70-200 is just too heavy to use during 12 hour days)

600 EXRt (x 4)
Two light stands
Two light clamps
60" shoot through umbrellas (x 2)
60" Octobox knock off (x 2)

4 stop ND filter for 35L

8 LPe6 batteries
More than 30 Eneloop rechargeable AAs just to be safe
AA battery tray for Grip, just in case
Business cards

I use a pelican case for "home base" usually stashed in my car locked or with the DJ or locked under a table, depending on how the situation feels.

I carry a City walker 30 on my person as I shoot, holding spare batteries, lenses and 1 flash.

Regarding the alcohol comment: I must be doing it wrong! I usually have quite a few drinks throughout the day, but always use discretion, and never ASK for a drink.
 

Shacklebolt

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 2, 2004
596
0
Man... great, great list to live by, Paduang especially. I'm stealing it to check off. ;-)

What I'm planning to have, at this point. (Is there anything HUGE I'm missing?)

- Nikon D800 (primary)
- Nikon D7000 (secondary + reach)
- 3 x 64 GB CF (Thanks, giant RAW D800 files)
- 3 x 64 GB SDHC (Second D800 slot, D7000)
- 4 charged batteries total + two chargers.
- 24-70 2.8
- 70-200 2.8
- 24 1.4
- 50 1.4
- 85 1.4
- 135 2.
- 3 x 77mm polarizing filters.
- One 52 mm polarizing filter (50 1.4)
- One SB-910. The event's in a greenhouse with high, glass ceilings. So bouncing isn't an option. Might jerry-rig some sort of bounce card (in addition to the 910's built in one).
- Big ol' camera backpack. (home base)
- One large Tarmac Lens case, for my belt.
- Physical copies of the shotlist, directions, timeline and space layout.
- PDFs of the shotlist, directions, timeline and and space layout in my iBooks library on my iPhone.
- Monopod.
- My laptop, with about 300 GB of space cleared.
- External HD, 2TB.
- AA batteries galore.
- Other stuff I'm probably forgetting.

Notes:

- No secondary, smaller camera shoulder bag. I want to minimize the bumping-into-people, which I would inevitably with a shoulder bag, constantly, throughout the day. I think it'd actually be kind of stupid to have more than 3 lenses on me at any one time. (I got this from another wedding photog).
- I think that Quantum battery thing is... a really good idea. Might do that.
 

Hioctane

macrumors newbie
Jun 25, 2012
29
0
UK
In my bag...
Canon 5D MkIII with Grip (Primary)
Canon 7D with Grip (Backup)
3 Batteries for the above

Canon 24-70mm f/2.8
Canon 70-200mm IS f/2.8
Canon 50mm f/1.8
Canon 15mm Fisheye

Canon Speedlite 580EXII
Canon Speedlite 580EX
Lots of AA batteries for the above

SanDisk Extreme 16GB CF (x2)
SanDisk Extreme 16GB SD (x2)
Several SanDisk 4GB CF Cards

Cleaning Products for the above equipment.
Flashgun Defussers
Triggers
Business Cards
Copy of the contract, inc contact details, shot list.
Cattle Prod for the group shots.
(Well not really, but I keep saying it would be useful to have one)

In the car...
rMBP + Projector
Step ladder
Light stands
Shoot through brolly's
Actual brolly's (in case of rain)

I think that's everything...
 

Apple fanboy

macrumors Nehalem
Feb 21, 2012
33,761
23,158
Behind the Lens, UK
In my bag...
Canon 5D MkIII with Grip (Primary)
Canon 7D with Grip (Backup)
3 Batteries for the above

Canon 24-70mm f/2.8
Canon 70-200mm IS f/2.8
Canon 50mm f/1.8
Canon 15mm Fisheye

Canon Speedlite 580EXII
Canon Speedlite 580EX
Lots of AA batteries for the above

SanDisk Extreme 16GB CF (x2)
SanDisk Extreme 16GB SD (x2)
Several SanDisk 4GB CF Cards

Cleaning Products for the above equipment.
Flashgun Defussers
Triggers
Business Cards
Copy of the contract, inc contact details, shot list.
Cattle Prod for the group shots.
(Well not really, but I keep saying it would be useful to have one)

In the car...
rMBP + Projector
Step ladder
Light stands
Shoot through brolly's
Actual brolly's (in case of rain)

I think that's everything...
Wow that's some bag! And on a completely unrelated subject what make and model of car do you drive and are you doing a wedding this Saturday?:D
 

cocky jeremy

macrumors 601
Jul 12, 2008
4,200
1,789
Columbus, OH
- Two d700 bodies
- 70-200 vr
- tamron 24-70 vc
- Nikon 85 1.4D
- Sigma 35 1.4
- Nikon 20mm 2.8D

All on a lowepro flipside 500aw.
Plenty of batteries and cf cards.

Cheers!
Care to post pics of the above setup IN the 500AW? Thinking about getting this bag soon'ish. :)
 

susanelectro

macrumors newbie
Jul 10, 2013
1
0
I do mostly natural light with a little bit of film mixed in.

-2 Leica M8's
-Leica M6 35mm.
-Hasseblad 500 C/M.

-10 rolls of Tri-x in 35mm and 120.
-6 16 gig Eye-Fi cards. I back up jpeg copy's of everything I shoot to my iphone as I'm shooting.
-A few 32 gig cards just in case.

-15mm f4.5 lens.
-35mm f2.8 lens.
-50mm f1.1.
-50mm f2.
-90mm f4.

-80mm f2.8. For the Hasselblad.

-Generic cheap flashes for dancing at the reception. I set the 15mm to where everything is in focus and get right in the middle of the action and use the M8 like a point shoot on the dance floor with the flash.

I have any notes, ideas, timelines saved in evernote for reference on my phone as the day goes one.

I try to remember to keep business cards on me as well. The cameras are hanging on me all day and I keep the rest of the stuff in a shoulder bag. The whole thing is light enough I can have everything I need on me and my back isn't completely shot at the end of the night.