What’s the Least Amount of Gear You Would Use to Shoot a Wedding?

Wedding photographers haven’t had it easy over the last six months, but small, short-notice weddings mean that photographers often need to be able to travel light and move fast. What gear would you take as a bare minimum to shoot a wedding?

Like many in the industry, wedding photographer Taylor Jackson has seen a significant impact on his business as a result of the global pandemic, but he is seeing a spike in the number of elopement weddings being booked on short notice. He’s put together a short video to run you through the gear that he takes when he’s trying to travel as light as possible, a need that’s starting to become more common in his work.

Jackson has opted for some rather chunky, expensive glass to have in his arsenal, but as he mentions, there are plenty of more affordable alternatives, such as choosing slightly slower primes like the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED. At less than $500, this is a third of the price of its f/1.4 counterpart, as well as being half the weight.

What’s the absolute minimum that you would take with you to shoot preparations, arrivals, ceremony, and reception? Let us know what’s in your bag in the comments below.

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Lawrence S's picture

Obviously, just a fisheye.

Not really. Nothing new here. I went through the phase of the holy duality (24-70 & 70-200 F2.8), but recent years and after adding primes, I'd prefer the Sigma 35 f1.4 & Tamron 85 f1.8. Very lightweight, very fast, very sharp, no limitations.

Ideally, I would prefer the 85 to be a bit longer (105?) but there a no modern 105 F2 - F2.8 for Nikon, only big F1.4's.

But I would miss a backup if something went down. And I would want one of my prime lenses if I see a certain potential shot or scene that could use that specific look. Like a crazy shot with a 20 F1.4. So I end up carrying a semi heavy bag. While I enjoy the feel of freedom if I walk out with a wedding couple with just the 35 & 85mm on my dual harness. Especially on hot summer days. Just keep backups safely in the car.

Deleted Account's picture

What about the AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED ? A great lens for such occasion is the (older and not that small) AF-S 17-35 mm f/2.8.

Trey Mortensen's picture

I've now done 2 weddings with just a 35 and an 85. I actually really liked it. I had enough width for when I needed it, and I had enough telephoto for the situations I encountered.

(For answering this article) If I was really daft, I could probably do a whole wedding comfortably with something like a Tamron 28-75...

Percy Ortiz's picture

2 camera bodies (one main and one back up) 35mm, 85mm, flash and plenty of batteries and memory cards and you can shoot the frack out of a wedding no worries

Steven de Vet's picture

A camera

Chris Feldman's picture

No amount of money would induce me to ever shoot another wedding. Hats off to you photogs willing to put up with it.

Trey Mortensen's picture

I've only done word of mouth weddings, so I've been able to filter any potential bridezillas. I end up only doing 1 or 2 a year because of that, but it's just the right amount for me :D

And I do it mostly to pay off my latest gear purchase...

Luigi L's picture

RIGHT!? My sister shoots weddings...helped her one time as a second shooter...never again.

iran ramirez's picture

2 bodies, 3 lenses(24 1.4, 35mm 1.2 and 85mm 1.4), 1 off camera light. Spare batteries and spare SD cards.

tony cao's picture

i've contemplated doing weddings for 2 years, and in the end decided that it's just not worth it. keep in mind that i do have a full time career and photography is my sidegig. especially with Covid, it just made me completely gave up on that idea. right now i've decided to do realestate, not fancy or glamorous but i enjoy it and it allows me to earn some quick cash to invest in more gears.

Jacques Cornell's picture

My two Sony a7RIIIs, Zeiss Batis 25/2 and Sony 35 & 85 f1.8 primes. Two Flashpoint Zoom Mini flashes, one Flashpoint Zoom Li-ion R2 with Westcott Collapsing Umbrella on Manfrotto Nano stand.

That said, while on an extended overseas trip I was unexpectedly called into service with Panasonic G3 & GX1 bodies, 7-14, 14-45 & 45-200 zooms, a Metz 28 CS-2 mini flash in my left hand and a borrowed Canon 420EX flash with radio trigger held by an assistant. The results can be seen here:


Sankha Roy's picture

In my opinion Sigma 35. F1.8 is the best option with 70-200 and 24-70. Its a must have option for wedding photographers.