Fair Warning: This a BEAST of a post 🙂
When I was first starting my photography experience, I told myself that having a professional grade lens was basically my ticket into “making it”. I dreamt about them, I read other photographers blogs on them, I did research and eagerly talked to anyone who would listen about focal lengths and the quality of glass within. I will never forget the day I purchased my first “big” lens. Excitedly kneeling on the floor next to my momma in the den. Staring at a glowing Amazon screen and telling her to “just do it” as I had never spent that much money in one push before.
That day seems so long ago but so very recent. That first lens was dropped on concrete, cracked, repaired, and now hangs out in the bottom of my back as a back up. She should probably be sold to someone who would use her more but I just can’t. I can’t bring myself to give up my first baby who honestly feels like it started my business. I’m oftentimes sentimentally attached to inanimate objects and its definitely sometimes a downfall of mine. But as I think back, I can’t believe how far that lens projected me into the business I have today.
So.. If you’re a budding photographer or looking to build your collection this may be the post for you. I know when I was eagerly wanting to grow, I LOVED reading about what equipment other photographers used. I will say, a lot of what lenses/cameras you use is personal preference (especially lenses) and what works best for YOUR business. So renting before buying is definitely the way to go (aka I have one lens that hardly EVER gets touched.. Like even worse then my OG lens ;))
Canon 50mm f/1.2 | On my lens 95% of a wedding day. As I mentioned in the paragraph above, figuring out what works best for you business is a great idea. The 50mm fits that narrative perfectly.. Not too close to my clients, not too far. It’s versatile, reliable, & fast. I shoot primarily between f/2.0-f/2.2 (again, as that’s what fits my shooting style) but it’s quite gorgeous there and the depth of field is beautiful.
Canon 35mm f/1.4 | The lens that hardly ever sees my camera. It’s not a focal length I love and I don’t really care for the feel it gives my images. The reason on why I can’t get rid of it? Tight bridal spaces or wide images of the ceremony. Even then, if a bridal suite is big enough I’ll use my 50mm. Don’t get me wrong, the 35 is a GREAT lens. Just not one I utilize.
Canon 100mm f/2.8 MACRO | Ring shots, flowers, centerpieces, little details, and sometimes even portraits (if I’m feeling super ambitious). This lens is powerful and will produce beautiful detail. It was the last lens I added to my collection (more on that later). This lens also comes in handy if you’re like me & not interested in added the 70-200 to your collection. It’s the perfect happy medium and I use it during ceremonies quite often.
Canon 24-70 f/2.8 | My OG. The first big lens that I bought and the one that I just can’t part with. I sometimes still use it during receptions & dancing but for the most part it lives in the bottom of my bag as a backup. It was also my macro lens for the longest time. It is a beautiful lens and totally versatile but it’s heavy. Like really heavy (although mine is the old version one so I’m sure the two is better).
Canon 5D Mark III | I LOVE THIS CAMERA. It’s powerful, full frame, and my right hand man. When I first upgraded from the Mark II I wasn’t so sure I needed it. I heard mixed reviews about the color profile but overall most people loved it. I love everything about it. The shutter even sounds more quiet (in normal mode) and it’s an amazing piece of equipment.
Canon 5D Mark II | The other OG. I got this camera alongside the 24-70 when I was first starting. Great camera. Worked to death & now serves as a backup.
Canon 60D | Fully a backup. I would venture to guess it has less then 500 snaps on the shutter and it’s a few years old. Honestly, I should sell it.
Canon 600EX II (2 of them) | These flashes are one of the best purchases I’ve made (along with the most difficult). If you’re working with 2 flashes you know how frustrating it can be. You work one wedding and you feel you get a system down. Go to a different venue and BAM, you’re at square one again. All things aside, these flashes are awesome. They talk wirelessly to each other and consistently fire together when they’re supposed to.
Canon 430 EX | Back up flash and my original flash. She’s so little comparatively to the 600EXs
Wescott Light Stand | Indifferent about this bad boy. It’s tipped over at a wedding (& broke a flash! Yikes!!) and I don’t love it but don’t hate it. It’s simply a light stand.
Enloop Batteries | WORTH EVERY PENNY. Rechargeable batteries that are long lasting and now power every remote, mouse, and keyboard I have in my house.
WD Elements Terabyte Hard Drive | What I’ve consistently used since the beginning of my business. I’ve only had issues with one (that was resolved and no images lost) but likely was user error on my end.
SanDisk Extreme Pro 16GB CF Cards | I’m a paranoid polly with memory cards. The Mark III brings piece of mind since it shoots on dual cards BUT I still swap out cards roughly 4 times a wedding. My logic is, if a card corrupts (or in this case two cards) then only a portion of the day has disappeared verses the WHOLE day. I’ve been VERY lucky with this (knock on wood).
SanDisk Extreme Pro 16GB SD Cards | Same caption as above. Just the littler guy of the two.
Think Tank Memory Card Holder | It’s not pretty but the second I change to my second set of cards, the used card goes into this holder. This holder NEVER LEAVES ME. It’s around my wrist or in my pocket. I take it to the bathroom, I don’t take it off of my body until I’m in the car on the way home.. And even then, I’ll put it in the cupholder and touch it ever so often 😉
PASS | Digital gallery server. It is what I deliver my engagement sessions on and it’s backed up for 10 years. I’m storing the weddings there as I figured anyone that needs anything from me will figure that out within that time frame.
Kelly Moore Kelly Boy | I LOVE this bag. It’s my wedding day bag and holds everything and then some. It’s loaded with pockets and has held up so well. I don’t believe they make it anymore which makes me so sad.
Kelly Moore Backpack | I bought the leather version of this backup last year I think (looks like they don’t make it anymore either.. sad) BUT they still have the vegan style and it’s just as cute. I use a bag for engagement sessions. Less gear, and securely attached to me. I’m notorious for working on State Street and just setting it down.. Whoops!
Manfrotto Backpack | Flash & backup gear case. This hold 2 back up cameras, two back up lenses, 2 flashes, extra pair of sunglasses, gum, flash horseshoe, flash stand, and batteries. The handle at the top did break off of mine but I typically only wear it so didn’t mind.
FireProof Safe | Old hard drives live here. It’s sometimes a pain to get to (as I have it tucked into my closest) but if my apartment building was ever on fire I’d grab those and the dog. Any fire safe would do.
15″ MacBook Pro (new model) | When I was in Mexico my old MacBook crapped out on me midweek (superb timing). For a long while I convinced myself I didn’t need a replacement. I love this laptop. We’ll forgive Apple for giving me a broken one the first time 😉
21″ iMac | Also known as Big Mac. Hasn’t received as much love since the laptop joined the family but I’ve been craving myself sitting at a desk for a few weeks now.
Lightroom Classic via Adobe Cloud | My NUMBER ONE editing tool. Lightroom recently rolled out a new version so I can’t say too much about it. But if you’re looking for the original version it’s now called Lightroom Classic.
Photoshop via Adobe Cloud | Secondary editing tool. Only for cloning or bigger projects that Lightrooms heal tool can’t fix (which isn’t much).
Blogstomp | The best tool for blogging. I don’t have mine integrated with my site but it speeds up blogging time X’s a million. Not even kidding.
Photomechanic | My culling tool. I will be honest and say culling is my least favorite part of this job. It’s tedious and not a quick job.. BUT photomechanic took my culling times from like 3 hours (not kidding) to 30ish minutes. That’s a WHOLE wedding you guys.
WOW. That was a doozy of a post! If you worked your way through that all, high five!! I’m honestly an open book about everything so if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me!