When you’re first starting out as a photographer, one of the hardest parts is figuring out where to spend your money.  Buying gear isn’t cheap and it can be so confusing – especially when you’re not very experienced!  Today I’m sharing what is in my bag so that hopefully new photographers can learn a little bit about what I carry and why!  I scoured the internet when I first started buying gear and I found very few posts about what each piece of gear does and when to use it, so I’m sharing this is hopes that it helps someone out there who needs a little more guidance!


It’s important to find a camera that feels good in your hand and feels good for you.  For me, that’s the Nikon D750.  I started with a Nikon D600 and quickly upgraded because the D750’s low-light capabilities blow the D600 out of the water.  Think: missing every other dimly lit reception shot…it gets old and annoying! The D750’s autofocus ability is hands down fantastic.  I have two of these cameras I use my main one every shoot and always have the second as a back up – just in case!


Nikon 50mm 1.4:  Confession:  I use this lens for 75% of the day.  I use the Sigma 50mm 1.4 and the Nikon 50mm 1.4 interchangeably – just depends on my mood!!  The 50mm gives me the focal length that fits my style most.  It’s usually fine for tight spaces (not all..we’ll talk about that in a minute!) but it’s very versatile!  The bokeh on the Sigma specifically is beautiful too!

Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art Series:  Ya’ll this lens.  I love it.  It gives me just a little more room than the 50mm and the crispness of the Sigma Art series is just so perfect.  If I don’t have my 50mm on, it’s probably because the 35mm is on!

Nikon 24-70mm 2.8:  This baby is new to my arsenal and I LOVE IT.  I mainly use it for reception/dancing portion of the day.  It focuses really quickly and I love the versatility the zoom gives me!  I will use this lens if I’m in a super tight space as well.  Sometimes we just need a little extra room!  Another thing that’s great is I always find myself having to crop in while editing reception photos which takes forever but this lens allows me to crop in – in camera and makes post processing much easier!

Sigma 70-200mm 2.8:  I don’t use this lens unless I have to…because it is SO heavy!  I always have it with me because for some ceremony sites…it’s necessary to be able to get up close without actually being up close!

Nikon 105mm 2.8:  This is my macro lens.  I only use it for close up detail shots.  Typically, this only comes out of my bag for ring shots!

Nikon 85mm 1.8:  I love this lens, but I honestly hardly ever use it!  I should actually sell it, but when I do use it, I love it…so I can’t part with it just yet! It creates beautiful photos and the bokeh is absolutely beautiful but I feel like I have to be so far away from my couples!  I give lots of direction to my couples and I feel like I’m always having to walk back and forth or yell at them!

**If someone were to tell me that I could only bring three lenses with me to a wedding day, below is what I would bring: my camera (obvs), my backup camera, my 50mm, 35mm, & 24-70mm. These lenses would give me everything I need to cover the wedding day beautifully! 

Other Gear

FLASH:  I use flash when I need to.  I typically only use it during the reception, and if I need to, during the ceremony.  Most of the other times, the sun is the perfect lighting! On any given day, I will most likely use 2 flashes…sometimes I like to get fancy and use three, but rarely do (usually because two light stands makes it feels very crowded!).  My typical set up is one flash on my camera and one flash off my camera.  Nikon flashes don’t talk to each other like Canon flashes do (come on, Nikon…get it together already!) so Nikon users have to purchase additional gear called triggers, I use the Vello brand.  *I’ll talk more about the set up and additional flash gear in a later post! 

Well…this wasn’t the prettiest post, but I hope it was informative and helpful!  Stay tuned for a post on off camera flash in the coming weeks!

**Are you new to photography or just have some questions?  Comment below or send me an email me with your questions and maybe I’ll answer them in one of my future “For Photographers” posts!



Want to see more?

Jenn & PAUL – On film

Julian & Kristin – A James River maternity session

A bayside inspired engagement session

For Photographers: What’s In My Bag? – A Nikon Wedding Photographer

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