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What’s In My Bag: What do I bring to photograph your portraits?

Hey everyone!  You may have noticed some things are a little different around here. With my new website launch (thanks, Liz Theresa!!) I wanted to welcome you (or welcome you back!) and give you a little insight into how I do what I do. 

When you’re a professional photographer, it’s pretty common to get asked what gear you use, so I thought I’d start out by giving you a little tour of what’s in my bag for every portrait session I do (events get a few extras like my external flash — more on that in another post!). 

Since I started my business in 2014, I have been a big fan of the Olympus system. Not quite as big a name as Nikon, Canon, or Sony, but powerful and ergonomic (so I can be thinking about how to get the best shots of you and not worrying about my wrists getting tired!). On every shoot I bring two Olympus OMD EM-1 mark ii camera bodies. My worst nightmare is something going wrong with my gear, so even for a short headshot session or a family session, I bring backup. They are exactly the same (some photographers use an older camera body as their backup) because I want to make sure you get the same quality even if I’m needing to use backup gear. On the topic of backups, I also always have a couple of fully-charged extra batteries and empty cards just in case.

My lens choices vary somewhat from session to session — For that gorgeous bokeh and lens compression, I often choose my 40-150mm lens for portraits outdoors. It’s a bit of a monster — I sometimes get comments about how large it is, but it really makes for such gorgeous portraits. This has been my go-to lens throughout the pandemic also because I can be further away, giving that space for safety while still getting beautiful images. For indoor sessions, I often swap between my 17mm for wider shots and my 25mm for portraits, but I’ve recently begun playing around with my 12-40mm zoom lens more and am really feeling it works with my vibe these days (and allows me to capture more moments by zooming rather than needing to switch lenses). For darker homes and offices, I still pull out those prime lenses — they allow me to open up a little bit further than the zoom and get more of that delicious light hitting my sensor.

What else is always there?  I always have a mirror (I know, I know… we all have smartphones these days and can just use the selfie camera for a quick check, but sometimes it’s easier to just use a good old-fashioned mirror to double-check before we get started or after a fun prompt that may have mussed your hair a little. I also always always always have little packets of tissues in my bag — whether allergies or bad or noses are running because of cold weather, it never hurts to have a little tissue in case of emergencies!  Last but definitely not least is my little camera buddy — a fun squeaky toy I can use to get babies’ and kids’ attention (and occasionally make grown-ups laugh too) when all else fails. 

Stay tuned for my next series on what should be in YOUR bag when you come to your session with me!

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