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I am shooting my first wedding next week. I’m using my new Canon R6. I have two 64gb SD cards in the camera which I have set up to copy to both. I then have a spare 64gb card ready to go if I run out of space. I shoot in RAW and I’ll be shooting for 5 hours. 

My question is  How many photos can I take before the SD card runs out? I’ve been told conflicting things from my local camera store and then I by TEDS. One person said I can take approximately 4-500 photos if I’m shootings at full capacity and then after that I can keep taking pics but the file size is reduced?!! Then TEDS said they don’t believe that’s true, they said my SD card will hold way more photos than 500. I know it does because I have been taking approximately 1000 images at my normal shoots, but I’ve never noticed it resizing the files. Exhale…. Ok help! I don’t understand. I don’t think the R6 has a feature either to tell me when I’m about to run out of space on the card. 

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OK, the answer to your question…

”It depends…” 


What does it depend on? How your camera is setup. Plus the more that is going on, results in how many photos you will take. If you are into details a lot, you will shoot more.  If you are a “Spray and Pray” shooter, you will shoot more. If your Wedding is 12-15 hrs, you will shoot more. See what I mean? 

First, it starts with your camera’s sensor, the more MP, the larger the Image sizes overall. For example, my Nikon D850 produces WAY BIGGER Raw images than my D4s. 

Second, is how you setup your camera to record images. You definitely want to shoot Raw, but you don’t need to set your camera to the highest Bit setting either. A 16 Bit image will have more data than a 12 Bit image. Same thing as a 14 Bit image vs a 12 Bit. Then you might decide to use compression which reduces the image sizes thereby giving you more images per card. 

So what do I use when I shoot Weddings?

12-Bit Uncompressed. 

I do not want my camera reducing any data and in reality, 12-Bit is fine for 99.99999% of what people shoot. Even though “Lossless Compression” exists and has been out forever, I still like my image files un-touched. That being said, some cameras do not allow anything but “Lossless Compression” turned on, which is a shame.  

Finally, since you have one of the newer fancy Canons, I would recommend turning sRAW off. Don’t use it. It’s the same thing: you are compressing the files to gain more images per card at a cost of messing around with the data in those images. This is my personal point-of-view, even though others will go out of my way to change my mind, I’m not budging ;) 

Bottom Line: You need another 64GB card. The way I shoot Weddings is I have a “A Set” and a “B Set.” The A Set is for the getting ready, Ceremony shots and usually formals. The B Set is for the Reception shots. My camera is set to “Duplicate” so the images are recorded on both cards at the same time. 64GB is plenty for most cameras and by having multiple sets ensures you won’t run out of space. 

Speaking of space, it’s always a good idea to leave a little space on the card. I NEVER fill a card and have my camera to always favored image quality vs file size. A GB left is fine. 

Finally, I do have a “C Set.” That’s my “Overflow/Backup” set. If anything were to go wrong with either the A or B Set, the C Set is used. My cards are treated in pairs, ALWAYS. I never just swap a single card, especially if the camera is set to duplicate cards. You will seriously mess yourself up by just swapping out one card. 

To answer your question, you should have plenty of space with two sets of 64GB cards. But again, that’s on you. If you lay on the shutter a lot, you will have less room overall. So make sure you Photograph More and shoot less. You also want to learn Continuous Focusing Modes on your camera. Especially for the walking shots. One Shot or Single will bite you in the Ass and if you aren’t used to using Continuous, or AI-Servo or whatever Canon calls it, time to start practicing NOW.  

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I just re-read your question and since it’s a 5 hour Wedding, you might be fine with just 64GB, but I still feel you need another 64GB card, so you have two sets, just-in-case. 

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Thank you so much for your time, I really appreciate your in depth reply. I will read, and re read your replies so it all sinks in!

