It’s the question I’m asked most often: what’s in my camera bag? While I believe that gifted photographers can make a beautiful image with a plastic camera, I also believe that it’s important to use the best tools available to help you achieve the image you want to make. SO, here’s a little peek in my own toolbox along with the accessories you’ll usually find floating around my camera bag!
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click a link and then buy the product, I earn a very small commission. However, I only link to products that I have personally used and would wholeheartedly recommend anyway. 🙂
I shoot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III camera body. Some people ask me why I shoot with Canon instead of Nikon, and my answer is simply that I received a Canon camera for Christmas in 2007 and never looked back. Canon lenses only fit on Canon camera bodies, so to shoot Nikon I would need to sell all of my gear and buy everything again. I’ve been very happy with my Canon bodies over the years; I started off shooting with a Rebel XTi, then graduated to a 5D, then the Mark II (which I still keep as my backup camera), and then my current Mark III. If you’re on the fence about upgrading from the Mark II to the III, you should go for it! I find the autofocus system to be MUCH sharper, and that clarity is super important to me. Since kids only sit still for a millisecond, I need to be able to trust that my camera will be ready to go when I need the shot.
I only use prime lenses, meaning that I have to physically take a step forward in order to zoom in on my subject. This tradeoff is more than worth it because prime lenses are lightning fast and super sharp. Here are the primes that I use:
OH, how I love this lens!! Prior to my Sigma 50mm, I used a Canon 50mm f/1.4 (a less expensive alternative if you’re looking for a good starting place). However, it drove me crazy that so many of my shots weren’t in focus, even when photographing a stationary object. After cycling through four different Canon 50mm 1.4s and experiencing the same result, I started to experiment. I tried out the Canon 50mm 1.2 (part of the L series) but still had the same issue with focus. That’s when I discovered the magic of Sigma! This lens is SO sharp, and I know I can count on it. It’s on my camera for about 75% of every session I photograph.
This is the other lens that I carry with me to every photo session. I use it for two things: 1) capturing cool scenery (ex: a wide shot of a family at the beach) and 2) showing dramatic and fun angles. I especially love playing with this lens to show the perspective of the kids I photograph.
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro Lens
This one stays home most days, but it’s very useful for two specific purposes:
1) Capturing tiny newborn details like beautiful eyelashes and little toes and fingers
2) Ring shots during engagement sessions
Think Tank Pixel Pocket Rocket
This little invention is a miracle solution to my previous constant anxiety that I was going to lose a memory card. It holds 10 Compact Flash cards in see-through sleeves so you can tell which ones are used and which ones aren’t. It all folds up into a secure little roll, and you can clip it to your bag so that it can’t accidentally fall out. There’s also a slot for your business card so it can be returned to you.
Lexar 800x 32GB Compact Flash Card
I have eight of these, and I split every session I photograph across two cards in case one were to fail. 8 cards X 32 GB = 256 GB of storage. I’m pretty sure that’s more memory than my entire first computer. 😉
I never know when I’m going to need one, so I keep a few of these tucked in my bag at all times. I print my cards with Moo and love the quality!
I looooove this camera strap! Yellow is one of my favorite colors, and it really brightens up my mood to have such a cheerful strap on my camera. It’s also nice and padded, unlike some of my previous straps that used to rub against my neck.
Fave Lipstick 🙂
This has no business being in this post, except for that I never go to a session without this lipstick in my bag. Once you go red, you never go back. Just sayin’.
KLP Flash Drive
I carry one of the little flash drive keychains that I send to my clients because I love them so much! My own flash drive is loaded with lots of my family’s images. That way, I always have it on me if I need to print a last-minute gift for someone. This has saved me more than once! 😉
Finally, here’s the bag I use to hold everything! It looks like a regular handbag from the outside, but the inside features padded compartments to safely hold my equipment. It always makes me smile when I surprise my clients by showing up with just one bag, but it all fits in there! There’s even space for my laptop….but if I need to carry more than just my camera gear, I usually pack my super stylish backpack instead so that I’m not carrying all of my weight on one side of my body.