This post on Sam Hurd’s camera gear was created with his kind permission and is a small sample of the equipment he uses on an average wedding day.
If you’d like to learn in more detail about Sam’s destination wedding photography gear and his other numerous gadgets and gizmos, check out his Patreon.
Nikon D850 (Previously a Nikon D5)
Sam shoots the majority of the wedding with only one body, the Nikon D850 swapping lenses on the go (check out his Nikon D5 Review to find out why). The Sony a9 is a backup body and seems to be a temporary experiment with mirrorless cameras. Sam has done this with previous Sony bodies in the past (see below), but it seems he still prefers the flagship Nikon D5 or Nikon D850 for professional work.
Nikon 18mm f/2.8
Nikon 24mm f/1.4
Nikon 45mm f/2.8 PC-E
Nikon 58mm f/1.4
Nikon 85mm f/1.4 or Nikon 135mm f/2
Sam’s actual lens collection is no doubt much bigger than this, but the above lenses are the ones he chooses to bring to the average wedding. On the Sony a9 is a 50mm.
Sam shoots the majority of the wedding with the Nikon 24mm f/1.4, with the 58mm being used often for portraits too. The longer lenses stay in the bag unless reach is necessary, and the Nikon 45mm f/2.8 tilt-shift and 18mm f/2.8 wide angle are used for additional creative options.
Think Tank Turnstyle 20
Think Tank International V2
Peak Design Everyday Backpack 30L
Sam’s rolling camera bag of choice is the popular International V2, which is crammed full of all the above camera gear, with the Think Tank Turnstyle 20 sling bag (reviewed here) compressed inside too as padding.
On a wedding day, Sam shoulders his Nikon D5 with its original camera strap, with the Turnstyle on his back full of a selection of lenses or a secondary body. Having the lenses with no caps or covers attached allows Sam to quickly change them mid shoot. He’s not a fan of carrying two bodies at the same time, like the majority of other wedding photographers.
Although the Peak Design Everyday Backpack was included in my roundup of the best camera backpacks, Sam uses his purely as a travel bag for non-photography related items.
Manfrotto Compact Light Aluminium Tripod
Manfrotto CROMA2 LED Light
iPad Pro 12”
Moshi USB-C Memory Card Reader
Even though the Manfrotto Compact Light Aluminium Tripod fits snuggly into the Think Tank International V2, Sam rarely uses the travel tripod, choosing instead to steady the camera on the ground for a timed night portrait.
To light the night portraits, Sam uses a Manfrotto CROMA2 LED Light with adjustable power output colour temperature. As described on the Epic podcast, Sam never uses wireless flash triggers, choosing instead to use the continuous light from the LED panel, or the Nikon SB-910 for the dancefloor.
Sam’s a huge fan of the Apple Macbook 12”, using it for the majority of his photo editing, then connecting it in target disk mode to an iMac 5K to export from Lightroom and do the rest of the heavy lifting.
(Check out Sam’s computer set up here, and some images of his old workplace here.)
The iPad Pro seems to be used mostly for media consumption or the odd email while traveling.
Finally, following a well-documented (and no doubt very embarrassing) lost bag incident whilst traveling, Sam now uses Heattags trackers to try and keep track of his valuable gear.
To keep all his gadgets and gizmos powered up on the go, Sam’s power bank of choice is the popular Omnicharge 20.
In my career, I’ve been very lucky to have the opportunity to photograph not only well known individuals but the most fun and creative wedding couples I could ask for. Balancing 45 weddings and upwards of 120 press events a year has dragged me through more photography equipment than I care to admit. I own Nikon, Canon, Leica, and Sony brands and used them all extensively, but the only mainstay in my bag is the Nikon camera body.
Though I have a lot to choose from I always travel light on the day of a shoot so I’m able to think with my feet and not with my gear. The think tank bag I use has been my long time favorite because of it’s small footprint and deep pockets. My go to lenses are the Nikon 58mm f/1.4, Nikon 24mm f/1.4, and broken Nikon 50mm f/1.8 – which I use for freelensing.
I love finding small objects like a convex lens or prism to create interesting foreground artifacts in my portraits, and I find the unique looks they make connects me with more artistic minded clients. The litepanel LED video light is perfect for shooting at night and charging AA batteries.
The cameras I use are a Nikon D4 and a Sony a7r. The lenses I use are the Nikon 58mm f/1.4, Nikon 24mm f/1.4, Nikon 45mm Tilt Shift and a broken Nikon 50mm f/1.8D. As for accessories: Visible Dust Sensor Cleaner, mini-tripod, Litepanels Croma, convex lens and my bag, a Think Tank Turnstyle 20.
Check out the 11 essential tools and apps every wedding photographer should be using this year.
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