People frequently ask me what equipment I use for candid wedding photography. You are free to use any camera equipment you choose, but I enjoy using the equipment I’ve listed and encourage others to do the same. The majority of the equipment I own is from Nikon, however the same is true of other manufacturers as well. One thing to keep in mind is that the equipment is significant but not crucial. The photographer and his originality will still be there. Otherwise, you’ll just be another expensive-gear-wielding monkey who has no idea how to take the greatest possible pictures.
Candid Wedding Photography gear
Let me start with the gear that I use:
Full frame DSLR camera body. Backup camera. Ex: I have been using D610 AND D750 cameras. You may get the backup camera for rent, as these cameras are super expensive.
A must-have lens – Nikon AF-S 24-70mm F/2.8G ED
Must have a lens. Useful for candid shots – Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II
Prime lens – Nikon AF Nikkor 50 mm f/1.4D
Wide-angle lens for some shots of the location of the place where the event takes place – Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF-S
External flash – Nikon Speedlight SB-910
Additional camera batteries – Nikon EN-EL15 Lithium-Ion Batteries – 4 to 5 of them.
Maha Charger to charge Speedlight batteries (8 batteries at the same time) which has independent circuits and a display that show the charging of each of the batteries.
Camera bag – Lowepro Transit Backpack 350 AW
Tripod – Manfrotto – MHXPRO-3W X-PRO 3-Way Head – I just carry this just in case
Wide angle for Candid Wedding
Few may question why I would use a wide-angle lens to photograph a wedding. Let me tell you, in addition to the standard photographs, it is a good idea to include a few wide-angle images just for those dramatic shots. I would advise renting the 14–24mm lens, which is another pricey lens. Note that this should not be your primary lens when doing candid wedding photography.
For photographing many of the scenes that frequently occur at weddings, a wide-angle lens is a really powerful instrument. It is the perfect choice for photographing rapidly because of its wide angle of view, which encompasses more of a room than a typical viewpoint, and its ability to generate fine focus quickly and with a lot of depth of field. If you want to make the bride and groom appear to be in their own little universe, a wide aperture can be employed to emphasize the shallow depth of field impression.
The must-have lens for candid wedding
The 24-70mm f2.8 and the 70-200mm f2.8 lenses are a must-have for candid weddings. If you can buy these two, I would say it’s worth buying. The reason is simple f2.8, has amazing sharpness, clarity, and low-light performance. A lens with f2.8 can do magic when compared to a zoom lens that has f4.5 to 5.6.
70-200mm f2.8 is something that I use to get candid shots where I get some natural shots of couples in the event without them knowing anything about me capturing them. You need not stand too close and 70-200 f2.8 is an ideal lens for candid shots. Note that as a candid wedding photographer, these zoom lenses will play an important role in capturing the photos of the subject from a distance. Candid wedding photographers here in India are in high demand as they use these telephoto lenses to capture casual, unplanned, natural photos of people, basically capturing the moments.
The basic lens everyone should buy
I use 50mm f1.4 to get that extra blur in the background. Many ask me if I do that in the post-editing. Not much, it’s just the lens. Another lens capable of capturing crystal clear images is really sharp and has good low-light capabilities.
Why not a camera body with an APSC sensor?
This is a common question many people who are interested in getting into this business ask me, but not sure or not ready to spend money on expensive camera gear, I would say go ahead and use it. No problem. You can get amazing shots using APSC sensors as well and need not always go to full-frame. That’s good to start with, also you might consider getting the expensive camera body for rent.
Why do I carry 2 camera bodies?
1. As a backup, what if one camera fails, what if the shutter stops working, what if the memory card fails? You cannot give this excuse at a wedding event, the event is gone. You cannot ask them to get married again.
2. To get shots from different angles – we usually go for an event with 2 photographers me and my assistant who is also a photographer, will be standing on the opposite side and doing exactly the opposite of what I do. By doing so we get images from different angles. An example would be the first kiss, tying the knot, etc. No one wants to miss that shot.
Indian weddings usually happen indoors in a wedding hall or in a temple. And most of the time under poor light and colorful background cloth is another thing to keep in mind. Too many people on the stage or the place where the event takes place. At some of the wedding events, you will even find miniature bulbs, odd color lamps, and bulbs. The best is to take two umbrellas or some bright light source.
You might be interested in reading – 11 Ideas to think like a Professional Photographer
Candid wedding photographer’s nightmare
The worst thing that can happen in an event is power failure which happened in one of the recent wedding events that I went to. It was almost dark inside the wedding hall and luckily someone switched on the backup generators in the wedding hall and power had come back in 10 minutes. But during this time you might miss out on some of the important shots like tying the knot etc and this is where I used speed lights / external flash.
So, either have a backup power supply for your external lights or mention that in the contract under risks. Hope you have learned something today by reading this blog post. Buy me a coffee to support my work or you can go to my store to buy some of my images. Also, do not forget to join my FriendZone by signing up for my newsletter. Consider subscribing to my YouTube channel.