At this time of year one of the top questions we’re asked is “what gear do you recommend for a wedding photographer?”, and this isn’t a short query to answer! However, like all of our recommendations, we determine the experience level, budget and desired outcomes of the person looking for advice and find a solution that is tailored especially for them. Throughout this guide we’ll go through some of the best and most popular portable camera equipment available that are perfect for wedding photographers.
Importance of Reliable Equipment
A wedding is the most special day in many people’s lives, and the worst thing a wedding photographer can do is not be fully prepared to catch all the most precious moments in all their glory. It’s a very awkward conversation to have with the happy couple to ask them to pose cutting the cake again as the photo was too dark or your flash ran out of battery. There’s no better way of taking the momentum and magic out of a special moment than manufacturing that magic again because you messed up on the day by being ill prepared. We’ve collated some of the most well talked about and used wedding lighting equipment and are confident you will be well set with any of the below items.
Best Portable Flashes for Wedding Photography
When it comes down to essentials for any wedding photographer, after the camera itself (duh!), you can’t get any more essential than a camera flash. We usually recommend any wedding photographer to have at least two flash lights in their arsenal – a speedlight and an off-camera flash. If you’re just starting out you may be able to get away with just an on-camera flash, however this is very limiting and may not enable you to perform your best work.
Godox flashes provide portable, strong, and most importantly of all, reliable flashes that are the perfect mix of small and powerful for shooting a wedding. Their quick recycle time allows for multiple shots of a key event, and the ease of swapping batteries means there’s nothing in the way of the photographer doing their best work.
On-Camera Flashes (Speedlights)
The V1 speedlight from Godox is probably the most popular choice of flash for weddings as they are small and work directly on top of your camera of choice. The flexibility of the V1 means that it’s suitable for a wide range of photography situations due to the rotating head angle which creates a variety of lighting options.
We recommend using the V1 to create a simple fill light whilst shooting group portraits, outdoor candid photos, or decorations. The round head creates studio-level soft, even light effects whilst continuing to ensure sharp images even with shots that require movement (for example the couple’s first dance).
The Godox V1 offers a powerful 76Ws of power as well as 480 full power flashes, making it the perfect companion for on-location wedding photographers. The V1 is extremely user friendly and easy to use and features a round-head design which is magnetic, meaning you can attach accessory kits quick and smoothly. It can also handle High Speed Sync and can be used as a controller for other Godox lights if you expand your lighting options in future.
For those who are more constrained by budget, the V860III is the perfect model for those who want the power of the V1 without having to hand over as much cash. The main difference between the two models is the shape of the fresnel head – the V860III sports a rectangular head whereas the V1 has the round head. If you’re hoping to attach round head attachments at a later date, accessories such as the Godox S-R1 and AK-R1 will unlock almost the same functionality as the V1.
Portable Flash Heads
An alternative to using a V1 or V860III speedlight is to use a dependable off-camera flash which is compact enough to fit into your backpack. The Godox AD200 Pro is truly a wedding photographers’ go-to lighting option. The AD200 Pro is more than capable of keeping up with the fast paced, high demand that wedding photography requires. Being able to directly control the light with an off-camera flash gives you so much control on setting, light and time.
The AD200 Pro has three times the power of a typical speedlight, which is great if you find yourself needing more light than they can provide. It’s useful to carry both types of flashes if you’re shooting outdoors on an overcast day and you need more power than on-camera flashes can provide.
The AD200 Pro puts out 200Ws of power, all whilst being portable and ergonomically designed for photographers on the move in mind. With this flash you can achieve 500 full powered flashes from a single charged battery. This in almost all cases is more than enough to cover a whole day of shooting.
For those looking for even more power whilst not wanting to sacrifice too much on portability, the Godox AD300Pro is a great choice. Offering another 100Ws power over the AD200Pro at a total of 300Ws, the AD300Pro also has a built-in bi colour modelling lamp which is fully adjustable between 3000-5600k which is useful for visualising your shots.
The li-ion battery provides 320 full power flashes which should be enough for the day, but if not, the battery is easily replaced in seconds. In terms of size and power, the AD300Pro is probably at the upper limit on what you would consider truly portable (i.e. light and small enough to be able to hold in one hand and move around, and as powerful as you can get at that size.). In essence, a perfect middle ground between power and portability.
Even though with all of the above flashes you’ll probably be able to cover a full day’s wedding shoot on just one battery charge, there’s no price you can put on peace of mind. Many wedding photographers will change the battery over whenever they get a second after shooting a considerable number of photos, just to ensure there are no catastrophes! (Imagine rustling through your bag in the dark for some batteries because your flash has conked out during the couple’s first dance). Heading into the evening is when you will really depend on your flash.
The ultimate companion for a wedding photographer on the move – the CB-20 backpack from Godox protects your cameras/flashes/accessories whilst not in use, and allows you to access your gear quickly from inside as there’s included padded separators inside keeping things organised. Made out of water-resistant nylon material, the stylish branded CB20 backpack looks smart and will provide confidence that your expensive equipment is safe from damage.
Even though some photographers will prefer roller bags which may offer more space for more accessories, this is ultimately very restrictive. Imagine dragging the bag with you over cross-country terrain to a secluded woodland area for a more intimate photoshoot with the couple. The other option is to leave the bag behind, but then you’re hand-carrying your expensive equipment potentially in the rain, not to mention leaving the rest of your gear unattended.
A very popular new product from Godox, this round head flash attachment provides the photographer with more light options, notably offering softer lighting and a wider lighting angle. Weighing almost nothing, and easily folded and stuffed in a pocket, this addition to your kit bag is a no brainer. When paired with a round head flash such as the Godox V1 or AD100Pro, this silica gel diffuser can be moulded into three distinct shapes – shallow at a 180°angle, a 270° angle, or a flat surface for a more concentrated approach. Even the AD200Pro can fit it on if you have an H200R attachment.
Another Lencarta favourite, the AK-R1 round head accessory kit is compatible with the Godox V1, AD100Pro, and the AD200Pro (if paired with the H200R adapter). There’s a reason so many of our community ask us about the AK-R1 and rave about it – it’s high quality, inexpensive, and provides so many lighting options. The attachments feature magnetic grips so you can add and remove them in seconds, saving precious seconds when trying to capture those special moments.
Included in the kit are:
- Bounce Card
- Colour Gels
- Honeycomb Grid
- Dome Diffuser
- Nylon Carry Case
Thank you for reading through this list of our highest regarded gear for weddings photographers. This list was by no means exhaustive, but the above items are of the quality that both us and our community would swear by. If you have any equipment you feel is missing from this list, let us know! If you’d like to see some of the other products we stock that would be great for weddings, check them out here.