What’s In My Bag? Gear Suggestions

Welcome, fellow wedding photographers and aspiring wedding photographers! :D

If you're here, you're looking to find out what's in my photography arsenal. While gear alone does not a photographer make, having the proper tools for the needed job allows for more creative freedom. I'm happy to describe the gear I use for my wedding photography! I'll also detail why I love each piece of gear, and what I use it to accomplish.

Note: All links in this article are affiliate links- which means that I receive a bit of money if you use my link to buy the item. But I ONLY recommend items that I personally use and love. So, whether you use my affiliate links or not, I hope you find my recommendations useful!

51a0nRQhFzL._SL250_The Canon 5Dmrkiii

I’m guessing if you’re even considering this recommendation, you’ve already read a ton of info on this camera. So, I’m not going to go into the detailed specs- that’s what Amazon’s listing and reviews sections for this camera are for. ;)

So instead, here’s the top real-world reasons why I feel that the Canon 5Dmrkiii is the perfect wedding photography camera:

  •  Two words: DUAL. SLOTS.

That’s right. Count em.

What’s the big deal? Well, it means that I can have DOUBLE the assurance that the images I’m taking are going to be there when I go too download them at the end of the day.  Which is, you know.. kinda important. ;)

Not to mention, statistically, the greatest risk to MAKING a card go bad is in the action of removing/putting it in the camera repeatedly. Switching out 5 cards over the course of the day is actually more risky than using one card in each slot, all day long (as long as you have the assurance of dual-slot recording). So, with full confidence, I can use large CF and SD cards- and by not having to switch out a bunch of little cards, I also minimize the risk of simply loosing a card (which is actually pretty easy to do).

Oh- and one small tip: If you end up getting the mrkiii (DO ITTTTT), writing different file types or sizes to each card will actually cause slowdown. It’s faster to, say, record L RAW to both than it would be to record L RAW to one and M JPEG to the other. Just sayin’. :)

  •  Better Focusing System

Let’s admit it. Canon traditionally SUCKS with auto-focus. NO MORE! With this camera, they kicked the focusing issues to the curb with a 61-point focus system!

  •  Crazy good ISO range

ISO6000? No sweat. :) This baby goes up to ISO128,000- and while I can’t recommend using it for every shot, haha, the fact remains that the 5dMrkiii can go up to CRAZY high ISOs without being buried in grain. :)

 


My Wedding Photography Lenses:


Sigma Art 35 1.4

I was initially  skeptical of Sigma lenses…. “off-brand” lenses have always stood in the shadow of their better, more expensive Canon/Nikon counterparts. However, after reading many reviews hailing the new Art Line of Sigma lenses as equal to Ziess’ $4000 amazing lenses, I had to try for myself!

I was blown. Away. I had come to love the Canon 35 1.4 for it’s fast and accurate focus and gorgeous bokeh- but to my great surprise, the Sigma Art 35 was even BETTER. I dumped the $1400 Canon version for the $900 Sigma Art and NEVER looked back.

In my mind, this lens is the little brother of the 135mm. Sharp as a tack and quick to the jump, this is one of my favorite lenses for portraits and general photojournalism. And if Sigma continues to put out lenses of this quality, I might even leave Canon someday completely! ;)

Click here to check out the current price on Amazon or add to your wishlist!

 

Sigma Art 50 1.4

Once I was own over by the amazing Sigma Art Line 35 1.4, it was time to try the next one in the lineup! The Sigma 50 1.4 didn’t disappoint. :D The images from this lens are crisp and simply gorgeous! 50mm is a common length for weddings- I’d guess that most wedding photographers use one for most of the day. From tight getting ready rooms to sweeping views of the ceremony to gorgeous, closeup portraits, this lens is SO flexible!

The one thing I would tell folks new to this lens is to remember to give the focusing mechanism an extra moment. :) Compared to the Sigma Art Line 35 (which focuses instantly), the 50 needs a brief moment to hunt before locking. However, this is a VERY small detail- and totally not noticeable once you’re used to it. (of course, this is only at 1.4. When you’re shooting at f2 or more, it does lock focus instantly) Also, once it does lock focus, it is dead on! :D

Click here to check out the current price on Amazon or add to your wishlist!

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8

A very inexpensive option, this was one of my first lenses- and still one of my favorites. 1.8 means creamy bokeh and lots of light, making it great for dark receptions! A perfect portrait lens as well. I basically consider it an honorary “L” lens!

Very quick and accurate to focus at $400, this lens is the most bang for your buck EVER. Especially if you’re just starting out, this is THE lens to have.

Click here to check out the current price on Amazon or add to your wishlist!

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro

Many photographers are surprised to learn that this “macro” lens isn’t a one-trick pony. Although it’s (of course) wonderful with detail and ring shots, it’s also one of my very favorite all-around lenses!! Extremely sharp and fast, I use it for everything from processionals to portraits. :)

Click here to check out the current price on Amazon or add to your wishlist!

Canon EF 135mm f/2L

This lens is pure magic- the colors, sharpness, and gorgeous bokeh are a dream. The focal length is fairly long, which is perfect for wedding use (sneaky candids, bride and groom portraits, ceremonies, etc), but may be a stretch for work with, say, children’s portraits.

Click here to check out the current price on Amazon or add to your wishlist!

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L

Before finding the 135mm, this was my long lens of choice. The length offers a perfect range to cover any ceremony or reception! The weight may be off-putting to some, but it never bothered me. :) I still use this lens when the 135mm just doesn’t reach far enough. It’s also gorgeous for family formals!

