A question for the Wedding Photographers (Gear Split)

PostmanPostman Posts: 59Member
edited July 2013 in Nikon DSLR cameras
So, me and my partner have our first wedding coming up where we're doing it together. I will be the main shooter, she'll be my second.

I have the following gear to divide into x2 kits.

Bodies: D800, D700
Speedlights: SB600 x2 (1 with softbox)
Zooms: 16-35 f4, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200 f2.8
Primes: 20 f2.8, 50 f1.8, 85 f1.8
A tripod and a monopod.

Fortunately the bride and groom aren't really the sort to be bothered about what we do and they have no high expectations. We've basically just been told to 'get on with it and do what you think is best' so it'll be a great experience for us both.

The question is, how would you divide that kit out and what, if anything, would you leave at home.



  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,168Member
    Best bet is to have each shooter work with what they enjoy the most, prime or zoom. One shooter with the 70-200mm for tight shots and one with a wider set of lenses for more group type shots.

    I can't see the tripod being much use, besides large group photos, but the monopod could be used to get a flash closer to the ceiling (if there is a high ceiling).
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    D800 24-70, and D700 70-200 as primary group and close up kits.

    70-200 at about 100mm and f2.8 - f4 is excellent portrait lens.

    ... H
    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited July 2013
    Here is the wedding thread


    But, I would have one with the 24-70, the other with the primes 20, 50, 85. I would leave the 70-200 at home. The key is to have a schedule of the shoot, exactly when the group shots are to be taken and a printed copy to all who will be in the groups. If there is a wedding planner, this individual will get the groups together.
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 411Member
    edited July 2013
    How you split up your tasks is how you determining who gets what. Go in with a strategy. Obviously, like a play in a hockey game, you may end up not doing anything like planned but it is important to have structure to reduce redundancy and cover everything. If she is doing bridals you shoot family, If you are shooting from center isle, have her shoot the crowd. What each of you are doing determines what gear you will be using. Do yourself a favor and get there an hour early or scout the location for an hour beforehand.

    PLAN YOUR BIG SHOTS. Stand where the shot will be and look through your camera. Use your second as a model if need be. Even if the shot never happens during the actual wedding it will save you time and frustration. Once your big shots are planned you will have no problem with the rest of the photographs.

    The 24-70mm can be your best and WORST lens for a situation. Much of my income is event photography and at many events I only use my 14-24mm and 80-200mm. Sometimes my mids never even come out. the 24-70mm is akin to playing Tennis from "no mans land"... All bases are "covered" but none are covered well. Leave the 16-35 at home... Unless you are comfortable with a superwide as a prime shooter it will be extra weight you don't need. The 20mm should be good for the wide shots you need. That 70-200mm is a keystone in getting shots you need. Keep it. However Msmoto has a point in rejecting the lens. When it comes to bridals, vows and the first dance use the 85mm instead. Also if you don't have these, buy a good pair of shoes. Don't expect to sit too much.

    Good luck. You are going to need it
    Post edited by kyoshinikon on
    “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson
  • PostmanPostman Posts: 59Member
    Thank you all, some excellent advice. I especially like the flash on the monopod idea. Genius.

    Again, thanks to all; every one of you has given me a valuable tip to think on :D
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited July 2013
    weddings come in all shapes and sizes

    so check out the venue in advance. I sometimes attend the informal rehearsal, if there is one.
    As others have said, we all have out favorite lens, make you each have your respective lens

    My gut feeling, put the 24 -70 on the D800 this will cover most things and use AUTO ISO

    Have the 16 -35 and the 70 -200 with the D700 for wide shots and close ups remember unlike the D800 the AUTO ISO does not take focal length into account a big trap on the 70 -200 I tape the VR switch ON; on my 70 -200

    The 50 f 1.4 might be useful during the ceremony, if its dark and you cannot / do not use flash,
    the 20 1.8 should go with the D800 in case they need something wider than 24

    Unless you have particular need for a certain shot, not too sure I would take the 80

    The mono pod can be used to get the camera up for high shot, but this need practice

    If the event goes into the evening / night, take the tripod, in case you want a night shot of the venue
    other wise forget it

    unless you have somewhere were to set up a "studio" I would forget the soft box

    If you have some spare cash get a third flash, such as SB 910 with a Chinese battery pack

