How Much Equipment Does an Event Photographer Need?

professional event photography equipment

I’m often asked what kind of gear I need (or use) for photography. Since there are many different types of photography, each of which will use different types of equipment, I decided to pull aside the typical complement of camera gear that I take to photograph a convention or business conference. Most of the images you see in my event photography portfolio were captured with the event photography equipment pictured (or its predecessors). But what does this mean to you if you’re a (potential) client? It means dependability.

Primary Event Photography Equipment

Reliability and redundancy are critical to a professional photographer. I don’t want off-brand gear. I stick with the major brand names, which have proven their dependability. My camera brand of choice is Nikon, and I usually have the latest models in my inventory. I always carry not one but two camera bodies, currently a Z6II and a Z7II. But after the theft of a camera bag a little over a couple of years ago (just 12 hours before I was to board a plane for my biggest shoot of the year), I now go beyond that redundancy. I now have a (third) backup camera with its own wide range lens.

In addition to the two camera bodies, my primary kit includes three of Nikon’s most popular zoom lenses. I carry two flash units as well. My new primary on-camera flash is Profoto’s A1.

Supporting Photography Equipment

So what other gear goes with these key pieces? Batteries. Lots and lots of batteries. And chargers for all of them. My cameras use two memory cards, which I use for redundancy — and I have a full memory card case with three pairs of cards matched to each camera.

Can’t leave home without a color checker, but I’ve also invested in a top-of-the-line color meter (not pictured). At a convention or conference I walk in to one room after another, and they do not all have the same type of lighting. So I like to be able to precisely measure the color of the lighting in that room and set my cameras to match. I can further improve this by adding gels to my flash, producing color-corrected images with a cohesive lighting balance. And of course that color meter, along with a light meter, ensure my stage shots are perfectly dialed in from the outset.

A dual camera strap allows me to carry both cameras, each with a different lens, so I’m ready for wide shots and closeups at all times. All of these items fit inside a Think Tank Photo roller bag.

Photo Accessories

Did I leave anything out? Yes! The belt pouch system from Think Tank Photo allows me to keep some of the most critical accessories on me at all times, along with the very important yet often overlooked water bottle.

Optional Lighting Equipment

I also have a separate lighting case with 6 of the brand new Profoto B10 and B10 Plus strobes, as well as a couple of the new Profoto A2 units. Those units are battery-powered so highly portable, and can be useful in large dark rooms. When called for, that case and a case of light stands will go along for the ride – probably on a roller cart. This additional lighting allows me to capture some of the images shown on our article about The Importance of Event Lighting. (Highly recommended!)

Does this sound like a lot of photography equipment? To some, yes. But how important is it to know that you have everything you might need to get the job done, even if something breaks? To me, as a professional photographer, it’s critical. And that sets me apart.

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William Morton Owner
William Morton has been a professional photographer since 1991. Now focused on corporate photography, William travels the country providing commercial, corporate, and event photography services.

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