What equipment did you have when you started shooting weddings?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by firemachine69, Feb 8, 2017.

  1. Hi folks, new here. What did you guys have when you started shooting weddings? What do you have now (for that purpose)?

    I'm thinking of jumping in, but I'm only DX, mind you, all Nikon stuff...

    50 / 1.8
    2x SB-600, likely an SB-900 soon
    diffusers, stands/umbrellas for flashes, 10x10 paper backdrop for portraits, etc.

    Thinking maybe one of the older Nikon 35mm 1.4 Ai-F if I can pick one up at a decent price(?)

  2. First wedding I ever shot was way, way back in the eighties - Cosina completely manual SLR, Kiron 28-105 zoom lens, Tri-X uprated to 800, and available light.

  3. Second body would be the most important or a second shooter.

    Oh and 2 bodies or more and various lenses. Lots of film. Lol
  4. Canon F1N was my first camera and I used it for quite a few years! Mary Ball
  5. I'm not sure that my advice will help much . . . I started shooting with RB67 bodies, 90, 65 and 180 lenses, QFlashes . . . By the time digital came around, I had been shooting Nikon for over 20 years and had bags full of lenses.

    I still shoot Nikon, DX in fact (I don't think that should slow you down at all) . . . The 18-200 is my "all day lens" for flash photography. If I was forced to carry a very limited kit today, it would be the 18-200, my 50f1.4 and 80-200f2.8.

    I think that you have a good starter kit and what you need next really depends on the style that you want to shoot. If you are talking about bringing a backdrop for portraits, I would suggest a better portrait lens than anything you have listed. An 85f1.8 will do wonders but I like the 1.4 and my 80-200 far better.
  6. It really doesn't matter what camera one starts off with as long as he or she knows how to use it. Event photography is more than just knowing the technical or having equipment. Experience is what makes you good. The more you just go out and do it and practice the better you become. The equipment is secondary. That said you buy what you can afford and when you make money you may choose to upgrade. But to answer your question directly, I started off with film cameras both Hasselblad and canon. Today, like everyone else I have converted to digital. I buy what I can afford but I can do just as good a job with a cheaper camera. Having experience brings confidence and allows you to trouble shoot in stressful situations. Experience means you are facing a situation that you faced before and made a mistake the first time and hopefully you learned by it.
  7. Shot my first wedding in the 1970s with a Russian-made Kalimar SLR with a 50, a 28 and a 135 and a little Vivitar 102 pocket-size flash. Junk equipment but it got the job done. Later I had a Nikon FM and F2 plus 28, 50, 105 and 200 primes and Vivitar 283/285 flash. Today on the rare occasion that I shoot a wedding (and only as a second shooter) it's a Nikon D200 and D7000 with 12-24, 24-70, 70-200, SB-900. I also have a basement full of other lenses, flash, studio strobe, modifiers, backdrops, etc. if I need them. But it's far more about the photographer than the gear.
  8. A Bronica ETRSi and Canon EOS 1N both duplicated for backup. All film then.
  9. When I first started wedding photography it was with a Yashica Mat 124 G, then to a Rollieflex and always with a Nikon F2. My preferred camera in medium format is still an RB 67 with 127 and 180 lenses. Digitally I shoot with a D200 or 300 and even still use a D1-X on occasion. I'm considering going back to full frame though. It all works well and gives good results as long as you do your part.

    Rick H.
  10. I'm only an aspiring wedding photographer. By that I mean I am not LnC. I have however shot a good few weddings now and am tireless working towards becoming official. I always carry at least two nikons. My main camera is a Nikon d3300 and my second body is a d40. My main lens is a 17-50 f2.8 and my secondary is a 55-300 4.5. These aren't the best lenses nor the best bodies available, however it is what I can afford. I try to shoot natural light but do on occasion use a cheap ring flash and handmade a fill light out of a standing shop box light a couple hangers and white sheet. It works in really poor lit rooms as a bounce light. I am limited by my equipment. I am very upfront about it to the clients and charge a rate relative to my situation, if I charge at all. My plan is to aquire the experience and reputation while still building up equipment and over I feel I can guarantee my work, I will license and insure myself.
    Things I need would include a good speed flash, a70-200 f2.8, a second higher model camera to replace the d40(works great just not as nice a shot). More camera batteries (lots). I also need a nicer computer. I use a mac pro however it is limited when it comes to loading or batch editing over 1k in images at a time.
  11. PapaTango

