If you’ve ever seen me photograph a wedding, you’ll notice I have a black rolling suitcase that follows me to each location. Sometimes I hear “where ya’ going on holiday?!” Although it looks like a vacation bag, It’s chocked full of lots of camera-y goodness. The photo below is a peek into what’s in my main kit bag. Believe it or not, I use everyone one of these items during the course of a normal wedding day (aside from the cat)
In the Main Bag:
Nikon 20 1.8 G
Sigma 35 1.4 Art
Sigma 50 1.4 Art
Nikon 85 1.8 G
Nikon 105 2.8 Macro VR
Flash guns: SB 900, SB910, and 2 Nissin Di9822
LED video Light (see more about it here)
Light stand x 2
Backup Bag (Not pictured):
Nikon 28 1.8 G
Nikon 35 F2 D
Nikon 50 1.4 G
Other bits and bobs:
In addition to the camera gear above, I also bring along: tons of spare batteries, spare memory cards, a backup hard drive, a spare pair of glasses, pain killers, snacks, lens cleaning clothes, flash filters, reflector and flash defusers a couple of small prisms, fishing wire, and a spare wooden hanger (for dress shots). Naturally, not all of these items live in my bag. Many items are kept safe in the boot of my car and are just there if I need them.
You’ll notice that there isn’t a single zoom lens in the mix. I switched to all primes a few years ago after my gear bags were stolen out of my flat. Being broken into was heartbreaking and stressful, however it did give me the chance to rethink my gear choices, so I switched from zoom lens to primes.
Primes require a little bit more forethought, you have to plan out what lens you’ll need and when. But it forces you to start planning the picture in your head before the moment happens. You’ll start to find yourself proactive about taking a picture rather than reactive.
Primes can provide amazing low light reach in addition to the high-ISO capabilities of modern cameras. Being able to shoot with natural light in fairly dark rooms is so helpful for remaining discrete for natural documentary shots, especially during church services.
However, the best part of Prime lenses is the optical quality. Each lens has one job to do, and it does it really well. It’s not the jack of all trades, it’s just the master of one.
My first film SLR was a Nikon N75. Since then, I’ve been a huge Nikon fangirl. There was a point where I considered switching to Canon, as they have lovely lenses. But I couldn’t live without Nikon’s autofocus abilities and low-light reach. As long as Nikon continues to be awesome, I’ll continue to be a fangirl.
The D4 is by far my main camera and the most widely used. The Df only comes out to play during certain times during the day. It’s a handy little backup camera as the sensor is the same as in my D4. Additionally, the quiet mode is super quiet. So if I need to grab some silent frames during a service, it’s perfect.
What I’d like to buy or upgrade:
I’d love to upgrade the 85mm to a 1.4, just because I adore the lower F-stops. I’ve been waiting for sigma to announce a new 85 Art or a 135 Art that’s been rumoured. The day the release one of those, my credit card will be waiting.
I also fancy a 45 tilt shift and the new Nikon 300 F4. Being a bit of a camera nerd, I could easily spend a lot of money on gear. So I do my best to gradually build up my kit bag and sell off gear that I don’t use to keep it at as reasonable level.
It may seem like a lot, but at the end of the day, I want to make sure that I have enough backup equipment in place incase something fails. Everything has earned a home in my kit bag for a reason, from the spare glasses to the pain killer.
While gear is a lot of fun to talk about, at the end of the day, there’s more than one way to get to approach filling a kit bag. The thing that really matters is the picture as a result.
This blog post is apart of my BLOG-FEBRUARY Project, where I write a blog post for everyday in February.