Essential Wedding Photographer Kit Guide
We find out what kit photographers are using and what they take with them when shooting a wedding, from the all important cameras and lenses, to those just in case items such as sewing kits and first aid kits. If you are starting out then here you can discover what camera equipment you need for wedding photography and starting out.
Camera Kit used by Wedding Photographers
9 professional wedding photographers empty out and show us what is in their camera bag, what cameras wedding photographers use, and the best wedding photography gear for beginners and professionals.
My main bag is a ThinkTank Airport Express. It’s brilliant. I’ve been through about a dozen bags over the last ten years or so and this one has stood the test of time. Carries just enough to get you through without being too big that you get annoyed at having to lug it everywhere!
I shoot on two Sony A9 cameras. I use a mix of a 24 1.4 GM, 35 1.8, 50 1.4, 85 1.4 and 135 1.8GM lenses. But usually it’s the 35 1.8 and 85 1.8 Sony lenses for the majority of the day. I have more batteries and cards than I’d ever need. I’m a firm believer in having total redundancy in your kit. There’s a lot of things to think about on a wedding day, and your kit shouldn’t be one of them.
I use a Holdfast dual camera strap. It’s brilliant – lasted for years, still as good as it was when I first got it. And as for lights… how long have you got? I use Godox for my lighting. I love them – they all talk to each other, and they also work across different camera systems.
I have two little V350’s, a couple of the triggers, four V860ii’s, an AD-200 and then three AD600’s which I tend to reserve for commercial work as they are a bit bulky for use on a wedding day. I have a whole load of different stands and straps and tape for making sure I can get a light pretty much wherever I need it!
Water bottle. Protein Bars! What else… I have a penknife, batteries, gaffer tape and my Apple Watch (to give me a 10 minute rain warning!) Oh and my lens cloth is always on me.”
My camera gear, which sits in a rather worn ThinkTank Retrospective 30 bag, has also evolved quite a bit since I first began photographing weddings in 2010. For the first seven years it was all about Nikon, until Fujifilm brought out the X-T2, which was an absolute game-changer for me.
I now shoot with two Fujifilm X-T3’s with a Fujifilm 23mm f1.4 on one, and a Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 on the other. I’ve been shooting with those two focal lengths for years now, and I can’t imagine shooting any other way. I love that I know exactly what the shot will look like before I put the camera up to my eye, and which lens to use to get that effect.
Whilst I don’t normally shoot with a zoom lens, I keep one in my bag for emergencies, so if one camera failed, I’ll at least be able to shoot the rest of the wedding with one lens which has all the focal lengths I need, on one camera. Another lens that makes it in is the Fujifilm 16mm f1.4, which I bring out for an ultra-wide shot of a room, and sometimes for the dancing later on as well.
Another ‘break glass in case of an emergency’ is my Nissin i60A flash, along with the Nissin Air 1 hot shoe. I prefer the rawness that the natural ambient light brings, with all it’s potential difficulties, so it would basically have to be almost pitch black for me to bring the flash out. I haven’t needed to yet, but, I’m all about planning for any eventuality.
On my Fujifilm 23mm f1.4 I use a Black Widow Spider Holster. I absolutely love the freedom it brings, and you’ll often see me at a wedding shooting one handed, before clipping it in and using my Fujifilm 56mm f1.2 which is on a leather strap on my left shoulder.
Some useful extras I always keep in the bag are ear plugs, mints, and a couple nakd bars!
I keep my kit in 3 bags – Think Tank Airport Essentials – This holds my flash guns, spare lenses, spare camera, triggers etc. This usually stays in the car
Think Tank Retrospective – This holds my main camera body and a flash gun plus bits and bobs.
Peak Design Everyday Sling 3L V2 – This is with me all day and and I have 2 lenses in this, usually a 85mm and 135mm plus a memory cards and batteries
I only shoot weddings with one camera on the day. The Think Tank bags stay in the car and use the Peak Design Sling with 2 lenses (85mm and 135mm). I shoot with the canon 5DMKIV with the 35mm and then change lenses when needed. I also have the Fuji 100V for wider shots when needed.
