What's In Your Bag?
This post will introduce you to my equipment and subsequent posts will spotlight individual pieces of my equipment arsenal. Maybe you’re into photography, or maybe you’re just curious about what I photograph with.
Ever since I started my business I’ve always believed that it’s important to invest in equipment that will produce the best quality images for my clients. Of course, I didn’t have a lot of money in the beginning to invest in all the equipment I needed, so I rented what I needed for a long, long time. I’m happy to say, though, that as of last year, I’m no longer renting and I own all of the gear listed in this post! Yipee! I purchase most of my equipment from Amazon, Adorama, and B&H. I highly recommend B&H for their personalized customer service and knowledgeable staff. If you get the opportunity to visit their store in New York City, I highly recommend it.
To start, I photograph using Canon camera bodies. My first DSLR was a Canon 6D and I loved everything about it. When it came time to upgrade, I purchased the Canon 5D Mark III.
Canon 5D Mark III
I photograph with the Canon 5D Mark IIIs. Pictured above on the left is one of my babies. I have two of them. Why two? Well, in case one of my cameras malfunctions at an event or portrait session, I need to have a back-up! The Canon 5D Mark III is simply amazing. It is a full-frame camera that works extremely well in low light, which is especially important for photographing promotion and retirement ceremonies at The National Archives because they prohibit the use of flash in the Rotunda. My favorite feature is the dual card slots which allows me to have a back-up to my images right in the camera! One slot holds a memory card to record one copy of the image and the second slot holds another memory card to record a second copy of the image simultaneously. So if I ever get a corrupt card, which is possible although an extremely rare occurrence, then I have a second one with the same exact images on it. This gives me such peace of mind during an event or portrait session!
And now, for the rest of my equipment!
Canon 50mm 1.4
This is one of my favorite lens. I use this lens primarily for portraits and love the sharpness and bokeh that it produces. Plus it is amazing in low light. It is definitely my go-to lens for both portraits and newborns and I could shoot a whole wedding or event at the National Archives with it if I had to. But luckily, I don’t have to! :-)
Canon 100mm 2.8L Macro
This is the lens I use for close-up shots of engagement and wedding rings and I use it for jewelry as well. It’s a must-have for photo even though after bride and groom prep, it spends most of the day in a suitcase. I also use it for close-ups of newborn baby lips and toes! For more details about the 100 mm 2.8 Macro, click here.
Canon 16-35mm 2.8L II
This is a wide-angle lens that I often uses for the photojournalistic style that complements my images when I’m shooting with portrait lenses. It’s great for wide angle shots of the ceremony, reception dance shots, architecture, event venues, and churches as well as tight spaces during other parts of the day.
Canon 24-70mm 2.8L II
This is my favorite lens, because it’s just that great! This is lens is a workhorse. I love it for its versatility, performance in low light, and sharpness. It’s great in tight spaces, but it also allows me to zoom if I need to. It also comes in handy for large group shots. I use it mostly when photographing toddlers or families with young children. I use this lens when photographing outside before going inside the National Archives.
Canon 70-200mm 2.8L IS II
The 70-200mmL 2.8L IS II is such an amazing lens! This lens allow me to get close-ups of the family during portrait session and so much more.
Canon 600EX-RT Speedlites
These flashes are amazing. They have wireless transmitters built into them so I can control both the flash on our cameras and the one on our light stands right from the flash I place on the camera. I have three of these so that I can both shoot with off-camera lighting at the reception and still have a back-up flash.
Canon ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter
This transmitter comes in handy when I want to trigger our off-camera flashes without using an on-camera one. It’s not really necessary since one of our 600EX-RTs can be used to trigger the off-camera flashes but it’s a nice lightweight alternative.
Flashpoint Power Pack
I use my Flashpoint Power Pack to provide extra power supply to my off-camera flashes during portrait sessions and events. These are what you would see hanging on my light stands, plugged into the off-camera flashes.
Protactic 450 AW Backpack
This backpack fits so much yet it is light enough for me to carry up and down steps when I can’t get to an elevator, even when it’s packed with gear.
I have an endless supply of accessories such as rechargeable batteries, memory cards, lens cleaning supplies, etc. and even though they are essential, they aren’t as exciting as some of these other items. So, I’ll tell you more about our main equipment first, and eventually my accessories later.
I hope this post was interesting and helpful to new photographers, or even experienced ones who are looking to add a new lens to their arsenal. In future posts in this series, I will be giving more details on how and why I use each piece of equipment. If you have any questions please leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more posts in this series please click here: What’s In Your Bag?
Tamieka Smith Photography is a family photographer located in Northern Virginia (Woodbridge). Specializing in family, child, maternity, and military photography. Contact me to book your family or maternity portrait session!