As I organize my gear for tomorrow’s wedding, I thought I’d do a blog post on the list of equipment and gadgets I use to do what I do!
CAMERAS AND LENSES
I shoot on Canon 5D Mark II and Canon 5D Mark II bodies, and switch between 50mm 1.2L and 35mm 1.4L lenses. The former I’ll lean on for portraits, and the latter is great for wide angle shots of wedding parties and fun reception candids. During the ceremony, I’ll take out my 70-200mm 2.8L lens for close ups of the bride and groom, the exchange of rings, and guests’ expressions if I have to stand at the back of the church. My 24-105mm 4.0L shines with big architectural shots and wide angles of the entire church or reception hall, and can do macro for detail images of rings or invitations. I use SanDisk 16GB CF cards (memory cards), since I’m shooting RAW and 4GBs will fill up too fast.
HoldFast image courtesy CatheringGuidry.com
If I have to shoot in bright light, I’ll bring out my Photoflex diffuser to make it softer, or a reflector to fill in faces when they’re backlit or we’re in a lot of shade. My Expodisc sets my white balance in camera, and minimizes color correction work in post-processing. My new purchase for the 2014 season is my HoldFast MoneyMaker strap. I LOVE it. One client joked I looked like a Gladiator wearing it but, hey, wedding photography is tough! When I’m on my feet for 8 hours, carrying 30 pounds of equipment, I need a strap that can do the work. This one puts the weight on my shoulders rather than my neck and back, and lets me switch between two cameras easily. I especially like how the cameras fall at my hips and not my belly, so I can easily bend down to fluff a wedding gown. I bought an extra leash for the strap to hold my Expodisc, and the portrait slider gives me a few more inches to shoot vertical frames with the camera on my left side. While the MoneyMaker can balance 1 camera well, sometimes I just want a light single strap, in which case I’ll use my BlackRapid.
I admit I’m still on the hunt for a fantastic big bag for weddings, but I adore Crumpler bags for sessions and outings with my own family.
For dark reception halls, I pull out my 580EX and 600EX speedlites (flashes), use a stand and umbrella for an off-camera flash, and sync to it using my Pocket Wizards. For photo booths, I love effect from my AlienBee ring flash, which I mount on a heavy-duty tripod. I have wireless remote to trigger the camera when I want to give my subjects control over the shutter.
I work on an iMac and edit in Adobe Lightroom 5, but will use Adobe Bridge to cull and organize photos, and Photoshop CS5 to blog and design any marketing images.To upload my photos, I rely on a Transcend card reader – it’s much easier than pulling images from my camera, and it’s faster too. WD My Passport drives are my go-tos for backing up, and my Zenfolio account lets me easily share online galleries with clients when their images are ready, and backup RAW files online.
NEWBORN + KID GEAR
I prop babies on a Boppy nursing Pillow from Pottery Barn, and use soft fluffy throws from the same store. My portable heater from Macy’s provides warmth, white noise, and whooshing air that mimic the womb and keep baby comfy and cozy. To attach my blanket “backdrops” to a chair, I use these clamps. Aden and Anais blankets make perfect swaddles, and I can’t stop collecting all the pretty designs! Last but not least are my two most important assistants, Cookie Monster and Elmo! They tag along on my shoots with kiddos, and are experts at bringing out smiles and laughter.
As you can see, it takes a big investment in a lot of gear to be a professional newborn and wedding photographer. However, each piece is vital to how I shoot, my workflow, and the quality standard I set for myself and the images I deliver to clients. For all you amateur photographers, I hope this post has been helpful and gives you ideas for your photography wish list!