I’m frequently asked several questions by aspiring photographers, and they usually go like this: what camera do you recommend? (go here for that answer) do you teach or offer classes? (yes, let me know if you’re interested!) and, what equipment do you use?
Well, here’s the answer to that last question. I’ve had a variety of equipment the past few years, and recently upgraded to a full Nikon system after years with Pentax. The majority of photos on my website and blog taken before spring 2011 are taken with Pentax, but everything since then is predominantly Nikon. Why the switch? You can read more about it here, but essentially I wanted to have a full-frame camera with better low-light capabilities and a better selection of lenses and accessories.
Here’s what’s in my bag:
* Edit: This post was revised June 16th to reflect some new additions and changes to my gear, and to better reflect my set-up.
Nikon D700. I love this camera. It has amazing focus and produces beautiful images. Love love love it!
Nikon 35mm f2.0 D A great wide angle lens that works well for scenery shots, photos in small rooms, or when I want to do something out of the ordinary with a portrait.
Nikon 50mm f1.4 G This is probably my favorite lens and I have it on my camera about 75% of the time. I think there’s a reason it’s called the “nifty-fifty”!
Sigma 85mm 1.4 DG HSM I decided to spring for the Sigma instead of the Nikon since it had great reviews and was a wonderful bargain ($1000 less than the Nikon equivalent) but still an awesome portrait lens. It produces the most amazing bokeh and has super-smooth focusing. I use this a lot for senior sessions.
Nikon SB-800 Flash I recently got this flash, and so far, I love it! This flash is actually discontinued, and I had to scour e-bay to find it, but it is still incredibly popular and well-loved by Nikon photographers.
Pentax K10D My trusty Pentax was my main camera for a number of years until upgrading to Nikon. I still keep this one around as a back-up camera.
Pentax 16-50mm (equivalent to 24-70mm) f2.8 My only zoom lens that I have in my bag is wonderful for children’s sessions, and great for travel.
Pentax 50 mm f2 Yes, this is a manual focus lens, dated from probably 20+ years ago. That’s the sweet thing about Pentax, their lens mount is reverse compatible, so you can use legacy lenses on brand new digital bodies! It’s pretty awesome. I don’t generally use this lens for most sessions or weddings, but I will on occasion if I want to do something creative and I’ve got the extra time.
Pentax AF-540fgz flash I’ve had this flash for a while to use with my K10D. It will now serve as an off-camera flash at weddings, or at least that’s my intention!
Phottix Stratto Radio Triggers (for firing flashes)
10 ft Lightstand
Umbrellas, reflectors, and light modifiers
Spare batteries, CF and SD cards
I also always rent the Nikon 70-200 f2.8 for weddings – it’s my go to lens for ceremonies. After second shooting one wedding without it, where I got lucky that my 85mm was sufficient, I just feel more confident having it on hand to grab those special moments from afar.