How much is really needed?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by justcooltom, Mar 31, 2004.

  1. If I were to shoot a wedding w/o formal training or a whole lab of
    my own how much would I need? ALl I have right now is....

    .....Digital rebel Camera, 35-80mm Lens, tripod, can rent a flash

    Otherwise is this enough equipment to get started for simple cheap
    wedding photography?
  2. Tom, you can do simple cheap wedding photography with a disposable camera. So in a sense, your answer is "Yes, sure."

    If you put 30 minutes into reading what has already been posted at on wedding photography, you will see that you might want to consider the following in choosing equipment:

    How do I plan ahead so that, no matter WHAT breaks or quits, I have the equipment to continue with the job?

    In addition to that flash kit, you may want to rent some asbestos undies for the next couple of days, because some responses to your question might get a bit heated.

    Have fun,
  3. Tom,

    You will get all kinds of answers here regarding what is necessary. Some would say that, as far as lenses are concerned, a 50mm is all that's needed - so you would have that covered. However, this depends on your style. There's no way i could shoot "MY" style with just a 50mm. For tight spot assurance, i have to have my wide angle. To be stealth, i couldn't live without my fast zooms to catch those essential unaware moments. For indoor natural lighting, i would hate to be without my 50mm 1.4. A bit of advice that i think all would agree upon - never shoot someone's most important day without a back-up in camera bodies, dedicated flashes and batteries. This, my friend, is a must. My simple answer would be - no. Kindest Regards, Jammey Church
  4. If you know how to use your equipment, you can certainly create great images with what you've got. I'd also take along at least a 50mm 1.8, a bracket for the flash, and an extra extra digital rebel or at least a film rebel to back you up in case your digital peters out.

    But the only things I think would be absolutely necessary (besides what you already have) are the extra camera body and a flash unit.
  5. Wedding photography is about more than equipment. It's mostly
    technique, including posing people well, capturing the decisive
    moment in candids, and of course, flawless exposure and lighting
    under a variety of circumstances.
    People put a big emphasis on backup equipment to make sure
    you can get the shots no matter what. That's reasonable, of
    course, but don't forget that you need to match that equipment
    with skills and techniques
    that are as near 100% reliable as humanly possible. Furthermore,
    backup equipment doesn't do much good if you don't know your primary
    gear well enough to notice immediately when it's malfunctioning.
    If someone asks "Is this the right equipment
    for weddings?", I'd question where they're putting their emphasis.
    When you have developed the techniques necessary for very
    reliably photographing groups of people in a social setting,
    and consistently coming home with beautiful, flattering
    images, you'll know what equipment is needed.
    But since you asked, personally, I'd at least want a cheap
    MF TLR for the formals.
  6. Talent, people skills, nerves of steel.

    Oh, yeah, and some camera equipment.
  7. Like most skills,the key rests between the ears not between the hands.What if you had a few pots & pans,could you cater a wedding?Or what if you own a set of tools,can you rebuild an engine?An experienced shooter probably can shoot a wedding with a digital kit camera and its zoomy lens.Is this the best gear for such an undertaking,not really.As always,I suggest you find a wedding pro that will let you tag along at a few weddings to learn the ropes and get some books on the subject.There are things that can wrong that you havent thought of yet.And if you screw up,the bride & groom have forever to dwell on this.
  8. Some weddings (in this area) are on the beach....if full sunshine.

    Some weddings are out-of-doors, under a roofed porch-type thing.

    Some weddings are in dim churches.

    Some weddings are in well-lighted churches.

    What you have will work, but are you planning on a trip to the store when your memory card fills up, the battery runs down, the flash decides to peter-out and quit in the middle of the wedding?
  9. Tough question in that it all depends in what you promise to the couple and ask for in return.

    I would do the first couple for free or bargain basement and explain you're just getting started. Most couples want to see samples of your work. This will aid in getting a portfolio put togther.

    If you're going pro and charging market prices you should have a comprehensive kit. Multiple everythings for those times when something fails. Consider renting gear if you cannot afford it.

    Get a 550 flash with a stofen omnibounce and learn how to use it ASAP. Key item!

    I shoot a minimum of 300 pics in RAW. So a lot of CF is necessary. I bring three 1 gb's and one 256er.

    Cause of the crop you'll definetely need something wider than 35mm.

    My kit is:

    Elan 7E


    24 MM f2.8 Prime

    50 MM f1.4 Prime

    18-55 E-FS Zoom

    28-135MM IS Zoom

    70-300MM IS Zoom

    Two 550 Flashes

    One 420 Flash

    Stroboframe camera flip bracket + OCS cord

    Two stands and brolleys. One reflector panel

    4 Studio backdrops plus stand

    Tripod + monopod

    Plethora of Nicad batteries, filters, and hoods

    Espon 2200 chrome based printer

    Fully loaded digital darkroom PC

    Truecolor monitor

    I consider this to be entry level pro. That's also how I position myself for marketing $. I'm experienced and competant. I'm a reliable and dedicated weekend wedding warrior-PJ'er. If I worked at the Washington Post as a PJ, had a masters in Fine Arts from Yale, and $30K worth of gear then I would be charging four times what I do now. I'm a bean counter/computer weeny for the m-f, 9-5 gig. This beer and pretzel money, but mostly fun for me!

    I would love better bodies and L glass, but since i'm a traditional f8 shooter for the most part it's just too expensive for me justify that kind of money for better glass.

