So you have decided to become a Wedding Photographer and are now wondering what you need to get started. Here is my Top 10 Guide to Essential Wedding Photography Equipment.
A semi-decent digital SLR or at least 10 megapixels (for decent prints and to allow for some cropping).
The best lenses you can afford. Don’t spend all your money on the camera and then a put a piece of cheap glass in front of it. In fact you should spend a higher proportion of your money on a good lens rather than on the camera. A decent lens will give you that sharpness that you need in all photographs, but especially in wedding shots.
As well as good quality lenses, you need a range of them. I would say a wide angle (18 – 24) is useful for group shots, or arty shots of the happy couple. A telephoto lens is useful for candid’s of the guests. Also useful for close-up shots of things like the rings, the flowers, the food etc. Most essential of all is a mid-range lens, something like a 24-70. This is a multi-purpose lens good for a range of shots from portraits to group shots to candid’s.
A tripod. This is essential, especially for the obligatory group shots and the more formal shots of the bride and groom. As I said before sharpness is the key here. Do not rely on hand-holding. If you do both you and your clients will be disappointed and they will not recommend you to their friends losing you business. So buy a tripod if you don’t have one and get used to using it.
A second camera body – while you may not think this is essential, you will when you are in the middle of a shoot and your main one develops a fault. Without the second body the shoot is over and so are your chances of being paid. If you can’t afford one try to borrow one, or look at hiring it. Hiring is a good idea when you are first starting out, especially if you are not sure if this is for you. As well as camera bodies you can hire lenses, tripods anything you may need really.
On the useful, but perhaps not essential list is a portable reflector. This would be good indoors to lighten the shadows.
On the same useful, but not essential list would be a flash. This again is good when you have to shoot indoors as the weather has turned against you.
Back to the essential list are plenty of spare batteries and memory cards. If possible try to back up the cards to a laptop or portable hard drive during the shoot. This way if something does happen you will not lose all your shots.
Some type of photo-editing software. On a Wedding Day you may well shoot 1000 pictures or more. You will need something to help you edit them. The couple will want to see your pictures as soon as possible. Without a good post-production workflow you will spend all your time in your back-bedroom editing.
Most essential of all is a good attitude and a smile. Be confident in what you do and those that you are shooting will relax knowing that they are in safe hands. This will improve your photos as the people in them will look more natural.
That was my Top 10 Guide to Essential Wedding Photography Equipment. Remember you don’t have to have it all, you can always rent some of it or borrow it. This way when you come to buy your own kit you will know what style of wedding photography suits you best. You will know which lenses you use the most, whether or not you use a flash or reflector. Most of all just get out there and do it – what are you wanting for?!