In my seven years of being a wedding photographer, I’ve found there are some things that you should always bring with you on a wedding day. I’ve been shooting weddings now for seven years, and over the time I’ve learned about some little things that you should absolutely bring with you to every wedding. Keep in mind, this is not gonna be the stuff that you think about every day. Obviously you need to bring some SD cards, extra batteries, a backup camera, all of that stuff, and I have lists of those types of things right up above. But we’re gonna talk about the little things that you may have never thought about, the little things that I started bringing with me on wedding days that made a huge impact on how I’m able to work, back up my photos, and other things. So here are five things that you should absolutely always bring with you on a wedding day.
Starting out with the Lume Cube. If you’re not familiar with Lume Cube, they make really awesome small LED lights, and they’re super affordable. I personally use the Lume Cube Mini, and I absolutely love it. It starts at $59. And the main reason that I bring one to a wedding is having this little thing in your pocket and being able to make light wherever you need is hugely important.
The place I use it the most is for sparkler exits. Personally, when I shoot a sparkler exit, I like to keep the mood and ambiance of the sparklers in the photo. You may have seen other photographers talk about using off-camera flash, or maybe a flash directly behind the couple, and those techniques are awesome, but I love the feel of natural light for sparkler exits. Generally, what I’ll do is put the Lume Cube on the top of my camera and use that to illuminate my couple.
Crank your ISO up, drop your shutter speed as low as you can handle it, and let the sparklers fill in the rest of the light that you need. Usually the results are amazing. The cool thing about the Lume Cube as well is you’re able to change its temperature, and also how bright it is. So at $59, this is something you definitely wanna have in your pocket at all times.
Another great place to use it as well is if you need just a little bit extra light and you don’t have your flashes nearby, or you don’t even wanna break out a whole flash system. Throw this thing on a light stand, and it’s so awesome.
Next up is one of my favorite little devices, which is the GNARBOX. The GNARBOX is a portable backup device where you’re able to back up your SD cards onsite. Y’all, I cannot tell you how much I absolutely love this hard drive, because I’m able to back up my photos immediately after the wedding.
If I’m ever traveling for a wedding, this is absolutely needed, because what I’ll generally do is back up one of my SD cards on the GNARBOX, keep an SD card in my pocket so I don’t lose it, and then the other SD card stays in my bag. So I have three different places where I have a backup, so that if for some reason I lose everything, I still have the couple’s photos.
If you’re doing wedding photography and you’re not taking backup this seriously, you need to do something about that, ’cause you can’t go back to your couple and be like, “Well, I lost your photos.” No, y’all, they’re paying you thousands of dollars. Back up onsite. The GNARBOX starts at about $500, which is a great entry-level price, and it goes up to one terabyte. And this thing is super durable, so you’re able to take it, pack it, drop it, and it’ll do just fine.
Another place I love to use it is also for my second photographers. Instead of having to get their SD cards and then deal with sending the SD cards back to them, I just back up all their photos right there onsite, and I’m good to go. This saves me so much time on a wedding day, and I don’t have much to worry about ’cause I can just give the GNARBOX to my second, they can back up their photos, and then they can dip. I love mine, and it always travels with me.
Something that I started packing with me more recently is a flatlay mat. Flatlay mats are the savior of a wedding day. If you’re doing any detail shots at all, you need to have a flatlay mat. The main reason is because you never know what you’re gonna get at a venue unless you’ve been there before.
Generally when I do a flatlay, I try to find a surface that looks nice, but sometimes you’re not gonna find anything that looks good enough for your details. And that’s where a flatlay mat comes in. The mats I use are by Chasing Stone. They’re fabric, and they’re hand painted, and they look absolutely amazing. They start at $145 and come in a whole bunch of different colors.
I think I have about five of them now, and I absolutely love them. You’ve seen me using them before, and here are a couple of pictures of me using them on details. Seriously, if you ever find yourself in a situation where there’s just nothing that looks good on the ground, you’re gonna wanna grab one of these.
And since we’re talking about flatlays, the next thing you should always bring with you are styling blocks. Styling blocks are the perfect companion to your detail shots. Basically you can use these to prop up your details and give more of a 3D layout to your flatlay.
Adding this dimension to a flatlay is huge, and it makes the difference between pro flatlays and amateur flatlays. You can get a set of 12 blocks which come in different sizes and shapes for about 40 bucks. So honestly, this is definitely something you should pick up if you’re trying to bring your detail shots to the next level. Because the blocks are so small too, they’re super easy to carry and pack with you, which is what I absolutely love.
They come in a nice little bag, and you can just throw this in your own photography bag and break them out whenever you need them.
And last but not least, something that I always, always talk about, but make sure you bring business cards with you to every wedding. Now, I know a lot of y’all probably think business cards are old school, but I cannot tell you how many weddings I’ve actually gotten because I was able to give my business card to a couple while I was at a wedding.
Seriously, you should always be advertising, and not having a business card just makes you not look professional at all. I use business cards from MOO. I absolutely love their paper, and they have so many options to build your business cards.
One thing I love to do with my business cards is put different photos on the back of them. This way I can basically show off my portfolio while I’m onsite and talking to someone face to face. You can get a pack of 50 cards for only 20 bucks.
So definitely make sure to pick yourself up some business cards. Because seriously, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen other photographers or vendors at a wedding, and someone asks them for a business card, and they’re fumbling around like, “Oh, I forgot my business cards, I don’t really…” Guys, y’all, please don’t. Have business cards on you at all times. Seriously, just do it.