While I have a spare half an hour, I’m going to blog about something I get asked so often. My Equipment. What do I use and how/when do I use it. These are things I get emailed about so regularly after posting images, so thought I’d share a few things right here, right now.
First of all, this is what I have in my camera bag:
Canon 5DMII, Canon 5D
70-200mm 2.8 IS L
24-70mm 2.8 L
50mm 1.2mm L
200mm 2.8 L
100mm 2.8 macro
400w Alien Bee
800w Alien Bee
400w Elinchroms x 2
580EX Canon Speedlight
These are all the things I use all the time. But when, what do I use them for? I obviously don’t use them all at once, so this is what I use them for:
70-200mm – I use this ALOT. It’s my favourite lens for my outdoor family sessions, kids sessions and when I’m second shooter at weddings. It gives great bokeh and is fantastic for those more natural, candid shots of kids and guests at weddings as it allows you to be further away from your subject but still capture close up images due to the focal length. Produces lovely sharp images. Can get quite heavy after a while and my wrists ache alot when I use this lens for long periods of time. If I know I’m mainly going to be using it at 200, i’ll swap it for my 200mm prime lens to save my poor weak little wrists haha.
24-70mm – My old trusty lens, that is great for my family sessions when I want to capture more of the lovely surrounds as it allows me to take advantage of the 24mm wide angle. I love this for kids as well as I can zoom in and out quickly and is quite sharp too.
200mm – I put this on when I know I only want to shoot at 200 and don’t want the heaviness of my articial70-200. The 200 prime gives great sharp images and is way lighter than the 70-200 which is why I love it. If i’m using 2 cameras, i’ll put my 27-70 on one body and my 200 on the other
50mm – My go to lens for my newborns. I shoot natural and artificial light so this lens is brilliant and I would highly recommend anyone wanting to do newborns professionally to get this lens. It was my first pro L series lens and I’ve never looked back. It’s also great for portraits and gives gorgeous creamy skin tones and to-die-for bokeh. A must have for any pro portrait photographer (in my opinion). I like to shoot fairly wide open for my newborns so when used at around 1.4 or 1.8 it gives a beautiful portrait of the little baby asleep on the beanbag.
100mm macro – this was a lens I purchased so I could have fun taking close ups of insects and other weird objects I thought looked cool up close. I also use it a lot with my newborns taking close up images of those gorgeous little eyelashes and other precious details. Such sharp images too. I love this lens. I’ve also taken it outside and used it occasionally as a portrait lens and it doesn’t’ disappoint there either. So it’s definitely one of those multi purpose lenses that doesn’t carry the huge price tag like the 50 or 70-200
Ok, so now I’m going to talk about my lighting and how I use artificial light and when. I can honestly say I don’t use it as much as I used to. I kind of started out thinking I wanted to use off camera flash all the time, but that got annoying to me, and I much prefer using the natural light provided and choosing the times I photograph more appropriately for that purpose, however there are times when you don’t have a choice for when you have to shoot (ie weddings, birthday parties etc) Most of the time these are in the middle of the day in full sun, so you WILL need something to fill those shadows if you don’t have someone carrying a reflector around for you all day.
For me, these days, I tend to use artificial light for my studio maternity sessions, as well as for my newborns when the natural light isn’t quite right on the day.
Maternity – depending on the look I’m after, I tend to set up 3 lights. My two elinchrom 400’s and my 400 or 800 Alien Bee in my 200cm Octabox (or Beauty Dish). I do have lovely natural light in my studio, so if I can incorporate that as much as I can I’m happy.
For my newborns, I just set up the octabox with a 400 AB light and move that around the beanbag I have set up to provide lighting on my bub at different angles. I use this in conjunction with a cactus trigger and receiver mounted on my camera and attached to the light.