Experienced and reliable professional wedding photographers are in high demand. Though a photographer’s skills may be the backbone of their business, it is the equipment that will best represent and support the overall quality of any professional wedding photography business. To ensure the very best in photographic excellence, it is important to use equipment that is supportive of one’s professional skill. The following is a list of the top five most important pieces of equipment being utilized by industry professionals today to provide customers with superior photographic memories.
As all professional photographers know, there are several equal choices in professional camera bodies that will provide comparable high quality images. While the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III and the Nikon D3x are generally accepted as the top of the production line offerings for professional photographers, the closely matched specifications of each model make selection more of a personal choice. Most photographers are avid Canon or Nikon loyalists, each with their own list of reasons why their favorite manufacturer’s products are superior, but both companies produce high quality cameras that capture astonishing results in the hands of a knowledgeable professional. Camera selection will come down to personal preference and compatibility with the rest of one’s equipment, but professionals should invest in high quality bodies. Taking advantage of technology such as full-frame sensors and faster write-speeds are where pro D-Slr camera systems truly outshine their inferior prosumer counterparts.
Often, new professionals to the industry of wedding photography mistakenly invest the majority of their start-up money in a professional grade camera body with little regard for the lens. If working with a limited budget is the issue, the best advice is to purchase the highest quality lenses possible and a medium range camera body. All of the electronics and capabilities of a professional camera body are rendered mute if the image is being pulled through off-brand glass. The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM lens and the Nikon Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S are the two most perfectly crafted lenses suitable for wedding photography.
Capturing light is the essence of photography. Professional photographers that do not consider the quality of light before capturing a photograph are not masters of the craft. While many high-grade camera bodies offer onboard pop-up flash options, these are intended for emergency situations only. External strobe units are critical to achieving perfect pictures throughout the various lighting environments one will encounter at a wedding. The Canon Speedlite 580EX II and the Nikon SB-900 AF Speedlight represent the latest in external flash technology, but the truth is that they are not the only choices. When it comes to choosing a lighting system for use at a wedding, consider the environment one will be shooting in and how light will need to be added to the scene. Mounting a flash on the top of a camera, setting it to TTL and firing continuously will only provide consistently flat matrix-metered images that are closer representations of paparazzi photography than cherished memory portraiture. It is more important to have available equipment to control the light in order to enhance one’s shooting style. Reflectors, softboxes, wizards and sync cables are the truly invaluable lighting tools one needs to have in a professional camera bag.
Many professionals today are choosing to go hand-held on assignments despite increases in camera and lens weight. Wedding photographers can use support systems as a way to increase their natural-light options while additionally helping to ensure sharp focus at slower shutter speeds. Some professionals highly recommend monopods, while others claim tripods to be more practical. The argument is due to the practicality of handling either product while on the move at an event. Since the Manfrotto and Bogen merger of a few years ago, the choice in superior camera support products has been simplified: Manfrotto monopods and tripods are the best balance of quality and value. What sets this brand apart from the competition is that their designers are able to incorporate lightweight materials into a durable and reliable stand. The Manfrotto 676B or the Manfrotto 190XPROB are both highly reputable, but the choice will depend on one’s specific shooting style.
Ultimately, a wedding photographer’s skills are measured by their ability to meet a client’s desires perfectly. The best type of computers, printers and image editing software are those that a wedding photography can competently and confidently use to deliver great photos on schedule.
Being a professional wedding photographer is an excellent opportunity to work with excited clients in the creation of great memories. Be sure the camera bag is filled with equipment that is going to enhance one’s skills reliably. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the person holding the camera that captures great wedding photos.