13 Useful Gadgets Designed to Make Shooting Weddings Go Smoothly
If you're just getting started in wedding photography—or thinking about turning a part-time business into a full-time career—you know that you need to carefully choose gear that helps you work quickly and efficiently so you can concentrate on what's important--getting wonderful pictures of the bride, the groom, their family and friends on this important day. Fortunately, Adorama offers a wide array of helpful accessories and gadgets to make your wedding shoot go as smoothly as possible.
Choosing a camera is a personal, complex decision...but what about the little gadgets, gizmos and do-dads that can make your life easier in small and big ways? Remember, the good thing about shooting weddings is that you are surrounded by happy, smiling people dressed in their finest, but that anarchy is just barely below the surface (and sometimes bubbles up!) Keep smiling, no matter what--and have a bag of tricks on hand to help the day go smoothly. Here are eight clever items designed to make your job easier—our list of wedding photography essentials. (Is there an offbeat gadget that you use and love? We'd like to know about it, and possibly add it to this list. Add a comment, below!)
Product pricing and availability accurate as of January 16, 2015.
Get Up There
Conair Travel Smart 3 Step Heavy Duty Photographer's LadderKart Combination (Adorama price: $64.99)
When guests are dancing around the bride and groom at the reception, a wedding photographer must have a height advantage, so ladders are a requirement. But this three-step aluminum ladder pulls double-duty as a hand truck, so you can roll in your equipment bags rather than carrying them like an ox. As a ladderm the LadderKart can hold up to 300 pounds and has large, sturdy polypropylene steps, elevating the photographer 30 inches above the floor. As a hand truck, it holds up to 250 pounds, has 4-inch diameter rubber wheels, and folds flat.
Keep It Clean
Spudz 10x10-inch Microfiber cloth (Adorama price: $9.99)
Another dual-use item, but this one fits in your pocket: the Alpine Innovations Spudz 10x10 Microfiber cloth is a self-storing cloth that you can whip out at a moment's notice to wipe dust and smudges off your valuable optics. But, as they say on TV, that's not all: Since it's black, you can also use it for color balance. The Spudz Microfiber cloth container has a hook so it can conveniently hang from your camera bag, zipper, or keychain.
It's In The Bag
LowePro Magnum 650 AW Shoulder Bag (Adorama price: $219.95)
At the typical wedding, chaos circles around the photographer; it is essential that you are organized. A good gadget bag that has a place for everything you need is indispensable. While there are many options out there, the LowePro Magnum 650 AW is the most comprehensive carry-everything bag for pros that we've seen. It can accommodate 8-10 lenses (including that 70-200mm f/2.8), a bunch of flashes, two camera bodies, battery packs for your flashes, and has space for filters, memory cards, chargers, and more in its pockets and pouches. The Vertebral Tech shoulder strap is said to distribute the weight well so you can actually carry the heavy load, and a trolley sleeve so you can put it on a roller. It has a rain flap lid, convenient for outdoor shoots in iffy weather, and a sleeve for a laptop up to 15 inches. With exterior dimensions of 19.3x14.2x13.2 inches, it fits in overhead airplane storage, and holds a LOT of stuff. (Sorry, chiropractor not included.)
Thanks For The Memory
Adorama Slinger Digital Memory Wallet (Adorama price: $9.95) can easily fit into your back pocket and safely store 12 memory cards and accepts all formats. A small organizational tool like this is great when you're on the go and don't have time to grab your equipment bag to catch up with the bride!
You're Gonna Flip
Grip-It Delta Flip Flash Camera Bracket (Adorama price: $54.50)
Wedding photographers need flexibility in their gear, and moving a flash so it's perfectly positioned should be a quick and easy operation. So, what could be quicker and easier than a flash bracket with an articulated arm? The arm is seven inches long, which give you enough room to mount either a DSLR or a medium format camera.
Light, More Filling
Glow 42-inch 5-in-1 reflector (Adorama price: $34.95)
Sometimes you need to add some light to punch up your portrait subject's eyes and control the lighting ratio--and sometimes, that includes adding a little warmth to the scene. This reflector, which folds down into a disk a third of its full size, has white, black, silver, gold, and translucent surfaces. Use the translucent surface to soften harsh light (it'll come in handy when shooting outdoor portraits in the sun), the black to block unwanted light, and the rest to add a light accent. If you want to free up your assistant from holding it, bring along a Light Stand and Portable Reflector Bracket. An Adorama exclusive!
Westcott Illuminator Collapsible Disc Background (Adorama price: $149.90)
Need a nice, neutral background for your portraits? If the venue doesn't have an appropriate spot, Westcott's dual-sized disc is wide enough for very small groups (5x6). One is dark gray-brown, the other a pleasing blue pattern. Westcott has an extensive line of backdrops, including Chroma Key backdrops which let you swap out the background for anything you want to drop in after the fact. And it folds up into a small disk for easy portability. Use the Interfit Reflector Stand to hold it up.
3Pod PM3A Aluminum 3-Section Monopod (Adorama price: $69.95)
Optimize your in-focus percentage by using a monopod to shoot sharp images, every time. The new 3POD PM3A is an three-section model that collapses to 26 inches and extends to 69 inches, and is topped by a 100mm ballhead that supports 4 pounds.
And Don't Forget...
Carry extra batteries for your DSLR and flashes (or invest in powerpacks—see below) is always helpful! Seems like you can never have too many. Be sure to pack your charger, just in case.
And of course, you can't shoot a wedding without a flash...or two! Here are setups for Canon and Nikon shooters.
Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT (Adorama price: $549)
If you're a Canon shooter, the 600EX II-RT is a must. This flash includes a color filter holder for attaching Canon and third-party color gelatin filters. With a guide number of 196 feet at ISO 100, the 600 has power to spare, and its full 180° swivel head gives you control over the shape and direction of the lighting. You can always add more flashes as you go for more multi-light set-ups.
Nikon SB-910 (Adorama price: $546.95) The key to the Nikon Creative Light System, the SB-900 is a zooming flash with a range from 17-200mm, a choice of three light distribution patterns, and wireless control direct from the camera without the need for a separate transmitter. It has a range of 132-183.7 feet at ISO 100 and the flash head swivels 180 degrees left to right and 90 degrees up. Adding additional flash units is a cinch.
The Right Light
Gary Fong Lightsphere Universal System Cloud (Adorama price: $49.95)
Any flash coupled with Gary Fong's Universal Lightsphere will reduce harsh shadows and flatter any subject by producing soft, studio-quality lighting. Now with the addition of an innovative, patent-pending mount that is guaranteed to stay on, the Lightsphere will transform the way you use your on-camera flash.
More Flash Bang For Your Buck
Flashpoint Blast Power Pack BP-960
Adorama price: $249.95
When shooting a wedding, you're going to be taking a LOT of pictures with your flash set at full power. That takes a lot of juice and will drain AA batteries in, pardon the pun, a flash. The Flashpoint Blast Power Pack is a Li-polymer battery pack system that is affordable but will give you roughly 1800 full-power pops per battery, and promotes faster recycle time. Even better: Rather than swapping out the entire power pack when its out of juice, all you have to do is exchange the battery for a freshly charged one. Extra batteries cost only $100, a big savings over bringing an entire power pack. Power Pack kits with or without extra batteries are available with appropriate cables for Canon, Metz, Nikon, Sony and of course Flashpoint Streaklight shoe-mount pro-level flash systems. An Adorama exclusive!
Continue the conversation: What wedding photography gadget is a must-have for you? Leave a comment, below!