Photograph Your First Wedding | What’s in My Camera Bag?

Photograph your first wedding using these cameras and lenses

Photograph Your First Wedding

I thought it would be both fun and helpful to discuss the camera equipment I use to photograph weddings while also giving you tips on how to photograph your first wedding! I even made several YouTube videos covering all the specific details! You’ll find these YouTube videos throughout this blog post.

Now, if you are photographing your FIRST WEDDING EVER, congratulations to you! That is such a milestone for you in your photography journey! So many photographers never make it to photographing their first wedding because they are honestly too afraid of the stress and everything technically and creatively that has to happen during the day! I am proof that you can overcome the stress, technical, and creative hurdles at every single wedding! Basically, the more you photograph weddings, the better you become at handling all the different aspects of the day!

I have also included Affiliate links to all the products I use so you can check them out for yourself!

Photograph Your First Wedding – Camera Bodies

FIRST things FIRST, a Camera! Obviously, I have to use a camera to photograph weddings. On a wedding day, I actually have two camera bodies with me for two different reasons 1) as a backup and 2) because I like to shoot with two different prime lenses throughout most of the day! It’s also HIGHLY important to ALWAYS have two camera bodies with you when photographing a wedding because if you don’t and your one camera body breaks, you’re in serious trouble. If you need to rent a second camera body, check out my blog about the BEST Camera Rental Company and grab my discount code for your first order with them!

Canon 5D Mark IV

I love the Canon 5D Mark IV camera body! I’ve been using it for years, and it serves me well. Keep in mind that it does have (1) SD card slot and (1) CFAST card slot. I recommend having a 128GB Card in each slot at all times during the wedding day. Also, make sure you are always recording to both cards as a backup during the wedding day!

The Canon 5D Mark IV has an EF mount for lenses. You cannot put an RF lens on a EF mount camera body.

Amazon also has a lot of renewed or refurbished options for this camera body.

Canon R6 Mark ii

I love this camera body even more than I love the Canon 5D Mark IV because the Canon R6 Mark ii has better auto-focus capabilities, is mirrorless (less moving internal parts that can break), and has 2 SD Card slots for recording. Also, definitely always be recording to both cards at once. Here’s a link to the Canon R6 Mark ii I bought from Amazon. I highly recommend purchasing this camera body and using it for your first wedding!

The Canon R6 Mark ii has an RF mount for lenses. Keep that in mind when shopping for lenses or renting lenses. However, you can put an EF lens onto an RF mount camera body with the Canon EF-EOS R Mount Adapter. I bought this adaptor and use it on my Canon R6 Mark ii body all the time with my EF lenses.

Photograph Your First Wedding – Camera Batteries

Off Brand Camera Battery – HERE

Canon Camera Battery – HERE

Canon Battery ChargerHERE

I use both on-brand Canon batteries and off-brand, Li-ion batteries. Canon batteries are more expensive, and Li-ion batteries are cheaper; therefore, I use a mix of both. I suggest going into a wedding day with at least 6 to 8 batteries. You don’t want to be in the middle of photographing a wedding, and you run out of charged batteries. If you have an assistant or second shooter with you on a wedding day (this is something Daniel does for me), they can charge batteries throughout the day. It’s one of those reasons why having a second shooter or an assistant is so helpful on a wedding day!

Now, that we have talked about camera bodies & batteries, let’s talk about camera lenses!

Photograph Your First Wedding – Camera Lenses

As I mentioned before, I am a prime lens shooter! Prime lenses allow more light to be let into the camera’s sensor to create that light and airy look that my brides love and I love too! Below are a few of my favorite lenses to photograph weddings.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L – HERE

I use this lens for many different parts of the wedding day! I use it for details, getting ready, the ceremony, family formals, portraits, the reception, and the send-off. Okay, I pretty much use it for ALL parts of the wedding day. It’s a very useful lens! Since it has an aperture of 1.2, it is really good in low light (reception dancing and sparkler send-off). This lens can save you in situations in which you are not allowed to use flash because it lets a lot of light into the camera’s sensor. It can capture many details within photographs. Here’s the link to the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L

pink, white, and green florals on wedding day

If needed, you can photograph an entire wedding day with this lens. If it’s your first wedding photography event, I recommend this lens as your main lens for the day. For your second lens for the day, I either recommend a more zoomed in lens or a wide angle lens for tiny spaces. Depending on the venue space, you’ll need to make this decision for yourself.

If you’d like to see more about this lens, you can watch my YouTube video below!

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L – HERE

The Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L is an AMAZING portrait lens that can be used for romantic portraits, bridal portraits, and groom portraits. I absolutely LOVE the bokeh that comes with the compression of this lens! This lens can also be used as a more zoomed in lens for the ceremony and times when you want to get closer to the subject but don’t want to disturb what’s actually happening in the moment.

Bride and groom smiling at the camera

If you’d like to see more about this lens, you can watch my YouTube video below!

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L – HERE

The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro Lens is INCREDIBLE! It is AMAZING for macro ring shots on a wedding day, special detail shots, and portraits! This lens is actually pretty incredible at creating EPIC PORTRAITS at weddings and engagement sessions!! You wouldn’t think it would be, but it is!

Macro ring photography is such a special gift that you can give to your couples on their wedding day! I highly recommend incorporating these special photos into your wedding day detail time. I wrote a blog post covering this topic…it’s called BEST Lens for Macro Photography | Wedding Ring Photography

Feel free to check it out to learn more about Macro ring photography!

