When you really break it down, the only piece of equipment you simply can not do without as a wedding photographer is obviously a camera, and a lens of some description. So this list isn’t about the “must-have’s”, but the items here have certainly made a difference to me as a wedding photographer.
So let’s take a look, hopefully some of these will improve your workflow, change the way you shoot in a positive way or give you some peace of mind.
1. First up, rechargeable batteries. Such a tiny item, SUCH a big difference. The world changes if you shoot 3/4 weddings a week and all you have to do is recharge your batteries, for me personally it did anyway. I just got so tired of buying batteries that end up being old, dead or something. Depending on how often you shoot, you can burn through packets of these in no time at all and they can cost you a small fortune. A few sets of rechargeable batteries will be an investment that will make you ask "why on earth didn't I do that ages ago!".
2. Second on our list, a reflector. This is one of the tools that has made the biggest difference to my natural light photography. This inexpensive item is light, easy to use and gives you that bit extra to make your images pop. They come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and can even be used in studio as part of your lighting setup. Personally I have a 5 in 1 reflector, but I only ever use the white side. This is a personal preference, you can also use black, silver or gold if that's what you like.
3. I've never been a fan of a camera strap, hand grip or anything else along those lines. For some reason I just never seemed to find one that really felt comfortable. It just seems to be more in the way than anything else, banging into things or constantly slipping off my shoulder. The result, I didn't use anything - also not ideal. So a little while ago I decided to try out the Slide by Peak Design . At first, I only used it on a little film camera I generally have with me. I really liked it, so when my next wedding rolled along I put it on my professional Nikon body. There are two main things that stand out for me about this strap: firstly, I found it extremely comfortable, even with a heavy camera body on it, it never digs into your shoulder or slips off and it's completely adjustable - a massive plus on an all day shoot. Secondly, the little anchors make it so convenient to switch cameras! You literally get a few with the strap, so I just keep them on my different cameras and clip the strap on and off each body as needed.
4. A great Prime Lens - many of you might own one already and I bet you love it. If you haven't gotten around to investing in one of these, consider it. A nice 35mm, 50mm or 85mm will change the way you shoot forever. These lenses have a fixed focal length, so yes, you've got to move around to get your shot. But a decent prime lens will have a beautiful wide aperture that will deliver nothing short of stunning results. Not sure where to start? I'd recommend a nifty 50 as they say, from there you can move to the 35mm or an 85mm depending on what you prefer. Go for it, you won't regret it.
5. The 24-70mm midrange zoom lens, this is a great all-rounder. I bought my AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 lens probably 5 years ago, I still use it at almost every wedding. I shoot details and portraits on prime lenses, but as far as the ceremony or reception shots go, this lens has never let me down. It's solid, sharp and precise.
6. Finally the last item on my list, an external hard drive (or 3!). If you don't own a few of these yet, you absolutely need to get in your car and go buy one straight away (or do it the old fashioned way and order online). Either way, get some. Not only will it free up space on your computer, but you absolutely need to back your work up - in a big way. Somewhere along the line we all picked up the habit of thinking "It's not going to happen to me". Do you really want to take the risk? Save often, save a lot. No computer and no hard drive is failure proof, that's why you should have at least two or three backup copies of your work. Trust me, you don't want to lose everything you've done in a little puff of smoke and have to start again.
That's the list from me! As I stated earlier, non of these are "must-have's", but they will all enhance the way you work in some way. Be it by producing better results, making life a little easier, working faster or knowing what you've worked for is relatively secure.
By Michelle Joubert-Martin for Orms, Your Photographic Lifestyle.