Today on Monday Wedding Madness we will discuss why is is IMPERATIVE that your wedding photographer has a complete set of backup equipment.
Most professional wedding photographer have a set of backup equipment that they bring to all weddings. This insures that if a camera malfunctions, lens breaks, or if a drink gets spilled that they will still be able to capture your wedding. (Also, as a side note, they should also have insurance in case that drink does get spilled.) While you are looking for a photographer you should ask if they have backup equipment and make sure that it will be brought to your wedding. If they hesitate or say that they do not, you should start to look for another photographer.
First, I am going to tell you how I operate my business and what types of backup equipment I bring with me to a wedding and then I will explain to you my reasoning on why it is imperative for wedding photographers to have a full set of backup equipment.
I have three camera bodies. All full frame, professional level bodies. One is my primary camera, another is the camera Devin uses when he second shoots, and the third is the backup camera. I also have about 20 different lens ranging from prime lens to zoom lens. I normally only keep 3-4 in my camera bag during a wedding so there are plenty to choose from in case one gets damaged or stops working. I have a handful of different flashes and countless amounts of memory cards. You can see that if something were to happen during a wedding, I would still be able to have all of my equipment covered and would be able to capture all of the details.
As a photographer, one of my main fears is getting home from a wedding and start to load a memory card only to find out that is blank or have all of my backup equipment break or get damaged where I am not able to finish photographing a wedding. As you can tell from my backup equipment, I do everything in my power to make sure that this will not happen. I even use dual memory cards in my camera in case one gets erased then there will be one that still has the images. However, equipment does break and malfunction.
I bought a new camera last week to add to my equipment. The camera arrived on Thursday. I always test out all of my equipment thoroughly before using it for a shoot to make sure it is functioning correctly. I put on a couple different lens and took a few photos and loaded them onto my computer to make sure everything was functioning as it should. Everything seemed to work well so I tested it again. (I'm a little over cautions!) Everything was still working normally. On Friday I had a family session. I took the new camera as my primary camera and took one of my other cameras as a backup. The new camera worked great and had no problems.
Saturday comes and I have a wedding. The couple booked one of my packages that did not include a second photographer so I packed up my new camera as my primary body and my other primary camera as my backup. I photographed all of the before ceremony photos with the new camera and when the ceremony came along I used both cameras with two different lens attached. (Depending on the ceremony venue, sometimes I like to shoot with two different cameras just so I don't have to change my lens as much.) Everything was going great. After the ceremony, it was time for the family portraits. I still had both cameras with lens attached ready since the ceremony had just happened. I grabbed the new camera, went to take a photo, and nothing happened so I tried it again, still nothing. I immediately grabbed my other camera and took the family portraits with that and tried to forget about the new camera. After the family portraits were done, I had a few free moments so I looked at my new camera to see what happened. The camera would not turn off, would not take a photo, and would not let me look at the photos that I had already taken with it. I took out the battery to get it to turn off and when I put the battery back in, the camera was reading error. Luckily, all of the images I had taken were still on the memory cards. I packed up the new camera and got my other camera ready to photograph the rest of the wedding and reception.
This was a brand new camera that malfunctioned. If this was the only camera body I brought to the wedding, the couple would not of had any family portraits, couple portraits, cake cutting, dancing, or reception details captured. Those adorable photos that you see at the beginning of the post? Those would not have happened. Since I brought a backup, all of the wedding was captured perfectly for the couple. They also never knew that a problem occurred because there was no need for me to have to take them aside and explain that there was an issue because I was still able to capture their wedding without any delay. Unless they are reading this post (hi Stephie & Ed!) then they still have no idea this happened. Regardless of if your photographer has a new camera or a camera that has been around for a few years they need to have a backup ready. Also, they should be servicing their equipment at least once a year.
I've been running this business for almost 10 years and have never had a problem, but I always have enough gear in case a problem arises like it did on Saturday. Hopefully, this will be my only malfunction! Needless to say the camera is being returned today for another new one.
Monday Wedding Madness is a blog series that occurs every Monday and answers the questions you have about wedding photography. Have a question you would like to have answered or something that you wish you would have known before your wedding or are you a wedding professional who would like to contribute? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.