One of my favorite things to see on other photographers’ blogs is when they discuss what’s in their bag… what they show up with to a wedding or photo shoot. I’ve had a couple of people ask me lately what gear I use, so I thought it was time for me to do a post about it. This is what I show up to a wedding with:
I love everything about this camera, but my favorite thing would be the low light capabilities. I can crank the ISO way up before I start getting a lot of noise in my photographs, which is perfect for a natural light shooter like me. Thanks to the D700, I can put off using my flash until it is very dark.
These three lenses are my workhorses. They are fast, sharp, and churn out beautiful portraits. Although I have plenty of other lenses in my arsenal, you will find one of these on my camera probably 95% of the time. The one piece of advice I give to anyone who has just bought their first digital SLR and doesn’t know what lens to get is: invest in a 50mm 1.4 (or even a 50mm 1.8)!! Good glass will make a world of difference, and the 50mm is a great place to start.
My zoom: 17-35mm 2.8
I only use this lens for a few things when it comes to weddings: large group portraits (we’re talking 15 people or more); when I photograph the outside of the wedding venue; and often when there is a large group of people on the dance floor. It’s a great lens – very fast – but it’s not a lens I would ever bring out at a portrait session, because that’s just not my style. It does certainly have its place during a wedding, though.
My light source: Nikon SB-900
As a natural light photographer, I avoid pulling out my flash as long as possible, but sometimes you just have to use one, especially this time of year when it gets dark so early. So when the situation calls for some additional light, I use the SB-900, and I love it. With a diffuser, I am able to create natural looking light, and am able to preserve detail in whatever I am shooting without washing anybody out.
My compact flash cards: Lexar 8GB Professional 400x CF Card
My CF brand of choice is Lexar. There are lots of great brands out there, but I’ve never (knock on wood) had a faulty Lexar card. I shoot on 8GB cards as opposed to larger memory cards, because it’s much safer. If I were to end up with a corrupt CF card, a loss of 8GB worth of photos would be much easier to endure than a loss of 16GB or 32GB. I shoot on 8GB, and I like to take about 14 to 15 cards to each wedding since I shoot a lot, and I like to shoot RAW. (I don’t always fill up all my cards, but I like to have extra, just in case.)
My bag: The Shoot Sac
The shoot sac is sturdy, holds everything I need while I’m shooting, keeps all my lenses safe, and makes changing lenses a piece of cake. Plus it conforms to my body, so it’s comfortable and not bulky like a lot of camera bags. And you can change the cover to match your brand, which is pretty cool.
I like to travel light, so although I’ll occasionally rent some extra gear I want to try out, this is my basic wedding day arsenal. For portrait sessions I travel even lighter – one D700, my three primes, a few memory cards, and the Shoot Sac.
Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions about what’s in my bag, and feel free to share what’s in your bag! Everyone works differently, and it’s always so interesting to see what people like to work with. The next gear post I do will be on what I’d like to add to my bag – the items that are on my wishlist!