I’ve curated a list of wedding photography must-have items, some which are obvious like cameras and lenses, and some are not probably considered essential equipment for wedding photographers, but are essential for me – like chocolate with hazelnuts and 7D dried mangos.
For each wedding that my team and I go to, we run through a detailed wedding photography gear checklist to make sure that everything is charged, cleaned, and ready to perform. It’s rare that we use each and every piece of equipment in a day.
If I were to go basic and only have minimalist wedding photography gear, I’d bring one camera body, two lenses, and one flash. However, couples are hiring my team as professionals and part of our promise is to create timeless and beautiful photographs no matter how awful the lighting or difficult the situation may be. I like having the wedding photography backup equipment for peace of mind!
Best camera for wedding photography
Reasons why I love the Sony A7III as my preferred wedding photography body:
- 93% autofocus coverage (693 phase detection points, 425 for contrast detection)
- 24MP full frame BSI CMOS sensor
- Much smaller, lighter, and less conspicuous than DSLR bodies
- Silent shutter – Allows me to be even more of a ninja
- Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) – Took a while to get used to, but now I love it!
- Dual SD memory card slots – Essential. Allows me to take a photograph and for the file to write to two cards simultaneously. Very important for immediate backup in case a card gets lost or is corrupted.
Favorite wedding photography lenses
I love my prime lenses because they enable me to be fast, light, and ninja-like. However, I do like having zoom lenses in situations where using my feet to zoom isn’t an option or would be intrusive. All of the below are E-mount full frame lenses.
The 35mm is my favorite storytelling focal length. It’s wide enough to show the environment, without worrying about distortion. It’s great on the dance floor. It’s great for portraits where I want to show the architecture of the building or some of the surrounding nature. I almost never leave home without this lens. When I photograph my social life, this is the lens that I chose to bring with me.
I’ve always loved 35mm primes. I tested the Sigma Art 35mm f/1.4 extensively, and while I used the Sigma Art when I photographed Nikon, I decided on the 1.8 because the additional ability to shoot at 1.4 wasn’t worth the additional weight for me.
The good ol’ nifty fifty is a classic. I’ve been told that it’s the closest thing to what the normal human eye sees. The Sony 55mm 1.8 is versatile enough to photograph wedding full length couple portraits, half-body portraits of individuals, action shots of the first dance, and of beautiful details – both reception tables and and of flat-lay invitations with wedding shoes and wedding rings.
The Sony 55mm f/1.8 is a permanent part of my kit, but usually, the two lenses that are seen on me most are the 35 and the 85. Again, the 35 is great for storytelling, and the 85 is great for getting in a little closer, showing people a view that they normally don’t see.
For those starting out in photography and looking for a true inexpensive, but high quality nifty fifty, I love suggesting the Sony 50mm f/1.8
The 85mm is my favorite focal length of all time. For all engagement sessions, headshots, and anything having to do with a person’s face, you can be sure that this lens is on my camera. The Sony 85mm f/1.8 balances out fast focus so that it locks in sharp every time. I did rent out the 85mm f/1.4 for a few trips, most notably my cave expedition trip to Son Doong cave (Thanks Lens Pro To Go!), but like the 35mm, found that the weight wasn’t worth it.
When I photographed on the Canon system, the Canon 85mm f/1.2L II turned everything to butter, and I loved it so much. However, it was also the slowest lens I’ve ever used! The version II is much faster, but still slower than my current Sony 85mm f/1.8.
Even though I don’t currently photograph with Canon regularly, I still consider Canon 85mm f/1.2L II to be one of my favorite lenses I’ve ever owned. It did one thing and it did it so immaculately well.
Our video team adores the 135mm f/1.8 lens for ceremonies so that they can get more reach during wedding ceremonies, especially for facial reactions during the vow and ring exchange.
While the focus doesn’t lock on as fast as my 85mm, I love using this lens because when I want bokeh (the blurry background look), this is my go-to. It’s definitely the largest lens in my kit, and this. bokeh master as earned a spot there.
For landscapes and big-world-little-people environmental wedding portraits, the Sony 16-35mm is the showstopper. It takes your breath away by helping me photograph an ultra-wide view of my surroundings. I do have to be careful of distortion, so I’m always very mindful of my angle.
Also, on packed dance floors, the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 is flexible and lightweight! Some people who aren’t as demanding on their gear and who do not need the extra stop of light at f/2.8 has found that the Sony 16-35mm f/4 is perfect for what they need! The f/4 versions are less expensive than the f/2.8, too.
For example, the Sony 16-35mm f/4 is my husband’s favorite travel lens and he doesn’t seem to need nor want the 2.8 aperture at all!
If I were forced to only photograph with one lens for the rest of my life, the 24-70mm f/2.8 would be it. It is, hands down, the most versatile lens created. At 24, I can get those larger than life photographs of the wedding couple in their wedding venue architecture or in beautiful nature. At 55, I can photograph all my details. At 70, I can fudge my way through some close portraits (but I would 100% miss my 85mm).
