What’s in my Camera Bag for Wedding Photography?

Today we’re gonna talk about what’s in my wedding day camera bag. Now if you’re just getting started and don’t have a lot of gear yet, that’s totally fine. I’m just gonna talk a little bit about what I use currently in my business and some of my favorite pieces. But towards the end of this, I’ll also discuss if I were just getting started, those couple key pieces I would recommend to really up your game without totally breaking the bank.

So diving in, this is my camera bag. It is the Think Tank International. I bring this with me to all my weddings and it’s also wonderful for destination weddings ’cause it fits right under the seat when traveling. This is my main camera body, the Nikon D4. And this is wonderful for just creating really beautiful images even when shooting at those super high ISOs in low-light. It also has the dual card slot. And I shoot and edit in RAW. For the second card, I shoot high resolution JPEG and that stays in the camera body at all times, so that I have an in-camera backup of all of my images as I shoot. For my cards I use this Pelican hard case to store them in. It’s waterproof and keeps them really safe and I use SanDisk cards with UDMA 7 for the fastest read and write speeds, for a much better workflow And then when the cards are full, I flip it over backwards so that we know it’s full.

Now you might have noticed that I don’t have straps on my camera and this is because I feel most creative when I’m completely unrestricted when shooting. And I also just don’t like having things on my shoulders. So because of this I’ll always have an assistant with a small shoot sack or camera purse and that will usually have one to two lenses in it that will switch out based on the time of the day just to be able to switch lenses really quickly on the fly. Other than that, everything else gets stored in our roller bag. So moving back into the bag, we have my lights. And for light I use a mixture of flash and video light. With my flash I have the SB800 and then for video light, I love this Comer video light. It has a lot of versatility with the barn doors and also a dimmer.

I use video lights for moments such as the first dance, the cake-cutting. Those times when I’m wanting kind of a more ambient look to the images at the reception. And I’ll usually have an assistant hold it about a 45 degree angle for me. That way I have kind of a moving light source and they can also monitor the shadows that fall in the couple’s face. But if you don’t have an assistant with you at a wedding, you could just as easily pop one or two of these on a light stand to create a very similar aesthetic. One cool trick about this particular light is it even has this spotlight mode. And if you take it and just very subtly move it, you can kind of pinpoint the spotlight on your subject. And I’ve even shot this across train tracks with the couple on the other side.

And it’s a very strong light and then the battery lasts two to three hours. So on one battery you’re pretty much set for an entire wedding. There’s a lot of versatility with this. And you can get really creative with this video light. So some of the other things in my bag are batteries. I use double A Energizers. I don’t use rechargeables just because of the slower recycle times with the flashes. And then of course backups for everything, backup batteries, backup flash, backup body, and I always also keep tissues and a little bride kit with Tylenol and a little sewing kit and little things like that. Just in case there’s any little hiccups on the wedding day, we’re totally covered. Alright, guys. Now we’re gonna dive in to my favorite part and that’s lenses. And for the lenses we’re actually gonna take it widest to longest, just to give us a nice little flow. And we’re gonna start with two lenses that I don’t have on the table here and that’s my 14-24mm 2.8 and the 24mm 1.4. And the reason I don’t have these out is because I don’t bring these with me to weddings but they are in my kit.

I do own these lenses and I think it’s just as important to talk about what I have and don’t use, as it is to talk about what I actually do use. And the reason I don’t use these lenses as I used to but they’re a little bit more dramatic than what I like for my current style of photography . I don’t really shoot much at this focal length, the 14-24. And for the 24mm I actually do bring this with me every now and then, but I find that it’s only worth shooting with this lens if I’m shooting a little bit closer to the subject to be able to take advantage of that 1.4 Otherwise I will just end up using my 24-70mm 2.8.

So I ended up not using this very much, just because when I am closer to the subject, it’s giving a little bit of a more dramatic look with that really wide focal length that I don’t favor as much with my style. One other lens that I have that I don’t take with me to weddings is the 50mm 1.4 which is actually being used to film right now.

It’s a beautiful lens and I do use it from time to time. I just don’t bring it with me for weddings because the way I like to use my prime lenses is for that really beautiful creamy buttery bokeh. And I’m actually super spoiled by my 85mm and how gorgeous that bokeh is. And I just don’t like the look of the 50mm bokeh as much. It has a little bit of a harsher look that I don’t find as attractive in images.

So I don’t use it for those sort of images. I use it for other stuff which is why it doesn’t come with me for weddings. So first up is the 24-70mm 2.8. I love this lens for just it’s really beautiful crisp images when shooting at 2.8. And it’s also a perfect focal length for weddings when things are moving really quickly and you just need a little bit of that range to adjust fast on the fly. I also love it for shooting a little bit more atmospheric images where we’re taking in more of the scene. And it’s just a really lovely kind of a workhorse lens that I always have with me at all my weddings. Next up is my absolute favorite lens, the 85mm 1.4. I love this lens for both portraits and details and it’s actually the lens that’s on my camera for most of the wedding day. And like I mentioned earlier, it just has that really creamy beautiful bokeh in the images. And I also love that it creates separation between my subject and the background. I’ll even sometimes play with holding things in front of my lens or kinda placing things in the foreground to create an even more dimensional look to the images, for that really beautiful depth.

Just love this lens. Next up is the 105mm macro lens. This lens is wonderful for when I want those really close-up detail images on the wedding day, usually during the getting ready or the reception and especially for just really beautiful ring shots. Next up we’re bringing out the big guns. The 70-200mm 2.8. I love that this lens allows me to be further away but still feel right up in there when capturing those beautiful intimate moments on a wedding day. The compression is also super attractive in images and also when you have a little bit of a busy background or people or trees in the background of your images. Zooming in at 200mm kind of makes everything go milky and beautiful and gets rid of any distractions. I will use this lens for the first look on a wedding day, for ceremony, sometimes for some of the portraits, and also for reception, for moments such as the speeches, especially if it’s a daytime reception. Otherwise I might opt for something a little bit faster such as the 85mm 1.4 for that low-light capability. For those of you just starting out, I would recommend starting with at least one fast lens, such as the 50mm 1.4 or my favorite the 85mm 1.4, just depending on your budget, to give you that nice depth to your images and also for the low-light capabilities.

And then also renting something with a little bit more of a range, such as the 24-70mm 2.8. So I love little guides and downloads and I put together a PDF with everything we talked about here, my lenses, my lighting, and also a few other little tidbits I thought you might find helpful, with links to where to check everything out at. So grab that below and also I’d love to hear what your favorite lenses are. Drop that in the comments and subscribe for new videos every week..