I am by far no photography master but I do get questions occasionally from other photographers about what gear I use. And I know in my first year of doing photography the first thing I would search for on a photographers’ blog was a gear list.
So here it is all laid out.
2 Nikon D700s : At the heart of my gear are my two D700′s. Previous to this I shot with a D90 and when I upgraded to the D700 it was like the heavens had opened up. I love it’s low light capability and its white balance accuracy is so much better than my D90. I keep my D90 as back up and also as my travel camera. Plus I have the Nikon 35/1.8 DX lens which I LUUUUVVEEEE and it’s perfect on my D90. On a wedding day I do shoot with two cameras throughout the day and having two of the same models has made my life so much easier.
Nikon 105/2.8: I bought this lens because I did not have a macro and also I did not own a lens in the telephoto range from 70-200mm. I absolutely love the macro shots I am able to get with this lens and the VR has helped me keep steady when I have gotten the shakes shooting those tiny little rings. In using it for ceremonies or portraits it does focus at a “leisurely” pace but when it locks in it is just gorgeous. Well worth the money.
Nikon 85/1.8: I use this for portraits, dance shots and toasts. I will admit I have not being using it as much since I got my 35. But when I put it on my camera I am amazed at how good it makes everyone look. Would I upgrade to the 1.4? Yeah if someone gives me the additional $800 for the upgrade. At under $450 it is a great lens.
Nikon 50/1.4 : This is my little workhorse. This is on one of my cameras for 80-90% of a wedding day. I use it for getting ready, details, portraits, first dances. The only time I don’t use it heavily is for party shots during the reception. I will admit its the lens I use the most but it’s not my favorite. I think that in the year ahead I will challenge myself to use my 85 and 35 more but the 50.
Nikon 35/1.4: I love this lens! The more I shoot with it the more I like it. When I had the 35mm/2.0 I was really not enamored with the 35mm focal length. I think it was more so that the 2.0 has a tendency to be a little soft wide open. But this lens is sharp! And it just gives a different look and feel. I use it for getting ready, portraits, occasional details, and dance party shots during the reception.
Sigma 24/1.8 : My little 24 has been the red headed step child in my bag. I use only when I have to. It really doesn’t fit into my style for portraits. I use it when it tight spaces and I need to capture an entire scene, outdoor venue shots, and during reception dancing. Sometimes I can go a whole wedding without taking it out. The Sigma is a good lens and a great buy considering I didn’t want to invest in the Nikon version which has an astronomical price.
Not shown here is the Nikon 70-200mm. This lens is essential to shooting a wedding. Have I done without it, yes. But I do rent it for every wedding where I am the primary. I know some photographers love it, but I am just not enamored. It does create beautiful photos but for me it feels awkward. One it is heavy as all get out! Two its a zoom which if you notice I don’t shoot with. I didn’t even shoot with zooms when I first started, I almost immediately shot only with primes. I find myself moving back and forth with it forgetting I have a zoom ring. Also I don’t like the distance it creates between me and my clients during portraits. I only use it for the ceremony and occasionally during the reception. To me I am content continuing to rent and not shelling out the $2300 for a lens I pull out only during the ceremony.
For portrait and engagement sessions I bring my 50, 35, and 85, and occasionally my 105.
The SB-900 is my primary on-camera flash and I use the LumoPro for my off camera flash. I got the LumoPro as an off camera flash since it was less than half the price of the SB-900. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the SB900 and sometimes I wish it went down to 1/128 power but it gets the job done and is an easy manual flash to work. I use my SB 600 as a second on-camera flash .
The Bescor and Readylight are two hand held lights that are under $30 in price. They are great for lighting details and for cake shots.
I use the Pocket Wizard Plus II because they are idiot proof to set up and use and reliable. They are a little on the expensive side but worth the money it terms of reliability.
Not shown here are my 60″ Impact Black/White Umbrella, 43″ Westcott White Satin Umbrella and Ravelli 10′ Light Stand. I rarely use the umbrellas on a wedding day and really only break them out for indoor portraits.
I use the Wolverine to back up photos and to dump the cards of my second shooters.
I bring the Flip Camera to every wedding thinking I will experiment with capturing some video but time never allows for it or I forget it’s in my bag. One day! I promise myself I will use it.
I shoot only on 4GB cards. Call me paranoid. I rather loose only 250 pics if it happens than 400+.
Since I found out about rechargeable Eneloop batteries they have made my life so much easier. One set lasts me the night in my flash and they were much cheaper than me buying new batteries for each wedding.
Though a camera battery lasts me the whole day I have about 5 just in case. Paranoid I know.
Hope this post was helpful