Lifestyle Photography Equipment
I've been a Photographer for five years, and this is a question I get asked a lot. People often ask me what camera I shoot with, which lenses I use, and...what's really in my camera bag! Well, when I was in Photography School, the first thing I learned was...it doesn't matter what gear you use, what matters is the way you use it. And that kind of stuck to me. And here I am, carrying all sorts of light equipment and only what is necessary for my type of photography style. I am a natural light photographer, and I shoot in natural light 99% of the time, which helps me carry a bit less things. I'm also doing less Weddings, which is why my equipment is now 'lighter'. When shooting weddings, it's a whole different camera bag, for sure! But for my everyday lifestyle + portrait shoots, this is what I carry with me.
Equipment for Portrait Photographers
My essentials start with my camera, of course! And yes, I'm a crop-sensor user! I currently shoot with a Nikon D7500, and have a D7100 that I use as my backup camera. I've always used a crop-sensor camera, and up until about two months ago, my main camera body was a Nikon D90, which I miss dearly and wish It would've never drowned! My fellow photographer friends never believed me when they saw my work, and thought I was shooting with a full-frame camera. For me personally, since I never really needed the extra features of a full-frame, which are a lot of them, I decided to stick with a crop-sensor. I find that my crop-sensors are easier to replace, being that they're less expensive, and some models are just as good as the full-frames.
Also, when I photograph weddings, I usually only do outdoor and beach weddings, for which my ISO and crop-sensor features work really well for me. Will I decide going full-frame in the future? Yes! Only because I am now more in Portrait + Fashion photography, and a full-frame will definitely be the best choice to have. Can’t wait to purchase my new full frame body 💛
So, really, What's in my Camera Bag?
I tried my best to break it down to only the essentials, my essentials. Every photographer is different, and every style, workflow and preference in gear is different. This is what works for me:
My lenses. I only shoot with prime lenses. A huge benefit of shooting with primes, is you don't have to worry about any lens distortion or chromatic aberration, which is more noticeable in zoom lenses. I also love the fact that I can constantly 'zoom in' with my feet. It pushes my creativity and I'm constantly on the hunt of creating, rather than just capturing. I also name my lenses; only because I want to, and because they're so freakin' cute that deserve to be named! I carry 3 of the primes with me, to all my sessions and commercial work. My main primes are: 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm; all at 1.8. I'm currently using 1.8 because I find that they are reliable and pretty good at focusing.
Nikon 85mm. This is Bruno. My favorite, favorite lens. I love the sharpness, clarity, and the incredible, soft bokeh that I can get with this lens. I use this lens at the second half of my sessions, and I use it for close-ups, and details. It's an eternal love affair with Bruno!
Nikon 50mm. This is Mark. My all around, go-to, lens. It's all kinds of lovely! It's convenient, and perfect for almost every occasion. I just love the creaminess of this lens. I use this one at the beginning of my sessions, specially when I have my subjects interacting with each other. It's like magic in my hands!
Nikon 35mm. This is Matt. My hero. It's the most versatile lens! It's perfect for capturing the interaction of the subject and the environment, and you can use this lens for anything! It's a wide lens, but not too wide. I use this one a lot when I'm doing baby photography, and close-ups. It has an incredibly, magical bokeh! I'm a firm believer in the magic of this lens, and it's simply a must-have for every photographer!
Business cards. Of course! Why would you even go around without business cards? I always hand them out in 2's. One for the person I'm giving it to, and the other one for them to share! I use Moo for all my business cards!
Reflector. A must! I use a 6 in 1 reflector and carry it with me to all my outdoor shoots. I use it as a bounce effect to create fill light, and to get rid of unwanted, harsh shadows.
Extra batteries. Always. Carry. Extra. Batteries. That's all!
Memory cards. Always carry TONS of these! I carry different ones, just in case. But the ones I use the most are the 64GB. Since my camera has a dual SD port, I like to have both inserted, and one serves as backup. I use SanDisk cards, and I prefer the Ultra and ExtremePro lines.
Flash. As a natural light photographer, I very rarely use flash, but I must carry one just in case. I use the Nikon SB-700 Speedlight Flash and prefer using it off camera.
Pair of earrings + perfume + compact make-up. Because girls have to be ready, at all times! Might sound weird, but I cannot go out the door without earrings. I just can't! For this reason, and for all the times that I had to turn my car around, and go back home to grab my earrings, I now carry an extra pair in my camera bag, and my purse. Just to be extra prepared! My compact make-up, for my own touch-ups before starting to shoot, and a perfume. Only because I hate the thought of getting close to people and not smelling like 'Chanel perfection' 😊
My camera bag. I'm obsessed with camera bags. I simply love them! I used to carry a red, Epiphanie bag, which I really liked, but didn't love, because it was way too heavy to carry. I've also used a variety of messenger bags from Lowepro, but they're just not quite what works for me. I now carry a bag from Bloom Theory, which I really love!! It's perfectly comfortable, and it stays in place when I'm shooting, so I don't have to worry about it moving when I lean forward. It also has space for my card wallet, keys, and iPhone. Here's a peek inside!
I hope this helps any of the aspiring photographers wondering where to begin, what to carry, and how to use it. I don't like carrying bulky stuff, unless I really need to. But most times, this works for me! I would love to see your comments and pictures of your camera bags 😊
Until next time!
As always, be inspired! xoxo
Yanitza Ninett is a Lifestyle & Portrait Photographer based in Orlando, serving the Central Florida area, St. Augustine and Georgia. Her blog, Pieces of Me, features most of her work, along with photography tips, lifestyle sessions, personal experiences and travels. Yanitza Ninett documents Engagement Sessions, Beach Weddings, Seniors, Family Sessions & Boudoir. The YN Experience characterizes by giving an unforgettable photography experience along with professionalism and dedication. We are about telling stories...your story! Contact us for more info!