    I plan on upgrading the dRebel when something better than the current 10d comes along. I do not like the crappy viewfinders, and miss being able to shoot AI Servo in RAW since the Rebel does not have that feature. I like a plastic me nuts , but I get hand cramps and muscle spasms with a body, lense, flash and bracket being supported with one hand for eight hours straight, so a lighter weight body suits me fine.
  10. I was cruzing the internet a few days ago and came across a photographer
    who was doing 80 weddings a year with a leica m6 with two lens, a 50mm
    and a 35mm, natural light, no flash, not having to lug along a van full
    of crap, he was free to photograph the wedding, all in black and white,
    probably some of the best wedding work I have seen. He probably had
    another leica m6 body in the back of his Porsche, (like he'd need it).
  11. I'll ask what are you going to use when someone spills a coke over your digital rebel and it stops working?

    Anyone can shoot a wedding with all sorts of equipment - I could shoot one (if I had to) with just a 50mm and a body, but I choose to shoot with a whole range of gear, including flash's etc so I can get the images I want and need for my clients. Other people have given you lists of all of their equipment and you will see lots of equipment posts here on In one recent post a guy says he uses 2 Canon QL-17's and charges $3500 at least for a wedding - Good luck to him - minimal investment in equip and maximum return! But I bet he has a backup in the car.

    To give you an idea of my backups- I have 3 AF bodies - 2xF4's and an F100. one F4 is a backup. In the car I have an old Nikormat FTN with a 50mm and a leica M3 with another 50mm, backing up everything else. Each lens I use is covered by another. 24/35/50 set, and zooms - 28-80 and 80-200. I haven't got 2 80-200's because I can get away with not using it most times. 2 auto everything ttl flashes, plus another all manual one in the car. If something breaks, I have something else I can use.

    The one choice I don't have, as a photographer, is to have backup gear.
  12. It's true, gear doesn't make the photographer.

    No gear, however makes for no photos.

    The digital Rebel is a consumer camera made for light duty. There are already reports of
    the shutter failing after extended use. Look up extended use in the dictionary and you'll
    find weddings listed in the definitions : -)

    I understand the guy that uses just a Leica M and no flash. I've done it, and have been
    tempted to do it again. But it narrows the kind of shots you can pull off. Thus narrowing
    the weddings you can book. Which is fine if that's what you want. I think Jeff just uses a
    M and avoids flash... and his work is excellent.
  13. dRebel failure is exactly why i bring an Elan7E and ten+ rolls of mix type film.

    Elan 7E failure is exactly why I bring the dRebel and 3+ gigs of CF

    Lately I've been shooting with both for a mixed effect and insurance. I carry a small backpack and can changeup in under a minute. It's a small one that is all black and I wear also a black shirt so it does not look obviouse + tacky. I've given up on suit's too hot!

    On a side note three events ago I had powerup problems with the 300D. Kept pressing the button and nothing...Oddly I found that pressing the FEL button got things going again. Very strange...and it has not happened since. The power off was set to two minutes and after I realised this and reset it to 15 or 30 it stopped being an issue that night.
  14. As mentioned - The equipment is not the main focus. Except that it should be two cameras and 2 or 3 excellent lenses and flashes. Backups are so important. I shot weddings for 10 years with 2 used Canon F1's and 2 Tamron Lenses - 35-70 2.8 aspherical and 80-200 2.8 aspherical. Everything was manual. The focusing, the flash, setting the ASA etc. My equipment was good but not the best on the market. I built my reputation with marketing, personality and my particular style of photojournlism.
  15. Anyone can run into a battlefield with a handgun to help
    fight in a war. How successful that person will be depends
    on his preparation, skills, talent, experience, and finally
    choice of equipment.

    The same can be said of wedding photography. It's easy
    to jump right in with whatever you have, but it's also
    easy to get yourself killed fast!
  16. To add (since the previous post wasn't really much help):

    For someone without formal training, I would recommend
    being an assistant and learn with someone who's pretty good.
    It isn't formal training, but any experience is a good start.
  17. "My kit is:
    Elan 7E
    24 MM f2.8 Prime
    50 MM f1.4 Prime
    18-55 E-FS Zoom
    28-135MM IS Zoom
    70-300MM IS Zoom
    Two 550 Flashes
    One 420 Flash "

    William, here I thought I was crazy for using a 24mm on a wedding!!

    To Tom, I'm also doing some weddings, mostly to friends. It's a hobby and a couple of times a year I do a wedding for someone I know. Real cheap as a favor to them.

    I started with a Rebel 2000, 50 1.8, 28-80,75-300 and asked the couple to pay for a 420EX. That was my payment for the gig, a 420EX. So I ended up paying for the film, but you're starting out and you're bound to not make that much or not make anything. I only used the 50 1.8.

    I now use an Elan7E w/24 2.8, 50 1.8, 100 2.8 macro, and the 420EX. I still take with me the Rebel and the cheapo lenses just in case. I've known photographers who got their equipment stolen on the wedding so I always carry my stuff if I'm alone or have my wife assist me.
  18. [[

    Gary Woodard , apr 01, 2004; 12:57 a.m.
    I was cruzing the internet a few days ago and came across a photographer who was doing 80 weddings a year with a leica m6 with two lens, a 50mm and a 35mm, natural light, no flash, not having to lug along a van full of crap, he was free to photograph the wedding, all in black and white, probably some of the best wedding work I have seen. He probably had another leica m6 body in the back of his Porsche, (like he'd need it). ]]

    Gary, did you bookmark the link?


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