What's In My (Camera) Bag!
I love reading "what's in my bag?" posts, don't you? I'm going to give you a little tour of what's in my camera bag to show you my absolute favorite gear and also some of my favorite camera bags.
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What's in my camera bag?
1. Full Frame Camera: Nikon D610
A camera may seem obvious, but for me, it's important to have a full-frame camera because it produces a larger image with more pixels or information to manipulate when editing. It provides for better photo quality and flexibility with cropping and editing in post-processing. It also offers much more flexibility for shooting low-light situations.
My primary camera is a Nikon D610 full frame and my backup is a Nikon D600. They no longer make the D600, but you can still find it on some sites and used. They are essentially the same camera. Rumor has it that Nikon came out with the D610 after fixing the "oil spots" on the sensor that many complained about with the D600, but I was never able to get that confirmed.
2. High Quality Lenses: Sigma all day long
Not all lenses are created equally! The first lens that I invested in was a used 50mm Sigma 1.4 Art lens and I'm still in love with it. The focal length is great, but there is something about the images this little lens creates--let's just say it makes me look good as a photographer :) I still have and use that lens, but I also carry the Sigma 24mm 1.4 art lens. It's a wide angle lens which is imperative to shooting indoors (you never know what size or configuration of the hospital room you'll be walking into).
I LOVE the Sigma 24mm. I love it like I love my Sigma 50mm. I had been using the Sigma 35mm, but didn't have the same passion for it that I had for the 50mm. After reading (and reading, and reading) reviews of the 24mm, I decided to sell my 35 and buy the 24. I haven't had a moments regret :)
The 24mm gives me so many more options when shooting indoor (and with complicated lighting situations).
I also broke down and purchased the Sigma Art 24-70mm 2.8 lens. Using only prime lenses (no zoom) gives you the ability to shoot really wide open, but when you are shooting young kids or a family with lots of moving parts, the ability to zoom in and out is imperative.
I researched (for months!) comparable NIkon and Tamron versions of this lens and I ultimately went with my gut. Since I already had two Sigma art lenses that I love, I figured this one would also be a winner. And I wasn't wrong.
The only downside is its weight. This sucker is heavy! And I'm not getting any younger LOL I did use it exclusively on our last trip to California and it was doable and I didn't hurt my back, or anything dramatic like that. But using it to shoot an hours long wedding might create some issues!
I also have a couple of microfiber cloths and alcohol wipes for lens cleaning (a must if you plan to let toddlers touch and feel your camera before you shoot!). And I just purchased this lens pen, but I can't say if it's love just yet.
3. Off Camera Flash: LumoPro LP180
I appreciate the beautiful images captured in natural light, as much as the next person. But I'm also realistic. If I'm showing up at a home to capture a family's normal routine, I'm going to need some artificial light some times. Most likely, we'll just turn on the lights (as the family would do if I wasn't there), but I'm not afraid to whip out my flash, when it's necessary. That said, I've only had to use my flash ONCE on a photo shoot, so...it's more for peace of mind LOL
My flash of choice is this awesome LumoPro LP180 (with the Phottix Ares trigger set), as recommended by The Strobist. Purchasing this flash was a game changer for me! It's not always available through amazon, but you can find it through other photography sites by googling "LumoPro LP180" or "The Strobist flash kit".
But this new LumoPro has given me that confidence back! I only use it when I have to—it’s nice to know it’s in my kit and will work, if needed.
4. Extra Batteries and SD Card
I have never had to pull out a fresh battery, but it sure is comforting knowing it's in my bag. I also carry a spare charger. Okay, this post is making me sound like a nut job! But I say: better to be safe than sorry.
I've definitely pulled out an extra SD card. When shooting young kids, there is usually a lot of action, so I tend to take more pictures than I would of families with older kids.
I've never had to replace a camera body battery during a shoot--they usually last a long time on a single charge. But flash batteries? Forget about it. I even purchased the professional Panasonic Eneloop high capacity rechargeable batteries because reviewers noted their long battery life. They definitely hold a charge longer than energizers, but I still carry backups!
5. Emergency Kit
I also have a little emergency bag of things including band aids, cough drops, gum, extra lip products, bobby pins (nothing worse than your hair falling on your face while trying to shoot!), and a little bit of makeup. HA! Don’t judge :) What if I’m caught out in the rain? It's not a full-on makeup bag...just an old concealer and a travel size Bare Minerals Foundation with mini brush. For the record: I’ve never used it when on a shoot. Just nice to know it’s there!
I also have a little emergency snack, but I never use that, either LOL (who has time to eat while chasing around toddlers and searching for light!). And of course, a water bottle!
BONUS: My Favorite Photography Bags
I have a couple of favorite bags for everyday use when I want to have my camera with me:
Shutterbag Girls Day Out
I bought this on sale through Clickin’ Moms website and I love it! In fact, I use it as my day-to-day purse and when I want to carry my camera while running errands, I just pop it in the padded center compartment.
The Girls Day Out is made of high quality leather and the color is rich and vibrant. I thought I might get sick of the bright emerald green, but I haven’t yet. I wear mostly neutral colors and it’s nice to have a pop of color in this purse.
I've had people stop to ask me about it while out running errands!
Note: It looks like the Girl's Day Out bag has become an exclusive to the Clickin' Mom's store and they only have this super cool pale blue ("peacock blue") version in stock right now.
However, it looks like you can pay to have a custom order through the Shutterbag website if you had your heart set on the emerald green!
Lowepro Passport Sling III
I purchased the Lowepro Passport Sling III when I traveled home to Virginia and my dad and I attended the Presidential Inauguration and the Women’s march. I needed something that I could sling across my back, could protect my camera, while also roomy enough for my wallet, sunglasses, snacks, spare charger, etc.
Interestingly, I have also been stopped by someone to ask about this bag, as well! Funny.
Amazon Basics DSLR and Laptop Backpack
I have not been stopped and asked about this backpack. For a professional shoot, this Amazon Basics brand backpack is my go-to. It’s the perfect size for both cameras, my extra lenses, flash, etc. It also has a padded laptop compartment and an extra section at the front for smaller things like my little emergency kit, extra batteries, etc.
And it’s easy to grab and have on the go. Plus, you can’t beat the price! If my back is bothering me, I’ll utilize this little fold up dolly from Bed Bath and Beyond. It was a lifesaver when I worked for Bella Baby—walking in from the parking lot and all the way to the labor and delivery department with my gear, my laptop, my lunch, etc, could really take a toll on the ol’ lower back!
Maybe I'll do a post on what's in my bag--personal style soon!