When I first began my photography journey, there was one thing I learned very quickly. Gear is expensive. Having gear to photograph with is also an important necessity to being a photographer. I grew my business and my craft gradually, and each time I was ready to purchase a new lens or camera to add to my toolbox I did some serious research to make sure that I was spending my money wisely and that whatever I was purchasing would help me the most in the long run. I’m not saying at all that having all the right gear in your bag will miraculously make you a better photographer. You could have all of the gear that you think you should have to make you professional photographer, when you should be thinking about what your gear can do to help accent the your strengths and your talents. A plumber wouldn’t purchase every single tool in Home Depot just to make it seem like they’re a professional, they would only purchase the tools that would help them in the areas they need. If you’re a photographer and looking to acquire a new piece of equipment, you can rent it or borrow it from a company or a photographer friend to make sure that it is exactly what you need in your arsenal!
Cameras & Lenses
Canon 5DM3 || I love the dual memory card slots in this guy! I personally love Canon cameras, but I’m a firm believer that it’s not the camera that makes a photographer. I started off with a Sony that my parents gave me for Christmas many years ago, then gradually upgraded my body and glass as I went. I still love a lot of what I shot when I first began my journey. When it was time to upgrade, I decided on Canon because I was more instinctively comfortable with the way Canons felt and worked in my hands over Nikon. If you’re ready for an upgrade, see if you can handle a few different options for a short time to see which feels best for you.
35mm 1.4 || I purchased the Sigma Art series of this lens because I LOVE how tack sharp it is, even at 1.4. This lens is great at creating high-energy frames, and I use this during portrait sessions when I’m conveying excitement or when I’m trying to get a wide shot. I love this lens for everyday photography most, because it has such a wide frame and it’s so accurately sharp.
50mm 1.2 || This lens is my baby. If I could only keep one lens out of my arsenal, this one would be it! It’s so versatile and it’s on my camera 95% of the time. It creates a perfectly tight frame that isn’t too wide but isn’t too close. I use this almost exclusively for portrait sessions because I love how it creates a snug frame and it has the most beautiful, creamy tones to it when shooting, especially when shooting backlit photos!
85mm 1.8 || When I first purchased this lens several years ago I was instantly in love. This lens is a bokeh machine! It creates a perfectly tight frame and the 1.8 aperture is perfect for separating a subject from your background. It’s great a great lens to use when I’m trying to frame something out, like if I’m photographing a kid and I need to crop out mom and dad’s hands, or if I’m photographing a bride getting ready but I need to crop out some unsightly things in the corner.
100mm 2.8 || This lens is a macro, and it kills at ring photos! I also use it during ceremonies when I need a little bit of extra zoom. If you’re looking at getting into macro photography this is something perfect for your arsenal. I’ll take the occasional newborn photos for friends and family, and it’s great at getting those newborn details that parents will want to remember.
70-200mm 2.8 || I love the versatility with this lens. I love to use this for wedding ceremonies because I can get a great variation in length without having to change my lens, and 200mm at 2.8 is absolutely gorgeous! One of my dear friends uses this almost exclusively during a session because the bokeh at 200mm 2.8 is incredible. I love how I can take photographs of beautiful moments without actually having to be up close and personal. It helps keep the moment more genuine because they forget that I’m even there.
Memory card holder and an assortment of 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB SD and CF memory cards || I tend to overshoot to make sure that I capture the image that best represents the moment, so I like using bigger cards so I don’t have that awkward lull in a session, which helps keep the momentum going and we never loose the mood for the session.
Dental wax || I use dental wax for tricky ring photos, when I want to put a ring in a place that it doesn’t want to stay put. A little bit will do a good job of keeping a ring in place and because it’s clear if some of it shows it’s not super obvious!
Business cards || Okay, this one seems super obvious, but it’s one of the FIRST places that runs out of cards, and it’s one of the LAST places I remember to restock. I have the hardest time actually remembering to put more back in my bag, so adding that to your “pre-shoot” checklist is super helpful!
Microfiber Wipe || Great for rings and lenses alike, this is a great thing to keep on hand to make sure everything is perfectly clean.
Small Mirror || There are times during a session a woman would want to reapply a lip color, so I keep this in my bag so you don’t have to do it blindly!