I've been asked many times while shooting at an event or wedding what kind of equipment I use. Most of the time, just the camera itself sparks questions like, "I love photography!! What kind of camera do you recommend for photos of my kids at home?" or "What kind of lens do you recommend for portraits?" or "Wow, that camera must take great photos!" I always get a chuckle out of that last one. Hehe. Yes, the type of camera can really help but in all honesty, it is the artist behind the lens that makes the difference. I love my digital equipment. I have chosen a very efficient set of tools for what I do best (wedding/lifestyle/editorial/boudoir).
I started in film using an old 35mm, a 645, a large field camera, a plastic holga and even an oatmeal box pinhole camera. I was so comfortable using film that it became second nature. I was shooting beautiful imagery with a pinhole camera! For those of you who aren't familiar with this term it is essentially an old fashion oatmeal box spray painted black inside and out. A small pinhole is placed in the box with a piece of black tape or paper fashioned over the hole. Sheets of film or photographic paper is placed inside and the shutter becomes that little piece of paper or tape. How fast you release it and cover it back up is your shutter speed.
When I was studying photography in Italy, the first thing I wanted to do (after trying the local gelato) was make a pinhole camera. I gathered my supplies and ended up causing a massive explosion of black spray paint off the balcony of my apartment. Another story for another time. The point is, whether you are using a pinhole camera, your smart phone or pro digital equipment, your artistry behind the tools is really what makes an outstanding image.
So, what's inside my camera bag you ask? I am a Nikon girl but of course choose what works for you. These are some of my must-have's:
Nikon D3S - Camera body workhorse. I'm not a photographer that changes out my equipment every year, so I'm sure there are bodies newer, bigger and shinier.
Nikon 50mm 1.4- I use this lens quite often. While it isn't as useful indoors to me, I still love it!
Nikon 20mm 2.8- This has become such a favorite little bugger for me! It's super wide view allows me to capture a view room at a reception and a full view of a ceremony. I have also used this many times for large groups during a reception of an impromptu mass of say, Brown University Alumni.
Nikon 35mm 2- My go-to lens. I really do love this lens for documentary work. It's beautiful, light and always seems to be on my camera body.
Nikon 70-200 2.8- This is a beast for ceremony shots, portrait work, toast giving, hardly-anyone-is-on-the-dance-floor-so-I-want-to-stay-against-the-wall type shots. This has been a workhorse since day one for me. I do have to say, it is HEAVY and my wrists can prove it.
Nikon 85mm 1.8 - I don't use this lens as much as my others. I like having it in my bag as a back-up and also a great portrait lens.
Speedlight Sb-800 - I have a couple of these, a couple of the Yongnuo brand and a Polaroid video light. These are a must for indoor lighting situations. Can't work without 'em.
I've listed my most used items below.