Oooooh this is a good one, people! For all you photography gear heads out there, it is officially time to go over what is in my bag. I used to always love to read what photographers had in their bags, what equipment they were using and why. I also have a couple of posts lined up for what I actually bring on a portrait session, as well as what I bring to a full wedding day, and even what I now bring to elopements while solo shooting. I have a lot of equipment and over the 16 years I’ve been a professional photographer I have purchased and sold a bunch of different lenses and cameras. This is the pared down selection—the most necessary gear that you need for photography and really nothing extra or fluffy.
Click below for links to the products and be on the lookout for the upcoming posts about what I bring to portrait sessions, weddings, and even a post on the best way to carry your equipment…including photo purses, rolling suitcases, and backpacks (I’ve tried them all).
DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING I GET A COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH MY LINKS, AT NO COST TO YOU.
What is the Photography Gear In My Bag
You might need different gear depending on the type of photography you do or are interested in. I list my 2 main cameras (a mirrorless and a DSLR) as well as my array of lenses, and my favorite camera straps.
Note: This is professional grade equipment—if you are looking for a first camera for under $700 then this blog post on the best entry level DSLR’s will be the most helpful.
- Nikon Z6 II mirrorless camera: This is my first mirrorless camera and has been a great addition to my camera setup. It’s the camera I’m using full time at this point. Mirrorless cameras are smaller, lighter, and sharper than their DSLR counterparts. All major camera companies are also pouring all of their research and development into the mirrorless camera—thus making it the new wave in digital photography. The only downside is that this is a different lens mount and you need an adapter (or purchase new Z lenses).
- Nikon D850 DSLR camera: Still my favorite DSLR that I’ve EVER owned, and I’ve owned a lot (D200, D300, D700, D800, D810 to name a few). This is, in my opinion, the most perfect DSLR that Nikon has ever made.
- Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8S: This is my first Z-mount lens and it is great! I chose this over the 50 f/1.2 only for ease of use in size (not just money).
- Nikon 50mm f/1.4 D: My favorite lens…always. This lens doesn’t play super well with my Z6 II but still my favorite lens on my D850.
- Nikon 85mm f/1.8D: My magic portrait lens. Yes there is an 85 f/1.4, but I’ve never seen enough of a difference to make that leap. 85mm is beautiful for portraits.
- Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8D: This is an auxiliary lens (I call lenses that only come out every once in a while an auxiliary lenses) but takes beautiful portraits and is great if you want to step back, or are required to be further away, like in a church during a wedding ceremony.
- Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art: 35mm is an important focal length (one of the 3 lenses I recommend every photographer has). It’s not terribly wide but gives more sense of space within your images.
- Nikon 24mm f/1.4D: Another auxiliary lens. This is a beautiful wide lens that is used usually to capture more landscape and area. I really like this lens for dance floor photos during a wedding.
- Sigma 50mm f/2.8 Macro: Perfect lense for ring shots. Usually the only thing I pull this lens out for,
- Leather Camera Strap (by Holdfast Gear): This is called the Moneymaker Solo strap and it is awesome! Holdfast is best known for their original moneymaker (a harness for 2 cameras) but I prefer to be a single camera shooter and so this is the one camera strap.
- Hybrid Camera Strap (for 1 or 2 cameras): As mentioned above I prefer to shoot with one camera, but when I photograph alone during an elopement or intimate wedding I often have parts of the day where I need to quickly switch between focal lengths and this is easier done with 2 cameras. So this is a hybrid strap that allows me 2 cameras during important moments (the ceremony for example) and then use it as a single crossbody strap for the rest of the day.
- Nikon SB-700 speedlight flash: I actually have 3 flashes, but this is the only one still being sold. Flashes last a LONG time so I have the SB-800 and the SB-910 is my main flash. However, this is a beautiful well priced flash that has all the same capabilities as my main flash, and the one I always use as my off-camera flash when needed..
I put together this list of photography gear to show you an overview of all the gear that a photographer may have. Not all of these are needed to run a business or be a photographer, but this is my collection after 16 years in business. I still stand by starting with the minimum and working toward the 3 lenses every photographer needs!