Say I Do to the Right Equipment for Wedding Photography

Say I Do to the Right Equipment for Wedding Photography

In scenarios where you don’t get a second chance at capturing that photo, such as a proposal or a first kiss moment, you need trustworthy and high-quality equipment. In this article, we discuss the best equipment and tools for wedding photographers.

The wedding industry is one that demands photographers to be knowledgeable, creative, and excellent at planning ahead. With experience, a photographer will know exactly what they need to pack in their kit bag ahead of the big day. When you are just starting out, you may benefit from the knowledge of a seasoned wedding photographer to help with the essential purchases that lie ahead.

Essential Equipment for Proposals, Engagements and Weddings

Which Camera Should You Buy?

Photographing proposals, engagements, and weddings demands a thoughtful selection of equipment to ensure you can capture every moment with precision and creativity. There are a wealth of camera makes and models out there, and it can be difficult to decipher which ones are best suited for your needs. Personally, I shoot with the Nikon D850, which is a strong and solid full-frame DSLR that fits a wide range of needs across various genres of photography. It is a fantastic all-rounder that performs excellently in low light with its wide native ISO range, making low-light wedding venues a breeze.

Now, prepare yourself for this expensive piece of information followed by a way to mitigate some of that cost. Once you decide what type of camera body you want to invest in, you will need to buy two identical camera bodies to practice as a wedding photographer. The reasons for that are many, but the most important reason is that if something goes wrong with your camera during a wedding, you have been contracted to cover the whole wedding, and cover it you must. A camera is a huge investment, and having to purchase two camera bodies will make a serious dent in your budget. However, you can consider buying a gently used camera body from MPB to mitigate some of that initial outlay. You can opt to buy both or just your backup camera secondhand, but whatever you decide to do, MPB has got you covered with a generous returns policy and a 6-month warranty on every purchase. This gives you peace of mind so you can get on with the important business of serving the needs of your clients.


If you have ever been booked to photograph a proposal, you will know the anticipation and excitement that comes with being on the inside of such an operation. It is a thrilling spy-like experience that involves intricate planning, crucial timing, and the ultimate discretion to keep the secret. To achieve top stealth mode, you will need to invest in a long lens that enables you to capture the action and crucial reaction. The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II iis perfect for this scenario with its fast aperture and telephoto zoom to compose the perfect shot. If a client has a budget that allows, or the location calls for it, invest in a drone to capture the moment from a unique bird's-eye perspective, giving your clients images that will immortalize just how special that moment was. The mini-sized yet mega-capable DJI Mini 3 Pro is user-friendly, allowing users to get to grips with the drone quickly, leaving you to concentrate on creating those perfect cinematic moments.


Engagement parties are happy and high-energy events that call for capturing movement and a little bit of magic. There are two more items to add to your kit bag which are my go-to for engagements or any evening events. The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G with its fast focus and wide aperture will ensure that you don’t miss a beat on the dance floor. Capturing movement and light trails is a fantastic addition to help tell the story of the event, and to do this while still ensuring your subjects are sharp, you will need to invest in a speedlight and practice the technique of shutter drag to freeze your subjects while capturing the movement of light. The Profoto A1 AirTTL-N Duo Kit provides excellent on- or off-camera lighting control. With up to 350 flashes per charge, this pair of mini flash heads will provide you with a multitude of lighting options to cater your lighting design to the demands of the dance floor.


The big day has come around, and you will need to ensure you are bringing your A-game when it comes to glass. You can't go wrong with a prime lens for those all-important bridal portraits, to capture the intricate details of the dress, and the excitement of the bride illuminated by the morning light streaming in through the window of the bridal suite. The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G lens is a fantastic tool for this scenario, a new and improved incarnation of the Nikkor line, with Nano crystal coating to reduce ghosting and flare often found in this shooting scenario.

There is no lens I have found stand up better to the demands of the day than the 24-70mm focal range, and the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Art lens really fits the bill. It is sharp across the entirety of the zoom range and has quick and sharp autofocus to cover wide-angle shots and close-up moments. If you absolutely had to choose only one, you could shoot an entire wedding with just this lens. This lens will do the heavy lifting from bridal prep through to the speeches and first dance.

An item not to be forgotten in any of the above scenarios would be a sturdy tripod which is lightweight enough to carry with you throughout the day. The Manfrotto 190X Tripod is designed with advanced engineering to ensure strong and resilient performance for years to come. The 3-section legs can be released at speed in just one movement to ensure that you don’t miss the moment. This is a fantastic design for wedding photographers.

Equipment Under Warranty with MPB

Investing in the right photography gear means that you can approach each wedding with the confidence that can only come from being prepared and having the right tools for the job. Buying from MPB adds another layer of assurance, with the generous six-month warranty on all purchases, including those through trade-in.

