I've done a blog about what's in my camera bag before, but that was over a year ago & I have a serious shopping problem so a lot has changed since then! Oh and I became a wedding photographer in the meantime so the dynamics of my gear has flipped 360 degrees!
The bag ~ Lowepro Pro Runner backpack
Next month I am travelling for work, to Jasmine Star's Sydney Workshop (eeeeeep!), and my trusty Canon backpack is just too small these days for all my gear. I did some research and found a camera bag that suited my gear & was better for purpose. A Lower Pro Runner 350 AW. Still small and light enough to carry onboard for flights (I refuse to check my camera gear as luggage!) and large enough to carry all my gear in one bag for wedding days & travel.
It's not the most fashionable bag, but it is proving practical. I did have my heart set on a super-fashionable, aged-leather shoulder bag but to be truly honest I don't generally shoot while carrying my bag. At weddings, my number one man & executive second-shooter (he made that name up himself!) Matt carries my bag/s for me and on portrait sessions I set my bag down in a safe spot, choosing to shoot freely & unobstructed.
The camera ~ Canon 5D III
Oh the camera! Where do I start?
This Canon 5D mark3 is A - M - A - Z - I - N - G and that is an understatement!
The full-frame sensor, the accuracy of the white-balance and the security of dual memory-cards make this camera body my best friend. People have often asked why Canon? In all honesty, I have no good explanation. It's what I started out with, it was what I kept seeing being used when I started teaching myself photography at the school of Google/Youtube and now it's what I'm familiar with. In fact I work my camera by feel these days and when I pick up Matt's Canon 6D it drives me nuts because the buttons are in different places & I can never find what I want automatically.
One of my beloved prime lenses. This puppy is perfect for portraits and newborn photos. The 1.4 aperture creates dreamy short depth of field and I find I can get very creative with this lens. I believe 50mm gives us the closest image to true perspective, as in it captures a scene pretty close to what our human eye sees.
I've had this lens a while & it's probably my most used lens. While I love the 50mm prime, the 85 has a focal length that I just A-D-O-R-E ! The 85 focal length creates the most flattering head shots and portraits, whereas the 50mm can sometimes cause distortion when you get too close to your subject. The 50mm was once my favourite lens but on the full-frame sensor I definitely favour the 85mm.
100mm macro 2.8L IS
A recent splurge! I told you I was addicted to shopping!!! In all seriousness though this lens was a total investment. It has changed my creative flow entirely. I'm not going to get into the science of macro lenses, mainly because I don't know it myself, but basically this lens has a 1:1 magnification. Even better explained with an example: the images below compare the maximum magnification of each lens. The non-macro lens cannot focus as close to the subject, nor magnify it the same so it can't get in close and capture all the detail. I just love how details can be documented in an intimate way with a macro lens.
I have a love-hate relationship with this lens. It's very versatile for the likes of family portraits & weddings, with it's wide-angle 24mm through to 105mm zoom. It's great for wider newborn shots in the studio. large group photos at weddings & for landscape or environmental images. But I love my prime lenses for creative work because they make me think more about composition & I have to use my feet, move about to create the shot I want. The 24-105 makes me feel lazy. I've taken some of my favourite photos with this lens and I do love the security it provides when I feel I may need both wide-angle shots and tighter portraits in a small time frame. But I prefer to swap it out for prime lenses when I can.
I like to always be trying to push myself, developing my skill and getting creative. And I love doing that with my prime lenses. But I have to admit the 24-105 is totally worth having in my collection. It's a lens that doesn't stick out in a crowd (perfect for travelling) & provides such a convenient range of focal length.
70-200mm 2.8L IS
Before I purchased this lens I did so much research. I wanted a lens that gave me those dreamy backgrounds with the compression of the focal length at 200mm. I knew this lens would be perfect for getting tight candid photos at weddings, without intruding & getting in people's faces with my camera. I knew it would be a perfect addition to my collection for portraits too.
What I didn't count on was how much it weighed! Dang its a beast! Sure I'd read online that it weighed a sweet 1.5 kgs, but I totally underestimated what 1.5kgs (plus the camera weight itself) would actually feel like!
I shoot without a camera strap - I struggled with a camera strap when I first started out but quickly realised it inhibited me in my work. I found myself strangling myself while shooting (if you've seen me shoot, you'll know I can get myself in some weird angles & positions to get 'that shot') and the times when I had my camera dangling from my neck I missed a shot. So I got rid & now hold my camera strapless, always in my hands, always ready to get the shot.
But this means I'm very aware of the $$ I'm holding onto when I have the 70-200 on my camera, the weight is actually a perfect reminder: don't drop it woman!!! I love this lens & have got used to the weight and the workout it gives me! This is also the lens Matt primarily shoots with on a wedding day - with a camera strap! ;)
And none of the above would be any use without the accessories! Batteries, memory cards - oh-so-many memory cards, lens cleaners, chargers, pens & a notebook, business cards, external flash, reflector & diffuser. These all get safely stowed in the camera bag too.
And if I'm going anywhere for long I pack a few extras. Which I can also tuck into my camera bag (are you beginning to think this bag must have a secret bottomless compartment!?). My laptop, a bottle of water, tripod...and that's about it. Okay maybe a few snacks and lollies...that's it.
So there's a complete rundown of what's in my camera bag as of 2015. I feel very happy with the set up I've got, it feels complete, and I cannot fit anymore in this bag so that has to be it!! On a wedding day I am able to capture all the creative shots I want with the gear I have now. But of course the gear is only as good as the photographer. Here's to 2015 and putting my new camera bag with all its contents to great use! xx