In terms of kit I use a Canon 5dMKIV, Canon 5D MK111 (Back up camera) and Fuji X100V.
- Canon 35mm 1.2
- Canon 135mm 1.2
- Canon 85mm 1.8
- Canon 16-35mm
- Canon 24-70mm
- Canon 50mm
- Sandisk 64gb extreme pro CF cards
In terms of straps, stands, lights and triggers. is use
- 2 x Neewer NW860II Flash guns
- 1 x Godox V850II Flash Gun
- 1 x Godox AD200 Flash Gun
- 1 x Godox X1 Flash trigger
- 4 light stands
- 2 Peak Design Pro clips and pads
- Godox Wistro flash accessories and gels
- DJI Osmo Pocket camera
Of course there are those other essentials, torch, Swiss army knife, phone charger, prism, LED lights and Paracetamol.
I always felt I was quite minimal with my wedding kit, but when you write it down, I realised I actually take a lot of gear with me. With that said, I don’t like to carry much of it on my person and spend most of my day with simply two cameras and two lenses hung off my straps. Everything else stays packed away in the boot of my car or in my camera bag hidden under a table. Here’s a list of what I take to a wedding.
2 x Sony A9 MKI Cameras
I switched from Canon 5D-IV’s in November last year. At the time it seemed a great idea to drop close to 10K on a new camera system as I had a complete fully booked year ahead of me. Enter Covid19 and the wave of postponements and that kind of financial commitment didn’t look so good.
Still, I have shot a good few weddings with this system now and the decision (not the timing) to switch was the right one. The EVF, the focus/tracking, silent shooting and the size/weight are just a few reasons it was worth the switch for me. Basically, everything I could ever need from a camera is in this body.
Inside each camera are 2 x 256GB San Disk SD cards. I like the bigger cards so I never have to worry about filling them and removing cards on the wedding day. I also carry 8x fully charged Sony batteries with me.
1 x Sony 35mm FE f1.8 Lens & 1 x Sony 85mm FE f1.8 Lens
These are my workhorse lenses, I shoot 80% of a wedding day on them and they compliment each other perfectly. The 35mm is a great storytelling lens and the 85mm is perfect for isolating what’s important. I could easily shoot the whole day with these two lenses if I was forced to.
1 x Tamron 17-28mm f2.8 Lens
I’ve grown to love shooting cocktail hour candids really wide at 17mm. Getting in close and filling the wide frame with as much as possible is producing lovely results. It distorts the scene a little but I like that for candids. I tend to only use this lens at 17mm and shoot most of the dance floor stuff on this too. Again, the key is to get very close to the action with this lens.
1 x Sony Zeiss 55mm f1.8 Lens
I love this focal length and have shot loads of personal projects on it however, at weddings I only really use it during the evening. I feel it complements the 16mm on the other camera better than the longer 85mm.
1 x Canon 70-200mm f2.8 MKII Lens with Canon to Sony Converter
I only use this lens a handful of times each wedding season. Basically it’s my ‘The vicar isn’t playing ball’ lens. Perfect for those rare occasions that you have to shoot from the back of the church. Apart from that, it stays in the bag. It’s a heavy throwback to my Canon days and lens I aim to replace soon.
2 x Godox v350s Flash
Since the Sony bodies and lenses are smaller and lighter than my old Canons, these smaller flashes are better balanced for on-camera work. I rarely use any flash during the day, unless I need to fill in some shadows, but I use these pretty much all night to light the dance floor and get candids in dark reception rooms. I also use these on camera flashes to trigger my off-camera flashes below.
2 x V860 II Godox Flash
These are my off-camera flashes that are permanently mounted to light stands. I use them primarily for dance floor work and for creative night portraits.
1 x Monfrotto Tripod with MHXPRO-3W Head
This is kept in the in the car for all weddings but, truth be told I hate using tripods and hardly ever bring it out to play. I like being as mobile as possible and tripods don’t really allow for that.
