I was recently asked “What’s the best camera for wedding photography?”. The honest answer, in my opinion – and that of many other wedding photographers, is whatever camera you happen to have with you. I’m a firm believer that the skill to taking good photos lies with the wedding photographer, not with the gear.
For example, as a challenge to myself, I recently bought a 6 year old second camera from eBay for under £100. One of the events I took it to was a friend’s wedding (where I was a wedding guest, not the wedding photographer!) at Healey Barn in Northumberland – what a beautiful place! Here are a few of the shots from that day:
Why then, do I carry round two cameras (each worth well over £1000) and several lenses all day when I’m photographing a wedding?
Well, when you’re being trusted to capture the most important day in someone’s life, you can’t afford to take chances. It’s good for the peace of mind of the happy couple and of the wedding photographer that the chances of anything going wrong are minimised, and this is done by using the right photographic gear.
Nobody can guarantee a camera won’t break on the wedding day, or a lens won’t accidentally be dropped. But by using well-established, reliable brands, the chance is reduced.
I use professional-grade lenses, and take all my photos using Canon digital SLR cameras. Other photographers prefer to use other brands such as Nikon, Sony, or Fuji. It’s really a personal preference, based on what makes the most sense to you as a photographer and gives you the sorts of images you want to capture.
There are also other geeky features to consider, like image stabilisation, how fast the camera can focus, or how well it works in low light, or how quickly it can take and record a photograph. All of this comes at a price tag.
The reason for the two cameras is so that I can be ready with a different lens or different setting programmed into each, which reduces the chance of me missing a once-in-a-lifetime moment as I’m ready to snap the photo right away.
I also always carry a back-up camera on me at all times on the day – so there are no wedding day dramas for you to worry about if anything was to happen!
So yes, in my opinion it is possible to photograph an entire wedding on a second hand cheap-as-chips eBay camera, but would I choose to? Absolutely not. I’d be worried it would break on me or I might miss a perfect wedding day moment.