My Favorite Gear as a Wedding Photographer
I have had so many photographers and clients ask what type of gear I have either in my camera bag or what my my back up system process is. So I think a blog post to show all my favorite gear as a wedding photographer is perfect! I have done some updating to my gear (going mirrorless), which has been a game changer for me! I’m not opposed to change, but I was super happy with my set up pre-mirrorless. But boy am I glad I upgraded! Hands down best change for my business. So before I ramble on so much let’s dive into my gear and what I love about it and why I use it and have it. I will also list where I got them and how much.
Nikon Z7ii Mirrorless Camera
YM Camera in Youngstown New $2,996.95
Straight out of the gate on this favorite gear as a wedding photographer post! This is Nikon Z7ii Mirrorless camera my primary camera I use on a wedding day and all things photography. It is a powerhouse! The detail it captures and how lightweight it is (it helps when some lenses are super heavy) are the bomb dot com. Now one thing that mirrorless allows you to do is see the photo before you even take it. Which to me is nuts! Technology has come a long way. But what made me choose this one from the Z6ii (which is still an awesome camera) or any of the mirrorless camera lineup with Nikon is that Nikon stated that this camera is comparable to the D850. Which is a camera I was super used to since this was my primary camera. I mean there was some things I had to get used to, but it was worth the learning.
Nikon D850 DSLR Camera (Backup)
YM Camera in Youngstown New $2,996.95
My sweet Nikon D850, I have now retired you to be my backup. This camera has worked nonstop the last year and a half and has never failed me. But now has got the honor to relax in my rolling case for when I may need in the future. I like having a back up camera. It is reassured that if something were to happen to my primary camera, I can still push on. I’m huge on having back ups for everything. Whether it’s gear or memory cards, heck even editing. So having this other powerhouse of a camera to be my backup is super nice to have.
YM Camera in Youngstown New $249.95
So what you may ask is this little thing? It is a F mount to Z mount adapter for my mirrorless camera. The only little tiny downfall to the new mirrorless cameras is it has a completely different mount to hold the a lens. So for me, the best financial option for my business, is to buy this adapter so I could use my old lenses. This girl doesn’t have near enough money to get all new lenses, maybe as I need new lenses when my current ones need to retire forever I will replace it. But until then this little guy is gonna be my best friend. Next, on my favorite gear as a wedding photographer is the lenses!
Nikon Nikkor 85mm 1.8 Lens
Amazon about New $475
So I have two absolutely favorite lenses and this bad boy is one of them! I use this lens majority of an engagement session and portrait sessions. Like 95% of the time. The creamy blurry background (which is called bokeh) it has my heart! Now this lens does make an appearance on the wedding day, but to be honest only when I’m outside. I need a good amount of room to use this lens.
Nikon Nikkor 105mm Micro 2.8 Lens
Nikon Facebook group $500 Used
Amazon about $1100
This is my bread and butter when it comes to ring shots and close up details. This macro lens gives the best bokeh (that creamy background) of any of my lenses. This lens pretty much never leaves my bag. Cause none of my other lenses can give the results like this one. I use it at engagement sessions and wedding days.
Nikon Nikkor 50mm 1.8 Lens
It’s been so long I don’t know how much or where I got it, but can find on Amazon for about $200
So this lens I actually rarely use. It does make its presence sometimes. I tend to shoot between a 35mm and 85mm most of my sessions and during weddings. But it has come in real handy situations. Most photographers say this is the most favorited lens. If they had to choose one lens to shoot an entire wedding or session this would be the lens. It is the most versatile. But this lens sometimes does leave my bag. Also, crazy thing this is the very FIRST lens I ever bought…4 years ago! It still works like a champ when I need it.
Sigma Art 35mm 1.4 Lens
YM Camera in Youngstown New $899.99
Ok…this lens (Sigma Art 35mm) NEVER leaves my bag. It actually is my favorite lens other than my 85mm. It would be so hard to choose between the two. But if I had to choose a lens to shoot an entire wedding or session this would be the lens! Hands down my favorite! I love that I can get wide angle shots and then be able to get creamy backgrounds when getting up close.
