Best Camera For Wedding Photographer
Every year the model of the best camera for wedding photography changes, and sometimes it’s quite difficult to buy the camera that is not only decent and affordable, but works best for you and your unique shooting.
My name is Lennard Coy and I’m a wedding and portrait photographer. There’s a ton of people asking me “how much money should I have to start a wedding photography business “what is the best cameras for wedding photography”, “what lenses should a photographer have” or “how to choose between Canon vs Nikon”. The total cost of my gear in 2010 was near $12,000. Too much, I think. If I started my business in 2018, I wouldn’t spend much money on my kit. I want you, guys, to remember that the camera is just a tool that you use. It’s all about the stories. Don’t get caught upon 3K, 4K, Image Stabilizer, all these things that the companies try to sell you on. It’s really about the story first. Any piece of gear that you select, don`t forget that you make your decision based on “this allow me to focus on a couple more, and focus on the story more”.
Don’t become desperate and follow the stupid trends of shootings weddings on iPhones or smartphones. How can you catch the right moment on your phone? If you or your customers need one of the photos printed on the wall in maybe a suitable poster size, they can't. These pictures all were taken with a sensor the size of a tiny ant. Yeah, they look good on Instagram, but in a small size. Just enlarge it, and all you could see will be pixels. So, right now stop making clients believe iPhone is a good "camera". That’s why I decided to write a complete guide about which camera is best for wedding photography, and not become a failure.
- How to choose a camera for weddings
- Which camera is best for wedding photography?
- How to get a used camera?
- Best camera settings for wedding photography
- My wedding photography camera
I’ve shot dozens of weddings, I’ve bought lots of different equipment, and today I plan to support you in making decision what is the best camera for wedding photography that makes sense in your experience level, and what kind of clients do you what to attract.
Tips to buy the best camera for wedding photography
When it comes to right cameras, if you’re planning to shoot events, you are going to be able to focus fast and get that shot which is very touching for wedding.
Prefer the best DSLR camera for beginners
For wedding photography, I certainly recommend buying a DSLR. I know the mirrorless cameras are the up-and-coming thing. But when it comes to autofocus, it’s not quite there. You can split the best DSLR camera for beginners into two categories: aps-c, which is a crop sensor camera and the full-frame cameras. I like to focus on full-frame cameras that can capture more light with their sensors, compared to middle-level cameras, which can be equated to 35 mm film (exactly 36 by 24 mm).
Consider camera characteristics
So, what factors make a good camera? You can’t just look at megapixels and assume the more equals netter. Pay attention to the latency. It is the interval between pushing the button on the camera and having the picture actually happen. Under condition you have a point-and-shoot camera, when you push the button, you’ve got time to use the bathroom or paint the room, before the photograph actually happens. That’s not a great way to shoot a wedding ceremony. So remember, buy a camera that fits your lifestyle (consider size and weights) and isn’t too big to carry out. A good camera for wedding photographers should have fantastic high ISO, ability to change lenses, long battery life with an optical viewfinder, Wi-Fi function to transfer images during the ceremony, etc.
Rent a good camera for wedding photographers before buying
In order not to be mistaken with the choice of equipment, you can verify and compare them by taking for rent. Here are three services that can help you easily do it.
Borrowlenses. On this site you can rent the latest equipment, which will be thoroughly checked and cleaned before shipping. Available on San Francisco, Boston, California (North & South), Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington Areas. You can order all wedding essentials for $227 per 7 days.
Cameralensrentals. This site working since 2008 and here you can rent cameras and photography lenses from 1 to 90 days. They ship equipment to all 50 states to your door.
Lensrentals. Work since 2006 and is the big online rental provider for photography, videography, and lighting equipment and accessories in the US.
The best camera for wedding photography
Before choosing the camera for your practice, mind the following things:
- Mind the price. Photography is an expensive business. Don’t expect high end photographs from the cameras for $500.
- Don’t be distracted by a “special offer”. When you walk into the camera store, look online, you have something in mind. But when you see a shiny sigh that has sparkles on it, and says “special weekend deal”. They offer all equipment, lenses, flashes, bags in the package, and you say wow, it sounds like a good deal. Don’t forget about what did you need before.
- Don’t be over-concerned about online reviews. I have seen so many bad testimonials about the Canon full frame cameras that I use. These people are very angry, they have much free time and internet connection to make you confused. So see as much reviews as you can, and listen to the big audience. If all people say it’s a bad camera, well, think about it.
