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Wedding Photography Starter Kit

Lesson 3 of 11

What Gear Do You Need to Start Your Photography Business


Wedding Photography Starter Kit

Lesson 3 of 11

What Gear Do You Need to Start Your Photography Business


Lesson Info

What Gear Do You Need to Start Your Photography Business

What kind of gear do you need to be a wedding photographer and I know that you know that yes you need cameras and yes you need lenses but what cameras and what lenses and how many could be a really hard thing to answer so start at the very beginning you need camera bodies yes ma'am we have a question and when people are wondering and kind of peeking their camera bodies what should they choose? Do you have a preference nikon or hot and is there a benefit of choosing one or the other? It's a very good question so before we talk about nikon cannon which I am going to talk about very momentarily and that's that's actually a very large question both from actual professional photographers and people who are just starting out when you decide to take this seriously is a venture. What gear do you invest in? The first thing that I want to say that's kind of important is you should never go to a wedding even as a part timer even as a hobbyist with just one camera because if you go with just one c...

amera and that just one camera brakes or malfunctions or something terrible happens to it you need to have atleast one backup just in case ondas faras nikon or cannon goes I can't tell you which one is better I am a nikon shooter but I did not start out as an icon shooter I was a cannon shooter until two thousand seven when I switched over to an icon, and if you're not certain which one you want to use, first of all, I recommend doing some research on the internet just get in there and start reading, and I can guarantee that what it will probably do is confuse you and give you no clear answers because both an icon and cannon are excellent systems. If you're truly not sure there are a lot of places online where you can rent camera gear, I suggest renting a camera body and a lens one icon and one cannon and shooting them both and seeing which one you like better don't invest heavily in any sort of kit of gear until you're comfortable with your decision. Now that said, like me, I invested in a system for a series of years and then realize that another system would be better for me, so I switched. I wish that the very beginning I had done a little more research before I just started buying because I had an old film camera and it had been a cannon, so I naturally thought when I start going digital all start using cannon too just because there is no one camera system that will make you a better photographer than the other, they're both very good, but it is a little bit like buying a car when you go when you start test driving cars, eventually one is going to feel better it's gonna handle better for you you're going to like the driving experience better it's the exact same way with cameras ni cons feel better in my hands they to me the menu system and the way the buttons are laid out makes sense to me but to one of my good friends who is a cannon shooter that they have no idea how to even turn it on so it's finding what you're comfortable with and then running with it and like I said, I recommend at least two bodies to camera bodies and when you start getting a little bit more serious about it, if you do decide to take this to sort of ah serious part time level or a full time level, I recommend three camera bodies. The reason for this is when I shoot a wedding I carry two cameras on me at all points in times with different lenses on them, so if one has a zoom lens on it, the other one might have a wide angle lens on it and it's easier for me to just pick up an individual camera than to take the lenses on and off all day long it also keeps dust from getting in the camera if I'm ever shooting on the beach, you don't want sand in the camera, so if you do you realize that down the road you are the type of photographer that favors shooting with two cameras at once? Then you need a third body because if you're shooting two cameras and one of them goes down, then all you have is one and it's helpful to have another at this point fourteen years in, I have five cameras and yes, I realize that is absolutely excessive, but I also to give you a little frame of reference, I shoot fifty weddings a year, so and I shoot very heavily shoot a lot of images of the weddings I shoot very long wedding days. For me, it is helpful tohave ah lot of backups because their hat there was a terrible dark wedding where two of my cameras went down at once and then I pick up two more cameras and now I'm down to one back up, so if you are thinking about this as a hobby or a part time job or you're very brand new, you don't need five cameras. You don't need three cameras, but you do need to, and if all you can afford is one you can always rent to back up when you go to a wedding four or more is that necessary on ly if you're crazy on only if you are a very high number, high volume shooter, you might want additional backups and like I said, all you really need is one so let's say you shoot five weddings a year does it make sense to own two camera bodies? Probably not if you invest in that first camera body when it comes time for you to shoot a wedding you can always go out and rent an extra camera body just is a back up it would be more cost effective than buying that second body before you're ready now do you need the latest and greatest camera? Because that's also going to be a very sort of stumbling point when you buy your first camera body you do not need the latest and greatest for example nikon has the d for they had the d for s those air the close to six thousand dollars camera bodies if you're brand new or if you're park time you don't need a d for us I do need it e for us because I pound it into the ground every single year with hundreds of thousands of shutter clicks I need something that can handle that kind of that kind of road where and terror basically but if you are looking at nikon you look at the d seven fifty that's more in the two thousand dollar range that's going to be a very solid stable camera that's going to do a great job for you at a much cheaper price tag than the more flagship camera bodies so you also don't need what's late like the latest camera, so if you're looking at something like a d seven fifty and that's a little out of your price range, figure out what camera body came before that which would be the g seven hundred, which you can now get for less than a thousand dollars. So if you do some research, ask other photographer friends, you know, ask people on facebook if you were starting out, what camera body would you buy? You just need a starting point and I do not want you to break the bank with the very first camera body that you buy. There will be many more things to buy down the road, so after you've sorted out your camera body situation, then you have to think about what type of lindsay's you're going to bring. Um so, first of all, again with the camera body question, how many linds is do you need