Click here to check out the current price on Amazon or add to your wishlist!

My Flash Gear

 

Off camera flash (OCF) is a topic close to my heart, and it deserves it’s own gear walkthrough! Click here to see my suggestions for OCF.

Memory Goodness

Transcend 32 GB CF Card and 64GB SD Card

Since my main camera, the Canon 5Dmrkiii, has dual slots (or, the ability to save to both a CF and a SD at the same time), I obviously use this ability. I combine this 32GB card with this 64GB card for major protection against card issues!

Although Transcend is not a “name” brand, I love their cards and have never had an issue with them. Pus, they are many times less expensive!

I find that a full wedding with fit on the 64GB easily, meaning that I can leave one 64GB card in all day (reducing risks associated with switching out cards). The 32GB card is typically enough as well, but since I have had to switch it out to a fresh one for some full day weddings, I keep a few around.

While we’re on the topic, PLEASE take a few moments to read this article I wrote on the subject of backups and how to keep wedding images safe as you’re shooting. I detail the backup tools and hardware I use, so you can be sure to never experience a data loss!!

Kingston USB 3.0 Card Reader

Easy and fast, this reader never lets me down. It boasts slots for many card types, and is USB 3.0 ready! Not much to say about this one- it’s as simple as plug in, and go!

Accessories

Zeiss Lens Cloths Wipes 200c

It’s a silly little thing, but these wipes have saved me many a day! I buy them in big boxes and keep them stuffed into random pockets in all my bags. :) They work for computer/laptop screens, lenses, you name it!

ZOPower Dual Battery Charger Travel Kit

I used to buy single battery chargers- but then I found out that this one is the same price, and charges TWO. :/ (it also comes with an a/c adapter so it can be used at home or in the car!)

Wasabi Battery for Canon LP-E6 (5DmrkII, 5DmrkIII, 7D, etc)

Although Canon brand batteries will last the longest, they are also very expensive. For the same price, I can keep 4-5 of these charged and ready! (I find that I rarely burn through more than two fully charged batteries per wedding)

Fotodiox 77MM Macro Reverse Mount Adapter

Ready to have your mind blown? How about a macro lens that produces shots like this– for $5? A Reverse Mount Adapter allows you to attach your lens backwards, which turns it into an awesome macro lens! I use this with my 24-70mm, so I use the 77mm size reverse mount adapter  linked above. (you can find a huge collection of sizes here on Amazon: Reverse Mount Adapters)

Holdfast Gear Money Maker Multi-Camera Harness

Wedding photography is a tough gig. I used to carry my camera by the strap, with a loaded shootsac- which caused SO much pain on my neck and back. This Holdfast strap distributes the weight evenly in the style of a backpack, and made a HUGE difference in my pain level after a long wedding day. It is VERY secure (in fact, it can be hard to deattach the camera when you want to haha!). It also makes it VERY easy to move and to shoot vertically or horizontally. :) I have the “Water Buffalo” in Small.

Westcott 7-Feet White Diffusion Parabolic Umbrella 

Sometimes, the sun just does NOT cooperate. By using this parabolic umbrella as a scrim, I can use the sun to light my subjects while keeping the light soft and diffused! (see an example image here)

Bags

Built Cargo Large Camera Bag

There’s always a lot of things to have on hand for a wedding day. This Built NY bag holds my strobe and associated stuff (wires, brackets, vagabond mini battery, etc) so that it’s all ready to grab and go!

Built Laptop Portfolio 

I am SO glad I found this little number. I wear this all throughout the wedding day to hold my odd-shaped needs, such as flash gel packs, my phone, and wedding timeline sheets. It’s super light! This bag also can easily hold a DSLR camera, should you need your hands free for a few moments. :)

SwissGear ScanSmart Backpack for 17” Laptops

I have a huge laptop, and I wanted to be sure to carry it safe and snug. …I’m also a little bit obsessed with backpacks. :)

This awesome bag is airport ready (fits in overhead bins and folds open for a quick scan of it’s contents), small enough to be worn by 5 foot lady, and is big enough for my laptop, peripherals, and even a camera inside my Built “portfolio” bag, pictured above!

Lowepro Pro Roller x100 Camera Bag

When I used to try to keep all my gear on my person (all my lenses in my shootsac, extra bags around my shoulders), it was a NIGHTMARE on my back. So I finally decided to go with a rolling bag for the gear I’m not using at the moment. It was such a HUGE relief!!

This bag holds all my lenses, backup camera, peripherals (like batteries, filters, etc), and speedlights safe and sound. Although I wouldn’t go tossing it into a lake or anything, it is water resistant (it’s handled plenty a rainy/snowy day) and very sturdy!

A bonus feature is the hideaway prop foot- which allows me the option of placing the bag at a 30-45 degree angle in a stable position. That way, I can roll up to a location, tilt my bag, and leave it open so as to easily swap out lenses. :) Yay!

Editing

Dell UltraSharp U2412M 24-Inch Screen LED-lit Monitor

As I use a laptop for my editing and business work, I knew that a external monitor would be a must for truly accurate editing. (laptop screens are notoriously bad for warping colors and brightness) But I put it off for a LONG time because I knew I would want the best.. and I was scared of making a mistake.

Thankfully, I finally worked up the courage to start the search- and let me tell you, I am SO glad that I did.

This monitor has allowed me to edit with confidence- and the pixel density means that I can see in SO much more detail!! Worth every penny- and actually, it wasn’t all that expensive. :)

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