Being an event photographer means your clients are trusting you to capture one of the most important days of their lives. However, there are a few things you should be worried about; an equipment meltdown, horrendous light, and weather of course. When it comes to events, take no chances to any kind of breakdown. Prepare for the worst and keep a backup for everything and plan everything beforehand. Your client is not going to get married twice just because your camera or lenses or your memory card broke.
Next time you are preparing to shoot an event, you can use this list as your basic packing reference and ultimately you may find yourself adding or subtracting as your needs grow. We call it the Duh list. 🙂
List of essential tools and equipment for event photography.
- Off-camera flash
- SD cards
- Flash Diffuser
- Studio Strobes and Umbrellas
- Lens Cleaning Kit
Always take at least 2 cameras with you one as a backup. It’s essential to have an extra in case something goes wrong with your primary camera.
Ideally, you want to find a camera that doesn’t get in the way of your creative process. Things to consider before you buy a camera.
Sensor – Understand the sensor of your cameras. Larger sensors undoubtedly produce more detail. If you want to keep the same depth of field, while, larger sensor sizes do not necessarily have a resolution advantage.
Shutter speed – Camera shutter speed is also important. Depending on the nature of your event, you need a camera that has a high shutter speed that you can capture photos in milliseconds.
Weight -The weight of your camera. A camera is a commitment. When shooting outdoors, every ounce matters. DSLRs are about twice as heavy as mirrorless cameras and approximately 40% bulkier
Medium Zoom Lens – As medium zoom use a 24-70 f2.8 lens. For wedding portraits and photojournalism, this focal length is great, offering both broad and tight perspectives. The fairly wide opening of the aperture gives you some flexibility in spaces that are not very well illuminated. It is a very versatile lens and it should be one of the first lenses you should consider buying. It is expensive. If you are on a tight budget consider the 24-105 f4. Also, you can look at third-party brands which provide compatible lenses to your camera.
Telephoto Lens– You’ll need a longer lens to capture events from a distance, mainly the ceremony. You should stand toward the back or sides so you are not blocking anyone’s view. Also, when you are taking pictures from far you will get more natural poses as the people you are taking pictures of will not be conscious about the camera. Use 70-200mm, also use that lens for close-ups.
Wide Angle Lens – The wide angle can get you shots of architectural details or big groups. These are not that important as a 24-70 will be able to achieve them group shots you want to take.
Prime Lens – In case it is a night event, the prime lens lets you shoot in dark spaces and gives you dreamy depth of field. These are fixed focal lenses so there is no zoom in these lenses. But these lenses have the widest aperture which means a smaller depth of field and more light to the sensors. These are the cheapest lenses you will find. But definitely, something that you should have in your collection. They are great for portraits.
Also if you are interested in portraits you should definitely check out the macro lenses, they bring out soo much detail in your subject, your client will be very impressed with it.
If you are low in light and need a little more stability, a good tripod saves you. It is also useful if you’re working in extremely low light. The light stands are also useful: they can be fitted with your speedlights and allow you to adapt the positioning of light. Shooter-through parasols are also useful when you do portrait work with light stands and speedlights.
Consider using a hot-shoe flash rather than using the flash on your camera. It is a nice piece of equipment which you can hold in one hand and in the other your off-camera cable for your flash. It is impossible to get a red eye this way. Ensure you have at least basic knowledge of how to use it since if you have it in the wrong settings you could ruin the entire photo.
Please, Please, Please DONT use your Camera Flash
Bring more cards than you think you need. Professional cameras normally have 2 slots. If you are into any sort of freelance photography you want 2 copies of files on 2 separate SD cards just in case 1 of your card fails. Make this a standard practice and make sure you buy a camera which has 2 slots. Also, you will usually shoot between 50 and 60 GB of images for an event. Having extra cards will also not make you worried about running out of space.
As you are unable to know how long or how much you will have to shoot, you are to be prepared. Have ready and charged at least 3 battery charged packs. If you already have a battery grip, ensure you have freshly charged batteries inside, and at least one set of spare ones, I would strongly advise Sanyo Eneloop batteries. If you’re planning to work on events, you’ll get several chargers.
You can put the Gary Fong Lightsphere on top of your flash. It helps to diffuse the light and makes photographs on the fly better when there is no time to set up lights.
They have more power than speedlights. They often have the power and speed of strobes in a dark place to light a large group of people evenly.
Your lens is likely to get dirty or wet as you shoot a quick-moving event, so keeping a cleaning kit or lens towelettes on hand is smart to stop smudges from ruining your shots.
It’s not always as hard to photograph general events as you might think. Once you’ve stocked up with the items we’ve discussed on event photography equipment and tools, you’re good to go.