Professional Wedding Photography Equipment – Top 5

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.

The Camera:

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.

The Lens

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.

The Light

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.

The Support

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.

The Photo

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.

6 Must-Have Wedding Photography Coverage Needs – And How To Get Them For Less Than $3,000

When looking for a wedding photographer the first thing you should be looking for is quality. You get one day. That’s it. When you’re working out your budget you have to decide where your priorities are. And your photographer and videographer should be at the top of that list. This is because your memories are shaped by your photos and wedding video. You won’t remember what the food tasted like or what songs your dj played. You will remember your day through your pictures.

The quality of your wedding pictures – whether they are excellent or not – will influence how you feel about your wedding forever. A fabulous wedding photographer can turn a mediocre venue into a palace in your photos. But a poor photographer can absolutely fail to capture even the most splendid of venues.

So what to look for in an incredible wedding photographer? Look at their photos and imagine yourself in them. How do they make you feel? Do the bride and groom look genuinely happy or do they feel stiff and dramatic? Which do you prefer? Personally, I go for emotion. I love that first look when the groom sees his bride for the first time. I love the dad’s face as he’s dancing with his daughter, the bride, during the daddy-daughter dance. I love the excitement of the faces of the bride and groom as they run to their getaway car. These are the moments you don’t want your photographer to miss.

When you think about what aspects of your wedding you want to be captured what things should you be thinking about? There are six parts I will discuss here.

1. Engagement Session. You just got engaged – congratulations! You want to tell the world. You want to put it on Facebook. You want to show off your engagement ring. But everything you have of the two of you was shot with your phone. Not that I’m knocking phone photos – I’m an Instagram nut myself. But these are not the photos I’m going to include with my custom, handmade invitations. You need an engagement session to capture you as you’re preparing your nuptials. You want it to be a memory you have forever – of you in your normal clothes, laughing and playing together. You know, how carefree and in love you were – before you had kids. You need a Fabulous Engagement Session!

2. Getting ready. Your mom lacing up the back of your dress. Your groom opening up the inscribed watch you left for him with a love note in his hotel room. You and your bridesmaids getting your makeup done. The groom and his groomsmen toasting the day. Those last few moments before you become Mr. and Mrs. – these are precious memories that you will want to remember and are not to be missed. And you need two photographers – one for the ladies and one for the gents. You’ll want to remember how nervous you felt and how your mom looked as she saw you transform into a bride. Okay, I’m tearing up writing this but you get the idea. You’ll want to have your photographer and videographer there to capture you getting ready.

3. Ceremony Coverage. This is the moment. This is the teary moms and the sweet I do’s. You need two photographers here. Don’t scrimp on that. A photographer can only be in one place at one time. And if he’s shooting the bride’s face facing the groom at the alter, he can’t also be capturing the groom’s. You need someone on each side. You need someone shooting the up-close expressions while someone runs to the back and snaps some wide angles of the entire ceremony. After the ceremony is usually when you have the formal portraits of the bride and groom with their friends and family. You’ll want to designate someone (perhaps the maid of honor?) as the go-to person to organize the guests in the right order to have their formal photos taken. Get the entire group shot first while everyone is still hanging around. Then have the go-to person read off the list of who needs to be in each shot (groom’s whole family, groom’s parents with couple, just the groomsmen, etc.) Make sure on the list that you have all the combinations of people that you want photos of. Don’t leave this to your photographer to figure out. Be proactive and assign a go-to person (that should not be you!).

4. Reception Coverage. This is another aspect of your wedding photography coverage where it is very important to have two photographers. One of the photographers will be covering the bride and groom – either doing portraits of the two of them or following them around as they greet their guests. The other photographer is getting detail shots of all those little things you took so much time preparing (flowers, table settings, guestbook, etc.) and shooting the guests as they mingle. Again, a photographer cannot be in two places at once and you don’t want to miss out on either of these parts of your wedding reception. You’re spending so much time and money preparing these things – you don’t want to forget them because there’s no pictures of them. You need adequate Reception Coverage.

