If I had to talk about one question that I get the most as a wedding photographer, it would be “What camera do you use?” I am not even going go into the whole “the photographer makes the image, not the camera” debate, because let’s face it – while your skill behind the camera is what it’s all about, but the equipment you have with you makes a big difference on a shoot.
We know that Indian weddings are days and sometimes week-long affairs. And as photographers, my instinct is to pack up everything I own and take the whole studio along. But of course, I can’t do that. Why? Because most of the times, we travel by air to wedding destinations and so it’s important that what we carry fits in the overhead luggage compartment and is also within the weight limitations of hand baggage. Secondly, let’s say the wedding venue or pre-wedding location is huge. Traipsing along hill and dale carrying a twenty-kilo backpack is for army commandos; clearly not for me. So comfort is important.
So, what’s in my bag? Read on to see what I usually carry for most of my assignments.
I use the Fujifilm XT3. It’s light, fast and does everything I want it to brilliantly! It has a great auto-focus and lovely form factor with major settings via just 3 dials. The colours come out amazing and I really love the image quality I get with this camera. Also, the electronic viewfinder lets me shoot what I see as is. I usually shoot with two XT-3 bodies, it’s easier to just change cameras with different lenses on, than struggle with changing lenses on one camera during a crucial moment. You never know what can happen at a wedding, so having a back-up camera is always a good idea.
Fuji 16mm f/1.4 R
This is my preferred weapon of choice while shooting a haldi! It is perfect for getting everything in one frame – the hands, reactions of the family, haldi being smeared on the bride/groom. This lens is brilliantly wide and never lets me down! If I had to choose just one lens to shoot the wedding, this would be it. My go-to for just about everything!
Fuji 56mm f/1.2 R
This is perfect for those dreamy getting ready shots and bridal portraits. The lens is great for portraits and has amazing frame compression.
Fuji 35mm f/1.4 R
This one needs to be used well as it doesn’t offer much maneuvering while shooting. Prime lenses aren’t flexible but still quite amazing for bridal shoots and getting ready shots.
Fuji 8-16 f/2.8 R
No sangeet performance is ever complete without this lens for me! It gives you a grand vista of performances and I’m sure to come out with striking images with this one! The super-wide allows for creative photography but needs to be mastered well, so be careful with this one. It can cause distortions and is not a good idea while intending to shoot close-ups or the bride.
FLASHES & ACCESSORIES
Off-camera flash is my bread and butter. I really believe that the ability to shape light well makes you a much better photographer. I carry a bunch of flashes, currently two Godox AD200 Pros which I use in a variety of manners and a Godox V1 for everything else.
Godox X1 and the X-Pro triggers work great on the Fuji system to trigger the flashes. The flashes themselves have in-built receivers so don’t need anything additional to pop them.
This one is a no-brainer. I always carry a LOT. I usually travel with two memory cards wallets full of Sandisk Pro 300 MBPS memory cards. You never want to run out of memory while shooting a wedding, especially when shooting in RAW. And since you never know how much, or what a wedding will bring, always carry more than you think you will need. One tip I would like to give all photographers out there is to invest in multiple medium-sized memory cards (32 gigs or 64) instead of one larger one. This limits the loss of data in case your card gets corrupted or malfunctions.
If my light stands could talk, they’d be screaming about the conditions I put them through! They fall over all the time, are put in water, get perched at precarious angles and get thrown about in airline check-ins. I’ve often lost, broken and/or forgotten my light stands. Which is why I use local unbranded (and cheap) stands because they do what I need them to without burning a hole in my pocket.
I use all sorts of light modifiers, but the one system that has stayed with me the longest is the Magmod system which includes the grid, gels and the flash diffuser. The Magmods are ridiculously easy to use in the field and are just about awesome. I also use the Godox AD200 with a beauty dish, and I swear by it!
So that’s it! That’s what’s in my bag! Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions regarding my gear or any other products you need advice on. I’m always happy to help out!