- Don’t believe that the best camera undisputedly makes the best photographs. Ansel Adams said that the most important part of every camera was 6 inches behind it. Use your skills and fantasy, don’t rely on the camera only.
The best budget camera for wedding photography if you are a beginner
As the first camera, many young wedding photographers are looking for offers with prices below $1500. Therefore, I have prepared for you a list of the best cameras for wedding photography that not only cost less than $1000 but which more or less satisfy the parameters of a wedding photo session for amateur shooters.
Cost: about $354
This camera can rightly be called the best budget camera for wedding photography, the lightest and smallest DSLR camera, in addition, with the Wi-Fi. You will have available ISO values from 100 to 6400 (expandable to 12800), pretty good as a start.
Cost: about $464
This is a pretty fast camera with 24.1 megapixel sensor. You can do up to 6 frames per second. I advise you to use it for photos of guests or for candid photos. It’s not the best Nikon camera for wedding photography, but the cheapest one.
Cost: about $849
If you are looking for something portable and light, then this best camera for wedding photography will suit you perfectly. It has amazing large 2.35 million not electronic viewfinder, and its 5-axis image stabilizer is ideal for taking clear photos with different photography lenses.
Cost: about $1199 ($829 now with discount)
It has an excellent 19 point cross-type auto-focus, and the ISO values are from 100 to 12800 with the ability to expand to 25600. Also, there is a touchscreen with the high-resolution.
Cost: about $1699 ($999 now with discount)
This is a compact camera for wedding photography with a high-resolution matrix, which is great not only for photos but also for video shooting. Together with the best Canon lens for portraits – you will catch amazing wedding photos of family and the couple.
Expensive and best camera to use for wedding photography for professionals only
Cost: about $2,158
This camera has an incredible 42.4 MP back-illuminated sensor and an updated processing engine that makes data processing simply instantaneous. It also has two memory card slots.
Cost: about $2,796
This is the best Nikon for wedding photography, has everything for obtaining high-resolution wedding photos with excellent detailing: 51 focus points and the ability to change ISO values, starting from 64 (instead of the usual 100) and ending with 12800, with the possibility to expand to 51200.
Cost: about $ 3,299
The full-frame camera, which is ideal for images with a blurred background and details thanks to its best wedding photography lenses. The ISO values of this camera are from 100 to 25600, but you can expand the range from 50 to 102800, which allows you to take photos without noise in the very low light.
Cost: about $ 5,499
The photo shooting speed of this best camera for wedding photography is impressive - 14 frames per second and it's produce RAW format photos with the ability to take 170 photos in a row at this speed. The same attention is worthy of autofocus in 61 points of focus and the ability to shoot video in 4K.
Cost: about $5,319
This is the best Nikon for wedding photography which has simply stunning ISO values: from 0 to 102400, with the ability to expand to an incredible 3280000. You can actually take images at night without wedding photo retouching. The shooting speed is 12 frames per second, but you can take 200 photos in a row.
How to buy a used but the best camera to use for wedding photography?
Some photographers remain suspicious about buying pre-owned cameras, lenses or any other gear for photographers. The fear is understandable, but if you stick to these 5 tips you will find the best camera for wedding photography in no time.
Tip№1 Buy a used camera gear from a trustworthy source
Use only reputable online stores like Ebay or B&H. You can also use FredMiranda forum that specializes in selling photography gear. You can find everything from the best lens for portrait photography to best wedding photography lenses. Professional equipment is expensive, so don’t risk your money by buying from less credible sources.
One of the main things is to remember that you should be able to reach out to the seller and know basic information about him/her. Make sure to inquire about the return policy of the website.
Tip№2 Take your laptop with you
Test your camera for dead/hot pixels. Put the best wedding lens cap on, set your camera for low ISO and long exposure, and then take a photo in RAW format. Zoom in the picture on your laptop to find out whether it has dead pixels.
Check the shutter count. You should never order a camera without knowing how many clicks are on the shutter. To check this you can use either PhotoME or CameraShutterCount online and free services.
Examine the camera for sensor dust. Every DSLR is weak to this problem. Even though it’s totally normal to have a little bit of dust on the matrix. If there’s too much of it, you will have to give it for a sensor cleanup. If you want to examine a sensor - just take some images of a clear white wall or sky and zoom in. If camera has any problems - you will see it right away.
