I’m obsessed with knowing what tools other photographers use to get their best shots. I think it is so interesting to know what types of lenses different people gravitate toward, and which lenses made which photo.
I don’t consider myself a big gear lover. I’m all about using the appropriate lenses for the right time during the wedding day, but I like to travel as light as I can and use each lens to the fullest.
My kit is a little unique because I only shoot with prime lenses. This means I own no zoom lenses. Each lens I own is a set focal length, so I move my feet a lot. However, these lenses tend to do better in low light than zooms, and they’re very sharp. I love the look of prime lenses!
Here’s a look into my camera bag on a typical wedding day.
Primary and back up: Nikon d750
I used to shoot primarily on my Nikon d750 (full frame) and used my D3000 (cropped sensor) as a back up, but soon realized I didn’t like the feeling of risking a wedding day without two excellent camera bodies, just in case one stopped worked (this is the stuff of nightmares). I also liked shooting with both bodies during the ceremony so I didn’t have to switch out my lenses, and it was just easier with two bodies of the same camera.
I LOVE the d750. It’s light but substantial, great in low light (although of course the lenses help immensely), and quick. It’s not super quiet, but I don’t think the shutter noise is a deal breaker by any means. I kind of like it, actually.
Macro: 105mm 2.8 (used for details, portraits)
I LOVE having a macro lens. I talk all the time about how detail shots are my fave, and this lens is a big reason as to why. I can get so close to the subject with this guy, and it makes it feel larger than life. The bokeh is great too! Almost all of my ring shots are taken with these bad boy.
This lens has vibration reduction, which is definitely necessary with macros in my opinion. I’m not particularly steady anyway, so I appreciate the help. I both use this lens in manual and autofocus and have been really happy with both settings. I’ve also used it as a portrait lens when I’m able to back up quite a ways and I LOVE the compression!
Telephoto: Sigma 135 1.8 (used for first look, ceremony, portraits)
This is my newest baby and I love him soooooooo. I’ve actually had two friends shoot with me on wedding days and use this lens, and I’ve been blown away with the results. I can’t stand zoom lenses, but I shoot in a lot of churches, and often times I have to shoot from farther back than I’d like. This lens is a game changer. I’m SO happy with it. It’s my second Sigma lens and I know Sigmas can be hit or miss, but I’ve only had good luck!
Wide: Sigma 35mm 1.4 (used for details, getting ready, portraits)
I know a 35 isn’t really considered ‘wide,’ but it’s about as wide as I go. This lens was new to my bag last year and I used it a TON during the 2017 wedding season, and I really liked it for engagements too. It’s also super handy during family formals if the group is big, or getting ready if we’re in a tight space. I also just like it to get more context in the photo, so if the background is particularly nice it’s a great lens.
I do LOVE this lens, but lately I’m gravitating a lot more toward tighter crops with greater compression. Which leads me to …
Portrait: Nikon 85mm 1.8 (used for anything the focal length allows for)
My baby. This guy hasn’t left my camera a ton lately and the compression is so. good. This has been my go to lens for senior portraits for years, but lately I am obsessed with it for couples and weddings … and honestly everything. Ironically, this is probably considered the lowest quality lens I have since it’s a 1.8, but it’s SO good. I’ve looked at the 1.4 a thousand times, but it’s a huge price jump and everyone I’ve talked to said while the 1.4 is stellar, the 1.8 is also fantastic for a fraction of the price tag. So, it stays for now!
Portrait: Nikon 50mm 1.4 (used for anything the focal length allows for)
And old faithful. This was the first focal length I ever purchased (though my first was a 1.8, not 1.4), and even though I’ve been experimenting with other lenses lately, this is the one I will always go back to. The first wedding I ever shot, this was the only lens I used. CAN YOU IMAGINE. But honestly, it’s such a good lens and if you don’t need to get crazy, it can do just about every job. AND IT’S SO CHEAP. Even if you’re a hobbyist, I always recommend this lens if you’re interested in shooting more portraits because it’s perfect and makes life easy.
I haven’t mentioned it here, but I also shoot with a flash when needed at the reception or for family formals. Natural light is always my preference, but I’m pushing myself to get better with flashes and strobes, too!
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