1 x Hold Fast Moneymaker Straps (not pictured)
These allow me to be hands-free but with two cameras hanging by my side ready for action at all times. I’m too scared to use any belt/clip system as I know I will miss the clip and drop my cameras. It’s guaranteed that at every wedding a guest will comment on my ‘cool cowboy straps’.
1 x Yongnuo YN360 Strip Light
I use this for evening portraits. I like to see where the light will fall on my couples so often light them with this video light and use flashes for lighting up other things or for rim lights. It’s a great portable light and is used at every wedding.
1 x iPhone
I use my phone a lot during a wedding day for various reasons. At the start and end of the day it provides my travelling soundtrack. This gets me pumped in the morning and keeps me awake as I drive home. During the day, I sometimes use it as a reflective surface for creative shots. I also use weather apps and sun location apps for obvious reasons.
1 x First aid kit
Plasters, scissors, pain killers etc
1 x White umbrella
For those rainy days where a bride and groom are willing to venture outside, a nice white umbrella doesn’t look too ugly in the shots.
For my street photography I use smaller mirrorless cameras. Fuji, Sony and Ricoh. I’m really not loyal to any camera company.
For weddings is use 2x Nikon D850’s: Well built and I certainly need that, very good image quality and very trustworthy.
Street Photography: Fuji X100V: great fixed 23mm, 35mm (full frame equivalent) lens and handy flip screen. Ricoh GRiii: small and discreet. The files are great too considering the size of the camera. Fixed 28mm full frame lens.
- Nikon 24mm 1.4: mainly comes out for the dancing or if I need that extra room. Focussing in low light is very good.
- Nikon 35mm 1.4: my go to lens. Great performance and very well made. Great lens and has to be my favourite focal length. Very versatile.
- Nikon 85mm 1.4: a great portrait lens and always on my second camera.
Lights and Triggers: Godox XPro N. Very reliable triggers and never miss-fire. I use them with the Godox AD 200s, powerful flashes that recycle super quick. Perfect for the dance floor.
Straps: I use the Holdfast system. It’s always a great conversation starter.
Bags: for home weddings I use the Lowepro 450 AW and for Destination Weddings I use the Lowepro Photostream RL. In my bag I also keep my iPad Pro with a Gnar box to download my images on the go to myG – Technology G Drive mobile ssd 1tb. A great hard drive I can trust.
I’m Patrick from M and G Wedding Photography – I work alongside Hollie Mateer, my wife, at M and G wedding Photography. The image (shot on a Nikon D850 with Nikon 14-24mm 2.8 lens) shows both mine and Hollie’s gear together. As you can see, we both love our Nikon gear!
You can see a Nikon D5, a Nikon D850, a Nikon Z6 and Nikon DF all pictured. Hollie uses two D850s on a wedding day, whereas I use a Z6, plus either a D5 or D850. I prefer my D850 for image quality, but the D5 still outshines anything for focussing. So if it’s a really dark venue, I go for the D5.
The DF, though a lovely camera, has been relegated to a back-up body for the past few years or so – it’s probably now time to trade it in for a Nikon Z6 ii, when that is released. I absolutely love my Nikon Z6 – even though it’s a mirrorless camera, it still feels like a ‘Nikon camera’. So, I’m excited to try the new version. It apparently improves on the focussing considerably, which is the only real area the Z6 needed improvement. As for memory cards, we use Sony XQD cards and Sandisk SD cards.
The lenses we own are mostly Nikon. The quality of Nikon glass is so high and they tend to focus far better than their counterparts. Also, they just function far better and last far longer than third party lenses!
Hollie’s main lenses are a Nikon 24mm 1.4g, Nikon 85mm 1.4g with Nikon 70-200 2.8 FL E and a Sigma Art 50mm 1.4 as alternative lenses. Hollie loves the 24mm and 85mm combination, but does occasionally switch over to her 70-200, having a telephoto lens at a big ceremony venue is really helpful.
