I often get asked, particularly by other wedding photographers, about what camera equipment I take and use when undertaking a couple’s wedding photography. So I thought it would be both interesting and useful to empty my wedding photography kit bag(s) and show you all the photographic gear I will typically pack and take with me to a wedding.
My Wedding Photography Equipment
#1-#3: 3 x Olympus OMD EM5 Micro Four Thirds Camera Bodies
I regularly use 3 of these beautiful camera bodies (1 x Silver, 2 x Black) on a wedding day – either with 3 prime lenses (see “F” through to “L” below) or, more recently, 3 of Olympus’ new Pro Zoom lenses (see “C” through to “E” below) attached. Not only does this mean I have lots of back-up should anything happen to one, but it gives me a lot of flexibility on the wedding day. As a wedding photojournalist who relies on capturing those fleeting little moments, the less time spent on changing lenses the less I miss! This is why using multiple cameras is so important for me. And with the use of the Black Rapids harness (see #10 below), and the smaller, lighter size of the OMD’s themselves, I can carry them all day without any issues whatsoever.
#4: Olympus Pen Lite EPL-5 Micro Four Thirds Camera Body
I also carry this as a 4th back up camera – but will often have it sitting close by (especially during the morning preparations and/or wedding ceremony) with another lens attached…just in case! (There’s that phrase again!)
A: Olympus 70-300mm (EFL: 140-600mm) F4.0-5.6 Four Thirds Telephoto Zoom Lens
One of my older Olympus 4/3 lenses that requires an adaptor (see “N” below) for use on my micro 4/3 bodies (see #1-#4 above). It’s in my bag, but rarely ever used. It’s a lens you might expect a sports or wildlife photographer to use, given it’s huge focal length (up to 600mm in full frame equivalent!), rather than a wedding photographer, but it did come in use at one wedding where I was one end of a castle grounds and the bride had wandered off for a “quiet moment”. I don’t envisage it ever getting much use…but it’s there just in case! (“Just in case” is a phrase you’ll hear us wedding photographers using a lot!!)
B: Sigma 50mm (EFL: 100mm) F1.4 EX DG HSM Fixed Focal Length Four Thirds Prime Lens
Another older 4/3 lens that requires an adaptor (see “N” below) for use on micro 4/3 camera bodies (see #1-#4 above). Not often used, but given it’s fixed focal length of 100mm (Full Frame equivalent) and fast f/1.4 aperture it is a beautiful lens for capturing portraits. Given it’s very slow auto focus (because of the adaptor) it’s only really useful for the more formal and traditional posed wedding portraits of a wedding couple. It would struggle with anything fast moving or with my usual candid documentary approach. But the images it does capture are razor sharp.
C: Olympus ED 40-150mm (EFL: 80-300mm) F2.8 PRO Micro Four Thirds Zoom Lens
One of the Olympus Pro Zooms – their top of the range zoom lenses – is a stunning telephoto lens with a constant f/2.8 across the entire focal range -making it a flexible and indispensable lens for portraits and subjects further away – i.e. when I’m limited to the far end of a church, for example. The f/2.8 make it usable in low light conditions too.
D: Olympus ED 12-40mm (EFL: 24-80mm) F2.8 PRO Micro Four Thirds Zoom Lens
The second in my trio of Olympus Pro zoom lenses. This is the go-to workhorse zoom lens. With its Full Frame equivalent of 24-80mm and constant F/2.8 aperture across the entire focal range, it’s the most used of all the zooms – getting the vast majority of the standard shots, from wide angle at 12mm through to a moderate telephoto at 40mm. When in doubt, this is the lens to rely on in nearly all circumstances.
E: Olympus ED 7-14mm (EFL: 14-28mm) F2.8 PRO Mico Four Thirds Zoom Lens
The third and final in the Olympus trio of Pro zoom lenses. This beauty covers the wide angle end of things, with a Full Frame equivalent of 14-28mm focal lengths. Like the two other Pro zooms, it has a constant f/2.8 aperture across the entire focal length. A brilliant lens for interiors and getting that extra width when space is at a premium. Like the other two Pro zooms, the image quality is as good as it gets – which isn’t a surprise as Olympus reign supreme when it comes to lens optics.
