What’s In My Camera Bag
When I first decided I wanted to start a photography business, I scoured the internet looking for photographers whose style I loved and who were also willing to share their best tips, tricks, and, most of all, the arsenal of equipment they used to support their business. Being a self-taught photographer, I was clueless about where to begin…I mean, WHAT did all this talk of f-stops mean when it came to lenses?!? Did I start with an entry-level camera or did I dive headfirst into the full-frame world? HELLO manual mode, you’re terrifying!!
I was eager to learn and I spent endless hours creeping on the blogs of every photographer I loved and frantically writing down any insight they shared on what they were shooting with and why. After all, if they were successfully building full-time businesses using it, I could be successful using it too! And I definitely absorb info the best when I know the reason why. I searched endlessly on Google for photo equipment and memorized the Simple Wedding Photography Guide by Photography Concentrate on what to shoot with on a wedding day and when. Then one day my whole photography life changed when I stumbled on educational content from Amy & Jordan and Katelyn James – in the same week, no less! I wanted whatever lenses they recommended and whatever gear they said was essential. It was really a great way for me to START, but as I became more comfortable in creating my own process for shooting, I started making decisions based on what I needed for MY business.
Soooo many photographers recommend shooting with prime lenses, as they’re amazing for shooting wide open for soft, dreamy backgrounds. Your subjects can really POP off the background and your eye is drawn straight to them. I started shooting with a Nikon 50mm 1.8 and my collection continues to grow. While the 50mm is great, my 85mm 1.8 has quickly become my favorite, go-to lens. You’ll find on my camera 90% of the time, as I only like to swap it out when the location is too small I can’t make it work. 😂 There are a few more lenses I have my eye on upgrading to, but right now I think I’ve got everything I truly need!!
So just like I searched for when I began my business all those years ago, I thought it would be fun to document what I have in my bag for other budding photographers to see! Plus it’ll be fun to look back on it a couple of years to see what has changed in my process and if any new favorites emerge!!
Kelly Moore Two Sues 2.0 – The Two Sues 2.0 is so stylish but most importantly FUNCTIONAL. It has taken me years to find a bag I’m truly comfortable having with me throughout a session. The wide center pocket is quick and easy for switching lenses, as well as doesn’t break my shoulder when I’m carrying it for hours at a time. It also doesn’t scream “I’M A CAMERA BAG, THERE ARE SHINY, EXPENSIVE THINGS IN HERE!” I find I’m taking my camera with me more because I know it’s protected in the Two Sues. Finally, it’s versatile enough that I can swap out some of my photo gear and use it as a camera bag/diaper bag. I just couldn’t do without my Two Sues!
Kelly Moore The Explorer – The Explorer is similar to the Two Sues in how versatile and comfortable it is, just on a bigger scale. This is my go-to catchall for wedding days, as it easily fits each and every lens, extra camera body, speedlights, and accessories that I need for the day. Before, I often ended up with 3 bags to get through the day, now I’m down to only the Explorer. Much easier on my back!
INSIDE MY BAG
Nikon D750 – I’ve always been a Nikon girl at heart. I grew up shooting with them and I don’t see myself jumping ship anytime soon! I started out shooting with a d5100 and had my eye on the d750 for awhile. Most of the lenses I had at the time were also crop lenses, so I knew when I jumped to the full-frame d750 I was going to have to invest in lenses as well. So while I often dreamed of upgrading, I had to be patient and count my pennies until I was truly able to invest. My photography business has always been self-funded – no business loans for this debt-avoiding girl! When I was finally able to upgrade and did my first session with my new d750, it was like the heavens opened up and the angels sang. If I could have had one piece of advice starting out, save your money and invest in a full-frame from the beginning! You won’t regret it!!
Nikon d780 – This is the newest gear I’ve added to my bag, having arrived just a couple of weeks ago after a spur of the moment upgrade. Remember those angels singing when I did my first session with my d750? Shooting with the d780 was that TIMES ONE THOUSAND. There are so many new features with this camera that makes it even easier for me to control how I’m shooting and produce the images I want. My 750s have been my trusty companions for the last few years and helped me grow SO much, but I’ll be upgrading with another 780 in the next few weeks, for sure!!
Lenses – In the good old days of researching, looking at lenses was enough to make my head spin. Trying to learn how to use a camera in manual mode was hard, frustrating work in and of itself, let alone trying to figure out what lenses were the best investment for me and where I wanted to go with my business. Prime lenses did end up winning me over, as they’re so wonderful for shooting wide open, but I also could not do without my 24-70mm 2.8 zoom lens. While I only shoot sessions with it occasionally, the 24-70mm is my go-to for family snapshots and vacation. This lens lives on my camera at home, resting on our entryway table, so it’s in easy reach for when I need to be able to sneak and capture Jackson and Harper in their natural habitat. Because right now they’re definitely in the stage that if they know the camera is out, they do that squinty-eye, close-lipped smile all kids do. And there are only so many pictures like that this momma can enjoy – HA!
Here’s a breakdown of my full lens list for a wedding day:
Nikon 50mm 1.8
Nikon 85mm 1.8
Nikon 24-70mm 2.8
Nikon 40mm 2.8
Nikon 35mm 1.8
Nikon 70-200mm 2.8
Accessories – There are soooo many goodies you can find as a photographer, but these listed here are my tried and true favorites that live in my bags for all sessions and wedding days! I couldn’t get by without them!!
Godox v860iin – Confession: up until a few years ago, my off-camera flash game was SERIOUSLY lacking. After purchasing some off-camera flash education, I knew I needed to up my game! I purchased 3 Nikon SB-700s to start with but was so disappointed in how unreliable they are speaking to each other for the way I set up my flash system. So I swapped these for Godox v860iin flashes and haven’t looked back. The way these can talk wirelessly to one another is seriously AMAZING and they have completely changed the way I’m able to shoot receptions in the same bright, colorful way I shoot in natural light!
ON MY DESK
For the longest time I ran my business from my desktop Mac. It was a big investment for my business and I knew I just couldn’t support having a laptop as well. Once I had kiddos though, it was so difficult to have an office on our second floor and little ones that lived and played down on the first floor. I’d read so many recommendations on having a laptop for editing on-the-go, but boy it boosted my at-home productivity as well!! I can set up and work while the kiddos are entertaining themselves in my line of sight, no longer having to wait until they’re in bed to knock out what I need to do.
I have a good backup supply of these hard drives right now, but I’m doing a lot of researching to hopefully be moving to solid state hard drives in the future. Once I get through my supply and can stop cringing over the price! Solid state are much more durable, as there are no moving internal parts.
So there you have it, a look at what my go-to gear is! Fellow photographers, is there anything you think I should add? I’d love to know down in the comments!!
Much love friends,