What items are in your wedding photography wishlist?

Kim Simpson's picture

Kim Simpson is a photographer based in the West of Scotland. Her photographic practice is an exploration of the human experience, with a particular emphasis on themes of identity and belonging.

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OP needs to upgrade their equipment. 850 is 8 years old, newer mirrorless alternatives are better.

Why would I need - in your own words - an "alternative" similar to the camera spec that I already use, minus the mirror?

I've been shooting weddings since 2004. Nikon D3, D4, D4S, D700, D750, D850, and now Z8. I'm fairly confident I could cover a wedding with an iphone. I'd look stupid but i could do it. But, the Z8 is a better camera and yields a higher keep rate in the chaotic wedding environment. Well, the same goes for the D850 to Z8 upgrade. The new autofocus system is just that much better and the Z-mount lenses are a level above anything you see with the F-mount. The Z24-70mm 2.8 dual focusing motors are faster and more accurate that your sigma or F-mount Nikon. The eye focus AF is insane. The 70-200 is incredibly sharp where the F-mount 70-200 out-of-focus backgrounds look awful to me (too defined).

As you say, you don't get a second chance. Why not use the most optimal gear? At the pro level, asset costs are mostly inconsequential...
That said, nothing wrong with D850... weddings are thaaat demanding.

Of course there are improvements on newer cameras which is natural and to be expected. Happens with each release. Its funny, this is the subject of my next article which should be published soon!

Other reasons:

* silent shooting: no longer do I sound like a machine gun during ceremony
• focus peaking: shooting manual primes is a breeze.
• more data in the EVF: I can see how the shot will turn out in real-time
• much better subject tracking
• no shutter to fail mid-wedding: mechanical things fail. Why not remove a major failpoint (which has failed me)?
• pre-capture buffer: ever tried to get a perfect cork popping? The Z8 makes it easy
• sensor stabilization: in low light, could make the difference between a blurry shot and crisp
• no mirror to black out the EVF while tracking
• low light focus is like 4 stops better with Z8. No more focus hunting on the dance floor.

Every single one of those things means your chances of getting key shots are increased. This isn't a new concept in any field, though. Better gear doesn't equate better results, automatically. If the D850 suits someone and they find that they get good enough results at a wedding, that's their benchmark. For me, I want to deliver the best possible product. If I find limitations that can be overcome with new gear, I'm getting it, learning it, and using it. IE: sony's new global shutter to improve the flash power ratio outdoors in full sun.

for weddings, i absolutely agree with Sean. A current camera will definitely ensure a higher keep rate! Meaning, more options of images to deliver.

Camera specs for the D850 are definitely enough for any wedding. But the AF will definitely hinder your chances of delivering more and better images!

I hear you, however, anyone not able to deliver exceptionally high quality with the Nikon D850 or similar shouldn't be a wedding photographer.

you can deliver quality images with any camera system and a nifty fifty. I don't think that's what's up to debate here.

Because it's an article on having the right equipment. As Sean pointed out, although you could cover a wedding with an inferior camera, why would you?

This coming from a Canon shooter - I REALLY like the z8. Nikon has stepped up their autofocus game like you wouldn't believe. That thing can find a face anywhere. And the dynamic range of those bussy files are absolutely amazing.

The D850 is a decent camera, but modern alternatives are so far ahead.

You would not need mirrorless. The 850 is a wonderful camera. I wish I could afford to buy one and the lenses to go with it. I love mirrorless too. But my preference is a DSLR because I'm really old and spent my whole life shooting with SLRs. You should use what you like.

D850 is still one baller camera. It's not like it stopped being good at taking photos. Is there better? Yeah of course, but the D850 is far from incapable.

There's always going to be better. I get more than what I need with the D850

The specific make and model recommendations are beside the point and make the article read like an ad. The more general advice is useful, though, for newcomers to the market.

Two cameras is, indeed, an absolute must, and it’s very helpful to have a pair with identical, or nearly so, operation and controls. They need not be identical, though. I used to have an EOS 1D and 1Ds, then MkII and MkIII iterations of both. Later, it was two Panasonic GX8s and a GX9. Now, it’s a Sony a7IV and a7RV.

A 24-70/2.8 is versatile and especially useful on a dance floor, but it’s by no means the only approach. I prefer to combine a 35-135/2.0-2.8 on the a7IV with a bright prime on the a7RV, or, on a dance floor, use two bright primes.

The Profoto A1 is a particularly inappropriate recommendation, especially for a new wedding shooter, as it’s 5x more expensive than Godox’ similar V1 while offer little additional functionality and (according to online reports and 1st-hand complaints) suffering very rapid battery depletion, even when not in use.