and what kind and do you need the best lenses and the most expensive lenses, for example, nighttime makes an eighty five millimeter, one point four lens. It also makes an eighty five millimeter, one point eight lens. When you're first starting out, the cost difference between the one point four and the one point eight is pretty extreme you might not need that one point for when you start out you might be perfectly happy with for several years with the one point eight, which is what I did when I very first started out cannon had an eighty five millimeter, one point two and in eighty five millimeter one point eight I bought the one point eight it served me very well for many years because that's not where I wanted to allocate my money when I very first started um so what is the bare minimum that you need to go out and shoot a wedding as a quasi professional? Right? And this this doesn't mean you have to go out and buy every single thing that I'm telling you, but if I went out to a wedding with the absolute bare minimum of gear, what would it be now? I'm going to give you a nikon examples because as I said, I am a nikon shooter, so I would take three lenses with me, the nikon twenty four to seventy millimeter, nikon seventy two, two hundred millimeter and the eighty five one point four. Now I'm going to talk about each of these lenses in a little bit more detail very shortly, so you'll see what each lens does and why each lens is very important in my camera bag, but these would be the three that I would go with first. And I know that you know you've got the eighty five millimeter that is right in the seventy two, two hundred range but the seventy two, two hundred linds is a two point eight and eighty five is a one point four and I'll talk about why that's important shortly? Yes, man. Yeah, susan. And what if we could only afford a kit lenses that an issue if you can on ly afford a kit linds, I understand that that's where most people do start I would never go to a wedding with just one lens also because as we talked about with camera body is what if that one linds what if you go to put it on your camera and you drop it and it breaks? You could find yourself in a really terrible situation if all you can afford at first is a kit linds that's okay, but you do need to rent a backup and understand that when you do buy a kit lens the lens that comes with sort of the camera kit that you buy it's not necessarily going to be is versatile horace fast a lens as some of these other lenses that you can purchase so if you do get a kit lends to start, it will be a great back up for you down the road but I would recommend even before you out on a second camera body start adding on some better lenses so I would go camera body twenty four to seventy seventy two, two hundred eighty five of some kind. Then I'd buy a second camera body. While I was purchasing those lenses, I would be renting the second camera body that I needed and again move very slowly with your purchases. Don't max out your finances to do it. I would rather see somebody go slow and be a little slower to start their business full time, then find themselves in a lot of debt because being in a lot of debt, even over a hobby or a part time business is a very scary place to be after I purchased thes three lenses, the twenty four to seventy, seventy two, two hundred and eighty five one for my next step in adding on lenses. Once you have those and you love them and you're working with them, this would be my next level of lenses to purchase would be a macro of some kind. Mine is one hundred five millimeter macro. I have a thirty five millimeter, one point four linds, I have a twenty eight millimeter lens and I have a twenty four to one twenty millimeter lens I could go to a wedding without. The macro, the thirty five to twenty eight, two twenty four, two, one twenty and I could still shoot the job and I could still do it really well, but those lenses just enable me to do a little bit more and a little bit better. So when you look at wedding photographers, kits online and there's, lots of youtube videos and web sites that you can look at to see, what do you need to bring to a wedding and what's in my bag don't feel like you need everything that's in that bag right away, you need a very bare minimum of gear that you know, is going to work for you. So the next thing that's important to talk about is lighting equipment, and this is where it content to be very daunting, but I don't want this to be frightening to you. The first thing that you need is a speed light. This is just a very simple flash that you can put on the top of your camera. That will be another light source for you. I know a lot of cameras come with pop up flashes that's not going to be enough flash power for you to shoot a wedding with shooting your kids at home, sure, shooting a subject that you're close up to. Sure but shooting a wedding where you need more power you're not going to get enough power out of that little flash that pops up on your camera so I would recommend starting with a very nice very basic speed light nikon makes them cannon makes them it's usually when you go to purchase your camera it's usually suggested as an accessory and they are pricey but they're not prohibitively pricing and even if you use it in a very simple simple way that will be one thing that will start differentiating you from the other hobbyists will be a better light source if you have one and this is kind of a common theme here if you have one you need to because if you are relying on a speed like for your source of light if it does break you're going to need another one this is another one of those things that maybe you don't need right away maybe you rent it when you go shoot a wedding I would not in normal everyday life need multiple speed lights but if I'm at a wedding and one of mine breaks I'm very happy that I have those backups their very inexpensive to rent so if you've got one camera body and one speed light and you go to shoot a wedding rent that second camera body rent that second speed light until you're in a place of comfort where you can purchase them for yourself and how many do you really need to shoot a wedding? Depends on how you decide to light the wedding we have four speed lights in our bag when we go to a wedding sometimes we use all four sometimes we only use one as you get further into the wedding world and you start developing your own way of lighting things you will know how many you need at a wedding and you'll be able to plan accordingly but for now you just need one. Yes, ma'am, oftentimes we have a lot of people that are probably tuning in that air natural light photographers and probably I don't want to use flash what is your kind of feedback or take on that? Is that kind of a bad approach or my feedback for natural light photographers? And I'm not meaning to disparage anyone out there because everyone has their own style but what I see a lot of is photographers who are saying their natural light photographers, but what that means is I don't know how to use a flash or most of my wedding's kind of take place outside and I prefer that they do and when they go inside I don't really know what I'm