If you’re just starting your photography business, thinking about starting one, or are in the beginning stages of your photography business, this post is for you…
Let’s face it, you only have one chance to get it right on a wedding day! Wedding photography is definitely not for the faint of heart; it takes skill, artistry, energy, and leadership. On top of all of that, you want to ensure you have the right gear so that you’re well prepared for all of the possible scenarios. If you’re just starting out, don’t get hung up on the fact that other photographers have more than you or you don’t think you have what it takes! Everyone has to start somewhere! Plus, you can always rent what you don’t own! For this series of blog posts I’m going to list the gear that we love, in order of what we believe is purchase importance. Purchase importance? Is that a thing?
We are die hard Canon fans! Not that there is anything wrong with Nikon; it’s just that I’ve been using Canon since my 20’s! My first DSLR purchase was a Canon Rebel XT and it was solely used to photograph tandem and AFF skydiving students in freefall! As I moved from aerial videography to portrait photography, I briefly used an Olympus E510-she was top of the line in her time! Goodness, I remember when 10 megapixels was insane! By the time I shot my first wedding, I had a Canon Rebel T5i. Yes, that’s right! I shot my first wedding with a crop sensor Rebel! I shot my first wedding on accident though. Let me explain, I had just recently shot “engagement photos” for friends of mine that let me practice on them. One of their friends who saw them online then reached out and asked me if I’d shoot their wedding on short notice… the rest is history! I drove down to Aperturent in Atlanta and rented ONE L Series lens. One! That’s another post though. To this day one of my all time favorite images is from that first wedding that I shot with my Rebel and just one lens! I left that evening on a spiritual high! From that day on, I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my days eating and breathing everything that had anything to do with wedding photography!
Now, does this mean I recommend marketing yourself as a wedding photographer when you’re shooting with an entry level DSLR? Most certainly not. Will it suffice? Sure! But if you want to get serious about delivering amazing images with the best quality in even the lowest lit situations, then you’ll want to upgrade to a Full Frame Sensor DSLR as quickly as possible. The key is a camera that can focus fast in the dark and deliver tack sharp images at a high ISO with little to no noise. Why? Well, the first time you walk into a reception hall that has no windows, dark walls, black ceilings, and just string lights for ambiance- you will understand! And it will happen! We can’t expect our brides to understand lighting when they’re picking out their venue. But they will expect you to be able to perfectly capture what may be the last time she ever gets to slow dance with her precious daddy… in that dark, no window, reception hall. Having the right gear, understanding how it works, and how to use it will ensure you can walk into any space without getting nervous!
Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR Camera
My workhorse is the Canon 5D Mark III and I chose her because of its many (41) cross-type focus points, RAW image processing, frame rate, high ISO capabilities, AF assist beam capabilities, dual card recording, and its sturdy metal frame to stand up to everyday wear and tear. For me personally however, the deciding factor has always been the quality of the images shot at high ISO. Most churches have a strict rule banning lighting gear during the ceremony. Which means you have to work with just the ambient lighting which is typically a mix of light coming through multi-colored Stained Glass windows and tungsten lighting (gah!). When your brides are depending on you, that high ISO is a must!!!
Once you shoot with a Mark III, you’ll fall in love. But for half the cost and equal the quality, you definitely want to check out the Canon 6D! This is Rick’s primary camera body and he loves it! It’s significantly lighter than the 5DMIII which is a godsend when you’re lugging it around for 10 solid hours. Our only complaint/comparison is the significantly reduced number of focus points and the single card slot. But there’s a reason so many who start with the 6D, never upgrade to the Mark series and faithfully stick with their 6D’s!
I always recommend that you rent gear before investing in it; that way you can try before you buy. I’ve earned frequent renter status down at Aperturent because we’re always testing out new glass and toys! There are other great options, too; but if you’re anywhere near Atlanta, you can save a ton on shipping fees if you drive to the office!
To get notifications of the next posts in this series (lenses, lighting, & accessories) CLICK HERE to sign up for our email newsletter!
Thanks for reading!
Here are some examples taken from some of our recent church weddings; both of which had strict rules about having NO lighting gear during the ceremony. All of these photos were taken at 2500 ISO