What's in my Bag - Nikon, Sigma and Ona rule!

wideshot_gear_WEBAs this year's wedding season comes to a close, I thought a post about what's in my bag would be fun, and I get a lot of people that asking me what I shoot with. Don't worry, I have more weddings to share with you, but please enjoy my geek moment. I had to shoot this with my iphone, because all of my gear was out for the photo! So then because it was on my phone, I instagrammed it. Feel free to follow me @mamaphoto1213.  Speaking of photography and iphones, I used Snapseed to process these before rolling them into instagram.  I think I will blog about iphone photography this winter.  But I digress.

I have a lot of gear but I find that I always go to my trusted stuff first. I'm trying to lighten my load when I actually work. But I bring it all with me cause I'm a freak like that and you just never know what you may need or not.

I shoot with two Nikon D700 camera bodies (although my dreams are filled with two Nikon D4's). One body is on a Spider Holster with a Think Tank belt and some fun pouches for whatevers like phone, lipgloss, cards and I have one pouch that is big enough to carry a lens and flash. The second camera body is on a Black Rapid Strap. I use both bodies until after the first dance, then I stow one away and keep one with (lens) for the rest of the reception.

My lenses that I carry with me are:

  • Sigma 35mm 1.4  - Right now I am renting this one. I've been giving it a test drive this year and will probably purchase it in 2014. That's the great thing about renting gear, you can really figure out if you need something or are just lusting after it.  Taking gear out for a test drive is the way to go, especially if you are just starting out and building your arsenal of toys.  I love the 35mm 1.4!  LOVE LOVE LOVE IT.  The 35mm is basically what your actual eye sees.  If you are comfortable physically walk right up to your subjects and using this lens wide open, the results are pretty amazing.  I have been shooting about 65% of an entire wedding with this baby.  I will get the Sigma and not the Nikon simply because it is significantly less money than the Nikon and by renting it, I have found that it's just as great as the Nikon 35mm.
  • Nikon 60mm 2.8 macro (ring shots please)  - I purchased this lens used on ebay and I use it for ring shots and super close up details.  Although I have used it for portraits once in a while.  I pull it out when the bride is getting her make up on.  I can get in super tight on eyelashes and stuff.
  • Nikon 85mm 1.8 - I was coveting the 85mm 1.4 but it was A LOT more money than the 85mm 1.8 (I'm talking almost $1000 less!)  I purchased this last year and I'm very pleased with the results. I use this lens for portraits.  For most of the day (getting ready and formals) I use two bodies, one with the 35mm and one with the 85mm.  This lens is great when the 70-200mm is just too much.
  • Nikon 24-70mm 2.8 - This was the first expensive lens I purchased.  It was worth every penny.  It's a work horse.  You can shoot an entire wedding with this one lens. When a dance floor gets tight or the space where I'm shooting is smaller, this lens can cover you because it is so wide, but it's tight enough that you can still get some great portraits with it. It's fast and versatile.  A great first investment.
  • Nikon 70-200mm 2.8 - How do I love this lens?  Let me count the ways.  Fast?  Yes!  Kick ass bokeh?  You bettcha!  Sharp?  You could cut glass with this baby it's so sharp!  Heavy? (as in weight) Yup, you should feel my biceps!  I use this lens a lot.  I find it to be my trusty friend when I'm photographing people who need their personal space. I use it a lot with my autism Broad Spectrum Project photography because sometimes I need to keep my distance from my subjects for a variety of reasons.  Really great for first looks and formals with my couples when they need some intimate time alone but I still need to be photographing the moment.  I will usually whip out this bad boy and say "Go all the way over there, I can see a lot but hear nothing.  Say what you want to one another because I can't hear you, but I can see you."  Works every time.  This was the 2nd investment lens I made and it has paid for itself 10 times over.  Cha Ching!  But worth it.

I keep three Nikon flashes with me - the SB900, the SB800, and the SB700. the SB900 is on it's last legs and it's not perfect. It has issues like overheating, and that sucks.  I say, go for the SB910, which I'm about to buy any second now.  I use Pocket Wizards to connect the off camera flashes to the camera. I keep a Quantum Flash Pack on me always, although I hardly use it now that I have found out about Eneloop rechargables. I keep my gear that I'm not using immediately in my Ona backpack. I  love this bag! It was NOT CHEAP, but oh so worth it. I could shoot an entire wedding wearing this bag if I needed to. It's great for a road trip. I even holds a 15 inch laptop, so when I have to travel and know I'm going to shoot, I keep one body, a 35mm, an 85mm one flash and my laptop.  I also have a Think Tank rolling suitcase, and a Lens Pro to Go small bag for all my cords, chargers and things I don't normally use but if I don't have them I know I will need them.

And yes, with all this gear, I shoot manual about 95% of a wedding and you should too. Do you have more questions? I'm starting to offer private and semi private mentoring/classes.  Please inquire if you want to get schooled, I would love to hear from you. IMG_4596_WEB