doing with the flash so I'll call myself a natural light photographer and if natural light is your specialty that's a wonderful thing you also do need to know howto operate just a simple speed light because you can't control what happens to you on a wedding day, you might find yourself in a really dark reception room or it might rain and you get stuck inside all day. You need to know how to handle a light source even on a very basic level, so that if those things do happen to you, you don't find yourself really stuck. So then you get into the complicated things above and beyond just one speed light. You start talking about radio transmitters and receivers and you start talking about studio lights and soft boxes and more and more and more and do I bring this pro photo and do I put this soft box on it? What about octo box? And what about a strip bank? You don't need more stuff off you don't. When your very first starting out, you'll find a lot of wedding photographers will tell you that you need to bring this huge kit of lighting gear with you eventually, somewhere down the road, you might found out that that something that you do want to dio, but if you are very first starting out, don't get caught up in all of the stuff that people tell you that you need to buy because what's goingto happen inevitably is you're going to either invest in a lot of stuff that down the road you realize doesn't suit your style or you're going to invest in a lot of stuff and down the road you're going to realize it's not the right stuff or it's not the stuff that you like start very slowly, add on one piece of year get very familiar with it out on another piece of gear get very familiar with it otherwise you're gonna find yourself with an entire kit of stuff that is very overwhelming and might not even be the right stuff for you. Now on top of cameras and on top of lenses and on top of a speed light or two, you do need computer equipment even if you are a film photographer, you're eventually going to need to scan that film in somehow and start digitizing things. Most people nowadays are digital photographers I do know a lot of film photographers, but eventually they also do in some way work digitally so the computer equipment that you have is somewhat important you need a good solid desktop machine whether you are mac or pc whatever makes you happy you need an actual computer toe work on you need hard drive space because if you were going to shoot raw for your weddings, which I do in which most of my wedding photographer friend's dio raw files are big and they keep getting bigger so you need hard drive space to store those raw files on the worst thing would be to go to a wedding and to shoot it and to come back and realize you only have enough hard drive space for one wedding at a time you know I've got fifty weddings a year and I have a terabyte of space on my computer and sometimes that's not even enough you also need backup drives of some kind and this is the biggest mistake that I see even amateur photographers make with their file storage is you don't want all of your wedding day files toe live in one location if you come home and you download them to your computer and your computer crashes or something bad happens to your computer and you have to reinstall the operating system or it has to be wiped or god forbid someone breaks into your house and steals your computer you've lost everything so I would highly recommend the very first thing you d'oh even if you're doing this is a hobby is to have some system for backing up your files even if you're not a photographer even if you're just a mom who takes pictures of your kids on your iphone you want to back up these pictures because if you lose them digitally there just going so what I do is faras backup is I put everything on my computer then I back it up to an external hard drive I back it up to another plug an external hard drive that I keep off site so if my entire home burned down, I have everything stored externally once I've done when I'm done with the editing process and I don't have those raw files anymore, I just have my finished final j peg files. I back those up online, so not only do I have everything in my home, I have everything externally, and I also have everything online just in case. The worst thing that I hear happening is I've lost the files you don't ever want to be the person that loses the files because it's so easy to back them up and yes, hard drives are pricey, but there are also getting cheaper every single year, so all you really need if you were going to go with the bare minimum, have things on your desktop haven't external hard drive with everything backed up on it that you keep at your best friend's house or your parents house or in a safe deposit box, get it out of your house and then backed things up online. Yes, ma'am, all these things and it really just comes down to brand. Do you prefer using a mac or an h p and what do you know? I've always been a mac person and again it's kind of like nikon versus cannon, which feels better to you, max makes sense to me the way they run, the way they're set up, the way the operating system works, and it also carries through with the rest of the devices I own. I have an imac, I have a mac book pro, I have an ipad, I have a phone like an iphone, they all sort of worked together, but I also know a lot of people who work off of hp machines, and they do great, so don't think that if you are adele user or whatever user that you have to sell all your stuff and go by max, you don't have to do that. You just have to make sure that you have a fast enough computer with enough memory and enough hard drive space to get what you need done. Do you need an ipad or a laptop? Really? I do need a laptop, my laptop is absolutely crucial to me because I travel a lot, I have a studio, I also work from home. I also have a satellite studio in another state and I'm also on the road a lot. So for me, having a laptop is like having a desktop that I take with me everywhere that I go, so that is super crucial for me and I haven't ipad that I say I use for business, but really I just play games on it. Uh, you don't need an ipad. I know a lot of photographers will load a program on their ipad that will allow them to do sale sessions in person and that's a great thing, if eventually down the road that something that you need but that's, not something that I find super useful forming. And do you need the latest and greatest? You absolutely don't. My mac book pro that I carry around with me everywhere is eighteen months old, which in the computer world means it's practically dead, but I'm not going to replace it until I need thio and the same with my desktop machine. Yes, new things have come out that are amazing, but mine also still works. So in the sort of a round robin of upgrading gear, my computers or the last thing that get upgraded, I don't upgrade their operating systems until I need tio I don't like updating a photo shop or light room until I have tio you don't have to feel like every time a new camera body comes out or a new computer comes out or a new laptop comes out that you need to go get it, you definitely don't need to go get it.