This lens is part of my backup wedding day equipment. I rarely use this lens on a wedding day, but I like having it as part of my security blanket.
An honorable mention is the Tamron 28-70mm f/2.8. At less than half the cost of my Sony 24-70mm f/2.8, many have said that it is “just as good”. I’ve tested it and have been impressed with the price and the quality.
However, I’m a full-time pro, and I find the additional cost of the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 is worth it for me. For non full-time pros, I think the Tamron 28-70 f/2.8 is an incredible alternative!
This is the big boy. When I’m banished to the back of the church and told that I’m not allowed to go in, this is the lens I use to creep. It’s a beautiful portrait lens, too!
It’s big brother, the Sony 70-200 f/2.8 is incredible, but because of how infrequently I use this focal length, I didn’t find the cost worth it. I know some photographers that solely shoot with the 24-70 on one camera and then the 70-200 on the other camera!
It’s expensive bigger and older brother, the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 is incredible! Because of how infrequently I use this focal length, I didn’t find the cost worth it. I know some photographers that solely shoot with the 24-70 on one camera and then the 70-200 on the other camera!
Wedding photography lighting equipment
Weddings in Boston can experience all four seasons in one day. It’s important that no matter what the weather, how dark a venue is, or how difficult the conditions are, that our team is able to light all environments – in a quickly and efficient way without any hesitation. I believe this is where experience comes in!I love being able to utilize off camera lighting for weddings.
When I need a lot of power, the Godox AD200 saves the day. At almost three times as much power as the 860II S, I can use two Godox AD200s and generally overpower the sun if needed. I love how small and lightweight this flash is.
For commercial shoots, I tend to go either for the Godox AD400 or the Godox AD600.
A big part of my ability to create natural-feeling photographs in whatever environment is because of my knowledge in lighting – natural light, artificial light, and off-camera light.
I don’t bother with the diffuser or the colored gels that come with this the Godox 860II kit because I think the MagMod system does such a stellar job.
If you’re interested in kicking off in the MagMod world, I highly recommend purchasing the MagMod Starter Kit. You’ll save a lot of $ this way. MagMod makes some of my favorite wedding photography equipment because of how fast I’m able to work. On. a wedding day, every second matters!
I have two of the MagBox 24” Octa Pro Kits because I like having the carrying case. I use these softboxes when I want extremely soft light. They’re also great for headshots. My fastest time in setting one up is 44 seconds!
Best light stands for wedding photography
I like these because they can raise to nearly 10ft and they’re heavy enough to not need to use gigantic sandbags. These light stands are also air-cushioned, so that when I collapse them, it doesn’t make huge noises when they retract.
Great for portability! I don’t own these, but I’ve seen them and they’re easy to use for consumer purposes.
Best camera straps for wedding photographers
Camera straps are some of my favorite wedding photography camera accessories because they help evenly distribute the weight on my shoulders as I run/sprint/ninja-crawl for 8-16 hours on a wedding day! These camera straps are a critical part of my wedding photography equipment!
On weekends where I am photographing two weddings in a row, one on Saturday and one on Sunday, I like to swap between all these camera straps so that specific parts of my body doesn’t become too sore!
Awesome for one camera. I have both the thinner one (Slide Lite) and the regular Peak Slide strap one. I think the thinner one for my smaller frame, but they’re both great. Love the mechanism to easily clip on and clip off!
My go-to for two camera straps. There are lots of color options for the leather. For those with long hair, you’ll have the option to not have the D-rings in the back so that it doesn’t clip your hair.
When I want to not have any weight on my shoulders, I use my spider holster. It feels really good to click it into my hips. Lots of people have asked, “Do you ever miss?” and my answer is no. I’ve never missed my Spider Holster and dropped my camera. This can be used with two cameras or one.
Best wedding photography bags
This is perfect for traveling and rolling around airports! I use this mostly for weddings too. It fits most of my essential kit!
Fits as much as my Airport Navigator! I love the laptop pouch and how mobile this gets me. Also love the waist strap.
Perfect for portrait sessions, engagement sessions, and just general walking around the city.
This carries EVERYTHING. Our video team loves it because they’re able to pack all of our audio and lighting gear into it.
Two words: FOUR WHEELS. Enough said.
I believe this is Think Tank’s most popular item, and for good reason too!
Have any questions about our wedding photography equipment?
Some of these links. are affiliate links, which means that if you click on it and buy something, I get a small kickback! This money goes directly into my chocolates and mango snack fund for wedding days!
I write blogs to help my clients understand that I’m a nerd. I research and test my wedding photography equipment to extreme measures because I love what I do and I take my job super seriously.
You’d be surprised at how many snacks I consume on a wedding day. Every penny helps! 🙂