Richard Grenfell Photography

Camera Equipment That Should Be Used For Photographing Events and Weddings


A photo of me with on a wedding using two cameras during the ceremonial part of the day


This is something that I am sometimes asked about and thought it would be worth writing a brief overview about, in case it might help people understand a little more about it.

I am of the belief that if you are given the responsibly and privilege to photograph an event such as a wedding, then it is negligent not to use professional photographic equipment.

So what is professional camera equipment? This is hard to define as you can get professional results on non-professional camera gear.

The way that I define professional cameras for event work is that they need to be robust and weather sealed, they have to have two memory card slots , you have backups for everything and good image quality especially in low light. I do not think the brand of a professional camera is important as they are all so good now. Arguing about camera brands is like arguing about Ford vs Holden or Apple vs Samsung…basically a religious argument that enthusiasts like to squabble about.

So let’s take a look at each point.


Robustness.

You really get what you pay for. There is a substantial difference between a sub $1000 camera body from JB Hi FI and and professional camera for $3000 to $5000 Pro bodies can take a beating and are made from metal as opposed to plastic. They also have gaskets that protect it from moisture, dust, rain and sand. I feel that this is critical when you need to be photographing in challenging conditions like rain or on a windy beach. You cannot have equipment failure when photographing important events due to harsh photographic conditions. This particularly pertinent in areas like here on the Sunshine Coast where beach photography is commonplace.


Two memory card slots.

What does this mean? The memory card is where the photos go when the shutter button on the camera is pushed. Certain cameras in recent years come with two slots for dual memory cards. This means that you can have your photos simultaneously go to both cards for back up purposes. This means that if you have a memory card fail you have all the photos on another backup memory card and you are golden. Truthfully the chances of this happening is pretty low if you use good quality memory cards. I see it like having a spare tyre in the car or having house insurance. Hardly even happens but you really need it when it does.

The dual memory card discussion seems to be the cause of great debate causing photographers on the internet to go into meltdown. Some argue that they have shot for years with one card and never had a problem! No sir!! And what about the days when cameras only had one card slot or when film was shot!!!! In my opinion that is a flawed argument because we now have the option to use two memory cards added to cameras by manufacturers to safeguard against failures that causes lost photos. It’s that simple. I am not going to be the photographer who goes to a client and have to explain to them that their photos are lost due to equipment failure. The end.

It is not as critical if you are photographing something like false teeth for a dentist. You can always go back and do it again. But for an event such as a wedding, graduation, a sporting event etc etc you cannot go back and do it again. I have seen this on Facebook in wedding groups where a poor couple did not get their images because of lost data. Absolutely heart breaking.


One of cameras with the two memory cards displayed.


Backup equipment.

All equipment will fail at some point either via natural failure or accidental damage. It is inevitable it will happen at some point. Stuff breaks and chances are one day some drunken guest will spill a jug of beer on a camera. The trick is to be ready for it. You really need two professional cameras and some form of backup for the important lenses. I do not think you can responsibly take on an event like a wedding with only one camera. I personally fall into the category of being truly paranoid. I have 3 professional Cameras (2 x Canon 5D Mark 4’s and 1x Canon 5D Mark 3), 8 Pro grade Lenses, 5 Flashes, 9 camera batteries and 40 rechargeable AA batteries. I am currently insured for about $25000.00 worth of camera gear. I am very happy with my camera gear but it is worth more than my car which is a little depressing.

Click Here to view my Gear

Image Quality and low light

The majority of professional photographers use cameras that are "full frame". What this means is that the sensor (the part of the camera that actually captures the images) is quite large. In a nutshell this means that you get "cleaner" images in dim situations. This is critical for event photographers. Ever notice that your phone photos look fine when you take a photo during the day but turn into a grainy mess when you take them in low light situations? Part of the reason is that the little camera in phones just do not have the light gathering capabilities that pro cameras and lenses do.


Lenses

In regards to camera lenses this is a complex and complicated discussion that is beyond the scope of this overview. There is no right or wrong… as long as they work and you like how they look. There are entire websites dedicated to it. I think the main thing is that you do not go to an event with just one lens. You should have a few to cover your bases and safeguard against failure.

So there you have it. That is my opinion what is required to photograph an important event such as a wedding. If you have any comments or questions I would love to hear from you. You can contact me here: