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I'm Hannah B, wedding & portrait photographer based in New York State. I'm a lover of intricate details and story telling- both visually & through writing. Here you will find glimpses of my life as a photographer, wife, mama, dog-lover & Chick fil-A obsessed creative!

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March 19, 2021

My Favorite Gear As A Wedding & Portrait Photographer

I frequently have other photographers ask what my go-to gear is as a wedding and portrait photographer, so I thought it’d be fun to write a blog highlighting what my current camera bag looks like!

I tend to find new little pieces of equipment that make my life easier each wedding season, so this blog is susceptible to change with each passing year, but for now, here are some of my FAVORITE pieces that I couldn’t live without!

TIP BEFORE BUYING: For big purchases (such as lenses or camera bodies!) try to buy and support local business if you can! You’ll see below that shared my favorite camera shop (YM Camera!) I drive 2-2.5 hours EACH WAY to have my gear serviced there 1-2 times a year! And if I make any large equipment purchases, they MY people! I KNOW how convenient Amazon is, but I’m a huge fan of supporting local if and when possible!

Camera Bodies: Nikon D750 & Nikon Z6

DSLR Camera: Nikon D750

I currently have TWO of these camera bodies, but I’ve decided that I’m actually going to sell at least one (if not both!) this season! They have been absolute workhorses for me over the last 5 years, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t still love them to bits. However, with my recent switch to mirrorless, it makes more sense for me to have 2 mirrorless cameras instead of one! (If you’re interested in buying one of my D750s, let me know!!! I’d love to sell them to someone who will continue to love and take care of them!)

Mirrorless Camera: Nikon Z6

I made the switch to mirrorless after my dear friend, Robby (at YM Camera in Youngstown, Ohio) convinced me I needed this technology in my life. I’m not sure why I was resistant to change for so long, but after finally investing in a mirrorless camera, it’s safe to say I didn’t make the switch soon enough. I’m downright O.B.S.E.S.S.E.D! So much so, that I’ll be investing in another one this month!!!

My next camera will likely be the Nikon Z6ii— or honestly whatever Robby tells me to get. HAHA! I trust him with ALL big camera gear decisions and he hasn’t led me astray yet!! They’ve been servicing and cleaning my gear for the last 3-4 years and I’m thankful every dang day for them!

SERIOUSLY– If you’re looking to buy a camera, go to YM Camera in Youngstown! You can even reach out to them online, too! Tell them I sent you & they’ll hook you right up!

Camera Lens Focal Lengths: 35/50/85 mm

Sigma Art 50 mm, f/1.4

Starting off the lens line up with this lens because it rarely leaves my camera! If I had to choose ONE lens to shoot an entire wedding with, it’d be this one. (I know, some people would argue otherwise, but the 50mm focal point on my full-frame camera is just my go-to!)

The 50mm focal length has minimal distortion and is said to capture the world in a very similar fashion to what the eye sees. I love its ability to produce incredibly sharp images, and it’s the perfect walk-around lens for me. Super fast, super sharp…. what more could you want?!

Sigma Art 35 mm, f/1.4

Arguably the most popular lens in the Sigma Art Series, I know so many photographers who would choose this as their favorite. I use this primarily for documenting detail shots, getting ready photos in tight spaces, landscapes/wider angles, dancing photos and big groups! Some people like to shoot even WIDER than this, but my style definitely doesn’t call for that at the current moment. So as of right now, this is the widest focal length I shoot!

Sigma Art 85 mm, f/1.4

The creamiest, dreamiest lens in my bag. This is DEFINITELY a go-to portrait lens for me. I love the compression it gives to images and its ability to capture light is downright amazing. It’s a BEAST once attached to your camera, though, so be ready for that if you decide to invest! (Might wanna hit up the gym beforehand, hahaha!)

INSIDE SCOOP: I LOVE using this lens during the reception to capture up-close, intimate photos during the first dance, parent dances, and toasts. It allows me to be so much more discrete during really important moments of the day, and for that reason alone, I couldn’t live without it!

Nikon Mount Adapter

IMPORTANT NOTE: these lenses listed above are made for DSLR Nikon cameras, such as the D750 listed first. IF you shoot a different brand, you’ll need to purchase lenses specifically for YOUR camera brand. If you shoot a mirroless Nikon camera, you’d need the mount adapter to make them work.

Since I, personally, made the switch to mirrorless, I had to buy the adapter (above) to make my already-purchased lenses work with my new camera body. They do, in fact, make lenses that are designed specifically for mirrorless bodies, BUT I have not had the chance to invest in them yet. Eventually I will switch to these “native” lenses, but for now, I opt to use the mount adapter on my mirrorless camera to make the f-mount lenses work!

Lighting Equipment

White Balance: Expodisc

If you like to control the temperature your images and want SPOT ON white balance settings, try out the ExpoDisc! I often opt to use Kelvin when in a pinch, but the ExpoDisc will allow you to get that perfect manual white balance every dang time.

GoDox Flash System

I’ve tried several flash systems (Nikon, Yongnuo, Sigma, etc) and the GoDox, so far, has been the easiest to use with my Nikon setup! If you are overwhelmed by on & off camera flash, I highly suggest GoDox!! The best part? They are SO dang affordable. If something does happen to one of them, you can easily replace it for around $100. And in the camera world… that’s basically free! (HAHA! I wish I was kidding, but everything in the photography world is so dang expensive….)

Neewer Videography Lights

Just bought this set last year and they work great in the instance you need super continuous light. (Example: a cake is set up in the corner of the barn and there is nowhere super convenient to bounce a flash!) I love that you can also adjust the temperature of the light to make it warmer or cooler.

