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Juliana Tomlinson

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February 25, 2019

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What’s in My Camera Bag and How I Use My Gear

Hi there, friends!

After receiving so many messages asking what gear I use, what lens is my favorite, I decided to create this blog post for you.

Instead of just listing my gear, I decided to also tell you how I use my gear when I am shooting. You don’t have to have all of these to start shooting weddings, but I absolutely love my ‘wedding photography equipment arsenal’! hehe 

Camera Bodies

I have 3 cameras bodies, 2 Nikon D850 (1 main and 1 backup body) and 1 Nikon D800 (my backup of the backup body). I always use both D850 bodies on a wedding day, but when I shoot engagement sessions, I use only one. 

Lens

35mm f1.4 – I love this lens. Not as much as I love my 85, but this lens is fantastic! It’s a very fast lens and it creates beautiful and sharp images and allows me to do so much on a wedding day. I do use my 35mm during bridal prep time, for some wide portraits of the bride and groom, for formals and bridal party wide shots and for dancing during the reception. This lens is my 2nd favorite!

50mm f1.4 – This is a very versatile lens and if you can only invest in one lens, I would definitely recommend you start with a 50mm. If you are just starting out, you can shoot an entire wedding with this lens, if you need to. Even though I do think this is an amazing lens, it’s not my favorite. Now that I have a large collection of lenses, to be honest, the 50mm almost never leaves my bag. (Controversial opinion, I know! hehe)

I do occasionally use my 50 when the bride is getting ready, though.

58mm f1.4 – I bought this lens because as I said, I’m not a big fan of the 50mm and I needed a prime lens with this focal length. I’m still getting used to this one, since it’s my latest addition… I like it very much, but the focus can be soft sometimes. However, when it nails the focus, OMG, it produces gorgeous bokeh and creamy skin colors, very similar to the 85mm.

85mm f1.4 – This is my favorite lens ever. I know a lot of photographers say that about the 50mm, but for me, if I could, I would shoot with the 85mm all day long. I will say that this lens is not as easy to set focus as my old 85mm f1.8, but still, this is my favorite.  I can really achieve my style with this lens. The color and the bokeh this lens produces is simply amazing. The focal length is not always ideal for a wedding day, but I use it for the majority of portrait time and quite a few times when the bride is getting ready. For engagement sessions I use this lens 85% of the time. I back up as far as I need to in order to keep using my 85mm.

105mm f2.8 – I use this lens primarily for detail shots. Sometimes it will see the light of day during the ceremony, but it’s very rare. Since this is a macro lens, it is ideal for shooting small items such as rings, earrings, jewelry, small portions of the invitation suite, cuff links etc.

Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 – This is the only non-Nikon lens in my collection. Although it’s a wonderful lens, I have to keep calibrating it often in order to keep its sharpness. I use this lens during the ceremony only. Sometimes, when I am in a very tight space I will pull it out of my bag, but it doesn’t happen often.

Again, this is a fantastic lens, but even though it shoots in large aperture (f2.8), to achieve my style I prefer to shoot in even larger apertures, around f2, f2.2 and f2.5

70-200mm f2.8 – Ok, let’s talk about THE lens. I absolutely love what this lens can do, but I really dislike how heavy this lens actually is. It’s one of my fastest lens, so quick to focus and it creates a beautiful bokeh and the image colors are just a-ma-zing. But again, I don’t use it too often because it’s so heavy that after just a few shots my hands are hurting so badly. I do use it at every single wedding during the ceremony though. I can’t even think about shooting a ceremony at a big church without this lens. It allows me to zoom in very close as to not disturb the ceremony.

Camera, lens and equipment for wedding photography

Flashes

I cannot achieve my photographic style after sunset without the help of my flash system. I never bring my flashes to engagement sessions, but on a wedding day, I can’t survive without them. I have 1 SB-910 and 2 SB-700. On a wedding day, during the reception, I have 2 of them set off camera and one on camera.

Trigger & Receivers

Even though my flashes communicate with each other through the Nikon Creative System, I choose to use trigger and receivers. After my flashes, for some reason, stopped communicating on a wedding day, I decided to be over prepared and add the triggers. I use the Godox X2T-N on camera to trigger my 2 off-camera flashes with the Godox receivers and I really like how easy these are to use.

Light Stands

I have 2 light stands for my flash units, one with an umbrella and one without.

Umbrella

I do bring an umbrella to wedding days, and I will use it only at the beginning of the reception. As soon as the dance starts, the umbrella goes down.

Several Rechargeable batteries

The ones I use are the Eneloop from Panasonic.

Several SD and XQD Cards

I am always updating my cards and buying the fastest ones available. It’s a personal preference, but I only buy 32GB SD cards and I use them as backups to my XQDs. I don’t know why, but in my mind it’s a way to keep it safe… if one of my cards suddenly stops working, at least I will not lose all the images from the day, since shooting on a 32GB forces  me to keep changing them often.

BAGS

I use the Kelly Moore The Libby 2.0 as my main shoulder bag. I bring it everywhere with my most used lenses and equipment.

On wedding days, I also bring my Lowepro rolling bag . I pack all my extra lenses and flashes (and equipment) in it and will usually only bring it out of my car before the ceremony starts.

 

There you have it friends. I hope this helps!

—> You may also enjoy reading my 5 tips to design and shoot flat lays on wedding days!

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