Every photographer will have to decide what pieces of gear serve them best, for me, these are my daily go-to’s that I bring along whenever I’m Shooting!
FOR MORE DETAILED gear + shooting INFO, AND PHOTO EDUCATION, I OFFER ONE-ON-ONe MENTOR SESSIONS FOR PHOTOGRAPHER’S OF ALL LEVELS! IF YOU’RE READY TO INVEST IN YOURSELF, LET’S GET IN TOUCH!
Let’s start with the bag itself. This was a major investment for me after trying out lots of cheaper or trendier options (including random amazon finds and a beautiful Atlas Supply Co bag that was so pretty but SO HEAVY and uncomfortable) I decided I need to find something that was extremely Durable, functional, and comfortable. So I broadened my search to outside of the “photo bag” realm and found an amazing bag + brand, that was meant just for being a solid backpack. It checked almost all the boxes, and with the addition of a padded insert from amazon it transformed to fit my every need!
The bag is from TUMI, and it’s called the “Sheppard Delux Brief Pack”. They have a few different bags that would be great options, but this is the one I ended up with and I love it! It is a bit of a splurge, I was lucky enough to get mine on a day they had a sale, and I haven’t seen a sale since— but keep your eye out and if you see a sale, don’t hesitate!
My favorite features are:
Padded Laptop Sleeve
roomy side and front compartments for easy access
structured overall for protection of its contents
Since the TUMI bag wasn’t a “photo” bag, I had to get something to secure and organize my gear. I found this insert on amazon, called the “G-raphy Camera Insert Bag” and it worked perfect with my bag and my gear.
Camera Body + Lenses
I shoot on a Canon 5d iii, I love it, it’s worked amazing for me and suited all my needs to this point, however it is no longer available (as far as I have found) unless you buy used. Used from sources like BH might be a good option, or of course there is the upgraded version of my camera body, the 5d iv.
If this is your first camera body purchase in your photo career, just make sure no matter what brand (nikon and canon are both awesome) you are purchasing, you get a body with a “Full Frame” sensor.
The lens I use 90% of the time is the Canon L series 24-70 2.8. I love it because it is so versatile— especially when shooting weddings, I am able to capture close up and wide shots throughout the event without changing my lens. I originally started out with a Sigma version of this lens, and though it did work well for me for the first year or so of my photo business, There was a significant difference in quality when I upgraded to the Canon L series version. I’m a big believer in investing in quality gear, so if you can, go name-brand.
I also own a Canon L series 85 mm 1.2 which is awesome for super sharp images without any noticeable distortion (in contrast to the distortion of images shot with wider lenses) This is a pro and also a con. I love this lens for clean headshots, as well as shooting in large open spaces, or photographing from a distance (i.e. from the back of the aisle during a wedding ceremony) BUT the con is that the images can sometimes be a tiny bit “boring” in my opinion with the lens delivering distortion free images.
Other lenses I use on occasion are the Canon L series 50 mm, and the Canon L series 35 mm. I love both, and go back and forth on which one is my favorite between those two! The 35 is a bit more versatile when shooting in smaller spaces or shooting larger groups of people or subjects, it also is quite dramatic in the distortion area, which I love for full body shots but not as much for close ups and details. The 50 has a really good balance of distortion and “clean”-ness, and I love the look from the 50, however you have to have enough room to get things in frame
PRO TIP: Try before you buy!! If you’re not sure where to start, rent some different lenses and compare them! Renting is a great option to give you a feel for the lens before you invest and add it to your own collection.
On Camera Lights
PRO TIP: I have tested different sets of batteries and by FAR using rechargeable batteries is the way to go for your speedlight. Regular batteries just are not powerful enough, they make your light sluggish after a few exposures. I have tried both amazon brand and these EBL Rechargeable Batteries, and the EBL out-performed the Amazon Brand. MAKE SURE you fully charge your batteries before using them, I recommend having two sets and plugging them in over night, they take several hours to become fully charged.
SD card Holder + SD cards
I swear by the Sandisk 32 gb GOLD cards. They work better for me than any others, they record extremely fast and are reliable in all my experience.
I use this sd card booklet from amazon, It’s just what I bought forever ago and I have used it ever since. If I was buying one now though, I would probably select a more protective, durable version like this one.
Other items I have in my bag (besides my computer + editing necessities which I’ll save for a later post) are:
Plastic Grocery Bags for the bride to sit on if it’s wet or dirty
Camera bags for protection from rain
Tissues or wetwipes for unexpected nose bleeds, runny noses, etc.
Visine Allergy Drops (because I’m crazy allergic to everything outside and spending time in outdoor locations, or even indoor ones with bouquets and floral arrangements makes my eyes SO itchy!!!)
Pen + Sticky Notes
I hope this was helpful!