Wedding Wednesdays: Why I change my memory cards constantly

As I mentioned in my post last week (5 things I can’t live without) I carry a pelican case memory card holder with me when I shoot weddings. This pelican case holds about 12 SD Cards and a couple of Micro SD Cards, but I love the way it fits in one of my Shootsac pockets and I can access it during a ceremony without creating much distraction.

There’s a ton of different memory card holders but many have a velcro or magnet closure. I don’t believe in using the ones with magnets, because I am very careful with my memory cards and I don’t want to risk the magnet damaging the cards or making me lose my information. The velcro ones are a lot of photographers favorites because they fit a lot of cards and are a little softer to touch. I never really liked them, because of the noise the velcro makes when you try to open it up.

Now, in my memory card holder, you’ll always find 10 memory cards, (2 are always in my d600), making that 12 memory cards total. You’ll find all types of capacity starting from 2GB – 32GB. And here’s how I use them:

I change my memory cards constantly during a wedding and the reason why I do it is because I don’t want to risk a memory card failing on me and having all the images from a wedding get lost. For example, imagine you’re using a 32 GB memory card and you shoot all through the prepping shots and ceremony with it, but when you get to the reception you get a message that says “Memory Card Error” this doesn’t happen very often but it doesn’t mean it’s not bound to happen. The result is that you’ve probably just lost all of the images from the prepping stage to the ceremony and those important family portraits and maybe even the bride and groom’s portraits. On my client’s wedding day that is definitely something I don’t ever want to risk.

So, I start off by using an 8GB Memory Card on Slot 1 of my D600 and a 16GB Memory Card on Slot 2. Slot 1 is recording all the shots in RAW and Slot 2 is recording all the backup shots in JPEG. The 8GB card on Slot 1 is only used during the prepping stage of the wedding. Once I get into my car to drive off to wherever it is that I have to go for the ceremony, I grab the card from Slot 1 and put it in my memory card holder backwards. That way I know that the memory card has images I have not backed up on my hard drive or computer. When I get to the ceremony, I slip in another 16GB Memory Card on Slot 1 and once again record all the shots in RAW of the ceremony and family portraits on that memory card. Once the ceremony is over, I grab that once again, and place it in my pelican case backwards. Then I move on to the Bride and Groom’s Portraits which I also save on another memory card, usually this is an 8GB one and if I feel like my backup memory card on slot 2 is filled up I replace that one with another 16GB memory card. I make sure all the portraits are saved on one memory card alone, because the bride and groom will most likely never get into their dress and tux again, and certainly won’t get their hair and makeup done again for portraits unless they’ve prepared for it beforehand, so I want to make sure that their portraits will be safe and that nothing will happen to this memory card. As soon as I’m done with the portraits, I place that card into my Pelican Case and move on to my last and final card change which is into a 16GB Card that will store all of the reception photos; from the grand entrance to the toasts and shots of people dancing. All while making sure everything is being backed up in JPEG.

Now you may think it’s ridiculous that I use so many memory cards but I definitely don’t think so. I think I’m just being safe rather than being sorry later. I also love to back things up as JPEG because there’s so many photos I feel like are shot so great in the camera that they don’t need much editing so JPEG will speed up the process of selection and editing. I also have now started to do Mini Teasers for the Bride and Groom to see their photos at their reception that, obviously, having the photos in JPEG will make it easier to upload them to my computer and create a slideshow for them to see in as little as 10 minutes. I will probably talk about that in another post later! But it’s definitely been a major hit at the last few weddings where I’ve done it.

So there you have it, those are the reasons why I change my memory cards constantly and why I decided to go for a pelican case memory card holder instead. I’m sure my bride and groom don’t want to be listening to a velcro being ripped apart in the middle of their ceremony because I need to change cards and I  don’t want to risk using a magnet closure to corrupt my cards. I also went for a Camera that has 2 memory card slots instead of just 1 which I think is something most wedding photographers should look into.

Wedding Wednesdays: 5 Things I can’t live without!

As a wedding photographer I constantly find myself having to research what’s new, what’s needed, and what’s not! I’m always trying to find things that will make carrying my gear around easier and more convenient for me. I’m 5’1″ and weigh about 102 lbs. so carrying around so much gear can definitely put a strain on my body. Sometimes I find myself rolling out of bed the day after a wedding so of course I’ve already invested in things that make my life easier and things that are necessary as a wedding photographer.

