That’s the comment I get often from well meaning dads when they offer to help carry my bag at a session.

If I don’t have my hubby assisting me I’m often tempted to leave it in the car when I’m shooting on location, but inevitably I end up needing something out of it.  I thought you might enjoy seeing what’s in my bag.



This LowePro backpack was a lucky score from craigslist when I went to my first workshop.  It’s like my own personal Barney Bag!  It’s got a padded pocket for my laptop, room for lenses, camera bodies, accessories, camera manual, paperwork, SD cards, tissues, mints, wipes, and if I’m inclined I can strap a tripod or two on the outside.  Oh and it comes with it’s own rainfly.  The only thing I can’t put in this is my collapsible Fotodiox 42″ 5-in-1 Reflector .

I also own the UNDFIND system with custom covers.  I purchased it for use at weddings and it works wonderfully.  I guess that I’m lazy and I don’t like transferring my stuff between bags if I don’t have to.  The backpack is just easy for most of what I need to do.  And since I’m not doing weddings this season, the UNDFIND bags aren’t being used.  But I’ll never say never so I’m hanging on to them – they are a great system for wedding shooters.

These are the lenses I carry with me.  I have several other kit lenses and a 35mm DX lens that my daughter uses with her Nikon D5100.  (I used it to take these pictures)  From left to right:

  • Nikkor 50mm / 1.8D  – Good ole’ nifty fifty.  It’s a wonderful all purpose lens. And what I use in studio most of the time.
  • Tamron 28-75mm / 2.8 XR Di  –  This is a great lens for tight spaces.
  • Nikkor 70-200mm / 2.8G VRII – honestly I don’t use this a lot.  I used it regularly while shooting weddings but I’m not doing that this year.  It’s great with seniors and family sessions where I don’t feel I need to do a lot of directing.  I find it difficult to use with small children as I have to be so far away to get the perspective I usually want.
  • Nikkor 85mm / 1.8G – beautiful lens!  On location with kids this rarely leaves my camera.  It’s sharp and fast and has really nice bokeh.
  • Nikkor 40mm / 2.8G DX Micro – This is the lens I use for close-ups.  I purchased it when I was shooting with my D7000 which has the cropped sensor the DX lenses are created for.  Luckily the D600 and D800’s can use the DX lenses and show the smaller area that will appear in the camera in the viewfinder when using it.  Brilliant!
  • On my Wish List:
  • Nikkor 50mm / 1.4G  – more light and newer technology
  • Nikkor 35mm / 1.4G – wider angle, fast, lots of light

Here are my other Gadgets:

  • Giottos Large Rocket Air Blaster – great for blowing off lint, dirt and sand from my equipment.
  • Lens cloth and Pen – essential for cleaning my lenses.
  • Nikon SB700 speed light – I love this light, it’s easy to use and perfect for most everything I need to use if for.
  • Radio poppers – These work great when I can’t use TTL.
  • Black Rapid Women’s camera strap – (shown with cameras below) I LOVE this sling.  It goes across my body and keeps the camera at my side and the weight off my neck.  When I need to pose or use my hands, it can be pushed out of the way towards the small of my back.  My favorite part is that it attaches at the bottom of the camera using the tripod mount.  I can’t imagine having straps in the way of my hands while shooting!

Camera Bodies:

Nikon D5100 – We purchased this camera before the D600 for my husband and daughter to shoot at weddings as my second, and for the limited video we tried.  It’s a nice little camera.  I hate that you have to get into the menus to change the ISO, and I still haven’t found the histogram on the silly thing but my daughter makes it sing!

Nikon D7000 – This is the first camera I bought after I gave my sister back her D90 she loaned me to get me started.  It’s a great camera to get started with.  It’s fast, got all the features you need, plenty of focal points, and low noise at high ISO’s.

Nikon D600 – My newest body.  I looked at both this and the D800.  They were virtually identical in features.  The three differences are 24 mega pixels vs. 36, shutter speed 4000 vs 8000, and adjustable aperture while shooting video on the D800.  This last one would have been a deal breaker for me if I’d known.  I was only aware of the first two when I purchased it.  The reality is that I’m not a videographer and the little bit I shoot video wouldn’t have been worth the extra cost.  I’m happy with this camera, but there is always something new coming down the line.  That Canon Mark III was about enough to have me switching teams.  😉

Here’s a great review from Scott Kelby if you’re trying to decide between the D600 and the D800.

I hope that give you a little insight into the equipment you may be interested in.  The reality is that your voice as a photographer means more than fancy, expensive equipment.  Ansel Adams took beautiful images on the equipment we’d consider antique.  Learn your equipment, rock your world with what you have and add to your bag a little as a time.