WHAT'S IN MY CAMERA BAG RIGHT NOW
It's always interesting to see what type of gear other photographers use to get the job done. Personally, I don't use much. I'm a two lens, one camera kinda guy. Also, I like to save money (who doesn't), and below you'll see ways I save with simpler equipment!
1. LANGLY SIMPLE CAMERA BAG
For so long I couldn't find the perfect camera bag for me. Then Langly released their Simple Camera Bag. It's exactly what I needed. I'm able to fit all of my gear inside, and a variety of smaller pockets allow me keep all my smaller knickknacks inside. I love that it's a backpack, and it's perfect for airline travel too as it slips perfectly under the seats. But a camera bag is very personal item, and if you shoot as much as I do, you'll want something that makes your life easier like this one does for me!
Langly Simple Camera Bag
2. CANON 5D MARK IV
When I originally started wedding photography, I invested in the Canon 5D Mark II. Now that we're in the era of the MIV, I can tell you the significant jump between those two models is remarkable. This is my favorite Canon camera to date. My favorite thing about the Mark IV is the addition to WiFi connectivity. Finally I have a 5D that I can send images straight to my phone for easy social sharing. However, it's not the most perfect camera ever, but it gets the job done and the picture quality is something I've been used to for years. My one complaint about this camera is that the focus sometimes seems a hair off. I like to shoot very open, so accuracy is really important. And as other companies have gained momentum with mirrorless and DSLR bodies (ie SONY, Panasonic, Fuji), I've started to wonder if my time with Canon is ending soon. But for now, I'm happy with what I've got. Hey, it's not about the gear, right?
3. CANON EF 35MM f/1.4L II
The first version of this lens is the reason why I fell in deep love with photography. I can pretty much shoot everything on this lens. It's one of only two lenses I carry with me. I use this lens mostly for family portraits and receptions at weddings. I'm a dedicated prime lens photographer. For the majority of what I photograph, there is no need for a zoom lens, because I can use my legs to step in or away from my subjects. Also, with zoom lenses, the closer you zoom in, the more likely you'll run into sharpness issues if not using a tripod.
4. CANON EF 50MM f/1.2L
For many years, I only used a 35mm lens. The fact that I didn't change my lens throughout a shoot saved me so much time worrying about things that mattered more, especially when I was starting off as a photographer. But now I've been using this 50mm 1.2 and it is now my exclusive portrait lens. The softness behind my subjects is exactly what I love about it, as it creates a nice bokeh while keeping a much more natural effect than other lenses. It's also nice that it's almost true to what our eyes see, which can make a big impact on making sure your subjects don't look warped at all.
5. CANON SPEEDLITE 600EX
This on-camera flash is Canon's most expensive flash. The battery life is great (I recommend getting rechargeable batteries like these Eneloop ones). However, if you don't use flashes as slaves, you don't need to spend all the dough on this model. The Canon Speedlite 430EX ($250) is almost half the price of the 600EX ($475). And if you want to go really inexpensive, I've actually heard decent things about this AmazonBasics Flash, which is only $28!
6. CANON OC-E3 OFF-CAMERA SHOE CORD
So this is something you don't need. But I use it for one reason. Paparazzo-style portraits. This allows me to quickly hold my flash up above my head and get that "deer in headlights" kind-of look. The Canon version is quite pricey and any sort of third-party versions will get the job done.
7. CUSTOM SLR GLIDE ONE CAMERA STRAP
Okay. I've owned this camera strap for FIVE years and I don't ever want to use anything else. It's comfortable, extra stretchy, but keeps my camera in close to my body. This strap has probably saved my back and shoulders from needing some serious chiropractic care. However, my favorite part about this strap is that it screws into the bottom of your camera. This means, every time I pick my camera up from my side, it's already in the perfect upright spot for getting the shot!
8. RUGGARD PROTECTIVE CARD POUCH
I'm pretty anal about keeping my camera cards organized. During one of my first ever shoots almost 10 years ago, I accidentally formatted a card I had already photographed on. Now, I have a much better system and this case slides perfectly into the front pocket of my camera bag.
I'm going to write a post about some unique pieces you can use to make creative photographs in-camera, but for now, I'll talk about this round prism. I actually found it on Alibaba for 99 cents. I place it right against my lens (be careful not to scratch your glass!) and it creates some funky reflections. If you've never played around with a prism in your photography, I recommend starting with a triangular one!
10. NEEWER 160 LED LIGHT
Sometimes, flash photography doesn't turn out that well. At many receptions, I deal with lots of beams and overhanging barriers that affect the consistency of the OCF. This is not good when you're trying to capture a first dance that might only last 2 minutes! So that's why I always have this LED light with me. It projects soft light onto my subjects and a dimmer on the side allows me to adjust it to the perfect strength. My other favorite thing about this lens (besides the fact that it's only $27 DOLLARS), is using it for sparkler exits. The constant light allows me to never worry about my camera not focusing in the dark, while providing a soft glow on the couple.
11. MACRO FILTER SET
If you're thinking about buying a macro lens for wedding ring shots only, DO NOT DO IT. Save your money and buy this macro filter set instead. Granted, you need to shoot in manual mode, and it does take some time to get used to using them, there's no reason to spend all that money on a lens for one shot per wedding. Make sure you buy the correct size to fit the lenses you own!
12. LEXAR 1066X 64GB CF CARDS
So my favorite memory card company stopped producing the CF cards I currently use. Sadface. However, SanDisk offers the same exact size/speed as I use. Since the 5D Mark IV files are much larger than my cameras in the past, I use the 64GB cards. Pay close attention to the read/write speed, this is extremely important when purchasing. You want something that won't lag while capturing multiple shots at once. When it comes to the size of the card, do what works best for you, and what you're most comfortable with. You can lose cards, they can become corrupt, so shooting on a dozen cards may be your thing. I prefer to shoot on a couple 64GB cards and replace them every year or so. I highly recommend you NOT go over 64GB unless you are dual-shooting with two cards.
13. DJI MAVIC PRO
The fact that I can fit this drone in my camera bag WITH all my other gear is the reason why I love it so much. I'll go into drone photography in other posts, but if you're looking for a drone that's compact and captures great photos/video, the Mavic series is right for you.