What’s In My Camera Bag // Phoenix Wedding Photographer

 

What’s In My Camera Bag

 

We are gearing up for our wedding season to start this weekend and I am over here cleaning and organizing my camera bag and I thought what better time to share with you what’s in my camera bag! When it comes to photography equipment, the options are endless from brands to types of lenses, external lights etc…

Early on in my career I started with maybe not the best gear available but as a new photographer, I could not invest into the best of the best. Since then KolorPHX Photographic CO. has grown significantly and allowed me to invest in some of the best equipment possible! I get asked a lot of the time, What’s In My Camera Bag. Now, with that being said, its not the gear that makes the photographs, its the person behind the camera and the talent that they have and the time they have invested into their craft to be able to manipulate a camera and light to create a photograph that will leave you speechless. Which is our goal from day one! We want the viewer to be able to look at our images and see the story. See the emotion behind each and every photograph that we make.

 

What's In My Camera Bag

Over the last few years I have been able to narrow down to my favorite equipment and educate myself on what each piece of equipment is capable of doing. This allows me to know my equipment from inside out and how to control it and manipulate it do do as I wish! I use all Canon gear and will provide links to each piece of equipment. While you do not have to purchase directly from these links, we are affiliates with several companies and we would love it if you did choose to purchase using the links provided!

So! Here we go! This is whats in my camera bag!

Camera Bodies //

          Canon 5d Mark iii

               I have not always used Canon gear, but when I tried it out for the first time, I fell in love! I feel that Canon makes some of the best equipment and I find it easier to navigate and more user friendly than some of the other brands available. The colors of the Mark iii are exactly what I want and mesh well with the stylistic aspects of my brand. I carry 3 camera bodies on a regular basis. I consistantly use to bodies at the same time with different lenses to save time if I prefer a specific lens for a specific shot and do not have time to go change lenses. Then I always have one as a back up in case one of my main bodies starts to act up.

What's In My Camera Bag

 

Lenses //

Canon 50mm f1.2 L

          This is my go to lens! I absolutely love this guy! If I had to, I could shoot an entire wedding using only this lens and be happy with the images that I would produce. While some of the creative angles would be limited due to the focal length, I would have no issue in a pinch have this guy on my camera all day. In fact, on a couple of our destination weddings where we have traveled internationally, I have taken only this lens and one more to save on space when packing up my gear.

What's In My Camera Bag

Sigma 35mm f1.4 ART

          This is a beast of a lens! This is my #2 lens in my bag and you will usually find this one on my second camera most of the time. I love using this lens for the family formal’s and the shots where I want to include a wider view of Arizonas beautiful desert and mountain landscape. This lens does take some fine tuning and needs to be calibrated to the specific camera that it is going to be used on, but once it is dialed in, it is second to none for wide angle!

What's In My Camera Bag

Canon 24mm f1.4 L ii

          When I need an even wider shot, the Canon 24mm f1.4 L ii does just the job! This lens is a game changer! It works well for the shots that I need to up close but still want to include much of the surroundings. I love this one for times like the ceremony, some up close Bride & Groom portraits and even family occasionally.

What's In My Camera Bag

Canon 100mm f2.8 Macro

         Have you ever wondered where the creamy detail shots come from such as rings and jewelry? This is the magic that I use to make it happen! I have also started using this lens for portraits as well! It gives that soft and buttery look that I LOVE!

What's In My Camera Bag Phoenix Wedding Photographer

Canon 85mm f1.8 USM

         This is the least expensive lens that I have in my bag but don’t let the price tag fool you! This guy has never left me wanting more! In comparison to the Canon 85mm f1.2 L, Canon did a great job and quite honestly the differences between the two are not drastic enough where most photographers or clients would even be able to notice in the final product. It does have some vignetting on the furthest most part of the edges, but this is hardly noticeable to the eye and requires an EXTREMELY zoomed in view to notice. The one minor draw back, which still isn’t a huge issue to me is this lens in comparison to its big brother has a slightly slower focus. For me, that doesn’t really matter because I generally have enough time to focus but if one were using it for say sports photography, It would be a big deal.

