Basic equipment for a pro/wedding photographer

Started Apr 27, 2011 | Discussions thread
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less gear and more money in portrait photography
In reply to onelargebeerplease, May 7, 2011

Start with a good book on wedding photography like the one by Marcus Bell and get a sense of what you need the equipment to do and work backwards.

No retakes is a key part of wedding photography that occurs nowhere else. A sport photographer can submit 3 images and call it a day and a portrait or fashion photographer can reshoot but this does not work with weddings. This requirement translates into the need for reliable gear and backups for everything. No single camera, flash, or lens failure should prevent the photographer from getting the job done.

I heard someone many years ago that the pro always delivers no matter what and that is how I view someone in terms of whether they are professional in their attitude and approach to a job.

Wedding photography for the money earned is the a bad return compared to any other endeavor. Much smarter to get involved with portrait photography where all you need is one camera and one lens and 4-5 strobes, a couple backgrounds and reflectors and your total investment can be under $2,000 to get started.

Compare that to wedding photography where you need 2 cameras capable of ISO 1600 and low light autofocus and 30GB of cards and 2 strobes and at a minimum a 17-55 (or 24-70mm f2.8) and a 70-200mm VR/IS lens, and backup primes.

Skill level is also vastly different. With wedding photography you are acting as an event photographer and a portrait photographer and doing group formals and PJ candids and action shots and you had better have a success rate in terms of exposure and focus and composition of 90% and be able to make adjustments in seconds to your gear as situations can change minute by minute.

Post processing and the need to deliver proof books, slideshows, albums, and prints to your clients adds to the expense of the computer and software and skills needed. With portrait work you can provide proofs and print enlargements. With a wedding I end up with more than 2000 images at the end of the day. With a portrait session there are 1/10 as many images to process.

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