The ultimate wedding day packing list for wedding photographers
As a wedding photographer, you know that the most important thing is to capture all of the special moments of a wedding day. But what you may not know is that the gear you pack can make a big difference in not only the quality of your photos, but also how you feel. If you’re anything like me, you have multiple alarms set on the morning of a wedding, you’ve pre-packed your bag, recited everything that’s in your kit 5 times, and probably even pulled your car over to double check the trunk on the drive to the wedding. That’s why it’s important to have a checklist of everything you need to bring with you on a wedding day–not just for your clients, but also for your own peace of mind.
In this post, I’ll walk you through everything you need to pack for a wedding day, from camera gear to backup supplies. I’ll also give you some tips on how to choose the right gear for your needs. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, read on for everything you need to know about packing for a wedding day as a photographer.
Here are the essential items you need to pack for a wedding day:
- Multiple camera bodies: You’ll need a camera that can shoot in high-quality RAW format. I tend to back 2 digital cameras and 2 film cameras and expect my second shooter to pack their own gear as well.
- Lenses: You’ll need a variety of lenses to capture different types of shots, from wide-angle shots of the ceremony to close-up portraits of the couple. A good starter kit would include a 24-70mm lens. In my kit, my 35mm, 50mm, and 80mm lenses tend to be my workhorses.
- Flash: A flash can be helpful for filling in shadows, adding light to dark areas, and capturing the vibrance of a dance floor.
- Memory cards: You’ll need plenty of memory cards to store all of the photos you take. A good rule of thumb is to bring at least one card for every hour of shooting, depending on the storage available on each card. I always bring extra cards because I record to both slots in camera simultaneously.
- Batteries: You’ll also need plenty of batteries to power your camera and flash. Bring at least two extra batteries, and make sure they are fully charged before the wedding.
- Charger: Don’t forget to pack a charger so you can keep your batteries charged throughout the day.
- Tripod: A tripod can be helpful for taking steady shots in low-light conditions. It can also be used for creating long exposures.
- Camera bag: You’ll need a bag to carry all of your gear. I recommend a bag on wheels that has plenty of compartments to keep your gear organized.
- Snacks and water: You’ll be working hard all day, so make sure you have plenty of snacks and water to stay hydrated. Bonus points if you pack Liquid IV.
As promised, here is my personal wedding photography packing checklist:
- Film camera bodies and lenses
- Digital camera bodies and lenses
- Film (120 format and 35mm)
- Light meter
- Digital camera batteries
- Digital camera battery chargers
- Film camera batteries
- Lens cleaning cloth
- Harness clips
- Constant light
- Flash (at least 2)
- Flash adapters
- Flash triggers
- Flash diffuser
- Light stands
- Light reflector
- Macro filters
- Backup pair of shoes
- Hand sanitizer
- Flat lay and still life styling risers
- Ring box for styling
- Styling surface
- Memory cards and case
- Memory cards case for second shooter (labeled)
- Belt bag for quick access to batteries and film, etc.
- Water and snacks
- Ear plugs for reception
- Computer, external hard drive, and memory card reader (if traveling)
- Ibuprofen or a pain reliever
- Hand sanitizer
- Cash to tip valet
While some of this list may feel excessive, there isn’t a single item here that I haven’t wished I had on a wedding day.