What's in My Bag?

 Photography Equipment

what's in my bagEveryone loves a "What's in My Bag" post! Well, at least photographers do. I know I always like seeing what other photographers are using to get the images they do. But this isn't just a post for the techies and camera lovers out there. If I'm a bride, it's reassuring to me to see that my photographer has a variety of tools to cover my day. And that's all camera equipment is... tools with individual purposes.

All of my camera equipment is Canon. Why? Because when I bought my first SLR in 2010 on a beautiful Black Friday morning, Canon had the best deal. Reassuring right? haha. But since then, I've learned a lot and Canon is a fantastic brand. I'm sure Nikon's great, too, but I'm a big believer in not fixing what isn't broken.

2014-04-28_0001These are my cameras. I have a Canon EOS 6D which I absolutely adore. And I also have my good ole Rebel t2i that always tags along as back up in case something tragic befalls my 6D. I do use both simultaneously when I'm shooting wedding ceremonies, just so I don't have to waste too much time switching lenses to get different views! Typically, that's the only time my Rebel sees the light of day anymore.

2014-04-28_0015And then come the primes. When I bought my first camera, I asked a photographer friend what kind of lens I should buy if I wanted to focus on shooting people. She said the 50mm 1.4. I bought it. I fell in love.

I then started following lots of photographer's blogs, reading THEIR "What's in My Bag?" posts, and discovered the photographers I loved the most tended to use prime lenses (lenses that do not zoom in and out, but allow you to focus more tightly on the subject, getting that nice creamy background bokeh). That began my love for primes.

2014-04-28_0002I still love this lens. It's such a go to length. It can accommodate MOST situations. And the 1.4 aperture lets me utilize natural light, even when the room might be kind of dark. I like how people look very natural and true to life at this focal length. Honestly, this lens is all I used for a REALLY long time. Years. I love it. It's how I got images like these:

2014-04-28_0017 2014-04-28_0018

2014-04-28_0004After my first few weddings, I realized that my 50mm was just a little too much for some of the small rooms I was shooting in, particularly when the bride was getting ready and there was a group of people in one small room. That's why I initially bought the 28mm 1.8. I learned to love it's wide angles for environment photos as well. Locations, landscapes, etc.

I learned to utilize this lens to pull in the environment... I think this was a real game changer for me and helped diversify my style a little bit:

2014-04-28_0020

2014-04-28_0019

2014-04-28_0006I honestly wasn't sure if I needed the 85mm 1.8. I noticed so many of my photography friends and role models were using this lens, but I didn't GET IT. It's not quite long enough to help with getting close during ceremonies and it's a little too long for most indoor shots.

But I get it now. It's a beaaaaautiful lens. If you visit my website right now, most of my pictures are shot with this lens. It has a beautiful bokeh, like prime lenses do, but the length gives it just a little extra compression that I love. It also does wonders with color and sharpness. I definitely find it to be sharper than my 50mm, so I've learned to really lean on this lens. I often start a session with my 50 or 28 and find myself a little disappointed with the colors and clarity, so boom 85. And honestly, I've shot ENTIRE sessions with just this lens. It's an addiction. What else can I say?

2014-04-28_0021 2014-04-28_0022Ah, the colors... the creamy backgrounds...

2014-04-28_0023  2014-04-28_0008Okay. The 70-200mm 2.8 IS II. Dun dun dunnnn. This baby is a new addition to my arsenal. I bought it completely out of necessity. I just wanted to be able to get close images during wedding ceremonies, without having to actually get close myself. The 2.8 aperture allows me to use natural light, which is a must when flash is generally prohibited during ceremonies (I find it distracting and rude anyway!).

2014-04-28_0009But then something happened. I decided to try it for portraits. And it kind of blew my mind. There's a reason this lens has the pretty L and red ring on it. It's a seriously awesome lens.

2014-04-21_0022Sigh. So gorgeous.

2014-04-11_0012 2014-04-28_0013And the newest baby is the 100mm 2.8. This is a macro lens. It was the only hole I felt I had in my "toolbox." I would try to take awesome ring shots, but I couldn't get quite close enough to create the sort of magic I wanted. I've been having fun experimenting with the macro lately, trying to see what else it can do other than ring shots. But it does those pretty darn well ;)

2014-04-28_0024 2014-04-18_00042014-04-28_0025

2014-04-28_0010These are my 600EX-RT speedlites. I started off with a 430, but quickly upgraded to these because of their built in radios. Something I want to practice at my weddings this year is to utilize BOTH flashes during the reception, one on camera and one off. Flash is honestly not my favorite thing, but I've learned to see the value in at least understanding it. That way when it rains and you're stuck indoors, you can still get pretty shots like these:

2014-04-28_0026 2014-04-28_0027

2014-04-28_0011And of course, the memory cards. I always bring a bunch of 16GB cards wherever I go. I didn't feel like photographing all my cards, all my batteries, and all the cleaning supplies I bring, but trust me, those are in my bag too. As well as some snacks and gum. My bags work pretty hard for me. In fact, I'm looking to upgrade from my two little bags to a rolling bag that will also hold my light stand and umbrella. If you have any recommendations on that please let me know in the comments! I've yet to find one that's good quality AND a decent price. I might be DIYing it.

I hope this post was interesting and maybe helpful to some newer photographers, looking for a post that's not L lens after L lens. I don't think it's necessary to have the BEST lenses to take gorgeous pictures. One day, I'll upgrade, but there's no need to rush it when I'm accomplishing great things with the gear I have.