Here at Rav Photography, we love shooting weddings, and as we are smack bang in the middle of wedding season and my bag is already packed for a wedding tomorrow, I thought I would write a blog about one of the most frequently asked questions I am asked whilst at weddings: what's in my bag!
Above is a super artistic photo of my packed bag taken on my phone (as you can see, the camera's are packed). I guess the best place to start is with the bag itself!
I recently upgraded from a backpack style camera bag to this - the Nest Athena A100, a cabin carry-on sized roller bag with straps that pack away, and my back has thanked my ever since! It has thick padding with plastic inserts inside for a little extra rigidity, and is waterproof enough to brave a fairly heavy shower. It has lots of room for lenses, a padded section for my laptop, and straps on either side to carry a tripod and light stands. The orange inner lining helps to find small objects in the bag in dimly lit rooms, and the wheels silently glide across any surface which, combined with the sleek black exterior, allows almost ninja-like stealth.
The camera bodies I take with me to most weddings are the Canon 6d, the 5d Mark ii, and a 60d as a back-up. The first two spend most of the day attached to my person via a rather snazzy commando style double sling strap, whereas the 60d only really makes an appearance should I need more reach than the 70-200mm can provide on a full frame body (those awkward vicar situations).
Next is my trusty tripod, the Manfrotto 190XPROB. Usually I would bring this tripods smaller and lighter brother, the carbon fibre Manfrotto MT294C3 which has a smaller footprint and is much more maneuverable, but as the itinerary for tomorrow includes sparklers, and some of the shots will be using fairly long exposure times, I fancied something a little weightier. The 498RC2 ball head is my favourite tripod head for photography, its light, quick and easy to use.
If you've read any of the other blogs on this site, you'll be aware that I like to shoot using natural light, but sometimes this is impractical. I always carry a 55" inch collapsible reflector in my bag, but when this just won't cut it, I bring three fully manual Yongnuo 560 flash guns with me. I've never owned an automatic or ETTL flash gun, and like the complete control of the light that these manual flashes give me. I combine these with the YN622 triggers and receivers to allow use of the flash guns off the camera, and a couple of collapsible softboxes of varying shapes and dimensions to provide flattering lighting, whatever the available light situation.
Now on to the fun bit. The magic tubes, the light buckets, the glass. I'm just going to call them lenses. I like to shoot with fast primes for weddings, with a lot going on in the scene it's a lot easier to direct the viewers eye when you have a shallow depth of field, and often reception venues are pretty dimly lit and need a fast aperture to get a usable shutter speed. So here's what's in my bag for tomorrow: Samyang 14mm f2.8, Canon 20mm f2.8, Canon 35mm f2, Canon 50mm f1.4, Canon 85mm f1.8, Canon 24-105mm f4, and the Canon 70-200mm f4 IS.
As you can see from the photo above, there's also a couple of extra bits in there too, spare batteries, SD and CF cards, a couple of light stands, some OCF cables in case the triggers fail, various grad ND filters to shoot with a shallow depth of field in bright sunlight and a Rocket air blower. I also carry a bandana, as certain religious venues require covering of the head before allowing entry, a few bananas and lots of bottled water. So next time someone asks me I'll just direct them here. Job done.