Tip №3 Examine mechanical condition of the camera gear
Inspect the camera closer and make sure that any flaw is reflected in the price. Examine the appearance of any visible damage, check the Viewfinder and LCD Screen, examine the lens mount and aperture.
Tip №4 Check Autofocus
You should check all available photography lenses of your potential camera to see if autofocus works well. Make sure that it’s not slow and doesn’t make any weird sounds. Besides, when testing gear - choose a place with good lighting.
Tip №5 Things that are always forgotten
Put your safety first. Organize a meeting with the seller in a public space and take friend with you. Not just for safety, if you decide to buy the camera with 16 lenses, you will need some help. Use cash to complete a transaction and never pay upfront. If it seems like an unbelievable bargain, don’t let your common sense get clouded.
Buying used cameras is a practical choice and it’s a common thing in the industry, - just make sure to stick to these tips.
The best camera settings for wedding photography
If you think that buying the best camera for wedding photography will immediately guarantee you taking incredible images - you are mistaken. No matter how much the camera costs or what characteristics has, it needs to be set up and you should be able to do it right.
Yes, you can always take photos in automatic mode. However, automatics do not always convey everything that you want to capture.
1.Go into manual mode
2.Adjust the aperture
3.Adjust shutter speed
5.Experiment with lenses
CEREMONY. Let’s say you have a couple just coming out the church after their ceremony, the guest are throwing rice, and you want to capture that in the moment. You want to have a very high shutter speed, so that you can stop the motion.
For the ceremonies, I usually advise to choose a shutter time from 1/80 to 1/60, but this depends on the lighting conditions. If necessary, you can make the shutter speed a bit longer, the main thing is that the ISO value does not exceed 1600 and the noise is at a minimum. The maximum aperture value should not exceed f/2.8. This will be enough for you to ensure that the newlyweds are in focus with a pleasant Bokeh.
COUPLE PORTRAIT. When you’re shooting the couple themselves and you want to shallow depth of field, you want to keep the aperture really wide open, So, a lower f-stop number, the lowest you can get actually. You will produce a shallower depth of field creating more emotional shots. The best camera settings for wedding photography for such a scene are shutter speed at 1/60, ISO to 400 and a value of aperture no more than f/5.6, as for the portrait you need more light. Also don't forget about the background. If it is good, then you cannot touch the exposure. But if you don't like it for some reason, you can set the exposure for -2 to darken it a bit, and your objects will stand out more. You can achieve this easily, by raising the shutter speed.
PRE-WEDDING PHOTO. For this sample, the main settings are 1/100 sec., f/4.0, and ISO 400. Do not forget that the newlyweds can be in front of the wall, in which case you will need to use an external flash and keep it over your camera so that the shadows become minimal.
OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPH. In this case, you can use the aperture priority mode, because there is usually enough light on the street. While photographing the bride and groom outdoors, I would still recommend not raising the aperture above f/4.0 to get a greater depth of field. But if you want to show the background, by reducing the blur, you can slightly raise the value of aperture using an external flash to fill. I recommend setting the flash value to -1 or lower to get the flash blend nicer.
GROUP PHOTO. For a family group setting where you have multiple rows of people, you don’t want to have a very shallow depth of field, because the people in front will be in focus, but the people in back won’t. Pose people in even lightning, shade, no hotspots or sharp light contrast. Longer the lens, the better, especially if you clients want to have a group photo in front of the building, mansion where their wedding ceremony is.
In order to have a variety in your wedding photo, I recommend that all wedding photographers take with them at least two lenses: prime or macro photography lenses and zoom. Since the prime and best lens for portrait photography is perfect for headshots and details, and zoom lens for photos during ceremonies and general photos.
My choice of a good camera for wedding photographers
The must-haves beyond batteries and memory cards, and having a bag to carry stuff around, you will definitely need two cameras, You can’t shoot a wedding with one camera because cameras do break, and you must have a backup camera. I have Canon EOS 5D Mark III for $1600. If you are a beginner, you don’t need that but that’s my personal preference. I like the cameras with a lot upgraded from Mark II because it has dual card slots, so I can back up as I go two cards. I don’t have the 5D Mark IV because they don’t really offer enough for me to upgrade to that. The Mark IIIs do me well.
I would say you should have good camera bodies. Having the absolute best is not a necessity. When you spend money on a camera, it will decrease in value as technologies go better. But this is not about the lenses, I’d rather invest money in them. You’d better have one camera with 16 lenses.