What Should You Take to Weddings? Definitely Not Just a Camera!

Experienced wedding photographers don’t just carry photo gear. They also bring lots of practical gadgets that make their work easier and help them to handle tough situations. But what’s more, their heads are stuffed with tips that can make your first wedding shoot a whole lot easier! We’ve asked for these and compiled a list of things it pays to pack for every wedding shoot.

Some items make your photography easier, others help you be creative or give you a little more comfort. After all, an all-day shoot is demanding, and so you’ll naturally be trying to make your work easier. So what should you take to the wedding? Let’s go over some time-tested tips together.

A Camera, Surprisingly

It goes without saying that a photographer should arrive at a wedding with a camera and lenses. This article isn’t primarily about cameras, but all the same, let’s take a look at a few tested and very usable combinations:

  • Full-frame body + 24–70mm (and some sort of fast lens)
  • Full-frame body + 24mm + 50mm and perhaps another focal length too (some people prefer to combine 35mm and 85mm)
  • An APS-C body + a Sigma ART 18–35mm is a great option if you don’t have or don’t want a full-frame.
What Should You Take to Weddings - setup

My favorite combo (a D750 + a 50 f1.4 and a D700 + a 24 f1.4).

A Backup Can Save You

Reliable gear is the foundation, but even the sturdiest gear can break down at the least appropriate time. That’s why I recommend having at least one extra of everything that’s important:

  • An extra camera,
  • batteries,
  • memory card,
  • flash batteries, and if needed, flash-firer batteries too.
  • You’ll do well to also have chargers and a powerbank as well.
What Should You Take to Weddings - cards

Memory cards and batteries.

If you have two card slots in your camera, there’s certainly no harm in setting it up to save to both, in case something happens to one of them.  

A Little Something for the Bride

Unlike the bride, you can carry a bag or a backpack with you all day. So feel free to carry some replacement hair clips or bobby pins, in case she needs to clip her hair in the afternoon. If you don’t know where to find any, the bride’s hairdresser will be glad to lend you some. The transparent powder comes in handy too. It will help you get rid of unwanted reflections on skin.

A Handkerchief as First Aid

It can be unpleasant for the bride if she sheds a tear at the ceremony and everyone who might otherwise lend her a handkerchief is behind her. So she can’t even discreetly let them know. In this situation, you’ll save the day if you elegantly hand her a handkerchief. After all, as the photographer, you’re the only person who’s moving around the space and who can see if the newlyweds need something.

What Should You Take to Weddings - handkerchief

Big girls do cry. Lend them a handkerchief.

Something for the Big Group Photo

Ideally, you want to take the group photo—where you need to fit a lot of people into one place—from above. Then everyone will be easy to see. For example, one wedding photographer, Milan Havlík brings a stepladder with him. It’s light, it fits in his car, and it offers him lots of options for creativity. And not only when he’s taking group photos.

What Should You Take to Weddings - stepladder

Taking pictures from an aluminum stepladder.

Or if you have a strong assistant, you can handle things as Sabina Melicharová does. On your assistant’s shoulders, you’ll make at least a strong impression on the guests as you would with a stepladder.

What Should You Take to Weddings - assistant

Shooting from above on the shoulders of an assistant.

Props for the Big Group Shot

If it’s raining on the wedding day,  then you might want to bring a translucent or white umbrella with you in your car. That way you’ll be able to work outdoors as well.

You’ll also appreciate a blanket in case the bride and groom want a picnic pic. And there are some other props that tie into this. Like a bottle of wine and glasses.

For an evening shoot, you’ll appreciate having some light sources. Maybe a package of sparklers or Christmas lights.

What Should You Take to Weddings - sparklers

Extra light sources come in handy for evening shots. Try sparklers.

Creative Tricks

A crystal ball is great for creating a slightly different view. On the other hand, don’t expect to be taking many pictures with it. It loses its charm fairly fast, but you should definitely give it a try for a few shots.

What Should You Take to Weddings - ball

A crystal ball, for portraits that are a little bit different.

Something for Your Own Comfort

Especially in the summer, you’ll appreciate an extra shirt to change into, deodorant, or more comfortable shoes for your afternoon running around.

You may also be saved by bandages for your tattered heels—or a bottle of water if you’ll be spending a long time away from the banquet.

But There’s Definitely Much More

But the real list of tricks goes far beyond just what we’ve listed. Do you have any interesting tips to share? Let us know in the comments.

Last updated 9. May 2019

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Author: Matej Liska

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