I’ve never really had pains in my body until I became a professional photographer. I used to carry backpacks, rolling cases, tons of lighting equipment for receptions and more. The best advice I can give you..
KEEP IT SIMPLE!
After tons of money spent on Dr visits, chiropractors and more, I carry light. I don’t want to carry bags, set up a lot, or spend time away from my couple and the events from the day. When you’re constantly bending your back, hunching down, and standing on your feet for 8+ hours, you’ll really begin to appreciate your favorite lenses.
So this is all I shoot with on wedding days and I feel it covers most everything I need:
I use mostly the 50mm during all formals and events. The 35mm is my favorite for a little wider shot or even if the bridal room is pretty small-very crisp. My macro I strictly use on small detail shots (rings, jewelry) so I put this away once the morning is done. The 70-200mm is my baby. I use this for all my candids and close ups. Its the only thing that lets me step back and not feel so invasive, while capturing those emotions and real reactions without ruining the shot by getting their attention. The IS was well worth the upgrade to me too! Then all the rest of my equipment, including my Canon Mark II is in my Airport International V2.0 Think Tank rolling bag (that’s never too far away in case I need something) where all my equipment is stored. I use this particular bag bc it holds just what I need and a little bit of backup equipment for traveling, and its airplane size for above storage. I NEVER check my camera bags when traveling in case the airport loses luggage or damages it in any way.
So what do I carry it in to keep it light? I used to use the shoot sac (see image below) and still use this for the more formal weddings. This is what my bag looks like on a wedding day to a tee:
- Canon Mark III camera body with 50mm lens around my neck or shoulder
- Canon 35mm lens and 70-200mm lens in my bag
- ALL my memory cards formatted and ready to go “unvelcrod” in my bag (so you don’t have to make that ripping sound during the quiet ceremony when you need a card)
- 3 extra Canon camera batteries
- Wedding day itinerary
- Lip gloss
- And then once the reception rolls around, I will put my Canon Speedlite in one of the back compartments with Eneloop AA batteries (if I didn’t already have it in there from the ceremony)
I honestly didn’t want to buy a “pretty” bag as my shooting bag. I found myself going out with friends or traveling for the weekend and having to carry my camera and favorite lens or two with me. I just don’t own a small camera. My professional DSLR cameras are my go-to cameras, always. And I hated cramming them into my purse or even carrying my “camera bag” (the shoot sac). So I purchased this beautiful mustard colored Kelly Moore bag so I could look stylish and still have my belongings. I even threw in my keys and wallet so I could use it as a purse also. Then I found myself loving this bag so much and the color matched my branding… that I started shooting with it at weddings. It’s carrys a little more flare so you have to be careful with professionalism on a classy wedding day. The worst thing about this bag though, its heavy. So it defeats the “keeping it simple” motto to help back problems.
“THAT CAMERA TAKES NICE PICTURES!”
People always ask me “Should I buy the most expensive equipment out there when starting out so I look better?” or my ultimate favorite I hear at weddings when I show people images “Man that camera takes nice pictures.” My response is usually, “Hang on a second, i’ll let you take a picture and see how good it is.” (Then I mess with all the settings and hand them the camera and they usually take a completely dark image and say “Hay wait..”
I constantly try to educate people about how educating THEMSELVES on how to actually USE the equipment they have, is so important. Anyone can capture an incredible quality image on any device if they understand lighting, composition, and the powerful tools the camera and lenses have within themselves. Yes, having the best line of equipment will GET you quality images, but not if you don’t know how to work it. Many workshops i’ve been will have the speaker show two images on a projector screen and we are to guess which one they shot with the iPhone, and which one with their professional DSLR. Most of the time, if done right, we couldn’t tell.
So maybe you don’t have ALL the money in the world to just go out and purchase every lens you want. None of us did. It takes savings, and a lot of investment and a lot of research to find what will work for you and what equipment will help you with the style you want to shoot. So perfect the art of understanding the equipment you “have” and make your images fabulous whether using the iPhone, a point and shoot, or a professional camera. You can make it work for you if you just, educate, yourself, first. Buy a decent camera body and one lens that is versatile (I recommend the Canon 24-70L as you can capture wide and close up) and start shooting so you can save some money for more.
CANON VS NIKON?
The other question I get a lot, “Why Canon over Nikon?” Well in my opinion, they are pretty similar. I just knew more people who referred me to Canon and it was a little more affordable thank the Nikon camera bodies and lenses. I have a lot of assistants who use Nikon and I honestly couldn’t tell you the difference when looking at the images. You might want to ask someone who is really tech savy who studies the differences.
I hope that helps. Feel free to ask me any questions if I didn’t answer them here.
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