Having professional cameras, lenses, lights and modifiers are all a part of a wedding photographer's toolkit. While it is NOT the camera that makes the photographer, we often get asked what gear we shoot with, whether we bring backups, our off-camera flash set-up, etc. So we thought we'd share what's in our bags on a wedding day, including primary set-up and back-up gear.
UPDATE FALL 2018: We have retired our Nikon flashes + Pocket Wizard triggers and replaced them with the incredible GODOX system, including flashes, pocket strobes, and radio transmitter. Lithium Ion batteries are GAME-CHANGERS!
Nikon D750 - (x3)
We shoot with full-frame Nikon D750 cameras as our main camera bodies.
BACKUP: Nikon D610
BACKUP: Nikon D5200
We love the wide/ultrawide 16-35mm lens, primarily used during the dance party, but occasionally brought out during the ceremony or in tighter situations where the 24-70 isn’t wide enough.
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED - (x2)
Our primary workhorse lens. This baby hits all the sweet spots - wide angle at 24mm, up through nifty 50 and into portrait lens range at 70mm. If we had to shoot a whole wedding with one lens, this is our choice, hands-down, simply for versatility sake.
A very solid workhorse lens when we want to shoot with a single body. Very sharp, very versatile.
A favorite lens for documentary moments throughout the day. Wide enough to capture a scene, and the extra stops of light come in really handy versus the 2.8 of the 24-70 lens.
They call it the nifty fifty for a reason - this lens is a favorite for shooting details or when we just want those extra stops of light or a wider aperture.
An absolute favorite lens for our work — we LOVE the compression and beautiful bokeh you can get with this lens. It allows us to be observant documentarians while keeping a comfortable distance. We use this lens for the first look, ceremony, and many of the couple portraits for sure, along with a few shots during the traditional dances to capture that up-close emotion.
When we just really need those extra stops of light or want a wider aperture, we reach for the 85mm lens. A great portrait lens and works great for smaller detail vignettes. A favorite lens during up-close bridal portraits as well.
This lens doesn’t get used a lot on a wedding day — but when it does, it is clutch! We use this lens exclusively for photographing bridal details, such as the rings or jewelry. On a rare occasion, we’ll use it as an extra portrait lens.
Our DX lenses are not used on a wedding day much anymore (ever, really), but we do bring our backup gear and associated lenses.
Lighting + Modifiers
Absolute WORKHORSE. This pocket strobe is truly that - a strobe that fits in your pocket. Has the flash power output of 3 regular flashes. A favorite for overpowering the sun, on the dance floor, or lighting up a ceremony processional/recessional when needed.
Great for on-camera work or just a quick-fix flash to keep in the shoulder bag for easy access if needed. Easy to adjust, love the built-in radio receiver (no extra receivers required — aka, like our old Pocket Wizards!)
The best money you’ll ever spend for your flash system will be on a radio controller. We use two triggers, one for each of us, and we can simultaneously use the SAME FLASHES, but triggered from our own cameras and with whatever lenses we each decide to use. This is clutch during the reception! We also can easily set up separate “groups” of flashes so we could shoot separately, or so that we can have different groups of lights focused at different parts of the wedding party vs crowd.
They call it the Rapid Box for a reason. Ridiculously easy to set up in seconds, this softbox is a favorite for portraits and creating soft, even light wherever we need (like reception details!)
The creme de le creme of our lighting kit is our MagMod system. We would be lost without it. Easy magnet-based modifiers allow us to quickly and easily modify, shape, color-correct, or change the color of the light we want. Used primarily during the reception, and occasionally during family formal portraits.
This baby doesn’t see much action anymore since we primarily use our MagMod gear, but this is great in a pinch, or when we have little space for extra gear — this can slide into a back pouch or side pocket and we can bust it out if needed to create soft, even light spread.
Cheetah lightstands have spoiled us for any other lightstands, ever. The air-cushioned system is great (no fast-dropping stands under the weight of a flash when you’re putting up or down), but the best part is that you can pick up and the legs self-collapse without needing to loosen knobs. Pick up and drop is the BEST!
Thanks for stopping by our gear bag!
Did you find that useful? Do you have any questions on how we use our gear? Feel free to drop a comment below!
No matter which gear you use, what brands you prefer, or what style you shoot, it really comes down to “do you know YOUR gear?” We have upgraded and expanded our gear over the years, but we could get by with less. Don’t feel pressured to have all the things all at once! Get to know your gear, how you prefer to shoot, and determine which tools will be helpful to you and your work.