I started out using The Eye tracking when I got the camera then I did a newborn shoot and realised eye tracking was not great in all situations as it wasn’t focusing where I wanted it to! Someone suggested single point AF point using the touch and drag screen which i have been practicing using but when you have to shoot quickly I have been using the zone focus to ensure I don’t miss focus. Awesome camera but still trying to figure out the best way to use it. 

I will get another 64 fb card so when I swap them out I have two new ones ready to go. How will I know when the cards are ready to swap over? I’m not sure the R6 tells you how many shots you have left. 

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You are going to have to RTFM. :) I don't own a R6, and have never used Canon bodies. That said, there should be a way to see how many shots you have left by hitting the info button a couple of times. Canon likes saying something like, "Possible Shots Left," or something along those lines. Check your manual.

I found this: https://cam.start.canon/en/C004/manual/html/UG-09_Reference_0090.html

The other thing you are going to want to turn on, is "Anti-Flicker Shoot" Mode, or at the very least, know where this setting is on the fly. Actually, you should create some sort of short-cut if you can. What does this mode for? Stupid LED LIGHTS!!

LED Lights are becoming more and more popular, and those type of lights have a different frequency which screws around with Mirrorless Cameras. If this feature is turned off, and the venue uses LED Lights, ALL of your images will look like this example:

Horizontal Banding due to LED Lights

See all of those alternating black lines? That's LED lights not playing nice with your fancy Mirrorless Camera!! So make sure you find out what kind of lights this venue has, chances are it will be LED. No, you can't "fix" this easily in Photoshop, the ONLY WAY to lessen your chance of this happening is to turn on the Anti-Flicker Mode in your camera. If you forget to do this, you are f*cked. Other than that, use a standard DSLR as they don't suffer from this type of issue.

You are going to want to read this page: https://www.wimarys.com/canon-eos-r6-advanced-manual/

In addition to learning your camera's focusing modes, I really-really-really recommend that you READ YOUR MANUAL or if you are more of a visual person, hit up YouTube. This is a Wedding, no excuses for NOT knowing your gear. Period. You need to know that camera's menus inside-and-out so you can adjust things quickly if needed. I speak from experience; there is nothing more terrifying than, "fighting-with-your-camera-because-something-isn't-right-and-you-don't-know-why-just-before-something-really-important-is-about-to-happen."

Been there. Done that.

It's not fun. I would also come up with some sort of checklist now, so that you can get your gear squared away the night before. Format ALL Cards? Check! Cards Labeled in pairs? Check! Batteries Charged? Check! Lenses Cleaned? Check! Backup Camera Batteries Charged? Check! Date and Time in Sync with both bodies in case you need to use a backup camera? Check! Stuff like that. 

It's a Wedding, and I don't care how small or low-key it is, your experience as a "Vendor" is completely different than being a guest. It looks so easy photographing a Wedding. In reality? You can't stop. You are the person that will be with the Bride most of the day AND in addition to being the Photographer and dealing with the responsibilities that come with that role, you will also become a "Pseudo-Wedding-Coordinator." Make friends with the DJ and make sure you are on the same page. Get to know the Bride's Mother's name or the BFF's name. The Bride will be a little overwhelmed and won't remember much. Oh, learn how to put on boutonnieres on the Groomsmen if needed. Know how to tie a tie. Or at least learn.  There is so much stuff that you need to learn, but don't freak out LOL!! You need to be a little insane wanting to shoot a Wedding professionally.  

No matter what other people say otherwise. Trust me. I've shot lots of Weddings. ;)

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First of all, thank you! I really appreciate your time and reply :) I will RTFM, you guessed it I’m a visual person and need to see things rather than read them but I can’t keep putting things off. I will try everything this week to ensure I am as prepared as possible. Thanks to you and Damien I don’t know what I would have done without you throughout my journey so far! 

Thank you for sending the links for me to look at too!!! Lifesaver! 

the wedding is all outdoors, the ceremony is in a big marquee where I’ll only be shooting for about half an hour to get the shots of their guests arriving and their entry. Hoping no stupid led lights but I’ll turn on anti flicker anyway! 

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