My camera bag is a lot like Mary Poppin’s bag, just less magical and more camera-y. It holds SO many things! Some items are used for every single wedding day (like the camera bodies, obvi) while other bag items are used less frequently, but should always be in tow just in case.
Over my 6+ years as a wedding photographer, I have learned what items are essential to carry with me on wedding days, and I’m sharing that list with you today!
3 camera bodies
Having three different options for camera bodies is crucial. I always have one for me (Canon 5D Mark IV), one for Ryan (Canon 5D Mark III), and one backup if ever necessary (another Canon 5D Mark III). All three cameras have two memory card slots so they can shoot to two cards at once. This means instant backup of your files as soon as you click the shutter which is imperative as a professional wedding photographer.
The more the merrier, though my 35mm and 50mm are my far my favorites. I bring out my 24mm for fun, wide-angle reception dance photos, 35mm and 50mm for portraits and everything in between, 100mm for macro ring photos, 135mm for close-ups during ceremony/reception toasts.
There is one flash on each of our camera bodies and then we each have another flash connected via radio on tripods. We really only use flashes in a reception space once the sun has set.
Batteries and chargers
We always carry extra camera batteries and chargers. For our flashes, I use rechargeable double A batteries which has been a #gamechanger.
Memory cards + carrying case
I always carry way more memory cards than I anticipate I’ll need because being prepared is the name of the game. Typically, I’ll photograph a wedding on a 64GB SD card and CF card while Ryan’s photos can fit on 32GB cards.
I use my speaker at engagement sessions most of the time, but sometimes I’ll use it for couple portraits during the wedding day. Having some music makes being in front of the camera more enjoyable.
While the vast majority of my photos are photojournalistic in nature, I really do have a thing for an editorial and styled layflat with all the little details you’ve curated leading up to your wedding day. To add some styling to these shots I have some ribbons, acrylic blocks, ring boxes, and a styling mat.
“Emergency Kit” Items
These can be an absolute lifesaver when needed. These are some of the items you hope you won’t need to use, but are thankful to have them when the need comes! Friendly reminder: It’s a good idea if you and a wedding planner also plan to have “Emergency Kit” items on hand. I’m happy to be helpful by having these items in my bag, but ultimately my job is the photography… my safety pin stash might run low.
Lighter (for those sparklers!)
Because pandemics are no joke.
Again I will say: PANDEMIC. I always keep an extra mask or two handy in my bag (and in the car). In case my first one were to break or get dirty (or like, v sweaty), I like to have a few options!
Day-of document (not pictured, #oops)
Well before the wedding day, I send my couples a Wedding Questionnaire for them to complete that provides me with the information I need to be as prepared as possible for their day. I then draw up a document with all the most important deets including the timeline, contact numbers, family photo list, important reminders like out-of-the-ordinary photo requests or the sunset time. We have a hard copy of the day-of document as well as copies on our phones.
Belt bag (also not pictured, #alsooops)
A must have for any wedding! This keeps all of my VIP extras handy and accessible whenever I need them like the day-of document, my phone, hand sanitizer, pen, hair tie, just to name a few. I love this one I got from Madewell.
And what camera bag holds all of this stuff?!
Those two cutie pies up there. My Think Tank Photo Airport International packs a punch and easily carries (and rolls!) the bulk of my gear and miscellaneous items. I also love my ONA Bowery leather bag for carrying a camera body and a couple lenses when I don’t want to tote the large roller bag with me. I cannot recommend these bad boys enough.
SO… what’s in your bag that you cannot work without?!