Top 5 Essential Products For Beginner Wedding Photographers
When I was new to wedding photography, I thought I needed all the equipment and accessories, needing the best of the best to capture the finest photos. But over the years, after some trial and error, I have added pieces and taken some off my list as I know what works for me.
Here are five essential products that I personally recommend for beginner wedding photographers.
The camera I recommend for wedding photography is the Sony Alpha a7 III as it's reliable, durable, lightweight and fast. The a7 III took the world by storm when it first came out and even after 1.5 years on the market, it's still in my opinion one of the best bodies for wedding photography.
Some might argue they'd want better, but being able to shoot up to 10 shots per second is more than enough for me. If you're doing wildlife/birds or sports you might want more and from something like the Sony A9 II but I feel the 10 per second is fast enough for weddings.
It's also one of the more affordable Sony camera’s and it's on sale at the moment so would be easy to pick up without breaking the bank.
The 24 megabytes leaves a bit more to be desired but is enough to get the job done. We stepped down from the A7R III which meant it was less flexible when we were cropping in post-production but I think for the price difference it's worth it.
I also recommend getting a memory card that has high GB like the SanDisk 128GB Extreme Pro. These are amazing as they're large enough so that you're not constantly having to worry about needing to switch your SD cards during a wedding. There are of course faster cards out there but personally feel these are more than enough. Paired with the Sony a7 III which has a buffer of 73 raw images, you'll be able to capture a good deal of shots even on high+ continuous shooting. They're also reasonably priced as well when compared to the faster cards and when you have 20-30 or so cards, it starts getting pretty expensive if you're purchasing the fastest ones every time.
There are a lot of prompts for newer photographers to buy the newest, best and most expensive camera body, but the truth is, the body is nowhere near as important as the lens. If you've got a limited budget, my recommendation is to spend more on the lens compared to the camera.
I normally have a Samyang 85mm 1.4 Sony FE and a Sony 24mm 1.4 GM on me at all times (yes with 2 cameras). The Samyang 85mm 1.4 is perfect for getting that bokehlicious portrait of the bride and groom. It also allows me to capture a lot of details from afar as I don't like getting too close to the bride and groom at times such as during the ceremony. I picked the Samyang version as after a bit of testing compared to the Sony GM, it outperformed it in focus speed, especially in darker environments. The Samyang is a lot (and I mean a LOT) lighter as well as being a fraction of the price.
The Sony 24mm 1.4 GM I feel is the perfect complement to an 85mm as it's wide enough for me to capture much of the scene and tell a story but not so wide that the distortions become distracting. It's also the best 24mm I've tested out for Sony and 100% worth the cost.
3. Camera Flash
We love playing around with lights in wedding photography and the Godox V1 is definitely a winner. It's powerful enough for pretty much all that you need except for shooting under the harsh sun. The cycle speed is also super fast (especially when compared to cheaper models that use AA batteries) so you'd hardly miss any moments on the dance floor.
Paired with the Godox XPro wireless trigger, you'll be able to set up awesome lighting no matter what the venue or environment is.
As above, I love my prime lenses but that means there's a whole heap of hassle switching lenses. That's where the harness comes in. Being able to carry two camera bodies means I can have both my favourite lenses on me at all times so I don't miss a shot while having to change lenses.
I've tried a few harnesses but found the Rose Anvil one the best, probably the biggest bonus is that it doesn't "pinch" as it's just a single piece of leather connecting the camera to the harness, no metal rings to slide up and down. And if you ask anyone who has been "pinched" by a harness, they'll let you know it's NOT fun.
If you are not after a full upper body harness, then the Peak Design Capture Clip is a great option. It can withstand up to 90kg and not only ensures your camera is safe when shooting, but it gives you quick access when capturing on the go. Simply attach the harness system to any strap or belt and shoot with ease.
When it comes to drones and wedding photography, you may not get a lot out of it, but when you do the photos are epic. There's just no replacing the kind of perspective that you can get with a drone. It also means that when it's time for that massive group photo (especially if you have a ton of guests), it makes life so much easier and safer not having to climb a ladder with the widest lens you have just to squeeze everyone into the shot.
I love and use the Mavic 2 Pro for its awesome quality but whilst the Mavic 2 Pro is now discontinued, the DJI Mavic Air 2S is still available from $1899. The Mavic series also folds down to a very manageable size, making travelling with it a breeze, especially when there's a weight limit if you're flying to another city for shoots.
There's also a ton of pre-programmed modes (orbit, follow, etc.) which makes using it so easy even if you've never played around with a drone before. Just be careful not to smack into any trees as I've learned that the hard way.
About Dear White Productions
Dan and Jo from ‘Dear White Productions’ are both international award-winning Auckland wedding photographers and videographers that pride themselves on being able to create epic masterpieces as well as perfectly capture the small intimate moments that go unseen through the day. More like "friends with cameras" than photographers, both the couples and guests can feel at ease and party away while great moments are captured.
Check out more of their work here!