Your choice of camera as a professional photographer is made a little more complex by the expectations of clients, but you’ll generally be able to choose the gear you want. Maybe you should avoid buying that bright red or pink camera, just to appear serious about what you do.
Most enthusiasts’ cameras have roughly the same choice of manual, semi-auto and fully automatic shooting modes. This is true whether they’re micro four-thirds cameras, four-thirds cameras, crop-sensor SLRs or full-frame SLRs. Once you’ve used one camera, you can use most, albeit after acquainting yourself with different buttons and menu systems.
Traditionally, wedding photographers tended to veer towards big full-frame SLRs for their superior low-light performance. This is useful in murky places like churches. These days, however, cameras of all sizes often yield good results at high ISO settings, but you’ll want to research low-light performance before buying any camera.
Whatever camera system you use, shooting in RAW format helps stack the odds in your favor. You’ll have more scope to edit the photos after the event and reduce noise levels as necessary. Shooting JPEGs might seem convenient, but you get much less latitude in post processing, and you don’t want to put yourself under needless pressure to get everything perfect in-camera.
Even if you buy a relatively cheap, modest camera body, there should be no compromise in the lenses you choose as a pro photographer. Expensive lenses tend to give excellent image quality, of course, but they are also usually the “fastest” lenses (i.e. with wide maximum apertures), making them ideal for low-light shooting. This second point is vital: you can’t miss photos or end up with blurred pictures because you skimped on lens expense.
You’ll typically want a selection of lenses as a wedding or event photographer, including a telephoto zoom, wide-angle (or wide-angle zoom), portrait lens, and a good medium telephoto lens with image stabilization as an all-round workhorse: this is the absolute minimum to start working like a pro.