As a wedding photographer I know that it is essential to make the most of the tools you have. There aren’t a lot of great camera shops in Bristol so good gear tends to come from the internet for me. Better tools don’t necessarily make better pictures, but they certainly give you a helping hand.
It may seem like a bit of an extravagance to photographers who are starting out but you MUST make sure you have a backup body. I always thought this was a bit of a luxury until one day I was out on a model shoot and my camera simply stopped working. Lucky we are almost at the end of the shoot and it wasn’t a paid event but imagine if that had happened half way through a ceremony! No excuses, no explanation is going to work.
So make sure you have two bodies with you at a minimum! Although the more the better. That doesn’t mean you have to use one and leave the other in your bag! Use both! I use one with the wide angle 16-35mm f/2.8 L II USM and the other with the 80-200mm f/2.8 L USM
At least part of the wedding is held in doors, and in church’s the light is very dim. If you can get lenses with Image Stabilisation it’s a good start but you MUST make sure your body has good low light ISO performance. This makes the world f difference and being able to shoot without flash can open up new avenues as well as make things less complicated.
What is the most important lens a wedding photography should have? I would say a wide angle zoom lens. Really you need this for your group shots and the tight indoor shots such as inside the church.
For a crop sensor something in the 16-35mm f/2.8 range would be ideal, and for full frame, 24-70mm f/2.8 The big aperture helps you enormously in low light conditions as well as giving a pleasing depth of field.
For telephoto lens, 70-200mm range is adequate.
Prime lens or macro lens will be great in low light condition and also for artistic photography because it can create a beautiful bokeh (depth of field) try 30mm, 50mm, 60mm, 85mm or 100mm
Other equipment that you might want to carry includes a flash. If you have a body with good ISO performance, wide aperture lenses and even IS then this may not be a huge requirement – but yu never know – they can come in handy for when you don’t want to shoot at ISO3200.
Lastly you need plenty of memory cards. You will probably take about 2000 pics a day, and when you shoot RAW you need a good 40GB of storage for a 21MP camera like the Canon 5DMKII. Whilst it is a lot of storage the good news is that it is cheap. Personally I don’t buy big performance cards – I’ve never had a reliability problem with the cheaper brands and the camera’s buffer takes care of the lot of the rapid fire shots so write speeds have never been a problem. Model shoots are a problem though!
Always take 3 sets of batteries for each body and flash unit as well as rechargers. Yes it sounds like a lot but the last thing you want to do is not be able to shoot because forgot to charge the batteries last night…
No amount of gear will ensure you get the best pictures, that’s up to you. But preparing this stuff beforehand will take a whole lot of stress out of, what is a hugely stressful day. Knowing that if something goes wrong you can simply pull another camera out of your bag and be ready to go immediately will be a huge weight off your mind.