What’s in my bag?

I’m not a massive tech-geek. I love spending some money on new lenses but it’s not something that myself and my photography friends spend time chatting about when we meet. At our recent Shoot & Hustle workshop we had a little section about what’s in our bag. I didn’t think it was going to be one of the most popular parts of the day – I was so flipping wrong! There were so many questions from the attendees and loads of interest about the different things we all carry around with us on a wedding day. Hence this blog post!  Here’s my absolute must haves for a wedding day.

Camera bodies

I was a Canon girl for many years but recently made the switch to the smaller, mirrorless Sonys. I’m loving the focusing abilities of the A7iii and the fact they are a little lighter than my old Canons. 

Batteries

I may have gone slightly overboard on buying spare batteries. But I always feel better knowing that I’ve got more than enough with me on a wedding day. It’s also great when I have two weddings back to back and know I won’t necessarily have time to charge all my batteries overnight. 

Memory Cards

Since my move to Sony I’m definitely shooting a  lot more images on the day (that high speed shooting is a killer!) so I generally have two 128gb cards in each camera. I hate carrying around used memory cards on the day. I think it’s much safer to have two large cards in each and reduce the risk of anything going missing. 

Lenses

This is the bit us photographers get overexcited about isn’t it!? Who doesn’t love a lovely new lens arriving and all the possibilities it offers!

I’m as bad as the next person and usually buy a lens or two each wedding season. As my photography journey has progressed I’ve found that I’ve moved away from zoom lenses almost entirely and now shoot mainly on primes. I just love the way they look.

Here’s what I have with me on a wedding day

Sony Zeiss 25 mm f2 –  I never used my 24mm much on Canon but this lens is one of my faves on Sony. It’s so light which is a treat when you’re carrying it round all day long and it’s cracking for documentary stuff. 

Samyang 35mm 1.4  – 35mm is such a great length and so flexible. So this lens gets a lot of use on a wedding day. I used to absolutely love my Canon 35mm and I’m not as much in love with the Samyang for some reason. Maybe I’ll dabble in a different version of 35mm later this year. 

Sigma Art 50 mm 1.4. – I’ve rediscovered my love for this lens after moving to Sony. I’ve stuck with my Canon version and I use a Sony lens adapter. It is so sharp and the colours are dreamy. It seems to never miss focus. I’m using it so much more on my Sony than I ever did on Canon! 

Sony 85mm –  Another new favourite now I’ve moved to Sony. This lens was really reasonably priced and perfect for speeches, ceremonies and the occasional portraits. 

Canon 135 mm f2. – This is a gorgeous bloody lens and I definitely do not use it enough! Great for ceremony shots when you’re that little bit further away. Also good for documentary shots when the guests are a little more aware of your presence than you’d like. It also gets a lot of use during speeches to pick out guests reactions. I’m using this with a Sony adapter. 

Canon 17 – 35 mm f2.8 – This is a brand new addition to my camera bag and one that I picked up second hand from another photographer (this is a great way to get new gear without spending lots of cash!). It may be because it’s a bit of a novelty having a zoom lens again but I’m really loving using this lens. It makes for some cracking dance floor shots. I’m using this with my Sony adapter. 

Lighting

It’s safe to say I’m not the most technical/crazy flash/off camera wizzardry photographer out there. But I appreciate the importance of being able to use flash and the benefit of being able to get more creative with it. So I’ll take this kit to every single wedding – rain or shine, summer or winter – because you just never know when it might come in handy!

Flashes – also known as speed lights. I have 4 of these in total. One Canon one which I bought when I first went all pro. And 3 Yongnuo flashes. Which are bloody fantastic and you can pick them up from £50 -80 depending on which spec you choose. They’re easy to use and set up and if you drop one and it breaks (as I have done more than once!) the fact that it cost £50 as opposed to £500 ensures much less crying at weddings!

Triggers –  Sometimes I use my flashes on camera, bounce off the ceiling, job done. But for dancing and night time shots a bit of off camera flash can really make a difference. I use these very cheap and inexpensive Yongnuo triggers. Pop them on your hotshoe, make sure the trigger and the flash are set to the same channel, set flash to RX mode and away you go. This is a very simple manual set up, you can’t change the settings on camera. Other more complicated and expensive set ups are available if this is your bag.

Video light – A cracking little piece of kit that cost me about £30. This is so useful for adding a little bit of extra continuous light. Great for interior group or portrait shots and can also be used creatively for portraits at night. My big tip for this one – night time sparkler shots. I use the video light to illuminate the couple which makes it easier for the camera to focus on them in the dark without killing the ambient light of the sparklers. Update – I’ve added a new video light to my kit. Another Yongnuo. It’s basically a cheap copy of the ice-light and you can pretend it’s a lightsaber. Very satisfying. 

Other bits and bobs

Harness –   When I moved over to shooting on two cameras a harness was a must. It takes all the weight off your neck meaning no pain and it frees your hands when you’re not shooting. I’m too tight to fork out on the big brands like Holdfast or Money Maker so I opted for a locally made harness from a small Etsy shop called (it’s a good one!) Pretty Dead Cow. I’ve attached a little pouch from Amazon to the harness in which I keep some little essentials like my car keys, spare batteries, business cards and some money. If I ever do have to change memory cards during the day they go into a card holder and I keep them in this pouch.

Drugs kit – well not quite! But I always have a little bag with some paracetamol, upset stomach tablets, plasters and lip balm in my camera bag. There’s nothing worse than feeling unwell on a wedding day!

And that my dearies is pretty much it! That bag of tricks goes with me to every wedding. I’m sure I’ll add to it next year and I’ll be sure to update the list! 

For more hints, tips and photography chat visit my Photographer’s page.