F: Olympus ED 75mm (EFL: 150mm) F1.8 Micro Four Thirds Fixed Length Prime Lens
In terms of image quality this lens produces the best image quality I have EVER seen from ANY lens…like EVER!!! Images are so sharp from it, you really do risk cutting yourself on them. With a Full Frame equivalent of 150mm and a fast aperture of f/1.8 this is the most beautiful portrait lens or for capturing moments a little further away. The lens really does demonstrate why primes are so superior.
G: Olympus ED 60mm (EFL: 120mm) F2.8 Macro Micro Four Thirds Fixed Length Prime Lens
This is my macro lens, for getting thos wonderfully close-up shots of rings, floral details and even make up shots. It has a 1x magnification but with a Full Frame focal length equivalent of 120mm it also doubles up nicely as a decent telephoto lens with impressive results. It’s often the lens that gets added to my EPL-5 body (see #4 above) which sits on standby for the occasional use.
H: Olympus ED 45mm (EFL: 90mm) F1.8 Micro Four Thirds Fixed Length Prime Lens
Another favourite portrait lens and for subjects a little further away with its full frame equivalent focal length of 90mm. It’s f/1.8 aperture makes it a nice fast lens for low light conditions and is often an integral part of my wedding photojournalistic approach. So is more versatile than normal portrait lenses.
I: Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm (EFL: 50mm) F1.4 ASPH Micro Four Thirds Fixed Length Prime Lens
One of the few non-Olympus lenses I use, but it’s another workhorse that is regularly affixed to a camera during weddings. As a full frame equivalent of 50mm it’s the focal length that affords the same perspective of the human eye, hence why 50mm is a popular choice of lens for most wedding photographers and photojournalists. And with a super fast f/1.4 aperture it’s brilliant for low light conditions.
J: Olympus ED 12mm (EFL: 24mm) F2.0 Micro Four Thirds Fixed Length Prime Lens
This is my usual go to lens for wider exterior and interior shots – such as architectural shots and inside buildings when space is limited. With a full frame focal equivalent of 24mm it’s nice and wide, without risking too much lens distortion. A regular fixture on my camera at most weddings.
K: Olympus ED 17mm (EFL: 34mm) F1.8 Micro Four Thirds Fixed Length Prime Lens
This is my go to lens for all my personal street photography work. With a full frame focal length equivalent of 34mm it’s another classic lens length for photojournalists. Offering a slightly wider perspective than my Leica 25mm (see “I” above) it’s anther great choice for all those candid moments during a wedding when I need a slightly wider view, without risking lens distortions that come with a wider lens. As with all my prime lenses, it has a nice fast aperture of f/1.8. Pound for pound one of my most favourite lenses.
L: Olympus Fisheye Body Cap Lens BCL-0980 9mm (ELF: 18mm) Micro Four Thirds Lens
Bit of a novelty piece really, a wide fish eye lens made out of a simple body cap. All manual and no electronics. A quirky toy but I have used it at weddings for a slightly surreal fish eye effect. If you understand it’s limitations you can get some effective but limited use out of it…low light conditions not being one of them, what with it’s fixed f/8 aperture. One for sunny days and/or good light!
M: Olympus 1.4 Teleconverter MC-14
An adapter that converts the focal length of the 40-150mm Pro Zoom lens (see “C” above) to an even longer 210mm, or a full frame focal equivalent of 420mm. The only down side is that it it brings the constant f/2.8 aperture of that lens down to a slightly slower f/4 – so reduces its low light capabilities…but like all these things, there always a compromise to be made.
N: Olympus Four Thirds Mount Adapter MMF-3
This adapter essentially allows me to mount my old four thirds lens on the newer and smaller micro four thirds camera bodies. At present it gets used for Olympus 70-300mm lens (see “A” above) and the Sigma 50mm lens (see “B” above.) I also have the OM Mount Adapter MMF-2 that allows me to attach some of me even older OM (analogue film) lenses – though I don’t currently carry these for weddings.
#5: Olympus FL 36 Shoe Mount Digital Flash
Primarily my back-up flash in case of issues with one the other flashes (see #6 & #7)
#6: Olympus FL‑600R Shoe Mount Digital Flash
When shooting a 2 camera flash set up, this is my secondary flash. Very small, light and portable.