    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • HessephotoHessephoto Posts: 9Member
    Sorry to disagree but I would NOT leave the 70-200 at home. Not only will it be ideal for getting close shots while staying out of the way but it of all your lenses has the largest possible aperture (200/2.8) and consequently will provide you with the best possible separation from the background for portrait shots, which is of course most effective when shot at 200 wide open. I agree that 70-200 makes sense on the d700 because it doesn't need help in low light and has much lower resolution so better to shoot in close and not crop. 24-70 probably best bet on the d800, low light primes for the reception...
  • studio460studio460 Posts: 205Member
    edited July 2013
    All, pretty good advice. I haven't shot a paid wedding gig yet, but I plan to enter the market soon. My strategy was to reserve my D800E for the group formals, reasoning that the increased pixel-count will benefit wider-angle group shots most. For the rest, I'd shoot twin D3s bodies exclusively (mainly, to benefit from operationally transparent body-switching; plus, the control layout is significantly different between the D3s and D800E). Here's my general plan, broken down by stage of events:

    1. Group formals: Body A.) D800E + 24-120mm f/4.0 VR + AC monolights; Body B.) N/A
    2. Bride ready-room: Body A.) D3s + 35mm f/1.4; Body B.) D3s + 85mm f/1.4
    3. Still life (dress, ring, etc.): Body A.) D3s + 35mm f/1.4; Body B.) D3s + 60mm f/2.8 macro
    4. B+G formals: Body A.) D3s + 35mm f/1.4; Body B.) Nikon D3s + 85mm f/1.4
    5. Processional: Body A.) D3s + 24-120mm + SB800; Body B.) D3s + 70-200mm f/2.8 VR
    6. Ceremony: Body A.) D3s + 35mm f/1.4; Body B.) D3s + 70-200mm f/2.8
    7. Reception tables, garter, cake: Body A.) D3s + 24-120mm + SB800; Body B.) N/A
    8. Dance floor: Body A.) D3s + 35mm f/1.4; Body B.) D3s + 85mm f/1.4

    If mixing a D800/E with other FX bodies, in general, I would tend to shoot the wider lens on the higher-resolution body, since these are the images most likely to be cropped somewhat.
    Post edited by studio460 on
  • studio460studio460 Posts: 205Member
    edited July 2013

    I have the following gear to divide into x2 kits.

    Bodies: D800, D700
    Speedlights: SB600 x2 (1 with softbox)
    Zooms: 16-35 f4, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200 f2.8
    Primes: 20 f2.8, 50 f1.8, 85 f1.8
    A tripod and a monopod.

    The question is, how would you divide that kit out and what, if anything, would you leave at home.
    Okay, now back to you. First, I had write down my plan so I could "see" it, and then be able to think more clearly about yours. I think it might make sense to create an "available-light" primes package, and a flash-equipped, high-FPS, "get-it-done," zooms package. Also, at certain points of the day, simple logistics would be the primary determinant of your division of labor and equipment (e.g., procession/recession), where some lens swapping may be necessary (e.g., swapping out the 70-200mm f/2.8, and giving it to the "available-light" shooter to grab parents' reaction shots during the ceremony).

    Package A: Primes (available-light):

    Nikon D800 + 20mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.8
    Generally concentrate on candids/PJ-style coverage throughout the day, and reactions during the ceremony. Also, the still-life shots would be good to assign to this shooter (dress, ring, invitation, shoes, etc.). Interior/exterior venue time-exposures (the one instance when you may want a tripod), floral arrangements, table place settings, etc. Basically anything where the time-pressure isn't as high as for the 'B' package shooter.

    Package B: Zooms (get-it-done):

    Nikon D700 + 16-35mm f/4, 24-70mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8 VR
    Assign this shooter to all the bread-and-butter shots. Formals, procession, bouquet-toss, reception group table shots, etc. This shooter should be equipped with an SB-800/900, high-voltage battery pack (e.g., Quantum, Lumedyne, Godox), and a rotating bracket (e.g., Newton or Stroboframe VH-2000). Basically, any of the fast-paced, must-get shots should be assigned to the zoom-lens kit shooter.

    Post edited by studio460 on
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    I pick up a few weddings here and there - really not what I like/want to do but if it is sitting there... Most I pick up are couples who really just want a documentary style only or low budget weddings where I can either A: Create a couple of unique great shots and that is all they want or B: Just want someone better than "uncle Bob" with almost no touch-ups.