Class Description

Are you really prepared to shoot your first wedding? Wedding photography comes with a lot of moving parts and committing to your first paid gig can be intimidating. In Wedding Photography Starter Kit with Susan Stripling, you’ll get the low down on everything you need to know before you head out on your first official wedding-related shoot.

Susan’s wedding photography has earned accolades from around the globe. But her success wasn’t built overnight. In Wedding Photography Starter Kit, she’ll detail every step in the process of starting out. 

You’ll learn about:

  • Transitioning from shooting as a hobby to making it a business
  • The process of getting clients and booking a wedding
  • The gear you need to have on hand
  • How a typical wedding shoot flows

Wedding photography has the potential to be a lucrative profession for any photographer who is willing to work hard and develop the skills. In Wedding Photography Starter Kit, you’ll get advice on starting a photography business from a serious professional who knows exactly what it takes to thrive.


Laura Bellamy

Honestly, I thought this was a great and pretty informative, all-encompassing course. Great for beginners, but even as a slightly more seasoned photographer, I found a lot of this super helpful. Much of it wasn't news to me, but a lot of it I found just hasn't been on my radar recently. I think it's always a good idea to return to basics every now and then. There is always more to learn, and I feel I can definitely learn from someone with a great deal more experience than myself. As soon as I can afford it, I'll be buying more of her courses, I respond to her very well!


Fantastic Course. Susan is well prepared, very informative and very entertaining. She puts it all out there. She is 100% a PRO. She was fun to watch and she makes beautiful images.

Larissa Jean

I honestly love this class. I'm just starting out as a photographer, and like she said, a friend's wedding just sort of fell into my lap. I had no intentions of trying to photograph any weddings this first year of learning, but I was persuaded by the fact that my friend really just wants photos to look back at. This class is helping me get prepared, it's making me feel more confident, and it's teaching me things that I didn't know or was very unsure about. If you are new in your photography venture like I am, I would highly recommend this class!