#7: Metz 52 AF-1 Digital Fit Flashgun
My primary flashgun, simply because I can run it off of a much more powerful battery pack (see #8) which means I get much faster recycle times and a lot more battery life.
#8: 2x Godox Propac Flash Battery Packs
What I use to power my Metz flashgune (see #7) – having two means I can alternate and essentially never run out of juice!
#11: Gary Fong Collapsible Lightsphere
It’s often compared to some Tupperware, but this light modify is attached to a flashgun to give a more flattering and even light when using flash. It’s most probably the best light modify available for “on camera” flash.
#12: Gary Fong Coloured Light Domes
About 6 different coloured light domes, plus a diffuser/white balance one, to be attached to the Lightsphere (see #11) for different lighting effects when using flash. Adds more creativity to flash photography.
#13: 3 x Flash Diffusers
3 fabric flash diffusers for helping soften the harsh light from a flashgun. Lesser used since the purchase of the Gary Fong Lightspehere (see #11 above)
#24 – #29: Various Flash Cables & Chargers
All the cables for connecting flashguns to battery packs, off camera flash cable and 2 x charger cables for batter packs.
#9: NextoDi Nexto Extreme Camera Card Back-Up Device
An essential bit of my wedding kit. This is what I back up all my camera SD cards to, the moment I take them out of camera. It means there is a back up copy of all images taken before I even leave the wedding venue. I believe in reducing risk as much as possible and this is essential in that!
#10: Black Rapid RS DR-1 Double Strap
This harness allows me to attach two of my camera bodies to it, making it easy to carry around 3 cameras throughout the wedding day. The third camera I simply hang around my neck with a conventional camera strap.
#14: 18 x SanDisk SD Memory Cards
Various SD cards for my cameras, 10 x 16GB cards and 8 x 8GB cards.
#15: 24 x Rechargeable Batteries for Olympus OMD EM5
I pack enough charged batteries fro my 3 OMD bodies to get through an entire wedding day…and more besides! 9 of these are the official (and expensive!) Olympus branded batteries, the remaining ones are 3rd party batteries.
#16: 4 x Rechargeable Batteries for Olympus Pen Lite EPL-5
I rarely use more than one of these, given they are for my 4th backup and occasional camera body, but as always I like to ensure I have plenty of backup…just in case!
#17: 1 x Battery Charger for Olympus Pen Lite EPL-5
And just in case I do get through all my batteries for the Olympus Pen, I have a battery charger on standby!
#18 – #19: 3 x Battery Chargers for Olympus OMD EM5’s
And of course 3 battery chargers for all those OMD batteries!
#20 – #21: 2 x Hoya Natural Density (ND) Filters
An ND2 and ND4 filters, primarily for the Panasonic Leica f/1.4 25 mm lens (see “I” above). On bright days I can attach these filters to let in less light and still ensure I can shoot the shallow f/1.4 depth of field. By affixing both I can achieve an ND6 rating.
#22: 3 x Borwin Natural Density (ND) Filters
ND2, ND4 and an ND8 filters for the Olympus f/1.8 45mm lens (see “H” above), again to limit the light in to achieve the shallow f/1.8 depth of field on a bright sunny day. Using different combinations of the filters I can also obtain ND6, ND10, ND12 and ND14 ratings – I think I could shoot with f/1.8 on the Sun with that!
#23: 4 Plug Extension Socket
Handy where plug sockets are in short supply at wedding venues…which can often be the case! My name is inked on there, which stops DJs trying to say it’s theirs at the end of the reception! Only now an issue if the DJ is called Darren too!
#30: Wedding Emergency Kit
A little supplementary bag I carry with mini sewing kit, safety pins, painkillers, plasters, hem tape, tissues, etc. You never know when a bride or groom may need something from it!
So there you have it…all the equipment I take to each and every wedding I shoot. Some of it is essential kit, the rest there as back-up. What a wedding photographer packs is often a good indicator of how professional they are. I firmly believe in reducing the risk of something going wrong, as much I can. Hopefully this post demonstrates that!
If you are getting married and would like to chat to me about your wedding plans, please do give me a call on 07920 422144 or send a message via my contact page. I will be delighted to hear from you.