What's in my (camera) bag?
I'm going to be honest here. I'm not the photographer that grew up knowing this was her calling. I never studied it in college. I didn't have any family members who were professionals. In high school I thought I was going to be Jennifer Lopez's character on the Wedding Planner. Like many of us in our young adulthood, I went through several "callings" throughout my 20's trying to figure it all out. That said, chasing this dream of mine started at the ripe old age of 25, never knowing how to attach a lens.
I desperately wanted to learn how to take beautiful photographs before we started having a family of our own. The business side followed with much doubt. "I'm too old to start a new skill." "No one is going to take me seriously." "You can't make a living doing a silly dream." I often look back at that very first newborn session I documented have to remind myself that this is the sweetest journey I could have asked for.
I'm here to tell you it's never too late to try something new. I'm also here to tell you, you'll need some new gear. Here's my line up, my go-to's, and favorite must haves when I get out and play.
The body/workhorse/best friend:
Nikon 3200: My first DLSR and baby for 2 years while I learned how to shoot in manual. If you're really wanting to really go for it and you can swing for a D610 or greater it'd save you the trouble in upgrading later on. I quickly found I was limited to what I could photograph with the low lighting capabilities. And side note, I never recommend getting the kit lens that many starter DLSR cameras come with. It's worth every penny saving up for a 1.4 fixed lens or wider. You'll thank me later. :)
Nikon D610: 3 years ago the hubs upgraded my camera to this sweet friend and to this day it never leaves my side. Ever. Sure, I could upgrade, but I feel 100% confident going into any lighting situation. Spoiler alert, I like to avoid flash for my style, so knowing I can crank up the ISO to 1600 and still deliver beautiful photographs is peace of mind if you ask me.
Lifemate Camera strap: When I primarily photographed weddings, I didn't use one. I didn't like them. I felt I couldn't get the shots I needed throughout the day if I took my finger off the shutter. A little neurotic, I know. Now that I specifically work with newborns and young families, I decided to strap one on my camera. I can't take any chances when it comes to safety and photographing newborns. I'm shocked to say that I love it. This one is by no means high end but I love the fabric and how comfortable it is.
My lens line up:
Nikon 50mm 1.8mm: For my style, I shoot primarily with prime lenses and this was the first one I invested in while learning. (A good price point when just starting out.) It has a wide enough aperture (f/1.8) to bring in enough light in and it's flattering to use for bridal portraits, reception details, and family lifestyle sessions. Nowadays, I will use it for the Christmas card "everyone smile and look at the camera" shot. I've been eying the Sigma 50mm 1.4 so if you see my hubby, you know what to do! ;) Fun fact, the wider the aperture, the creamier the bokeh. If you're unfamiliar with the world of bokeh, think about that blurred out background behind the subject in focus...where all the magic happens.
Nikon 85 1.8mm: I didn't know I needed this lens until I became a second shooter for weddings. It lets you stay far away from your subjects so you can photograph editorially. When I'm not using the 70-200mm (wedding day work horse!) I use the 85mm to ensure the bride and groom have their intimate moment during their first look. I don't typically bring it out for family lifestyle sessions, but when I do, you better believe I focus on those long toddler eyelashes or sweet mama and me moments.
Sigma 35 1.4mm: This baby is insane and my absolute favorite. When I talked about the creamy bokeh magic, this lens has that plus more. It rarely leaves my camera and fits my style the most. I love the wider lens for documenting lifestyle, especially those sweet newborn goodness moments as a fresh family of 3. I can get the perfect angle when nurseries tend to be a bit smaller and I'll need allll the help I can get.
Yongnuo-YN-568: This flash is just what I need when I need it. I'm not typically relying on flash for what I do, but during a wedding in a romantically lit barn, I can't get by without it. I'll set up a few of these flashes on stands and the party is ready to be photographed. This is by no means fancy when it comes to flashes, but you can save your money knowing it's reliable and oh so handy when the time comes.
MISC: The must have's!
I couldn't get through a wedding day with this set up. Like my almost 2 year old, I always have snacks. I'm always sure to have an extra battery (not shown) and extra cards (because you never know!), a lens cleaner (also not shown), and hand sanitizer is always a must when working with kiddos before and after a session. My go to lip balm and Valor is always on hand (because emotions, friend!) If you've never used Valor you need some in your life. Stat. I buy it from Young Living and let me tell you, a drop on your heart or 10 drops diluted in a roller bottle is a lifesaver when those nerves hit.
Kelly Moore Camera Bag - I've been rocking this bag for over 3 years and it has served me in many ways. It has been used as a diaper bag, airport carry-on, purse, and fits all the gear I need for any photography session. It gives me all the pockets I need and has an inside lens divider which can be used as a diaper/bottle/water divider if needed. :) It has gone through much love during the last few years and still looks brand spankin new.
Did I miss anything? Investing in photography is a slow process, so make sure to research a lot before jumping in.
I'd love it if you said hi and tell me what's in your bag (camera/purse/diaper) bag. I'll be over on insta or at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to connect more!