I have worked as a professional photographer in the digital realm for almost 10 years (and worked as a professional photographer using large format film wayyyy back in the 90s) and I have always been a Nikon girl through and through. It is what I originally learned on when I worked for a yearbook photo company in Atlanta (oh yeah, PROM baby) and they just feel right in my hands. I started compiling a list of all that I have below but I know I will come back and edit this later – I am sure I am forgetting something in my drawers of gear and we all know things change quickly in this industry. And clients if you ever wonder why professional photography can be expensive – this is just the actual camera gear I own, not even touching on the other miscellaneous things that are needed for sessions on a daily basis (backdrop stands, reflectors, bags, lights, tripods, monitors and computers – this is not a cheap profession!)
These links will take you to Amazon.com and that (along with Adorama) are my go to online gear stores. Locals, don’t forget we are fortunate enough to have TWO fantastic camera stores in Raleigh: Southeastern Camera and Peace Camera. We need to show them love because they come in very handy when you say, have a huge commercial project and you lose the head of your tripod the day of…
This changes so frequently it will become outdated as soon as I post but I use Nikon Professional bodies. I actually re-learned photography after leaving film on a D70, then moved to a D200, then a D3. I love these guys, the D3 is an amazing machine that lasted me many many years. Most of what you see on this site was shot with the D3.
Some photographers like to shoot from a distance but my clients know I like to get up close and personal so I can connect with and engage kids. This lens is wide so you do have to watch for distortion but it gives me enough flexibility to be within tickle range. And yes, it’s a zoom – I rarely use my fixed lenses, just a personal preference but I can not imagine a situation that this lens would work beautifully in. This is my far the best piece of glass I have ever owned. I love him, and pet him often.
You just have to have a long lens in your arsenal and this will get you there – and give you a great arm work out while using it. If you’re not needing the wide aperture the f4 version is much easier to manage but I needed that extra light for one reason: dance recitals. Wait, I forgot bird watching. That’s money well spent, right? He has been used at only two client sessions. But he’s there, just in case I need him.
Used exclusively for those tiny baby toes, ears, noses, fingernails…you get me. And while I only tend to use this for macro shots during newborn sessions it is a great stand alone portrait lens in it’s own right. I sold my 50mm f1.4G when I bought this lens.
This is SUCH a great lens, clean and sharp but as I mentioned before – I’m not a fixed lens girl when it comes to photographing young kids. Again, just a personal preference but this lens is a favorite among so many of my colleagues.
Ok, this one is a toy. It hangs out in my bag and travels to sessions with me but rarely comes out to play. Most often used for Senior Sessions and the very occasional fun family session. But I had to have a fisheye…
I always have this with me just in case, but rarely use it wirelessly. You do get what you pay for and flashes can vary in strength. This came in very handy on a project where I showed up to photograph a location that turned out to be just a tiny bit brighter than a cave. This was an upgrade to my original SB-600.
EDIT! I should have mentioned point and shoot cameras, I get asked about those more than anything else! Like I mentioned in this post about mixing snapshots with portraits in wall galleries, I use P&S cameras alot. Pretty much exclusively with my family. Listed above is my work gear, definitely not used for personal use. I have a small problem with “collecting” P&S cameras. That is mainly because I keep buying them only to be disappointed with the quality. But despite my Nikon-ess I have settled on Canon for my go to pocket camera: Canon PowerShot S120. This is actually my second in this family, my s95 was broken earlier this year.
I try to avoid browsing (trade shows are torture) because the list of “wants” just never ends (and I am afraid tally all this up). But feel free to go ahead and share your favorites in the comments, it’s been a long time since I bought any new gear!