In just over 24 hours I’ll be heading to a beautiful mountain village in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy to photograph a wedding for a lovely couple who live in the UK but are marrying near where the groom was born. I’ve photographed lots of weddings in the UK and one a long time ago in Greece, the latter way before I was professional and I just had a couple of cheap lenses.
Travelling to Bologna with a budget airline I need to pack my carry-on bag VERY carefully as they are pretty strict about weight and size of the bag. And there’s no way I’m checking in my camera bag for obvious reasons (we’ve all seen bags being chucked about like footballs). After much deliberation I’ve got my gear down to 5 lenses, two camera bodies and two flashguns. Here’s what’s going to be in my bag.
- Lightweight and compact ME-PHOTO travel tripod for low light images the night before the wedding and on the evening of the wedding day.
- Canon 5D MKII body – the back up camera in case my main camera (6) fails for any reason.
- Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5 lens – (Canon fit) back up zoom lens for the back up camera!
- Canon 580EX II flash gun – back up flashgun for the back up camera! I’ll mention flash in more detail when we get to (9).
- Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens – beautiful lens for the back up camera.
- Sony A7 camera with 55mm f/1.8 lens – this will do the most work at the wedding. I’m in the process of gradually moving over to the Sony mirrorless, full frame system, as the camera body and lenses are much lighter and smaller, but pack as big a punch as my Canon gear. The Sony 55m f/1.8 Carl Zeiss lens is superb and I can’t believe how sharp the images are.
- Sony 28-70mm f/3.5 lens – will also see a lot of action – for the wider shots that the 55mm lens can’t do. It’s a great everyday lens and will do well in daylight. Luckily the Sony A7 performs fantastically well at high ISO values so will help this lens out there.
- Sony 70-200mm f/4 lens – my new toy! This will be fantastic for capturing those candid moments of the bride and groom and little Oscar, that I know Sarah and Fabio will value the most.
- Sony HVL-F43M flashgun – this is a very powerful flash that again is smaller and lighter than the Canon flashgun. In the bright and often harsh Italian sunshine (struggling to remember what sunshine is here in the UK!) I’ll have to use the flash to avoid harsh shadows. And it’ll be great for photographing the first dance – I’ll combine it with a slow shutter speed to capture the ambience of the beautiful venue. And of course all those shots of guests partying into the night.
If I could fit it into my bag I’d be taking my Sigma 105mm macro lens (and adapter for the Sony camera), to capture lovely abstract close ups, but if I’m imaginative with how I shoot with the other lenses I can do without.
Other items – spare camera batteries, battery chargers, AA batteries for the flash guns, memory cards, lens cloths, iPad, drive onto which to transfer the images.
If anyone can think of anything I’ve forgotten then let me know! In the next 24 hours…
And now for the other important bag… clothes, make up, hair straighteners, swimming costume (apparently I will have time to use the pool the day before the wedding – oh yes! As long as no one has a camera aimed in my direction… it’s in my contract!)