What's In My Camera Bag Phoenix Wedding Photographer

Canon 70-200 f2.8 L ii

          Out of all of my inventory I shoot with only prime lenses to give sharper images but this is my only zoom lens and it definitely does not disappoint. I mostly have this lens on my camera during the ceremony where it allows me to roam and adjust between different focal lengths. With that being said, most of the time a zoom lens is going to loose much of its sharpness between focal lengths, the Canon 70-200 L ii does not! I also bring this one out during portraits and by shooting from a further distance and zooming in to the Bride & Groom, it actually compresses the image and makes the Bride & Groom pop out from the background and give that really sought after blurriness or Bokeh.

What's In My Camera Bag Phoenix Wedding Photographer

One other tool that we use being a Phoenix Wedding Photographer is light. There are prime times when natural light is all we need but then there are times when we need artificial light due to not having enough ambient light or, there are times where we want to capture a beautiful sunset or different aspects of the environment that might be a bit darker but we still need to see the person being photographed. Also, much of the time the wedding reception can be dimly lit or there might not be much for us to work with so we use what we refer to as OCF or Off Camera Lighting. This requires a technique, skill and the right equipment! We use various types of equipment as outlined below:

Lighting //

Canon 600 Ex-Rt ii 

This are the cream of the crop! I previously used a different brand of  speed-light but after many problems with mis-firing and odd, inconsistent color temperature, I invested over to the 600’s and I could not be happier! These speed-lights have build in receivers which allows me to have one less piece of equipment and they basically are able to control each other. They never mis-fire and the recycle time is super fast!

Canon St-E3-RT Wireless Transmitter

This is where the magic happens. I use this on top of my camera and it allows me to control every aspect of my Canon 600’s without having to walk from each light to make adjustments, I am able to do it right from my camera!

What's In My Camera Bag Phoenix Wedding Photographer

 

 

 

 

MagMod

          When working with OCF, there are times where we need to manipulate the light of “soften” it to avoid harsh, shadows or “hot spots”. There are many modifiers on the market but MagMod has created a product that blows all of them out of the water! Previously, before MagMod, I would have to carry around big bulky equipment and lighting modifiers, but now with MagMod, it is a completely magnetic system and fits in a small space of my camera bag making my life so much easier! There is so much to elaborate on with OCF but I will save that for a separate blog post.

What's In My Camera Bag Phoenix Wedding Photographer

 

Batteries and Accessories

I can have the greatest equipment available but without the proper power, its useless. I always rely on Eneloop rechargeable batteries to power my lighting equipment. This are the real deal! They hold a charge for weeks even if I have not used them in a few days. They can also be recharged up to 2500 times and hold a 70% re charge over time. As for accessories and storage, Think Take provides some of the best storage around and the compact design fits perfectly into my camera bag.

What's In My Camera Bag Phoenix Wedding Photographer

 

There you have it! Now you know what’s in my camera bag and why we love each piece of equipment that we have and its use. Like I mentioned earlier, its not the equipment that makes the photograph, its the person behind the camera! So before investing in thousands of dollars worth of gear, make sure you are also perfecting your craft and know how to use it!

 

Jeff Watkins is a Phoenix Wedding Photographer and the Owner and Director of KolorPHX Photographic CO. Jeff has been featured in many publications such as:

“THE KNOT”

“ARIZONA WEDDINGS MAGAZINE”

“ARIZONA BRIDE MAGAZINE”

“BORROWED & BLUE”

and many more!
Jeff has also been awarded:

“BEST OF THE KNOT”

“TOP 20 WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS IN SCOTTSDALE”

and nominated for

“BEST OF OUR VALLEY” BY ARIZONA FOOTHILLS MAGAZINE

 

 

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