I get the same question asked over and over again during my sessions and wedding days. Everyone wants to know what’s in my camera bag. Meaning, what gear do I use. Some brides ask me because they want to know if it’s professional grade or not and the others who ask are either photographers themselves or a family member at a wedding who has a “nice camera” themselves and they just want to compare gear. Below I’ll tell you what I carry, why I use it, how I use it and what I carry it in. Now I didn’t buy all this brand new. Some of it was purchased from another photographer who was going out of business but lenses never change. So they’re always be an investment. Camera bodies will change over time and flashes, etc.
First up, the bag that I have on my at all times. Whether it be a senior or family session, even a wedding, this is the bag that holds what I’m currently using. It’s the B-Hobo bag by Kelly Moore. It’s purple (go figure) and it’s absolutely perfect. It holds my camera body with my 50mm lens on it and 2 other lenses. I usually keep my macro lens and wide angle lens in there as well. You’ll notice that the strap is grey, not purple. That’s because the strap broke and I am using the strap from my other Kelly Moore bag.
The next bag is my Libby bag by Kelly Moore. This is what keeps ALL of my gear and what I take with me on a wedding day. It holds my iPad mini (for showing same day edits), my laptop for editing and backing up photos, my back up camera body, both of my flashes, my 70-200mm lens, batteries, etc. It basically just holds everything that won’t fit into the other bag. The purple bag is what is on my body while shooting, where this bag is just to carry gear around. I absolutely love it!!! It’s great for vacations too. I have used it as a carry on bag and it’s perfect and fits right under the plane seats or train seats.
I have 2 Canon 5D Mark II camera bodies. I can remember my first camera. A camera that I originally bought to take better family pictures with, not start a business. I bought a Canon Rebel XSi. It was a kit off of Ebay with all these kit lenses and stuff and I thought it was the best thing ever. It was all I could afford LOL. When my business really took off and I kept researching other photographers and reading blogs, everyone seemed to have the 5D Mark II. I knew I didn’t have the quality of photos that they had but I also knew I needed to gain experience and save my money. Now that I have 2, I feel blessed beyond words. I never dreamed I could have 1, let alone 2. It’s such a great camera and I love it.
My favorite lens is the Canon 50mm 1.8 II. It’s the lens that stays on my camera at all times. I use it for all my portrait sessions (unless I need a wide angle shot or ring shots during engagement sessions). Now, ideally I’d love to have the 50mm 1.2 but it’s doing fine for now and I’m trying to save money. I might upgrade to the 50mm 1.4 soon though. Such a great lens and since it only cost $125 I tell all my mommy friends and friends that have a “nice camera” that they NEED to buy this lens. Kit lenses are just awful LOL.
Next up, the Canon 100mm 2.8L IS. It’s what you need to get up close for detail shots, especially ring shots on a wedding day and engagement sessions. I used to try to use my 50mm before and just wasn’t getting the shots I wanted. But this makes all the difference. If you’re a wedding photographer… you need this lens. Plain and simple.
For wedding day “getting ready” shots in a small room, or just a cool scenic shot with a family or senior, sometimes you just need a wide angle lens. That’s why I use the Canon 24-70mm 2.8L II. It wasn’t exactly what I was wanting. I’d rather shoot prime with a Canon 24mm or 35mm but this was a lens that was thrown in with a huge kit from another photographer. It suits the need that I need it for just fine but I like the way prime lenses look better. Prime lenses are sharper than zoom lenses and it’s just the style that I prefer. I’m saving my money to purchase the 35mm next year 🙂
The “beast” is next. The Canon 70-200mm 2.8L IS. I call this lens the “beast” because it weighs a ton. It’s not something I would ever shoot with for a portrait session (some photographers do and I don’t know how they do it.) It’s so heavy but it’s needed for a wedding day. Processional, recessional and just close up shots during the ceremony are only captured with this thing. It allows me to get close without literally standing on the alter with the bride and groom. I can be sneaky (spy if you will) without people knowing and I love it.
Last, but not least, are my flashes. I used to use the Canon 580EX II flashes but I never bought the Pocketwizards or triggers to do off-camera lighting for my receptions. They always seemed so confusing and I never wanted to try it. Luckily Canon is amazing and they invented flashes with a built in triggering system. They are the 600 EX-RT flashes and they are amazing. They can sync up to each other by the touch of a button (like 1 button people) and I can have off-camera lighting now. My reception pictures have been so much better since I bought them. Definitely one of the best purchases I’ve made for my business.
I hope this helps other photographers out there. I know I always like reading blogs to see what others have in their bag so I figured this would be a fun post.
I’m off to the foot doctor now and hopefully leaving WITHOUT the medical boot on. Wish me all luck.
And now I have "gear envy"! LOL
I have a Canon Rebel. Bought it when they first came out and spent $1,200 on it and have never taken it off of auto. I would love to upgrade/trade in but first you need to offer classes to camera dummies like me!