    PapaTango Itinerant Philosopher

    Canon FT/QL--and it was only a couple years out of production... :rolleyes: Two lenses, the 55mm 1.8 and 135mm 3.5--both FL series. Later I had a pair of Minolta SRT 101's and even a ZOOM! When I finally hung it up and refused to have anything to do with the insanity of weddings in 1989, I was shooting a pair of Canon A-1's with the MA drive on each.
  12. Leica M Rangefinder film cameras and a Canon film camera of some sort, plus, like a lot of wedding shooters back then, I also did some formal work with a Hasselblad V camera ... eventually the Canon became a Contax film camera and I didn't return to Canon until digital cameras became usable for weddings. I think my first Canon digital was 3 meg crop frame ... LOL! (The photo below was shot with that first Canon digital). Wedding Gallery-81.jpg
  13. The quality of the photographs play an important role in the wedding, everyone wants the best quality photographs in their wedding. You must use a good camera for this, when I started shooting wedding, then I used Nikon camera. With the help of this camera, today I have many awards and I am sure you will become a good photographer.
  14. Elan 7e (s), and an EOS630 - Don't remember the particular lenses, as they were all consumer grade glass at the time (I think a 28-135/3.5-5.6 IS USM, 50/1.4, and a 70-200/4, but I may be forgetting one or more).

    The first wedding with digital (which is where I think the OP was going with this ;) ) was with an XTi (aka 400D), which was both frustrating (due to the crop), and revolutionary (I literally shot through 3 bats and 2100+ exposures - all on top of the 'normal' stuff w/ my film cameras). I was shooting objects, people, scenes, etc. I never had the exposures or time/energy/inclination to before... By the end of the day, I realized that I never wanted to go back to 36exp/roll, and even though the debate (film vs. digital) was very much unresolved at the time, I had made my decision.
  15. I was 2nd camera to a friend, and I shot with a 6x6 (I think Kowa) and its 80mm lens. This was a LONG time ago, about 1980 +/-.
    Zoom was my feet.
    Flash was a Honeywell Strobonar 800, all manual flash.

    Formals made use of the venue, no paper backdrop, no umbrellas.

    With 12 exposure rolls, were were very picky about the shots.

    As was said, it is more about the photographer than the gear. You can shoot everything with a normal lens and a manual flash, like we did in the past.
    The gear today makes it easier.

    At first glance, I see 2 weak spots.

    #1 - I don't see a backup camera.
    • This can be critical. Without a backup camera, if the camera dies, you apologize to the bride and groom, then pack up and go home.
    • A back up camera can also be used as a 2nd camera for your other lens. Generally, it is a LOT faster to switch cameras than change lenses. This is without a flash. With flash, the 2nd camera would require it's own flash and battery pack, and thus gets more bulky. That is what your assistant is for, to carry the 2nd camera.
    • If you have a camera rental near you, you can rent the backup camera. Just get it in time to check it out and if necessary take it back to exchange, before the event.
    • Although sooner or later you will have to buy your own backup camera.
    #2 - I think your flash is your weak spot.
    • The SB900 or even the older 800 is better than the SB600. I am used to having power when I need it for the longer/wider shots and to bounce the flash. But the SB600 may work OK, you just have to bump your ISO up for those longer/wider shots and bouncing. I've used older auto (not iTTL) flashes like the SB24 and Vivitar 285HV, and they work pretty well, once you get to know them. I currently use an SB-800, but have a bunch of other flashes to call upon, including a Quantum Q-flash. So I pick the flash that I think is best suited to the gig/task. There are some gigs that I have chosen the old Vivitar 285HV instead of the Nikon flash.
    • Do you have a flash bracket where you can rotate/flip your camera V/H? A GOOD flash bracket is not cheap, but I think it is essential. Mine is a Custom Brackets QRS-35 EV, and except that is bulky to store/transport it is a great bracket. I used a Stroboframe camera flip, but was not happy with it, so upgraded to the Custom Brackets QRS-35-EV.
    • I would get a high voltage battery pack. Having used one for years, I would NOT shoot an event without my HV battery pack. Recycle time is VERY fast, faster than using any type/combination of internal batteries. I use a Quantum Turbo and a Lumedyne MegaCycler. On a gig, I will bring both, one as a backup to the other.
    The FAST lenses are good for those churches that prohibit flash, either totally, or just during the ceremony at the alter.

    gud luk
  16. I shot my first wedding using a film SLR camera and about 8 rolls of film ranging in speed from ISO 100 to 400.

