Emergency Wedding-Saving Essentials: The E-Bag

As a wedding photographer, you pretty much live by the motto “What can go wrong will most certainly go wrong right when you need it not to!” Here is a short list of some of the problems I have personally encountered at weddings:


Flashes refuse to sync up with each other.
Batteries forget that you charged them the night before
Flash stands fall over, breaking flash
Memory cards fritz out and no longer want to record
Memory cards fill before you expect
Camera focus locks and won’t adjust
Armagedon ensues


Here’s the problem, with each of the situations listed above, these ALL happened during pivotal moments in weddings. The flashes weren’t syncing during the reception dancing. My batteries died during the first dance. A flash broke during the dancing when a guest decided to take a running lap around the dance floor. My memory card had a reading error during a rehearsal dinner. Memory cards filled in the middle of bridal party photos. The focus locked in the middle of a ceremony. And Armagedon ensued in the form of a tropical storm right before the bride arrived to get ready [not a great way to start a day].


Of course, there are a THOUSAND other situations we photo-crazy people find ourselves in. It’s like Murphy finds extra pleasure in attempting to mess up one of the most important day of people’s lives! Regrettably, I have not figured out a way to deter him! So, while I’m still procuring a way to hold him back, I’ve decided to show you one solution I’ve found to put his advances at bay. Today I just want to focus on helping you have answers to some of the equipment malfunctions you should be prepared for.


What’s the solution? Two letters my friend: EB. My Emergency Bag has saved me on ALL of these occasions, and I think photographers are NUTS not to use them! “But Daniel. I’m just starting out and when you stick the word “photography” in front of ANYTHING, it automatically $100 more expensive! Where a bag costs $20 at Walmart, a “photography bag” on Amazon can easily go for $150!”


I hear you, and I’ve got you covered! You see, I don’t buy most of my photography equipment off Amazon and I most CERTAINLY don’t buy a “photography” bag to use for my Emergency Bag! Instead, I use an app called Wish. I will explain what Wish does some other time, but for now, know that it’s a company that can get you stuff for cheap! And I promise it’s legal!!! So what do I have?


This bag has nine pockets [five of which have zippers], MORE than enough space for all my gear, and even a shoulder strap so I can keep it on me all the time! And it only costed me probably $30 on Wish! To me it’s kind of a no-brainer!


Here’s what I keep in my bag at ALL times during a wedding:


1. SD Cards

I have two 32GB SanDisk Extreme PRO, one 64GB SanDisk Ultra Plus, one 32GB SanDisk Ultra, one 16GB SanDisk, and another 8GB SanDisk. Why all the cards? Because my friend, I will NEVER run out of storage space at a wedding. NUH UH! NO WAY!



2. Flashes


Right now I’m rocking two Yonguo YN460-II speedlites. Useful not only for lighting receptions, but also a great thing to carry around for dimly lit indoor locations that need a little extra pop. Right now I am in the process of purchasing the next flash for my set. Why do I need three flashes? I use an off-camera flash at receptions, and if a flash runs out of power or malfunctions, I would MUCH rather have a third flash prepped to replace the bad one then have to fidget with a flash at a wedding to figure out what’s wrong with it.



3. Flash Syncs


So useful! When using off-camera flashes [OFCs], you need some way to sync all your flashes together. I have two Yonguo RF-603N and two Yonguo RF603C II that I bring everywhere I go. I have four for the same reason as the flashes. If one of these suckers dies, it’s just easier to be able to stick in a new one that already has batteries than to try and replace the dead batteries.



4. Extra Lenses


Right now I primarily use the AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm 4 G as my main lens. For backup, I have a AF-S Nikkor 35mm 1.8 and an AF Nikkor 50mm 1.8D. You never want to be in a situation where you lens drops and breaks and you don’t have a few extra.



5. Extra Battery


I carry an extra for obvious reasons, but typically one battery will last an entire wedding day.



6. ExpoDisc


Used for white balance correction in difficult situations, this nifty little tool is EXTREMELY important and saves me a ton of post-processing time.



7. Extra Body


If my main camera were to ever malfunction, I have a D7100 on me throughout the whole day. It is pre-set to all the correct settings, and has a battery,memory cards, and a lens already attached so that I never have to miss a shot due to equipment error.



8. Notebook


Things happen QUICK at weddings, and keeping up with all the detail shots to be gotten can become tedious to manage. I bring a notebook so that I don’t HAVE TO remember all these things, and can instead focus on capturing the moments that matter.




9. Snacks


=D No, I don’t actually bring hot chocolate or vitamins with me. But I’ll often throw in a nutirgrain bar or three to keep my energy up!



10. Extras


Everywhere I go, I bring my sunglasses, a small bag for drained batteries, and business cards.


Lastly, though not in the bag, I might as well mention my trusty D750, that I always carry on me. He’s been a true champion throughout this whole business process and I love him dearly. Thanks buddy!



11. A Few Things Not Photographed


BATTERIES! Right now I’m looking down and I own 36 batteries, and every single one comes with me to a wedding in their own “charged bag.” You can never be TOO careful.
I also always bring my magical “cleaning pen” for when my lenses get smudged or rain starts to fall.


It’s hard to imagine that I carry all that around, but I will never again be in a situation where I need it but don’t have it. =P Anyone have any creative things they thing I might still need?


To God be the glory,

daniel jackson

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