Jun 24, 2024

Wedding Kit Must Haves Photography Edition

As a professional photographer with over 20 years of experience, Vanessa Joy has seen it all. Over the years, she’s found that some items and practices are more helpful than others, continuously evolving her own camera bag to be the perfect kit. With the insights gained throughout her career, Vanessa has identified a checklist of items and some practical practices to help every photographer.

Wedding photographers have to balance the right gear for all types of wedding challenges, with having a kit that won’t weigh you down. As a professional wedding photographer for over 20 years who consistently travels for gigs, I can tell you I know the struggle! Lenses, lighting and hopefully a granola bar or two need to fit into a tidy setup that’s easy to roll around and hide away all at once. 

That’s why I have a few go-to items to keep in my kit. Here are my must haves for any wedding photographer.

Camera

You need a camera, obvi. However, you also need a backup camera that can do the job in case your numero uno fails. Unless you’re consistently shooting with two cameras as a workflow method, then your backup camera can just be your previous camera model, or a lower camera model, that can get the job done but won’t break the bank. 

I do, however, highly recommend that it’s a camera with dual card slots. We have the technology to immediately redundantly back up these once-in-a-lifetime images, so why not take advantage of it (ok… maybe not once at the divorce rate we have going on, but you get the idea). I use the Canon EOS R6 Mark II and the Canon EOS R5 as my second camera.

Lenses

This is where your personal style comes into play. If I had to only bring one lens, it would be the Canon RF28-70mm F2 L USM because it’s fast and covers a wide range of focal lengths. 

Memory

Fast memory cards that keep up with your camera’s capabilities are a must. There’s no point in getting the latest and greatest camera if your memory card isn’t fast enough to maximize its performance. And it’s the worst when you have to wait for hours to offload photos and footage at the end of the day because of slow transfer speeds.

With the right storage, like my go-to Lexar Professional CFexpress Type B Cards GOLD Series and Lexar Professional SL600 Portable SSD there’s nothing to worry about when you have the fastest, most reliable memory by your side. 

In addition to your Lexar Professional memory cards, as a wedding photographer, you likely have a second photographer with you. That means you need to take their images home with you that night to avoid dealing with dropbox which would eat into your expected delivery time if they have slow cards. To make sure your post-production time is as fast as possible, you can provide your second photographer with the fastest cards available for their camera to make your post-production workflow a breeze.

Lighting

Lighting needs depend both on your location and the type of photography you’ve promised to your clients. Maybe all you use is a portable continuous light like the Hobolite Mini or Avant. Perhaps you’re into flash and need a speedlight and a modifier, or an off-camera solution like the Profoto A2. 

I’m a fan of the Hobolite Mini for when I need just a kick of light, and the Profoto A10 and A2 for a matching modifier and battery size on and off camera light setup. Having the same modifiers and batteries for both units really cuts down on needed space in my bag.

Miscellaneous

There’s plenty more that goes into my wedding bag, but these aren’t necessarily photography gear. Here are all of the little things that make a big difference.

  • Protein Bars
  • Zip Energy Drink Packets
  • Salad Power Squeeze Pouch
  • Lens Cleaning Cloth
  • Schedule Holder
  • Pen
  • IBUProfen
  • Cough Drops
  • Extra Lexar Memory Cards
  • Flatlay Backdrop and Props
  • Light Stand
  • Glow 5-in-1 Reflector

For a more in-depth breakdown of these essentials you can view the video version here:

I hope this breakdown of my must-have wedding photography essentials is helpful to all of you. Of course you’ll adjust to your preferred camera brands and shooting style, but the basis of this list should help guide your wedding photography bag to be more effective and efficient throughout the wedding day.

About

Vanessa Joy is a master of her craft with over 20 years of award-winning experience in wedding photography.

Beyond her talent as a top luxury wedding photographer, she is also a mentor and educator in the wedding photography community. Through her books, workshops, courses, and speaking engagements, she shares her wealth of knowledge and experience internationally, inspiring aspiring photographers to pursue their passion and hone their craft.

Commissioned by Fortune 500 companies, she’s been named one of the top 5 wedding photographers in the country by Canon USA.  

Learn more about Vanessa Joy, including her free and paid education for photographers, at www.vanessajoy.com.

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