I use a Nikon 28mm 1.4g, Nikon 58mm 1.4g, Nikon 105mm 1.4g mainly, with a Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 and Sigma 15mm fish eye – plus the Nikon 14-24mm 2.8 I took the image with – in reserve. All of these lenses can be adapted onto my Z6. I also have a few specialist Z series lenses: Nikon 24-70 4S, Nikon 50mm 1.8Z, Nikon 35mm 1.8Z. The Nikon Z series lenses are really lovely, especially the 35mm 1.8.
Straps, stands, lights and triggers – Hollie and I both use Holdfast Money maker straps. They’re very comfortable, fantastically well made and keep our cameras safe and easily accessible – they also look pretty cool, which is a bonus! We tend to shoot with available light until the dancing starts, but when we need them, we use Nikon SB910 flashes with YongNuo triggers. We use some cheap, bog standard light stands with these – or our Manfrotto clamps.
What do you keep your kit in? We use Think Tank Airport Accelerators. They are great camera bags that offer really good protection.
My two main cameras are two 5DMKIV’s these are the third and forth MKIV’s I have owned, having always had Canon (starting my working career with the T90) and the 5D series. I would be looking to replace these next year with the R5.
I also have and carry a Canon EOS 1n film camera with 35mm film (currently being serviced)
Lenses, my favourite is the Canon 135mm F2L but I also have:
- Canon 24-70 MKII L 2.8
- Sigma Art 85mm 1.4
- Sigma Art 50mm 1.4 (both of these replaced a 50mm 1.2L and a 85mm 1.2L which were lovely but slow focusing)
- Sigma Art 35mm 1.4
- Sigma Art 28mm 1.4
- Canon 70-200mm ii L 2.8
- Canon 100mm 2.8 Macro (on loan so not in the photo)
My go-to combination is the 85mm and 35mm but love to use the 135mm and the Canon 70-200 is super sharp.
- 2x Pika 200 TTL off camera flash heads with a Pixapro ST-IV Wireless trigger (which replaced the over-complicated Canon version)
- 2x PixaPro air cushioned stands with sandbags
- 2 x Canon 600ESII-RT Flash guns
- 1 x PixaPro 580II flash
- Two full sets of Magmod Wedding accessory kits
- Full set of 3 classic Fractals
- Many Sandisk Extreme Pro CF cards
- Many Sandsk Extreme Pro SD cards
Many Eneloop Pro batteries (and Ikea equivalent). Butane Propane GoStstem Blow Torch (lights 50 Sparklers in 5 seconds!). 50 Packs of extra long sparklers (for when they forget to bring them!)
One size 6 pair of “wedding wellies” white with pink (these have come in very useful for Brides at rural venues!)
Roller Brush for grooms who love dogs/cats. Large white golf umbrella (because it’s the UK!). Tin of assorted pins, florist pins (for the florists who insist on using magnets, or for when they get bent trying to pin them) safety pins (multi use, rescuing Bridesmaids!)
2 tins of Atmosphere Aerosol (do not use in conjunction with sparklers!). 4 x Smoke grenades different colours. Small string of battery lights. Sewing kit (used many times, including to fix a page-boy’s trousers). Rescue remedy (for the panicking Bride). 2 x Swiss Army Knife (one in my pocket, one in the bag, THE most used ancillary item). Jungle Formula for summer weddings by the lake, those horse flies hurt!
2 x small compact mirror (for Brides/maids to check their make-up mid-wedding and to use as a prop for photos). Lens pen (for removing finger marks/dust on lenses). Lens cleaning cloth(s) and a small towel for when the cameras get very wet.
2 x Lighters for candles or guests who need a light (I don’t smoke) (no good for sparklers). Blower Brush for emergency removal of sensor marks. A little ceramic dish that says LOVE in case I can’t find anything else to shoot the rings on. Plasters (for Bridesmaids/Grooms feet). A pair of white gloves (always had these pre-Covid-19 for when I have to move the Brides dress, although I know my hands are clean it just takes away any risk!)
Also in the car but not in the photo, a white wooden clothes hanger in case all they have is a horrid plastic one, beauty dish and small softbox both PixaPro.