Sigma Art 135mm 1.8 Lens
YM Camera in Youngstown Used $1,000.00
Another lens that never leaves my bag, Sigma Art 135mm, cause you never know if I will need to zoom in from far away. Since I love prime lenses, which are lenses that never zoom in. I’m the one that physically zooms in and out. This lens also replaced a lens I did have, which was the 70-200mm. And boy I’m glad I traded it in. It has definitely been a favorite. I use this lens majority for church ceremonies. Lastly, of my favorite gear as a wedding photographer is miscellaneous gear!
Nikon Speedlight SB-700 Flash
Amazon about New $320.00
These flashes are great for needing just an extra boost of light. I am more of a natural light photographer and don’t use flash often, but when in need I will whip these bad boys out. I use these strategically for dark churches (that allow flash photography) and for receptions. Since the lighting for these locations are very low and need that extra boost of light to match my style of photography. I have three of these guys that I keep in my rolling bag. The next two below are what I use with these flashes.
Magmod Magsphere Flash Diffuser
Magmod.com New $49.95 each Magsphere
Magstrip New $24.95 each
This diffuser is one of my favorite miscellaneous gear as a wedding photographer. I use on my flashes is the bomb dot com! These guys rarely ever leave my flashes. I use them for like all of my receptions or anytime I use my flashes. Like my flashes I have three of these. It diffuses the light softly instead of direct harsh light. You will need the magnet piece called the Magstrip. That piece will fit onto the flash and then this Magsphere will magnetize onto the Magstrip.
Sony XQD 120GB Card
Amazon about New $200.00 each
The Sony XQD cards are powerhorses! But boy these guys are expensive! The only reason I have these is cause my cameras have a second slot that only fits these cards. Once I started using these, I’m so glad I got them. I see why they are expensive. Cause the write speed and read speeds are so high they make my workflow so much faster. When I get home from a session or wedding I plug this into my reader and like in 5-10 mins it’s already done uploading for me to go through them and can edit and upload sneak peeks so much faster! Even though they are expensive they are well worth it.
Sony XQD/SD Card Reader
Amazon New $49.99 each
So when I had to start purchasing XQD cards for my cameras I had to get a reader for it. I didn’t really do any shopping to find the best one. When it comes to my gear I do want the best of the best. Which when I was shopping for XQD cards, Sony, was the only one I could find that had the best reviews. So of course, it was natural for me to get the same brand reader for the card. And an awesome note, this reader can read both XQD and SD cards so why not! That was ok in my book. I have a couple of these in my office. One that is attached to my desktop and one that I take with me on the go with my laptop. I’m sure you would be able to use this reader with another brand of XQD’s since this reader does read my Sandisk SD cards.
Sandisk 64GB 170mb/s Card
Amazon New Black Friday $17.99 each
Boy do I have A LOT of these cards! I have about 10+ of these cards since I use these as my back ups in my camera. When I mean back up, I have two slots in my camera. One for my SD and one for XQD. They both have the same photos on them. The reason for this is I want to make sure that I never have a corrupted card without a back up of the images. So instead of me just having the overflow method I chose to have each card have the same images. There are some horror stories of photographers having corrupted cards and not having the images backed up. So I won’t own a camera that doesn’t have two slots so I can back it up! Haha. This SD card brand I have used for YEARS! *knock on wood* I have never had any issues of corruption, which is great news. With the fast write speeds like 170mb/s I know that I can go in burst mode on my camera and be able to see the images quick on the back of my camera. Great cards in my book!
XQD/SD Card Holder
Amazon XQD/SD New $11.99
SD card holder: Amazon New $7.99
This XQD/SD card holder is great! It’s a shock proof and waterproof case. Which def need that to keep these puppies safe and clean. I got this on Amazon for a very reasonable price. There are different styles like for CF cards if you are a Canon shooter. I have this one as well as an all SD card holder, which can hold 12 SD cards. Since my XQD’s are 120 GB I only carry 3, but only use about 2 for wedding days. I have the third one as a back up, just in case I go overboard on snapping photos, which can happen. 😉 And then for SD cards, I fill the four spots in the holder for myself and give my second shooter some cards from my 12 SD card holder.
