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Thomas asks…

Wedding Photographers: my wife wants to start “dabbling” in wedding photography. What’s the minimum equipment?

She has a Pentax DSLR camera – what I’m really wondering is, what are the specs of the lenses she’ll need to get started, and what are the specs of the flashes she’ll need. Not wanting to go full-time, just wants to make a little extra money as she’s home with our new baby daughter.
Hey “Sam C,” I’m 1/2 mexican, and 1/2 asian indian,so you’re racial slurs missed the mark. Try again.

administrator answers:

Wedding photography is an expensive career. The investment to begin is quite large considering the things youe need to buy. You can expect to spend between £6000-£12,000 just to get started with the minimum’s necessary.

Here’s what was in my bag when I started:

A bag that’s deep enought to hold my gear: £300
1 main camera body £2500
1 back-up camera body (you can’t go without) £1200
50 mm lens £400
85mm lens £450
70-200 with IS £1700
Wide Angle 17-35mm £800
1 580EX Flash £450
1 430EX Flash £400
1 macro lens 100-300mm (for tiny little details like rings) £500
Extra batteries for cameras £120
Flash batteries £80
Various filters for the lenses £350
CF cards – 30GB £1500

£10,750 was the grand total of what was purchased before I ever shot a wedding. Plus you need to take into consideration all the expensive software you need to develop the photos to professional quality:
Photoshop – £1200
Lightroom £350
Show it Web – £300
And a website / marketing!

Since first starting I have added an extra £10,000 of gear and additonal software beyond the basics just to make sure I have everything. Getting into photography is quite expensive, you should consider it a long term investment!

Helen asks…

What kind of camera equipment do I need to be a wedding photographer? I really need camera recommendations.?

administrator answers:

Since you ask this question, I am assuming that you have been taking some sort of photographs and now want to step it up; go to the next level, so to say.

You will require a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex). Basically, it means that you’ll require a camera that operates with interchangeable lenses. This is a very costly affair. Let me sidetrack a bit. If it is your intention to make a living from photography (part time or full time) you’re in for a rude awakening. You’ll make money but most of the profits will be ploughed back into equipment. If you’re in it purely for the money and not passionate about photography, you’ll take lousy pics. If you have both passion and the desire to make a career out of photography, then you’ll have the best of equipment and take the best of pics 🙂

Coming back and not wanting to confuse you with too much info or choices.
Start with a decent camera any of these brands, Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus or Pentax.
Personally, I would recommend Nikon or Canon.
Nikon – rock solid bodies and easy to operate and lenses from 30 odd years ago will work on this camera.
Canon – plasticy bodies but sharp pictures.

To begin with, choose a good quality zoom lens. Since you’re starting out, a good wide angle to zoom will enable you to take groups shots and portrait shots, too. Preferably Nikon lenses but to begin with, Sigma and Tokina made good lenses, too. As you make more money, you can buy the more expensive pro lenses and cameras.
Start with either, a Canon any in this range, the 20D,30D,40D, 50D but preferably the 5D or Nikon D80, D90, D200, but preferably the D300 or higher.
Lens: decent wide angle to zoom, maybe an 18-70mm or 18-100odd. Both Canon and Nikon make cheapie medium zoom lenses, too.
Lighting is important so you’ll have to buy a flash head. Either the Canon 530 or Nikon 800/900 depending on system choice.

Doesn’t matter which camera system you choose, you should always keep spare batteries, and memory cards and even cameras. Buy a 2nd body, even if it is a cheapie to act as backup. Sometimes, even a compact camera such as the Canon G range will have to do, if you’re really in the squeeze. Always have a plan B but the worse thing to do is not to present the married couple with any pics of their once in a lifetime memories. Even if the pics are terrible, they’ll cherish it as its their wedding pics, but if you’re paid to take pics, take them even if your camera is blown to pieces, take out a cellphone and take the pics. For this reason, a backup is important. The better the backup, the more you’ll feel at ease.

Good luck.

Mary asks…

Best cameras for Wedding Photographers?

Hello, I’m planning to start a career in wedding photography. What are the best camera options for me and what other basic equipment (kinds of lenses for weddings, tripods, lights, etc.) will I be needing?

Thank you so much.

administrator answers:

For weddings I recommend a digital camera, even though their range of highs to lows is much worse than film. Remember. if you’re going to go with digital, you’ll need TWO full frame camera bodies.

Let’s see…other things you’ll need. Tripod, wide angle f/1.4 lens , semi-long f/2 lens, wide-to-semi-long f/2 lens, flash bracket, really good flash, 3-5 portable strobes with battery packs and tall stands, weights for the stands, radio triggers, softboxes, umbrellas, diffusers and reflectors, on-site backup system if you’re going digital, an assistant, a case of Mylanta…. Conservatively, I’m guessing £15,000 to start, probably more like £20,000.

Wedding photography is not really a good place to start. I’ve been doing photography for years and weddings are the biggest challenge for any photographer. On the other hand, if you can manage to cover a wedding then you can be sure you can cover all aspects of Social Photography.

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