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Photography Gear I Use on Wedding Days!

March 11, 2020

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Today I’m talking all about the photography gear I use on wedding days! I want to preface this blog with: the gear that I have now has taken me years to build up, so please don’t feel that you need to use the same gear that I do. You may use gear differently than I do and that’s totally fine. These are the items that work well for my style! My arsenal has become more condensed over the years and I’m sure you’ll find the same thing happening as you get further in your wedding photography career. 

So, I am a Nikon user! And honestly, there’s no reason I am other than that’s just what I started using when I first began. There’s no right or wrong! Use what gear you love. You’ll also see as I get into things that not all of my lenses are Nikon! Other companies are compatible with my gear and are a bit more cost effective!

Camera Bodies

You read that right! I have TWO camera bodies. I use the Nikon D750 (full frame) and I always have two of them on me for a wedding day. Always. I would recommend if you don’t have two, save up to invest in a second one. You never know what’s going to happen on a wedding day! We all know that technology isn’t perfect, but our clients are trusting us to be prepared to handle any unforeseen technical malfunctions! They are trusting us to capture THEIR MOST important memories on their wedding days! 

Getting Ready and Details

I’m going to walk through each part of the day and tell you about which lenses I use when! For the getting ready portraits and details, I will alternate between my 24-70mm and 105 2.8 micro lens. I use the 105 for the close ups of the ring and bouquet and shoes. It creates great compression in your images which is wonderful. Then I also use the 24-70 2.8 Sigma for getting ready portraits. I used this SO much over this past year during getting ready portraits because of the flexibility it gave me. Photographers  – you know how small getting rooms can be! This lens gave me the ability to adjust how close or far back I needed to get QUICKLY without swapping out lens! If I have plenty of room, my default is to always use my favorite lens, which is the 50mm 1.8! I’ll be talking more about my love for the 50mm 1.8 later in this blog post!

First Look

After getting ready, most of my couples opt to do a first look! I will put both of my two camera bodies on at this point. I just purchased one of the straps from helloLondonDesigns and it’s amazing! I’ll have the 24-70mm and my 50mm on. Then I have my second shooter use a 70-200mm lens for the close up reactions during first look. After that, we go into their portraits and I mainly use my 50mm for 90% of my bride and groom portraits! Unless there’s a big landscape I need my 24-70mm for, I will stick to my 50mm. I keep it on for family portraits, the bridal party portraits, and any other portraits before the ceremony. It creates a beautiful bokeh and variety of images! It’s definitely my GO-TO lens!

Photography Gear Renee Nicolo Photography uses on wedding days to capture classic wedding portraits

Ceremony Lenses

For the ceremony, I will still keep two camera bodies on me. I will use my 70-200mm and my 24-70mm during the ceremony. If you have one of the 70-200mm lenses, you know they are so heavy so I try to use it for just the ceremony and reception events.  It’s such a game changer if you want to elevate the moments for your clients because you can capture all of the emotions without being in their face HAHA. But my goodness, it’s heavy!!!! 

I also found last year that I started using my 85mm more often than the 70-200mm during ceremonies because it’s lighter. I was still  able to get close and I loved it and it was really, really awesome. If I’m unable to have flexibility in my movement during the ceremony (each church has different policies, which is totally OK!), I will use my 70-200. The 24-70mm is great for the processional and recessional too because I can quickly change if I need to get closer or farther away!

Reception Lenses

Now it’s time for the reception! If I were photographing the cocktail hour and getting candid photos with the bride and groom and their guests, I would probably use the 24-70mm because there’s a lot of tight areas in those situations. But if I were taking details of the reception itself, I will use a bunch of my lenses! I often carry my bag around with me and swap out frequently.  I will use my 24-70mm to get the wide angle of the reception. It’s so beautiful to be able to capture all the details that our couples have worked so hard to design for the special day. I will also use the 85mm as well to get really close for those soft, creamy images, like the reception centerpieces. And the 50mm is also great too! 

Then for entrances, first dances, and cake cutting, I will put my two camera bodies back on and I will use my 24-70mm and 70-200mm like I did during the ceremony. I’ll have them both on because especially during the first dance, the 70-200mm allows me to get so close (like when my couples are talking!) without interrupting. I’ll keep both camera bodies on through the special events of the reception (entrances, first dance, parents dances and toasts). Then I will take off the second camera for the remainder of the reception. I will usually use the 50mm or 24-70mm for dancing photos!

Off-Camera Lighting

I used to be terrified of off-camera flash (OCF)! But once I started using off-camera flash and I understood it, it changed the way my images looked at receptions for the better! It has been so empowering and works well with my style (and yours may not, which is totally OK!).  I have four of the Nikon SB 700s. Two are placed on two separate light stands and the other two stay on my camera bodies 🙂 

If you’re a little nervous about diving into learning more about OCF, I would encourage you to check out my blog! I wrote an entire blog about the 3 Steps I Took to Better Understand Off Camera Flash!

A quick recap of what’s in my bag! 

  • 2 Nikon D750s
  • 50 mm 1.8 Nikon lens
  • 85 mm 1.8 Nikon lens
  • 24-70 mm 2.8 Sigma lens
  • 70-200 mm 2.8
  • 105 micro 2.8 Nikon lens
  • Four Nikon SB 700

As a reminder, I did not use all of these when I first started out! It has taken me years to acquire my gear – it’s definitely an investment! If you’ve just started your business, please don’t feel pressured to buy all of these at once!! To get you started, I believe that you could totally use a 50mm and 85mm, and shoot an entire wedding day beautifully! 

Comment below with your favorite lens! I’d love to know what you’re using on wedding days!

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