    The best advice I received about shooting wedding went something like this: Ask the bride what she has planned - note what pieces/items she focused on telling you and make sure to get those in the shots, and that wedding planning is about the small details. The lace on the dress, the frosting on the cake, the colors, the accents must be depicted/seen in the photos. That means shooting at a low enough ISO to see the detail which means using flashes for most of it - even the reception. Always scout the locations/church days before and take notes what works. It is never good to show up and find out you don't have the right tools. Hard light is not good light - bounce or diffuse it. It needs to be soft unless it is a zombie themed wedding which would be fun, but I have not encountered one yet. Did attend a pirate themed one this summer though.

    I get all my shots with a flash first, then I move to "available light" for the "getting ready" and Documentary type stuff. The wedding itself I never let the ISO above 800 (on D800) and ISO 2200 for available light and always keep my shutter speed at least 1/3 stop above the focal length (1.5x of Focal Lengh for DX). Shooting with available light only is really about being a master at composition. Most wedding photographers I hear about getting sued are the ones who don't use flashes and let their ISOs go high or missed focus due to the lack of DOF.

    Rarely is my aperture ever below f/5.6 due to the DOF that is NEEDED. No one wants to see a sharp ear and the eyes OOF or have a group shot where the bride is sharp but the wedding party is blurred or where the eyes are sharp but all the detail of the dress is lost. Mostly I have found it is the art of moving people further away from backgrounds, or utilizing flashes to light the subject and to drop the background darker than ever shooting wide open. I will shoot a few wide open shots but only after I know I got what I need first.

    @studio460 - What you have laid out is reasonable but I would think it would cause more scrambling than you realize. I think you will find that the 1.4s will mostly be shot at f/2-4 to get the right amount of DOF and may negate their actual use vs a 2.8 zoom. It all depends on what the bride wants though.

    @Postman - The SB600s can get you buy, but you will want a SB910 (800,900) or equiv if you are doing more weddings. If you are keeping the flashes on camera look into Gary fong light sphere for both flashes.

    When doing weddings here is my kit that always goes with me:
    Fuji x100
    D300 as a back up kept in the car.
    ExpoDisc WB (neutral) *Must have something to get the whites right - this really is a deal breaker

    2 - SB900
    1 - SB 600
    Phottix Odin wireless flash system (best wireless trigger system I have used)
    24 AA rechargeable batteries (I just use Energizer 2400mh ones - you can find them everywhere)
    Gary fong lightsphere (not the greatest light but 100x better than a bare flash on camera.)
    2 - 7ft-ish light stands
    1- 4ft light stand
    2 - 43" shoot through umbrellas
    2 - 60" shoot through umbrellas with a removable black back/silver cover
    Lastolite 5 in 1 tri-grip diffuser. (well worth the money)
    45" white/ silver round reflector
    A few manfrotto clamps with ball heads and Frio speedlight clips.
    2 bungee cords to hold light stands down with my photo bags.

    Lenses/% used at wedding: (order of necessity)
    Standard - 24-70/120/ 75%
    Documentary: 50mm 1.4 / 5% (Fuji X100 works for this as well)
    Tele - 70-200vr/20%
    Macro - 60mm / Optional Swaps (Depending on venue sites and/or requested shots)
    85mm, 105vr, 15 fisheye, 300mm (compression), 22" umbrellas, 24" soft box,

    If I did weddings more I would pick a couple of 500W+ studio lights and probably a 7ft shoot through umbrella and a 50" softbox or similar Octa box, 3 more SB-900 power & High speed sync type flashes (2-3 to a umbrella/box and half the power-negates battery packs) and maybe a D700 to hang a 50/85 1.4/8 from for only B&W. Whatever I focus on I, believe in doing it right and getting above most of what other photographers do in my area.

    All of that said, I think one could get buy with a 24-85vr (or similar zoom range), 50mm 1.8, two sb-910 equiv flashes, two light stands, 43" umbrellas, cheap radio triggers, and a 40" white reflector if you were really on a budget.

    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,837Member
    Thanks for the great note TaoTejared. Terrific information.
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited November 2013
    A good article for those that shoot weddings and are thinking of what lens to consider.

    A Fifty for Creativity by Romanas @ Photographylife.com

    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
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