Neewer Light Batteries & Charger

The lights listed above DO plug into an outlet, but I would suggest getting the rechargable batteries and charger (listed immediately after these lights in my Amazon storefront!) in order to make them more portable. It eliminates cords and allows you to walk around with the lights much more freely!

Light Reflector

I use a light reflector the MOST in the spring months, when everything is soooo dang green. I’ll put the reflector below my subjects faces in order to bounce cleaner, prettier light up on them (rather than that green tone!) Definitley opt for the one with the handle, because it makes holding it so much easier.

I’ll also use a reflector during detail shots on a wedding day. Having a big, white surface to bounce light onto details helps make my images so much brighter. (Shoutout to my assistants who make all my photo dreams come true with their killer reflector holding skills!)

Gear Cases & Bags

Pelican Rolling Case

My husband bought me this case YEARS ago, when we were still dating, because it was the perfect size for a carry-on, yet it was durable and held sooo many things. I, somehow, haven’t outgrown it yet and use it every single time I shoot a wedding or session. Some photographers prefer a less bulky option, but I am a pack mule when it comes to carrying around all my gear, so I prefer something that super durable and can take a beating. This Pelican case has been freaking AMAZING over the years and I’ve contemplated getting a bigger one several times now!

The Shootsac Lens Bag

I TRULY CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT THIS THING. It’s neoprene and waterproof, so it can withstand all the elements that WNY sessions and weddings have put me through. It fits three lenses super comfortably, then I pack extra batteries, memory cards, lens cleaner, my cell phone, and a flash in as well. I literally wear it all day at a wedding so I can have tons of options for lenses on me at all times. Yes, it’s pricey, but I kid you not…. I have had it almost a decade and it has stood the test of time!

Waterproof Camera & Laptop Backpack

I found myself in need of a camera & laptop backpack a couple years ago when I was traveling for leisure and wanted to take a camera body & a couple lenses on vacation with me. It’s so hard to fit everything safely together in a carry on, so this backpack has been the perfect solution for that. I’ve got a trip to Florida coming up and this bag is already packed and ready to roll!

Memory Cards & Office Essentials

Sony XQD Memory Cards & Card Reader

The downside to my mirrorless setup: these dang memory cards. The cost is absolutely ASTRONOMICAL in comparison to the SD cards my old cameras used. Thankfully, they are pretty much mini hard drives, so their failure rate is much lower than an SD card, or even a compact flash card! I’m thankful for that feature, but my cost of doing business is not thankful at all. haha! I use both 64GB and 120GB cards for weddings.

Also included in my Amazon Storefront is the card reader for the XQD cards! This gives you the ability to transfer images from your memory cards to your cameras, which is pretty dang important, obviously!

Sauder Cottage White Office Desk

I saw my friend Angela post about this desk she got for her home office a couple years ago, so naturally, I had to get the same one! It’s a pretty inexpensive option, and it fit in our space perfectly! Beware: it can be a doozy to set up. I recruited my husband and I think it took him 1-2 hours to do so!

Laptop Charger Cord Wheel

I currently use a 15″ MacBook Pro to edit all my work and basically run this entire business! I used to swear by my iMac, but now I’ve gotten way too comfortable editing from ANYWHERE in the house. This cord wheel helps pack up a long Apple charger and makes it way easier to transport.

Hard Drive- LaCie Portrable USB

Literally just found three of these hard drives in my office… unopened. That’s how often I need more storage for all my images & documents. I’ve litterally got a stockpile of these. HAHA! I usually buy them on Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Prime days. But being a photographer, it’s so important to back up your work in mulitple places, so I highly suggest investing in some durable hard drives.

Hard Drive- Samsung SSD

Speaking of durable hard drives…the Samsung SSD (short for solid-state-drive) is about as safe as you can get. With that, comes a HUGE price tag for storage. I use these SSD drives for the MOST important documents, then double backup to USB drives & cloud storage. If you’re worried about hard drives corrupting, a SSD is going to be your safest option.

Lastly: Random Things I Can’t Live Without

Leather Watch Band: Series 3 Apple Watch

I changed out the band on my Apple Watch in an attempt to “dress it up” more for wedding days. I rock cognac leather shoes & purses constantly, so this watchband has fit in perfectly with my current wardrobe. I love it so much, I’m actually on my second one!

DISCLAIMER: This band is made for the Series 3 Apple Watch and matches my rose gold color pretty well. You’ll need to pay attention and order the band made for yours specifically! (Series of the watch, and metal color!)

Styling Trays

If you want to uplevel your detail shots, try incorporating some styling trays. I linked two cute ones on my Amazon storefront! This gold one pictured is definitely smaller and better for little details! (rings, earrings, necklaces, etc!) The other one I linked can be used more for shoes, invitation suites, and larger items. Flea markets and estate sales are other places you can find cool elements to incorporate, too!

Ortho Wax

Sounds crazy, but sometimes a little bit of ortho wax is JUST what you need to hold a ring or piece of jewelry in place. I try not to breathe at all while styling details, because things can so easily be shifted out of place. So add a little dental wax to your wedding-day kit & thank yourself later!

Foam Makeup Discs

My sweet friend Courtney (from Courtney Paige Photography!) shared this little trick with me! Foam makeup discs work great for detail shots, too, because they elevate paper elements up off a styling board, and also have a little grip to them that helps things not fly all over the place. This gives detail shots dimension, rather than everything looking flat and boring!

Ok! That’s all for this year’s go-to gear list! I’m sure it’ll change again soon, but I hope you enjoyed catching a small glimpse of my gear arsenal!

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