August 6, 2017

My Gear

One time my insurance agent told me he loved photographers because we kept such detailed notes about out equipment. I laughed, because it’s true.  Any photographer I know absolutely LOVES their gear.  Whether it be their camera body (loyal to the end) or their favorite go-to lenses, or their camera strap, or their favorite CF and SD cards.  Photographers can go on and on about their gear.  So, that’s how I plan to spend my Saturday evening – going on and on about what I use, in hopes that it might somehow help someone or provide some sort of insight into my world as a photographer.

Camera Body

This is always a personal choice for a photographer.  Generally, you either shoot Canon or Nikon, with a few exceptions in between.  But the two main powerhouses out there, especially for wedding and family photographers seems to be Canon and Nikon.

Personally, I shoot with Canon.   I originally started with Nikon many years ago before I knew anything about photography. As the years progressed, I grew to enjoy the colors and the sharpness that Canon provided.  So, after many years, I finally purchased my first Canon EOS 5D Mark III.

— Also a good place to mention that I am in no way endorsed by, sponsored by, or even noticed by the fine people at Canon.  This is legitimately the equipment I use, and I get paid $0.00 if you click on any link.  Nothing on this page is a sponsored advertisement.

Moving on.

I love my MarkIII.   I know they came out with the MarkIV recently, and I have mulled the option of purchasing it, I must admit.   But I just love the III and I have no problems.

My favorite things about the Mark III are the durability, the functionality and the ease of use.   This seems like a technical camera, but it really isn’t.  It was easy to learn after some time doing research and really putting my heart into it.   And now I can’t imagine a day with out it.


Okay, we could be here all day (night, depending on your timezone) and I know you have better things to do.  So, let me be brief here and list my must-haves only.

Canon 50MM 1.2

This lens is a workhorse. Worth every penny.  If you can’t afford it (I couldn’t for a VERY long time) I recommend renting it for awhile.  In the meantime, the 1.8 is JUST AS GOOD. Don’t tell anyone I said that.  The 1.2 is a bit more refined and you can notice a difference.  But, I notice that difference because I am a photographer.  No client has ever been upset by the results my 1.8 produced and asked me to use the 1.2 instead.   I try to bounce back and forth. Sometimes I give the 1.2 a break and use the 1.8 for a few weeks at a time.

50mm is a great learning place.  These prime lenses force you to learn to adapt to the camera and lens, instead of making them adapt to you and your surroundings. With a prime lens, there is no zoom.  There is no playing with the focal length from the same stationary position.  With a prime lens, you will hit your 10,000 steps for the day, I promise.

Also, the focus is great, the bokeh is to die for, and it’s lightweight.

EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM

This bad boy is extremely versatile and is great for capturing candid moments.  You have a bit more freedom to move around and not be directly on top of your subject.

Great at weddings or when you’re trying to capture something further away by zooming in. Face it, standing at the back of an altar during wedding day will produce the same results time and again using at 50mm, but with the 70-200, your options are way greater.

It’s a heavy lens, and also not a cheap one.  Again, I recommend renting and trying it out before you buy.

Where Do I Rent from?

Now and again, I still rent lenses or a second camera body.    I always, and I mean always, rent from Borrow Lenses.  They have always been incredible. The shipment is always on time, always in great condition, always intact and exactly what I ordered, etc.  The one time I had an emergency with my own gear, they helped out and got me taken care of in the interim.  Amazing customer service and a great selection.

Camera Strap

Another personal choice here. I feel like people get really emotional about their camera straps.  I use the Black Rapid and I got mine on amazon for something like $50 I think.  Worth it.  It’s versatile and lets me sling it over either shoulder.  I don’t like the usual straps because they hurt my back, so I almost always shoot with just the black rapid. Looks good at weddings, senior photo sessions, couples sessions, you name it! And it’s great to travel with as well.

Other Miscellaneous that I cannot live without.

The expo disc. This is relatively new for me as photographer. I was struggling with white balance when I lived and worked in Las Vegas. I heard about the expo disc and I gave it a try! Now, I don’t shoot without it.  Even indoors, it helps with white balance tremendously.

My friend Lacie.  I didn’t provide a link to a specific one here, but the overall catalog at Apple.  I store images in 3 places.  1) They remain on the CF/SD Card.  I never wipe a card, ever.  I don’t format or reformat.  I use the card once and then the images remain on there and I file the card away.  Spare me the commentary on how inefficient it may be.  It’s just a personal preference.  2) They are backed up on a Lacie hard drive.  3) They are backed up on a SECOND Lacie hard drive.   I hard drive by year.  2017 has 2 hard drives.  One is the working drive and the other is the backup, hell has frozen over, the earth is splitting open at the seams, emergency hard drive.  It’s there in case, well, the above things occur.

Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual-Slot Reader.  This crazy kid is a lifesaver.  It’s easy to carry when I travel, and reads the SD and CF cards simultaneously.

In the end

There you have it! There are a million other things I use, from SD/CF cards, to Photo Mechanic, to Lightroom, to the entire Apple fleet of products, to a nifty camera bag, etc.  If you have specific questions on any gear (mentioned here or not!) please reach out and ask! I learned everything I know from those around me, so I would love to pass it on to anyone else who would like to learn!

As always, thanks for reading and I hope I helped in some little way 🙂


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