This post has been a long-time coming! I get a lot of questions about photography and the gear I use, so I thought I would compile it into a single post to make it easy for y’all. Below is a list of all of my digital photography gear with little blurbs about each piece. The images link the products on Amazon so you can read reviews and make purchases from there if you’d like!
Before we get started, I do want to say, you by NO MEANS need ALL of this gear to shoot a wedding well. It has taken me years and lots of work to get all of this equipment, so don’t feel overwhelmed or intimidated. Yes, having good gear helps, but I didn’t start off with the “best gear” by any means, and people still hired me and loved their photos. 🙂
Okay, here we go:
I actually have two of these and I LOVE them. This wasn’t my first camera body, but if I knew what I knew now back then, once I knew that I wanted to have an actual BUSINESS, I would have just saved up for longer and skipped the camera body I bought between my Canon Rebel and this one. I got a second one about a year-and-a-half later because in the event something happened to this one, I didn’t want to have to try to remember another model. Muscle memory is in full effect with this guy!
This lens stays on my camera 90% of the time. I LOVE IT! It’s so reliable and unless I am in a small space and need a wider angle or need to shoot close up, you’ll probably find the 50mm on my camera. If you’re looking to take your photography to the next level and just have a standard kit lens that came with your camera body, I highly recommend investing in the Canon 50mm 1.8 or the 50mm 1.4. The 1.8 is about $125 and it was a GAME CHANGER for me! The standard kit lens usually goes down to about a 3.5 or so, but the 1.8 aperture allows you to get that nice blurred background for portraits and allows you to let in more light. If you already have a Nikon body to start with, you can find the Nikon versions of these lenses here: Nikon 50mm 1.8 + Nikon 50mm 1.4
This is an amazing portrait lens, but I honestly don’t use it as much as I wish I did. The bokeh it creates is gorgeous – super soft and creamy backgrounds – but it is a bit slower to focus, so it doesn’t work well if your subject is moving. I DID use it a lot more before I purchased the 70-200 to get a little closer during the ceremony or during toasts and speeches in receptions since their isn’t a lot of movement happening then. I keep it around because on the chance something happens with my 50mm during a session or wedding, I still have great portrait lens to keep shooting with. When I was first starting out, I invested a few hundred dollars in the 85mm 1.8 and LOVED it! It’s a few hundred dollars, but seriously, such a great buy for the quality of images it produces.
This is the only non-Canon lens in my digital gear set-up. I read a ton of reviews comparing it to the Canon 35mm 1.2 before deciding to go this route. I will say, this is a really great lens! And for $750 less than the Canon, I really can’t tell a difference in the quality. I have notices a *slight* difference in the coloring, but not enough to justify an extra $750, in my opinion. I use this lens for tight getting ready spaces, large group shots and during the reception for dancing photos.
This was the last lens I added to my camera bag because it’s a pricy one! One I purchased it I honestly wished I had pulled the trigger sooner. I love being able to get up close to capture expressions during ceremonies and still be far enough away so I’m not a distraction. But man y’all, this thing is a BEAST. Before purchasing it if I had a wedding coming up (usually a Catholic Mass or a more traditional ceremony where I had to stay in the back of the church or the balcony) I always rented this lens from BorrowLenses.com. Canon 600EX RTII Speedlite
If you’re newer to weddings and are currently shooting a few a year, I would definitely recommend renting this lens! You can get really pretty up-close detail images for rings and jewelry and also use it to get a bit closer up during the ceremony! If I could only use two lenses to shoot an entire wedding, I’d pick this one and the 50mm 1.2.
I have two of these speedlites and they work great! I did try some less expensive ones with triggers when I was first getting started and then quickly ended up getting these. They are really reliable and sync easily and consistently! There’s not many things more frustrating than trying to figure out why your flashes won’t sync during a reception, and I never have that issue with these!
