I believe in high quality gear. When I say high quality wedding gear, I don’t mean “expensive”. All that I care about is reliability, efficiency, durability, and convenience. You know, just like most people who love high-quality gear.
Building a wedding kit that you love and can rely on takes time. Over the years, I have carefully handpicked what goes into my bag and today, even after so many years, I use every single one of them. That, for me, is a reassurance that my choices have been right so far. And rewarding too.
What makes me so pumped about my gear? I’d say, individually as well as together as a comprehensive kit, they make my life a whole lot easier.
#1. Think Tank Airport TakeOff trolley bag
A couple of lines about this will not do justice to how good it is. So, you’ve got to read an in-depth review that I will be posting soon. Briefly speaking, trolley bags in general take the load off your shoulders and back. But if you get the wrong one, it will only be counter-productive.
The Think Tank Airport series is among the best designed trolley bags around. Couple that with the Think Tank brand name, and your decision can’t get simpler. Ergonomically, this bag is perfect for Indian men who are mostly below six feet tall. The handle, with height adjustments, is a good fit for anybody up to 6 feet—your back remains straight and there is hardly any strain on the shoulders.
There is enough space inside for any regular photographer, unless you shoot wildlife with more than two-three long telephoto lenses. For a wedding photographer like me, the space is all I need.
#2. Black Rapid camera strap
There are dozens of camera carrying solutions in the market. But, I chose to go with the most popular name. And for good reason. Again, my decision was based on how comfortable I feel with the strap around my shoulders and how my back and shoulders feel after a long day’s shoot.
Sure enough, the only fatigue that I felt was from the shoot and not much from carrying my two large full-frame bodies with lenses (I shoot a lot with the heavy Canon 85mm 1.2L).
Most importantly, after many years of shooting, the straps show no sign of wear or tear. That is a testament to how well they’re designed.
#3. Lexar memory cards
A professional photographer’s worst nightmare is a memory card that fails in the middle of a shoot. Even the most popular of names have bad days. So, when it came down to choosing a brand, I opted for one with the lowest reported failure rate. Or, rather the lowest reported failure rate I have heard. So, Lexar it was.
Although I have a sturdy backup plan, with Lexar CF and SD cards I’m making sure my first line of defense is pretty strong too.
#4. Pocket Wizards
There are Yongnuos and Godoxes flooding the market, so purchasing remote triggers for off-camera lighting is more difficult than ever. On the contrary, if price is a factor, it gets pretty simple because most third-party brands do a fairly good job. That is, when they’re not pushed to extremes.
There are a few premium brands also. Phottix, RadioPopper, and others are as popular as Pocket Wizard, but personally my experience with RadioPopper units hasn’t been all that great.
After I moved to Pocket Wizard, till date I’ve not been let down by misfires or no-shows. At least 9 times out of 10…which is an excellent record in my opinion.
Again, they’ve been consistent in their performance for many years now. That is reason enough for me to continue using this brand.
#5. The small things
When it comes to often-ignored items in your wedding kit, like lens cleaning solutions and flash accessories, I’ve experimented with names that perhaps don’t command a lot of respect.
Considering these are items that don’t break your wallet or your reputation, the only reason I keep them is that they last long. They have lasted until now, and I have no reason to believe they won’t for a few years more.
This is my exclusive list. Do you have your own preferences or personal product experiences that you’d like to share? Let’s hear it.
– Amar Ramesh