    I now shoot with a full-frame and a "crop-sensor" dSLR with lenses that cover 17-105mm. My preferred prime is an 85mm.

    Starting out, I did not have opportunities to second-shoot so I dived in headlong. If you do have the chance to shoot alongside a seasoned pro who is willing to share/transfer knowledge, that may do better for you than any amount of gear.

    Before you buy more gear, take time to develop your photographic style. For example, many pros swear by the 70-200mm lens but in my many years of shooting weddings, I haven't ever owned or desired to own one because (and this is key) it doesn't fit my style. Experiment, rent or borrow gear before spending money. The only thing I would term critical is having a backup/second body.
    Last edited: May 13, 2017
  17. The quality of the photographs play an important role in the wedding, everyone wants the best quality photographs in their wedding.
  18. I uncle Bob-ed one with 2 Pentax film bodies, Metz 60 and a GN40 hotshoe flash, 2 consumer zooms and maybe a 50mm or even 3 primes as backup. I loitred this forum for ages and am entirely spoiled; i.e. totally aware that I only have one reputation to loose and therefore need some redundancy in my bag, no matter what I am supposed to shoot.
    12-24mm sounds fine. 50mm is never wrong (especially on crop sensor). 2 bodies and a kit zoom as backup?
  19. I also was Uncle Bob on a number of occassions. Used a D300 and D80, with various lenses. Mainly: 18-70 f/3.5-4.5, 80-200 f/2.8, 35 f/2, 50mm f/1.8, 85 f/1.8 and 100mm macro, plus a SB600 (should have had a 2nd flash and a mor epowerful one, but well... survived). I had a wide angle available, but it didn't really fit my style so it didn't see a lot of use.
    Where possible, I worked with the primes, switching to the zoomlens the second things get a bit more hectic and you just need the flexibility.

    Frankly, getting the AiS 35mm f/1.4 is not something I'd recommend. I have this lens, and really adore it - but I wouldn't use it much during any event where I don't have much time to play around. It's not an allround lens, and focussing it wide open isn't all that easy on a D300. I would instead spend a lot less for a 35mm f/1.8DX.
    The obvious weak points in your kit: 1 camera (and an aging one, which adds risk of failure), and the 18-200 which is rather mediocre. Something like a Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 and a longer fast zoomlens (80-200 f/2.8 is a nice choice if funds are limited). And still keep the 18-200 around, as a backup in case other lenses fail.

    If people asked me now, I'd decline to do it (having done it I can say woth certainty it's not for me). And my current gear would make a worse setup as what I had when I did give it a try.
  20. The last time I did one(and I never will again) I used a Canon F-1N and switched between a 28mm, 50mm, and 135mm for posed photos. Light was via a couple of Vivitar 283(wall powered) on stands against umbrellas with optical triggers. I had a Canon 240T in the hot shoe as a trigger, and used Portra 160NC. I also had a second F-1N ready to go.

    For walk-arounds and candids I used my T90 with a 50mm 1.4 and a 300TL for when I needed flash with Portra 400NC. I had an F-1N with a second 50mm 1.4 slung over my shoulder. I cut my assistant loose with an A-1, 299T, and Vivitar Series 1 35-85 2.8 Varifocal(great lens), and of course also 400NC. This was 2005 or so.

    If I did it today, my preference would be to go all medium format but practicality would dictate digital. On a DX body, there's one lens I wouldn't be without-the 35mm 1.8. It's a great little $200 lens(new). Also, as said, you MUST have a back-up. In the film days, I think everyone was meticulous about watching their frame count and I know-again the few times I did it-I had an identical rig set up, ready to go, flash blinking and all when the bride was ready to walk down the aisle. If you blow that shot, you might as well refund the whole thing, and grabbing a second camera is the way to guard against a malfunction. Also, since I worked mostly with primes, I'd avoid the possibility of fumbling a lens change during a stressful moment and instead just grabbed a different body with the lens I wanted already attached.

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