I have two very large Vanguard shoulder camera bags which I love but seem to have been discontinued. One has a cub’s photography badge sewn into it to remind me that I failed my cub’s photography badge, but went on to earn a living as a professional photographer for over 20 years.
My camera bag is a rucksack which is much easier to carry around I try to use public transport as much as possible but if the venue is far or in the country, away from London then I drive but I never let the bag out of my site.
My camera kit consists of’
- 2 x Canon 5d Mk3
- 1 x 35mm prim
- 1 x 80 mm prim
- 1 x 24 75 mm zoom
- 1 x 11 24 mm wide angle zoom
- 2 canon flash guns
All the lenses are canon and the equipment is insured for £10,000 which is quite a lot, actually I have stopped the insurance temporally £50 a month is a lot at the moment.
I also have, business cards, cleaning kit, about 6 spare SanDisk extreme cards 16gb to 32bb. Spare batteries, Bloody face masks !!!! Which steam up my glasses, had sanitiser, wet wipes, Polo green, spare glasses, Imodium (just incase) and tissues. Please the couples details and a printed map because Sri doesn’t always do what he’s asked!
For my kit I use a barbershop camera harness that I bought about five years ago at Way Up North in Stockholm, I’ve broke it a bunch of times, but I keep getting it repaired. Its cool. I have lens cloths and rain covers hanging on it, Spuds stuff and thinktank. Its easier when you shoot with two cameras.
I`m also a songwriter too, hence my fav guitar in the kit photo. I`ve always played in bands, with some success, but photography is my main thing. So, this is my life – guitars and cameras. And red wine.
Sony A7iii, I was a Canon/Pentax shooter for most of my career but swoped to Sony last year as I`d heard such amazing things about the eye focus feature, and decided to mix up my photography. I literally stopped on a Monday, took delivery on a Tuesday, shot a wedding on the Thurs, Threw myself in feet first!!
I love their size, weight, everything. Literally have not got a bad word to say about them. I shot on a Pentax 645 with PhaseOne digi back for many, many years, so these Sony cameras are a dream. You could of used the Pentax as a weapon it was so heavy.
For lenses I use Sony 28-70 F2.8 / Sony 35mm F1.8 / Canon L series 50mm F1.4 ( with metabones adaptor / Sony 85mm F1.8 / Sony 75-300mm F4
I love prime lens, they make up 98% of my work. My usual load out is the 35mm / 85mm, but use the 50mm for the majority of my portrait sessions. It is the only lens from my Canon days I could not let go of. I love it so much, I had to get the meta bones adaptor, so it works with my Sony.
I use my 35mm most of the time, love getting close to my couples, it gives an awesome intimate feel, but it is slightly invasive for my couples.
In terms of lights and triggers it’s Godox! Love my Godox, I’ve started using Profoto as well, they great, but I do love my Godox. I use OCF a lot, it’s a huge part of my look, so Godox are my everyday units. Godox triggers, I use one Ad200 and two V860, and I’ll be investing in the new V1 flash with the rounded head soon as well.
Magmod all the way for light shaping. Expensive, worth it. I use the magbeam, magbox, various gels and grids etc, but also a lot of home made stuff depending on what kind of look I’m after. Magmod rock!
I hand make a lot of masks, filters, and i`ll kinds of light shapers myself too. Its fun. I`d recommend it. And it gives you looks that nobody else has.
I also LOVE the Joe McNally softboxs and anything he does is great! There’s all kinds of extra baffles and things to soften the light.
I use nova monopods for my flashguns, I like using them as handheld booms, getting them behind clients for backlight or hair lights. They have really great legs and are all carbon fibre.
And then there is everything else, suncream, deodorant, sweets, coke, my bags are so full of rubbish and weird bits and pieces I look like a homeless person.
The one thing I cannot stress enough is a A4 jobsheet and a digital version on your phone with all the shoot details, and that you have your prep done and checked the weather forecast. On the wedding day I want locations, timings, contact numbers all in one place so I can just concentrate on photography.