Welcome to part 2 of my gear list. Last week, I talked about the cameras and lenses that Erika and I take to wedding days. I hope I was able to explain not only which stuff I love, but why I choose to use those particular items. But, here is the thing, the cameras are only half the battle. There is a whole other contingent of stuff that makes my day successful. Today is all about the other things that make a wedding day a success.
This may be obvious, but you have to get your stuff there. I love my Pelican case (Amazon) because it easily holds my cameras and lenses. It’s also nearly bulletproof and totally waterproof. I’ve also used it as a step stool to get higher angles and it is an easy cary-on for flights. I’ve even used it as a prop for people to sit on. This thing is just so versatile!
Erika goes with an ONA bag. Those things are just pretty (and pretty well made too). I’m always jealous when I see her carrying it and often end up “borrowing” it for a weekend shoot.
Both Erika and I use TTL flashes (Fuji and Canon). They’re not sexy, but they work. Very little of our work uses flashes (just receptions), so we don’t rely on them too much. But, they are necessary. I also pull out PocketWizard Plus IIIs to do some off camera flash work.
The Fujifilm Inxtax 210 is one of our favorite little toys. We love bringing this along and making a few unique photos that you wouldn’t see otherwise. Everyone loves watching these things develop. As a PSA, the phrase “shake it like a Polaroid picture” is a lie. Don’t do that. It’s bad for the photo.
So this is one of my treasures in wedding photography. It’s a custom 2 camera harness built by my friend Hank Goods. Seriously, this transformed my ability to work weddings. I used to cary 2 cameras on normal straps (one camera on each shoulder). But, I’d spend the whole wedding with my shoulders raised to keep the cameras from falling off. I would get home and be sore for days. This allows me to wear the 2 cameras like a backpack. Also, I look awesome. Not a wedding goes by where someone doesn’t comment on it and point out that it looks like I’m in a 70s cop drama.
Erika goes with this beautiful strap made by an awesome company called Black Anchor out of Tacoma. She won this at a Instameet in Ballard a few years back. We love how easy it is to connect and un-connect the strap from the camera. There are so many times where straps get in the way and it’s awesome to have ways to quickly remove them to make the images you have in mind (useful for tripods, reflections by puddles, etc).
A sewing kit is truly a necessity. If you’re going to be a wedding photographer, go buy a $5 kit and put it in your bag. You will save the day many times. With this little thing, we’ve been able to fix veils, pin up a dress that won’t bustle correctly, cut the groomsmen’s suits and many other little necessities.
Food. Seriously, this is necessary. At the time of writing, our stockpile was a little low, but these are a few examples. I always have the honey packets because weddings are kinda like marathons, so it’s natural to get my calories in similar ways. The goal is to just have quick food that we can shove in our faces or to give to an overheating wedding party. We got you covered.
My phone is my lifeline. This isn’t that I’m going to be playing on Instagram or checking the scores of the game during your wedding. The most important thing on here is my document I use as a pre-wedding plan. About a month before the ceremony, I sit down with couples and discuss the plan for the day. So, I keep that on my phone to make sure I make images of all the important things and know what’s happening next. It also does all the other phone things, like keeping me from getting lost. Personally, I like the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact because it’s the only flagship Android phone that isn’t the size of a skateboard.
This is a fun little addition. Both of my cameras have double memory card slots (one SD and one CF). With those, I’ve put these WiFi enabled SD cards into the cameras. I can then connect the phone to the camera, pull my favorite images and put them onto the interwebs. If Canon doesn’t want to play ball and make this easy, I’ve got my work arounds. I like the Transcend version because it allows for simple browsing and downloading. Other, similar cards, download all photos from the camera to the phone. I don’t want that because I shoot 3k photos on a wedding day and probably just want one or two to put onto Instagram.
I totally understand if you’re looking at this and wondering “why is a bow tie on here?” Well, because those too are strategic. I always dress well to weddings. I’ve seen so many vendors show up to weddings in casual clothes or even ugly black t-shirts. I think that’s unacceptable. I always dress as if I were a guest. I want to be able to blend into the crowd and what better way than dressing like everyone else. As for the bow ties, I wear those because don’t get in the way of cameras. Normal ties hang down and get caught in the harness. Bow ties stay high and out of the way. It’s also helpful because I can help wedding parties tie their bow ties to look sharp.
Sunglasses are a must. But, I have one stipulation with mine, they have to be comfortable on top of my head. It’s not that I’m trying to rock some Guy Fieri look, but rather that I’m going inside and outside of buildings all the time. I need to have the sunglasses at easy reach, but then can get them out of the way. It’s a way to protect my corneas, but also be ready for whatever shadows I may encounter.
Tripods are necessary. I bring a Pedco Ultra II (the mini) and an Amazon Basics Tripod for whatever I need. They can be great to set up flashes, photo booths or even to get night shots. I’d say that I don’t use them half the time, but when they’re needed, they’re totally necessary.
Also, I bring my weight in batteries and memory cards of all sorts. This pile is probably about 1/3 of what I actually bring to a wedding day. Be sure you have a system about where to put used cards/batteries to keep from getting mixed up. For cards, I tuck them in a special place in the Pelican Case. Dead batteries all go in a ziplock bag that I wrote the word “dead” on. When I get home, I know where to start in order to recharge everything for the next shoot.
I hope that all helps. I have listed off so much random stuff about the wedding photographer gear I use. Did I forget something? What do you bring?
JTobiason Photography | Wedding Photographer Gear | Seattle Wedding Photographer | Joe@JTobiason.com