What's In My Bag? | NC wedding photographer
One of the first questions we get from new photographers or photography enthusiasts who follow our work is, "what do you shoot with?"
I think there tends to be an overly simplistic correlation between the quality of a photographer's work and the equipment they use.
"Amazing photo! What lens did you use?"
"Beautiful photo! Your camera takes great pictures!"
I have avoided a "What's In My Bag?" post for so long because I've always felt the gear was secondary to the talent, experience, and knowledge of the person using it. And while I love gear (camera stores are to photographers what toy stores are to children), I've never felt it was essential to always have the latest and greatest. I'm not a gear snob! So, while I'm happy to give you a list of our tools-of-the-trade, I'm also going to explain why these specific tools are important and how we use them as wedding photographers.
Nikon D750 (2)
Nikkor 70-200mm 2.8G VRII
Nikkor 80-200mm 2.8
Nikkor 24-70mm 2.8G
Nikkor 85mm 1.8G
Nikkor 35mm 1.4G
Nikkor 50mm 1.4G
Nikkor 20mm 1.8G
Sigma 35mm 1.4 ART
Sigma 50mm 1.4 ART
Tamron 90mm Macro
Nikon SB-900 (3)
Pocketwizard Mini TT1 (2)
Pocketwizard Flex TT5 (2)
MagMod Bounce (2)
MagMod Grip (2)
MagMod Grid (2)
Various umbrellas and stands
JoTotes "Hanover" (mine)
Kelly Moore "Kelly Boy" (Victor's)
While each lens we own serves its own specific purpose at any given shoot, there are certain lenses we find on our cameras most often. For me, it's the Nikkor 35mm 1.4G. I love the general purpose focal length that works particularly well for almost any part of a wedding day, and it's by far my most reliable lens. What do I mean by that? I find it to be the lens that focuses the fastest in any lighting scenario (even very dim lighting conditions). I do not worry that it will miss focus during an important moment at a wedding reception. Victor finds himself most often using the Nikkor 24-70mm 2.8G for the same reasons. But what about the rest? How and when do they get used?
Each piece of gear is essential for us to properly cover a wedding day. Weddings are fast paced and lighting conditions can vary wildly. For that reason, camera bodies like the Nikon D750 and D3s are particularly well suited for the often dim lighting we face on a wedding day. They also have excellent dynamic range keeping impressive detail in both the highlights and shadows of an image.
Our lenses are all considered "fast glass." The 2.8 and 1.4 apertures offer superior image quality, better depth of field, and allow us to shoot in low light situations.
Telephoto lenses like the Nikkor 70-200mm 2.8G VRII are crucial wedding photography tools. The focal length and wide open aperture allow us to photograph dark wedding ceremonies from the back of a church, keeping our distance from the altar and ensuring we aren't disrupting the moment.
Some of our most popular images involve off camera lighting. We utilize the wireless Pocketwizard system with our speedlights, light stands and umbrellas to create studio quality lighting on location. (And, I wouldn't ever be able to create them if I didn't have the help of my partner in crime, second shooter, and ultimate photo teammate...Victor).
The most important things we bring to a shoot.
The most important things you can bring to a shoot are not in your gear bag. Rather, your experience, knowledge (of lighting, posing, how to use your gear), and professionalism are your most valuable assets and tools.