G-Drive Thunderbolt Desk External Drive
Western Digital Store New 10 TB $509.95
Western Digital Store New 14 TB $679.95
POWERHORSE! This bad boy, which I call my big boy drive is just that a BIG BOY! Haha I have two of these guys that are used for my current and past sessions and weddings. I have one that is 10 TB and just got a new one which is 14 TB since I’m almost out of space on my 10 TB. These are desktop external drives. They are for sure not made to be mobile with. I have a separate drive for that. This one is connected to a cloud drive, which is the backup to the back up. Haha. All about the backup I am! Which when you are in the photography business you have to plan for the worst. Since technology is not reliable. As much as I’d like to think that it is, I have to think negative and plan for that.
I got this system all because that one time when my mobile external drive crashed on me. Like I accidentally dropped it kinda crash on me. But it’s only happened once for me and it wasn’t a SSD (Solid State Drive; they are more resilient. Everything worked out perfectly and I didn’t lose anything. But it did cost some $$ to retrieve the images. Any who, I have always used G-Drives systems. If it doesn’t fail you, you don’t look or shop around. You won’t regret these drives!
G-Drive USB-C 500 GB Pro SSD External Drive
Western Digital Store New $199.99
This mobile drive that is another one of my favorite gear as a wedding photographer. I use this drive to edit all my sessions with. I keep the RAW images and Lightroom Catalogs of my sessions. After I back up all the RAW images onto my Big Boy drive (see above). I then have the images on this drive so I can edit them. Now sometimes I do edit solely off of the Big Boy drive when I’m feeling like I need to be at my Desktop, but I like to say I am more mobile than being reserved at my desk. But for weddings, I will edit with this drive. Since this takes more time to edit than a 30 minute session. What’s nice about this drive and having the Lightroom Catalogs on this drive, I literally can plug it into either my desktop or laptop and still keep all my editing. It’s sooo nice! Now I know most photographers don’t use an external drive cause of the expense, but ya’ll if you wanna save your computers space and have the luxury of being free to edit I would highly recommend this!
Lightroom is such a great utensil in photo editing, but boy does it bog the computer down. Using one catalog for ALL editing is what bogs Lightroom down. I found it the easiest, space saving, and fast workflow to have separate Catalogs for each session or wedding. You’re not having to find the particular folder that corresponds to the session your editing. A full wedding or session has its own space and easy click. Who doesn’t want that?! If you wanna know my workflow go ahead and check out this post!
BackBlaze Unlimited Personal Backup
I paid $60/year per drive or you can do $6/month you save more when you go annually
When it comes to backing up, I highly recommend BackBlaze! The last favorite gear as a wedding photographer! This is that cloud space I was talking about that my Big Boy drives are connected to on my Desktop. This system mimics your drive, like a complete copycat! So when you add something to the drive, it will copy it to the cloud. Now when you delete from the drive it deletes it from cloud. BUT if you disconnect the drive from the Desktop it will keep the copy up in the cloud for 30 days. So if you find that there is something wrong with the drive and it calls it quits on you, you will still have the images. So you can request BackBlaze to send you all the files for that drive. Pretty awesome, huh?
As much as I would LOVE to have a system like Dropbox or iCloud where you just keep adding to it and it will keep it there and not mimic a drive, but to be honest, I like this set up. Like I said before, technology should not be 100% relied upon. You never know if cloud spaces completely crash, heck or even online galleries, and you will be left with nothing. My heart would sink! You are probably thinking, how much is this Heather? I pay $60 bucks a year for each drive. I would pay this if I want to stress less about the images, knowing they are safe and have a back up plan to my back up.
What you think?
I hope you find this all informational and can take something away from this post. What you think? Would like to see more about my gear and tips?