Today I’m going to talk to you about what camera equipment I work with and why. If you have any questions stemming from this article please feel free to ask.
Firstly I am a Canon girl always have been and suspect always will be. It’s the old age debate Canon vs Nikon and once you have chosen a side you tend to stick to it. In all honesty they are both fantastic camera systems that produce exceptional results in the right hands, so you can’t go far wrong with either brand. My main cameras are Canon 5D3s. The 5D3 has a full frame sensor, a decent frame rate per second and excellent low light capabilities. Although I would love a 1DX it isn’t a necessity for my work and I quite like the smaller size of the 5D3 especially for weddings and full on event days where my shoulders often start complaining about the weight of two cameras (and a bag full of kit) as it is.
The most important part of my camera equipment is actually my lenses. If you are torn between spending your money on a camera body on a better lens always go for the lens. All my lenses are Canon L series which is their professional range and in my opinion unbeatable in quality and performance. I have two main go to lenses for most types of photography namely my 24-70mm 2.8f II USM L and my 70-200mm 2.8f II USM IS L. The 24-70 is great for landscapes, group shots and when short on space, the 70-200mm is again great for portraits but also close ups and action shots.
The one exception to my Canon lens collection is a Lensbaby Spark. The Lensbaby range is a lot of fun and although on the whole not suitable for my paid commissions is great to play with when photographing for fun. The Spark is manual focus and adjusted by an accordion type function so hitting that focus sweet spot is a challenge!
A real must have item in my kit bag is my Holdfast Moneymaker camera strap. I have a collection of other straps but the Moneymaker wins on comfort and design. I’ve had it a couple years now and all my other straps have been relegated to emergency spares.
Another can’t leave home without item is my waterproofs. You can spend hundreds on expensive rainsleeves but I buy the Pack A Mac version aka a shaped plastic bag. They have been put to the test numerous times the most challenging being the 2015 European Championships at Blair where it poured for 7 hours straight. Many cameras died that day but mine wasn’t one of them. My little hack is I buy the versions designed for using with a flash then rotate 90 degrees and open the flash end so to create a second hand entry point. Other than my camera’s covers I also have my own waterproofs (a good coat and trousers) and a cover for my bag
Flashes and lighting features next on my list. I loathe on camera flashes and will avoid using them except where essential or where I can bounce the light off a wall behind me. I do though LOVE off camera flashes and lighting, and they play a big part in a number of my portrait styles. I have some fantastic portable but powerful Elinchrom lights which I can take pretty much anywhere with me, to help create portraits such as the one to the left.
Camera bags seem to breed in my house much to my husband’s horror. I have a collection which all have very different uses depending on the day at hand and what equipment I need to pack. A good strong backpack is essential, although I do have my sights set on the accompanying bags to my Holdfast Moneymaker at some point…! If your on a budget I have had my Amazon Basics DSLR bag for 6 years now and despite heavy use it still looks like new. It cannot be beaten on price and is pretty flexible and large in terms of what it can carry.
Another vital piece of equipment is my Apple MacBook Pro. Without it I couldn’t produce the photographs I do. Alongside the Mac I also couldn’t be without Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. Most of my editing takes place in Lightroom but occasionally I have to tweak a few bits in Photoshop.
None of this would be possible without possibly my smallest bit of equipment, my memory cards. I have a very large collection of SD and compact flash cards, all SanDisk, as they really are not an item you can scrimp on quality or cost. I normally dual shoot with two cards so in the rare event I do have a card failure I immediately have a backup. With card speed all my compact flash are minimum 100mbps and my SD 90mbps. If you buy slower cheaper cards you will dramatically reduce your camera’s performance. I have had someone ask which camera should they upgrade to as they can only take a photo every few seconds. In reality all they needed was to upgrade their memory card as that was the limitation not the camera. A far cheaper option for them as well!
Amongst my other bits and pieces of kit, sturdy tripods are a must, especially for long exposures such as star trails and for supporting my lighting equipment. This is another piece of equipment you don’t really want to scrimp on, when out and about it will often hold 50 times its price in camera equipment so you want to minimise its chance of failing.
Lastly and probably my most random bit of kit which accompanies me to weddings is my emergency sos kit. Hair grips and safety pins are both in there amongst other things, as you never know when they will be needed and its contents have prevented many a stressful situation!