5. A Photo Booth. Now this is not a necessity, but it should be. What better way to keep your guests entertained (after eating and dancing, of course) then to be snapping off fun photos of them? Especially with props! You need a photographer that can energize guests, pull them in and fire off fun photos of them being their hilarious selves. Everyone’s having a good time, feeling good and you want to capture those moments. Snapping photos of them on the dance floor is fun, but you lose the expressions as they’re moving. You want to have their silliness captured as they play to the camera – not to mention getting some fun photos of you and your groom having a great time at your awesome party! But you’re thinking “How much is this going to cost?” I’ve sold you on the benefits of hiring a qualified photographer and the importance of having two photographers, but your guests are going to want to eat. You can’t allocate all of your money to photography. But what if a photo booth-like service came with your photography package? Wedsnaps! by Nathan Petty is a great way to achieve this! It’s a one or two light set-up against a background. Your guests jump in front of the light and SNAP! Your happy moments are captured forever. He does this service standard with every wedding booked at five or more hours.

6. Bridal Session or Trash the Dress. A bridal session is popular in some parts of the country and not so popular in other parts. This is your moment to be a princess. You’ve dreamed of being a bride your whole life – what your dress will look like and how your hair will fall beneath your veil. You want to capture yourself looking the most beautiful and radiant that you may ever be. The pictures that you get on your wedding day will be wonderful – and you will look stunning, but they may also be rushed. You have to get ready. Then you have to get to the ceremony. Then there’s the family photos and photos with you and your groom. Then there’s the party and a hundred people waiting for you to show up. Where’s the time for you? When are you going to get those fabulous photos of you in your gown looking amazing against an incredible setting? You need a photography session just for that. The question is whether to have it before or after the big day. There are benefits to each. If you have it before the big day, you can use it as a chance to “test drive” your hair and make-up. Get everything professionally done just as you would on your wedding day to make sure you like it. Hair up or hair down? This is your chance to experiment. Another benefit to having your bridal session before your wedding day is your dress will be perfect – no champagne stains or dirt on the bottom of your gown. If you have it after the big day you won’t care if there’s dirt on the bottom of your gown. This can be a “trash the dress” session where you don’t care what happens to your wedding dress. You’ve had your ceremony and your precious moments. You’re back from your honeymoon and you want some pictures of you in your dress jumping into the ocean. You might be shocked at this idea or you might be thinking, “I have to have that!” Either way, you need a Bridal Princess Day just for you.

So how do you get all this for less than $3000? Especially in parts of the country like California where quality photographers are in such high demand? Honestly, you have to shop around. Most photographers have packages based on how many photographers you want and how long you need them for (including travel time between venues). Most photographers charge extra for an engagement shoot – usually in the $400-$700 range. And most photographers don’t also do a photo booth. You usually will have to hire a photo booth company in addition to your photographer who will charge a set fee (often in the $1000+ range). An additional bridal session can run another $400-$700.

Which Wedding Photography Package Should I Choose?

One of the hardest things to do when you are looking for a photographer for your wedding, is try comparing Packages from different photographers. Don’t do that.

First, find one or two Photographers that you like and that are still available for the date of your wedding. Choose the one that you like most and ask him/her about what your choices are and what he could recommend, based on the details of your wedding that you just explained to him/her.
 
No matter what your budget is, I personally recommend a package that would include a “Costume Designed Album” (big album) with an average of at least 24 to 30 pages and if possible a “Proof Album” (all pictures from your wedding).

 
There are many other extras that you might want to add to your package, like;
 
– More pages to your album
– CD or DVD with all pictures in high resolution
– Professional Photo/video Slide-Show
-Parent albums
– Enlargements
– Etc, etc, etc
 
But these are extras and for sure will add on the value of your Package.
 
You need to be realistic about how much you can invest in your Wedding Pictures. A good suggestion is to have a budget around 15% of your entire wedding saved for your Wedding Photography.
 
You can expect spending an average of $3,000 or more on your wedding photographs, depending on the wedding Photographer that you hire, the photography package that you choose and/or extras that you might add to your package. You can spend a lot more money than you expected and also you can find a cheap Photographer that will do the job for whatever price you want, but I am sure that you are “NOT” going to like the results.

 
This is the most important part about Photography Packages:
 
One of the most important parts of hiring a Wedding Photographer is to know that he/she is a professional and at the end, you will use his/her knowledge and talent to create an elegant “Costume Story Telling Album” designed just for you, and that you and all your family and friends will cherish for the rest of your lives.