Many who know me, know that I am quite in love with technology. Any excuse I can feed my wife to buy another gadget, I will use without hesitation. I find it very important to have back-up equipment because as we all know, things break. You do not want to drop your only camera during someone’s wedding, the thought of that just gives me chills.
I receive numerous inquiries from friends and clients asking me what type of camera and gear I use, so the following is a list of the majority of my camera equipment and accesories that I use on various types of photography sessions.
I have included links to B&H Photo and Amazon because they are where I purchase most all of my gear. It is not only important to me to have great equipment, but also to be confident that I am getting a great price.
For Sony shooters, this is the big kid on the block. Everything the a77 has and much more. Besides having a full frame sensor, this camera is “meatier” in every way. I had been waiting for this camera for a very long time and you could say I loved her before we ever met. This camera has become my main shooter, allowing me to use my a77 as my backup camera.
I shot with the Sony a700 for nearly 3 years and absolutely loved them. However, the introduction of Sony’s new SLT cameras have been a very exciting one. I just recently picked up Sony’s new flagship SLT, the a77 and cannot express how impressive this camera has been. There are so many features in this camera to help speed up/assist your photography that I feel like I am cheating. Things such as Real Time Live View, Focus Peaking, and Focus Magnification are just a few things that make me excited for the full frame version (a99).
Sony Alpha SLR a700 (x2)
While the majority of photographers hover to either Canon or Nikon, I choose Sony. Most every camera now days will produce outstanding images, so aesthetics are very important to me as well as innovation. Sony is the on of the leading electronics manufacturing companies in the world and are up there for good reason. The a700 is an amazing camera and although it is discontinued and difficult to find, it still is one of the most renowned cameras to date. It has recently been replaced by the new Sony Alpha a77.
It literally took me three years to convince myself that I “needed” this lens. Being primarily a wedding photographer, picking up an extremely pricey portrait lens just never seemed a priority. However, after a very long wait, I finally decided to make the purchase. Lets just say that I am very disappointed that I waited so long. This lens is probably one of the most renowned lenses on the market. Zeiss class is in a class all its own, and when paired with the full frame a99, it is a match made in heaven…portrait photography OR weddings.
This is what I refer to as my work horse. This lens has seen it and done it all. It can be quite wide angled for large group shots during weddings, or dramatic shots during portrait sessions. It has the ability to zoom to 50mm, which gives it a little range when moving around a crowded room. Being that it is F/2.8, it is quite nice in low lit receptions, and adds a nice touch of out of focus blur (bokeh) for portraits. I love this lens and cannot say enough about its ability to do almost everything.
With such a great range on this lens and adding its f/2.8 speed, this lens is a must have for any serious photographer. During weddings, this lens allows me to get close to the bride and groom without being intrusive. It is also an amazing portrait lens. Having such a long range helps compress the image, separating your subject from the background quite nicely. I cannot say enough good about this one.
Nothing is more intriguing than a great macro shot. Seeing everyday items in near microscopic views is something else. I love using this lens. I could walk around all day with it on my camera and take nothing but up close shots of items most of us just dont pay much attention to. This lens is tack sharp and provides a great lens for photos of details during a wedding. Being that it is a fixed 90mm and f/2.8, it also plays a great portrait lens as well. Such a fun lens!
There is a reason that they call the 50mm the “nifty fifty”, because it is just that. This lens is a MUST have for every photographer, no matter your experience level. This is such an amazing lens for portraits and lowlight venues because of its speed and shallow depth of focus. A 50mm lens is arguably one of the most used lenses in the world. Thrown in a fast aperture and you have a must have for any camera bag.
Take the greatest invention for professional photographers and add a higher maximum power output, lower minimum output, and a video light, and you have something even better. This Sony’s latest iteration of their already extremely powerful and useful speedlight lineup. Better in every way than its predecessor and just as portable.
Sony HVL-58AM (x2)
The greatest invention, in my opinion, for professional photographers has been the portrable speed-light. Hands down. Having the ability to take your flash OFF of your camera and add dynamic/interesting lighting is what can set your images apart from others. I love working with available light, but this can be very limiting indoors and in low light receptions. These lights provide plenty of power, are extremely portable, and have the ability to work wirelessly. If you want to step your skills up a bit, start integrating one or more of these into your sessions.
Elinchrom D-Lite 4 (x2)
While speed-lights provide invaluable flexibility for most situations, they do not always provide enough power for lit, outdoor shoots. When I want to a magazine style look, or would like to stop down the background in broad daylight to make my subject stand out, these are my answer. They too work wirelessly, allowing me to get rid of clumbsy cables and wires. Although the lights can be purchased individually, this kit is an amazing deal. Everything you need to start out, straigh out of the box. Not to mention, Elinchroms are designed very well and have some of the best quality you can find.
Absolutely one of the best purchases I have ever made in lighting accessories. I became aware of this little gem from another photographer (Neil Van Niekerk) and instantly fell in love with its portability. It folds down to a small triangle and takes about 30 seconds to set up. This is crucial to be able to use during weddings. Because it is designed to work with my portable speed-lights, it provides me the ability to soften the light on my subjects on location.
Manfrotto Alu Master Riser AC Stand (2x12ft / 1x6ft)
Given that not all wedding venues are lit well and some have very high ceilings, having light stands to hold my lights is critical. These light stands are made by one of the most respected names in the business and provide a good compromise of portability and size. There are smaller light stands on the market, however I prefer these because of their more sturdy base and ability to reach up to heights of 12 feet if needed. Also, they can be clipped to one another, making them more portable than carrying around individual stands.
Yongnuo Transmitters/Receivers (5xSETS)
These little gems are what make my photography/lighting style. I ALWAYS have these attached to my flashes for the ability to fire them without requiring them to be connected to my camera. Being able to move the my lights around to any location I desire gives me a level of portability and creativity that is necessary for on location sessions and weddings. There are numerous choices for lighting transmitters/receivers out there, I choose to use these because of their amazing dependability and extremely reasonable cost.