Photograph your first wedding with a Canon Macro Lens for ring shots

I highly recommend that you start using this lens for macro ring photography on a wedding day! I even made a video covering this topic!

To test out this lens, you can also start by renting this lens through Lens Rentals, and I have a $25 Discount Code that you can use towards your FIRST ORDER with Lens Rentals!

I believe it is VERY important for you to learn how to use this lens BEFORE a wedding day, because there is a bit of a learning curve to this particular lens. I suggest either renting it well before using it for a wedding, or purchasing the lens and practicing with it BEFORE a wedding day! I sound redundant here, but it really is THAT important!

Photograph your first wedding using the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro Lens for STUNNING ring shots!

Macro ring photography example!

Photograph Your First Wedding – Flash

Flash is VERY important on wedding days!

Since I’m a natural light photographer, I really don’t use flash EXCEPT FOR when I really need to such as during the reception and send-off. On occasion, I may need to use flash during the ceremony if it occurs inside a church or building. For flash, I use the…

Godox V860III – HERE

I have used the Godox V860III on about 3 weddings now and tomorrow, I will use it at my fourth. So far, I really love using this flash. I specifically like that it has a rechargeable battery that lasts really long, so I don’t have to worry about switching batteries in the middle of the reception. You just have to remember to charge your flash batteries before the wedding day so you don’t show up with uncharged flash batteries. This flash also came with one battery, which was great! I also really liked that this flash was a better price for what I was getting. I’ve learned that sometimes you pay for the brand name, and I decided that Godox would do what it needed to do for me just fine!

Photograph your first wedding

The photo above was photographed using the Godox flash.

Before switching to the Godox V860III, I actually used the Canon 600EX II-RT Speedlight for pretty much ALL of my weddings. I’ll include a description with links to this flash down below.

Canon 600EX II-RT Speedlight – HERE

The Canon 600EX II-RT Speedlight is fast, highly responsive, and very reliable. I use this flash throughout the reception and for the send-off. PRO TIP: Make sure to set your flash to “M” mode which stands for Manual, so that you can control the Flash power settings throughout the reception. Using a flash power of 1/16 or lower will help you to save your battery time as well. I try to use 1/16 or 1/32 throughout a reception; however, you may need 1/8 sometimes. If you ever choose to use full power, your flash will eat your batteries, so it’s best not to use full power!

The photo above was taken using the Canon flash.

Batteries for Canon 600EX II-RT Speedlight

Energizer Rechargeable AA Batteries – HERE

For the Canon 600EX II-RT Speedlight, I suggest Energizer Rechargeable Batteries over one-time-use batteries because flash power eats batteries, and you will spend way too much money on one-time-use batteries. Above are the batteries I use for this particular flash, and they work great!

Flash Battery Charger

Energizer Rechargeable AA Battery Charger – HERE

I recommend the Energizer Rechargeable AA Battery Charger as your charger of choice for these specific batteries. I also suggest that you have two battery chargers for these flash batteries.

Photograph Your First Wedding – Photo Storage

SanDisk Extreme Pro 256GB SD Card – HERE

Love this SD Card! The SanDisk Extreme Pro 256GB SD Card holds a lot of photos and it is fast! It’s also important to have a few backup SD Cards in your camera bag. I suggest having a few 128GB SD Cards as well as 32GB SD Cards. I also really like the SanDisk Extreme Pro brand. It’s important to get a REALLY GOOD SD Card because this is what your client’s wedding images are being stored on until you back them up to a Solid State Drive and a Hard Drive. You want to make sure that your client’s memories are kept safe as you are photographing them!

Also, make sure to have two cards in your camera at all times to double protect your client’s images while photographing them. On the Canon 5D Mark IV, you’ll need (1) SD card and (1) CFAST card. On the Canon R6 Mark ii, you’ll need (2) SD cards.

SanDisk Extreme 64GB CFAST Card – HERE

If you’re photographing with the Canon 5D Mark IV, it’s very important to have a backup storage card in your camera on a wedding day to further protect your client’s wedding day memories. I suggest purchasing a 64GB or larger CFAST Card for this purpose.

I highly recommend this CFAST Card for your Canon 5D Mark IV, it is just quite the investment!

Photograph Your First Wedding – Backup Camera Lens

My backup camera lens is the…

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8

I like having the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 as a backup lens. However, it’s not a Canon Luxury lens like the other lenses I have discussed above. I like to carry it with me just in case my Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L ever had a problem on a wedding day; however, this has never happened before, and I truly hope it never happens! It simply gives me peace of mind to have backup equipment in my camera bag! 🙂

Photograph Your First Wedding – PRO TIP: Carry IBUPROFEN or TYLENOL in your camera bag!HERE

It’s true!! You really do need to bring some type of pain reliever with you on a wedding day in case you develop a headache during the reception. Loud music, running around all day, and lack of proper hydration can cause some wicked headaches near the end of a wedding day, and you want to make sure you can properly photograph the reception events and send-off without your head pounding away! Having Ibuprofen or tylenol with you could also help if someone else at the wedding develops a headache. You could save the day for them, so make sure to pack those in your camera bag as well!

If you’d like to see more about Nashville Wedding Photographers, Jennifer & Daniel, you can do so at the button below!

What helped you in this blog post? Leave a comment with what helped you and if there’s something you want to learn more about! 🙂

Thanks for reading!



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