This 10′ light stand is super sturdy! It is “air cushioned”, which means when you loosen the knobs on the sides to raise / lower it, it won’t just collapse. You have to push it down. The closest thing I can compare it to is the feeling of pushing down on a hand-held tire pump! Haha
If you are a wedding photographer and have built up your gear collection, you NEED this bag! I am serious. It is worth every penny! I purchased it when I travelled to Chicago for a wedding a couple of years ago so I could take all of my gear with me on the plane. It’s carry-on sized, so it fits in the overhead compartments and it holds SO MUCH. The only bags I took for the whole weekend were this one and the shoulder bag I’m linking below. I was able to take all my gear, dress and shoes for the wedding, PJ’s, hair / make-up / toiletries and an extra change of clothes all with me on the plane in these two bags. I had no time to mess around with anything not making it with me, and I definitely wasn’t going to check my gear! Wedding days are strenuous enough, so being able to roll this suitcase out to my car after shooting all day is so much nicer than lugging around multiple smaller bags. It’s super sturdy and even comes with a little “rain jacket” that fits over it in case you get caught having to load / unload in bad weather.
Okay, so this isn’t my EXACT camera bag, because they don’t make it any more, but it is very similar! What I love about Kelly Moore bags is that the don’t look like a camera bag, so you’re not walking around with a Canon or Nikon logo screaming “I have a lot of expensive stuff in here!” Haha They are so well thought-out, have a bunch of pockets for keeping things organized, and look stylish as well. The inside padded compartment actually comes out as well, so you can use it as a normal purse / tote too!
I have a bunch of these SanDisk 64GB CF cards that I use for weddings and then some 32GB CF cards for portrait sessions. I’ve never once had an issue with any of them! I always record large RAW image files on these and the 64GB is enough for a whole wedding day 95% of the time for me!
The Canon 5D Mark iii has dual-recording slots, so I always shoot with two memory cards. I will say that for what ever reason, I did have trouble multiple times dual-recording RAW images with 64GB SD cards. I don’t know what the deal was, but I’d be able to get images off then put the card back into my camera and I’d get a weird battery error. So strange. But I switched to recording large jpegs on a 32GB SD card and the large RAWs on my 64GB CF and haven’t had any problems! I just leave this card in there and it lasts me for a few weddings!
Not much to say here, but I have about 60 of these! I’ll admit that I’m a little bit of a brand snob here: In my experience, the Canon brand batteries just last longer. The off-brands don’t hold the charge as long. And you know how Apple charging cords always just work better than the cheapo other ones? Well, I just apply the same thought process here.
Who knew Amazon made batteries? But let’s be honest, what does Amazon NOT make at this point? I decided to give these a try because they were better priced and had great reviews, and haven’t had any problems with them!
This isn’t the exact charger I have, but I recommend getting a 16 bay one so you can charge multiple sets of batteries all at once! I like to have 4 full sets of 4 AAs for my flashes on wedding days, and this way I can charge them all at once. I’m all about efficiency over here!
LOVE this little thing! I has multiple pockets for CF / SD cards so I can keep all of them in once place. It also comes with a little clasp so you can attach it to your camera bag for safe-keeping.
Another handy little gadget from Think Tank! Once my batteries are charged, I place them in this little case with the curved side of the battery facing up. When I switch my battery out during the wedding day, I flip the old battery where the flat side is facing up so I know 1) not to grab that one again, and 2) don’t waste time charging batteries that don’t need it later!
These are so inexpensive and so handy! They come with little stickers that indicate if the batteries are charged. So when they are ready to go, I place the + side on one end of the case and once I swap them out, then flip it to the other end. This way I can easily tell what batteries are charged or not and don’t end up putting old ones in my flashes.
This is another example of “just buy a name brand.” I’ve heard stories of cheap card readers corrupting cards, which is a nightmare. It’s 1,000% worth spending a little more money on this one and protecting your images!
Since I’m on the go a lot, I love that this external hard drive has a protective bumper around it! I’m always careful with my equipment, but this just gives me extra peace of mind. These have great reviews as well! I also used the G Drive brand for years and never had any issues with those either! Again, buy the good hard drives!
Well there you have it: A list of what’s in my camera bag and what I use each item for. I hope you found this helpful! If so, leave me a comment below and let me know if you’d like to see more posts like this!
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