Let’s talk about wedding gear and what’s in our camera bag. Every photographer is different about what they decide to invest in when it comes to camera and lighting equipment. We started our business with cash, and we’ve never gone into debt while growing our business. I can remember when we started photographing weddings, we had basic kit lenses and one ‘nifty fifty’. We know that there are other philosophies out there regarding start-up versus gear, but when it came to starting our own photography business, we wanted to build it within our means, even if that meant that we didn’t get the next piece of equipment we thought we needed right away.
Starting out, we remember the urgency we felt about having the right camera or lens. We believed that if we could just get that right piece of equipment, then we would instantly have better photographs to show in our portfolio. And in the first year or two of our growing business, we put every penny that we earned toward purchasing the gear that we longed for.
Photographers often think we need every new piece of glass and piece of equipment that is released to do the job. The truth is, we don’t. In fact it took us years and years to find our current set up and we haven’t changed in quite awhile. Here’s the thing; when you are just starting out, equipment is super expensive and your budget might not support all of the purchases regarding that equipment. Our advice? Don’t go into debt for your business… ever. We started on Canon Rebels that cost $400, and when we mastered those, we sold it online and bought a newer model until we finally made it up to the full frame cameras that we wanted. A lot of our equipment was purchased used which is a smart way to save money and not get the immediate depreciation that you get when you purchase new.
If you’re smart about your purchases and what you need for your business first, you can keep things simple. Our bags holds all the gear we could possibly want to shoot for weddings and portraits, but we still try to keep things as simple as possible. We are of the belief that when it comes to our gear, less is more. We don’t see a reason to own twenty different lenses if we only use three different ones at our weddings.
There are a few things that we wish we would have known when we were just starting out: your gear DOES NOT define you or your potential of success. Let that sink in. Mastering what you have to work with does. You can take epic photos on your iPhone X, right?!? So don’t get caught up in the gear race and spend your life savings away and go into debt. Start small and work big! Rent gear (we highly recommend BorrowLenses for online camera gear rentals – they are amazing!) in the meantime while you are saving to make sure that it’s something you love and would use long term. For us, we hate zoom lenses, they are bulky and we use them only in a handful of situations. We love prime lenses because they are quick and sharp and require us to move and work to get the shot that we are looking for. Some photographers swear by zooms but we tried them and they just weren’t for us!
We also wish we would have known the importance of having backups. Thankfully we never found ourselves in a bad situation but when we started out, we didn’t have a ton of batteries or memory cards, and these smaller purchases can make a giant impact for you. With memory cards and batteries being reasonably inexpensive, there is no excuse for not having extras in your camera bag.
Our last and most important piece of advice: get to know and understand each piece of equipment that you use – that knowledge will get you further in your business than any purchase ever could. Learn how to photograph in manual mode, understand lighting techniques and the exposure triangle (aperture, ISO, and shutter speed) and how to manipulate any lighting situation and break the conventional rules of photography. If you want to be a wedding photographer, being able to walk into any situation and knowing how to photograph any scene will come in far more handy then buying the newest camera or lens. So before pouring money into the gear, invest in your education (note: photography education is neverending) so that when the time finally comes to upgrade, you will have the knowledge necessary to choose what’s right for your business! Just remember, start small and work big! Your equipment is only an extension of your creative vision!
Need more advice on which camera or lens would work best for you? Let’s talk!
Creative. Clean. Different. We are a couple of creative professionals in Cincinnati, Ohio with a passion for weddings and storytelling. Founded in 2015, our portrait studio has been recognized as one of the best wedding photographers in the Greater Cincinnati Metropolitan Area by leading publications and websites. We would love to invite you out to our Northern Kentucky studio to meet with us while showcasing our albums, canvases and other print products. We can also provide more information on our Wedding Collections and introduce you to our team! We would love to help, connect with us now.