These are my top 5 things I can’t live without as a wedding photographer and don’t know how I managed to work without them before…

#1: Shootsac

I love my Shootsac! I don’t carry two camera bodies on my small body. I’m way too small for that and the weight would kill me the next day. So I’ve learned to become a quick-lens-changer, I can get a new lens on my camera body faster than a bride can make it down the aisle. But my Shootsac lets me carry all my most important lenses on me and I have felt as if it distributes the weight quite perfectly. I also carry around some first aid stuff for my bride and even a small bottle of something for anyone whose nerves need a little bit of relaxing… usually the groom lol. The shootsac is from shootsac.com and runs for about $180 plus shipping.

Wedding Photographer Essentials

Wedding Photographer Essentials #1

I also attach my next new favorite thing onto my Shootsac…

#2: Walkie Talkies and Secret Service Earpieces

I just got these recently and I’ve used them at just one wedding, but it made such an amazing difference, that I really don’t know how I ever photographed weddings without these before! I used these with my assistant photographer, so as the bride and bridal party are lining up to make their entrance my assistant photographer is with them letting me know when they’re getting ready to walk down the aisle, it also lets us communicate during a church ceremony when one of us is in the way of the other while taking pictures. I got these on amazon.com for about $70 with shipping but they were worth every penny. Like I mentioned before, I clip these onto my shootsac, slip the earpiece into my ear, and voila we’re ready to shoot a wedding.

Wedding Photographer Essentials #2

Wedding Photographer Essentials #2

#3: Pelican Case Memory Card Holder

I love this Memory Card Holder, I was on the lookout for a card holder for quite a while but kept coming across the velcro ones and wasn’t too fond of them. I switch my memory cards a lot during weddings (I will explain this in another post maybe later on) so the last thing I want to do in the middle of a ceremony is having the velcro disrupt the ceremony when I’m ripping it apart. The Pelican Case one is a hard shell case with foam inside of it and fits 12 SD Cards and a couple of Micro SD cards. I use Nikon so I use SD cards but I know they carry these for Canon CF Cards as well. I love that it has a clip to close it so there’s no magnets involved as well as velcro. I slip this in my Shootsac as well and switch memory cards when I need to. I also purchased this through amazon.com and the model is the 0915 that replaced the 0910.

Wedding Photography Essentials #3

Wedding Photographer Essentials #3

#4: Wrist Strap

I recently purchased a Wrist Strap for my Nikon d600 and I’m loving it. The day after a wedding my hand usually feels like it’s on fire from carrying around the weight of the camera all day and even though I use a neck strap the weight is a killer on your wrist. So this little piece of invention is great to help you hold on to the camera and feel as if the weight is being distributed a little more evenly throughout your hands it also doesn’t get in the way of your fingers and the buttons. I also got it through amazon but can’t remember how much I purchased it for. I do know they have plenty to choose from and all styles and prices.

Wedding Photographer Essential #4

Wedding Photographer Essential #4

and finally…

#5: Pelican Case 1510

I had been after a Lowepro roller for quite a while but after talking to one of my friends, he suggested instead of getting a Lowepro I should get a Pelican Case for my camera and equipment. Reason being that the Pelican Case is made just like the Memory Card Holder, it’s got a sturdy shell, and is waterproof, crush-proof and dust resistant unlike the Lowepro. It also has wheels, which let’s face it, it’s just what I needed since I don’t want to carry that much weight around. So after much research I decided to go for one and purchase it through amazon.com again because they have the best deals and sometimes they’ll ship your stuff for free. The Pelican Case has foam that you can pick and pluck to make sure your equipment fits nice and tight so that it won’t move all over the place. These usually run for about $280 and I managed to buy one for $150 plus free shipping brand new.

Wedding Photographer Essentials #5

Wedding Photographer Essentials #5

So there you have it those are the 5 Essential Items I believe every wedding photographer should invest in to make your life much simpler!

Wedding Wednesdays: Guests and their Cell Phones

Many of us [photographers] go on our blogs and vent, a lot, but sometimes we need to do it so our Brides and Grooms will understand that we’re not just pointing and shooting at your weddings and that there’s certain … Continue reading