Sharon Nicole Photography Lenses and Cameras needed for wedding photography business

This post is long overdue! I’ve always wanted to do a post about what gear I carry with me on a wedding day, but finally got around to blogging it today. Along with the photos, I’ll be sharing how I use each piece of equipment. I’ve also provided links to equipment (mostly to Adorama and B&H) for more detailed and technical specs if you are interested in reading up on that! I couldn’t find links for everything, so the pieces that do not have links will probably have to be purchased used elsewhere.

Canon 5D Mark III / Canon 5D Mark II / Canon 5D / Canon 30D

The first 2 photos are of all 4 cameras I have with me at all weddings I shoot. Yes, 4. It’s better to be over prepared than under prepared! I started out with a Canon 30D (far right) in 2007. I probably could do without it, but I hold on to it for sentimental reasons! I used this camera as an assistant all the way until I had enough saved up to purchase the Canon 5D. These two cameras are still great and serve as back ups for myself and my assistants on wedding days. Now, on to the photo on the left – I am now shooting with the Canon 5D Mark III. I LOVE this camera. Before I got it, I was using the Canon 5D Mark II (which is now another back up or a camera that my assistant can use). The Canon 5D Mark III is much better at focusing and reading colors than the Mark II. It also has the capability of recording to TWO memory cards (CF & SD) simultaneously, and having that option as an immediate backup for every photo I take made it worth it for me. I purchased this camera right when it came out from Adorama and I couldn’t be happier with it!
Sharon Nicole Photography Lenses and Cameras needed for wedding photography business

Canon 35mm 1.4 / Canon 50mm 1.2 / Canon 85mm 1.2

These lenses are like my equipment BFF’s. They come with me to engagement and family sessions as well as the wedding day.  The 35mm 1.4 is awesome for receptions and crowded dance floors! I will occasionally use it for large groups/wedding party photos as well, and for portraits. It’s a great all around lens! The lens I use the most is the 50mm 1.2 (I love how quickly and accurately it focuses), but I also love the sharpness of the 85mm 1.2. One thing I do not like about the 85mm 1.2 is how heavy it is! Seriously, I could use it to work out. However, I always keep it in my bag because of the beautiful images I can capture while using it  and I’m glad to have it as part of my collection!

Sharon Nicole Photography Lenses and Cameras needed for wedding photography business

Canon 24-70mm 2.8 / Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS / Canon Macro 100mm 2.8

I will admit that I don’t use the 24-70mm very often. I will only use it if I’m in a time crunch for group photos and don’t have time to switch lenses. My assistants always have access to this lens, so if they need it, it is in their bag! I use the Canon 70-200mm during ceremonies only. It is perfect for taking photos and staying out of sight. I always try to capture the ceremony as unobtrusively as possible. The 100mm Macro is used for close up details and ring shots. I actually use manual focus when I use this lens, but it’s the only one I do that for. I find the auto focus to be finicky and it doesn’t always focus in on what I want it to. It takes a little bit of time, but I always get the shot I need!

Sharon Nicole Photography Lenses and Cameras needed for wedding photography business

Canon 24mm 1.4 / Canon Fisheye 15mm 2.8

These two lenses are fairly neglected in my bag. I use the 24mm 1.4 to get a wide shot of a ceremony or venue and occasionally on the dance floor. To be honest, I can’t even remember the last time I used the fisheye! Poor lens. I should probably sell it to someone who will get good use out of it (update – this lens has SOLD!). The 24mm is usually wide enough to capture what I need to and I prefer it since photos from the fisheye are even more distorted.
Sharon Nicole Photography Lenses and Cameras needed for wedding photography business

Pocket Wizard Plus II Transceiver / Canon Speedlite 580ExII

I have 3 Pocket Wizards and 3 Canon Speedlite 580 EXII flashes. I use these two together when I need off camera light – usually during family formals in very dark churches and at receptions. I will try to post my off camera lighting set up in a future post! I know lots of great photographers that use these for portraits, but to me natural light just can’t be beat and I will always choose it over using flash. However, these items are a staple in my camera gear and I definitely get great use out of them!
Sharon Nicole Photography Lenses and Cameras needed for wedding photography business

Canon Speedlite 430 EXII / Canon 50mm 1.4

These two items mainly serve as backups or equipment for my assistant if needed. I will admit, I’ll probably sell the 430 EX II at some point because it rarely gets used. The 50mm 1.4 is a great little lens for those who don’t have the money to spend on the 50mm 1.2. It focuses very quickly and produces great images!
Sharon Nicole Photography Lenses and Cameras needed for wedding photography business Sunpak Readylite 20 / Dot Line LED Video Light

At receptions, I will use one of these two lights to illuminate details if I need to photograph them in better lighting than they are in. I sometimes use this in combination with my off camera flash or by themselves. These don’t get pulled out at every wedding, but I love to be prepared so if I ever need to create more light in any situation I am ready for it!
Sharon Nicole Photography Lenses and Cameras needed for wedding photography business

Energizer AA Batteries / Battery Case

This one is pretty obvious – my flashes are powered by AA batteries, so I always have plenty on hand with me. I keep them organized in a yellow case so I always know which batteries have not been used yet.

Not pictured here are the bags I use to carry my gear in: my Think Tank Airport Security Rolling Camera Bag (it’s the perfect carry on size, which is convenient for destination weddings), my Shootsac, and Kelly Moore Classic Bag (I only have one on me at a time, but switch them up depending on my mood!). Also not pictured is my light stand (it really is nothing special, just something I need to hold my off camera flash).

I hope this post was helpful in providing insight on my gear! Bottom line, whether you know tons about photography equipment or not, I take great care in providing quality images and that means using what I have to get great results! 🙂

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4 Responses to Lenses, Cameras, and Lights

  1. Victoria says:

    Great post! Your images are always lovely- I would love more posts like this about your gear/tips/posing ideas/lighting help, etc. Now I just need to get started on lenses that cost more than 100 dollars! 😉

  2. Stan Kwan says:

    Great post! I agree with the 15mm fisheye. I sold it a while back. Probably used it once or twice and that was about it! Amen to natural light! Only use flash when I REALLY need to. 🙂

  3. […] had fun writing my last behind the scenes post on what’s in my bag, so I began thinking of what else I could write about to give a glimpse into what it’s like […]

  4. […] for all of my equipment. If you want to see my last post on what’s in my bag, you can find it here. Thank you so much for […]

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