Adventure seekers   //  18 years of marriage
5 kids  //  2 businesses  //  We like living life to the fullest


welcome to our

home on the web


highlight films




Business, Q+A

Q+A // What’s In Our Bag?

When I first started our website, I wanted to add a “What’s In My Bag” page, but after looking around at my inventory, I was too embarrassed!  Four years later, I can’t even believe this is ours, and I’ve changed my mind a lot about what should or shouldn’t be in a bag.  I’m not going to say that it’s not about the equipment, because that definitely plays a big factor, but it is all about knowing what equipment is best for the job, and knowing how to use it the the best of it’s abilities.  Each of these lenses is like a paintbrush to us.  We decide what we want in an image or video and choose the correct lens for that need.

Above is all (but one) of our lenses.  Missing is the Sigma 105mm Macro lens… because that’s what took the picture!

But first things first.  Our cameras.  I’ll go through what we have, how often we use it, and what we use it for.

Nikon D800.  We have two of them.  They can do both photo & video, and we most often use them for video (more below).

For Video: We use these for everything!   I took the picture with the mounts on the bottom because they pretty much always have these on them.  With these, we can mount them to different pieces of equipment quickly at weddings.  We won’t go through all the different support equipment today, though– that’ll be another post!

For Photo: We rarely use the D800s for photos because the RAW file sizes are gigantic!  So huge, that it can slow down our editing process.  So we use the D800 selectively.  If we need a large file size for a particular reason, then we’ll use the D800.  If we’re shooting a wedding ceremony that has particularly harsh lighting, we’ll use the D800 as well because of how it handles dark shadows and bright highlights.  It’s all about using the right equipment for the job!

The D700.   Currently, this is our photo workhorse.  This is the camera we’ve had the longest, so it’s like an old friend.  The Black Rapid strap is on it 100% of the time so I figured I might as well photograph them together!

And now… lenses!  Aren’t they pretty?  I’ll share about them in the order of how often they’re used.First up (below, left) is the Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8.  Don’t let the scuff marks fool you, this lens is a beast!  When you see really wide shots, they were taken with this lens.  We originally bought it for video steadicam shots, and that’s still what we use it for most.  Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 (above, right).  This puppy is definitely a workhorse for both photo + video!  It’s probably the first lens we’ll have to get a duplicate for when we’re doing photo + video at different locations on the same day.  We use it for portraits, getting ready shots at wedding, reception… it’s very versatile!

Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro.  We use it a lot like the 85mm.  It gets us in a little bit closer, which is perfect for first dances and toasts at receptions, as well as sometimes during ceremonies (photo + video).  But where this lens really shines is in Macro photography.  Close up details?  This baby rocks them!  It can focus on an object much closer than most lenses.Tamron 70-210mm f/2.8 (below, left) – Ahhh… this is my #1 lens for wedding ceremonies!  I can stay out of everyone’s way and still get tight shots of the bride and groom.  The downside?  This joker is HEAVYCrazy heavy.  I use it a lot during ceremonies and receptions, and I definitely feel it afterwards!  Because this lens is so heavy, I actually have to hold it instead of my camera.  So while I can normally let my camera hang by my side when it’s not in use or when I’m using a second camera, I can’t do that with this one unless I move my camera strap to the lens (something I just don’t have time for on a wedding day).  But, with this lens, the good outweighs the heaviness.  We don’t use it for video ever.  It’s way too heavy for our taste and just isn’t needed.

Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 (above, right) – I thought it would be funny to put our largest & smallest lens right next to each other.  That bottom piece is the same size on both cameras, to give you a size comparison!  This little guy is near and dear to us.  We love the wide view with the crispness of a prime lens.  Since we bought the 85mm, we mainly use this for getting ready images (photo + video).

These next two lenses are very similar.  Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 (below, left) – It says Macro, but it stinks at it.  Nikkor 35-70mm f/2.8 (below, right) – it’s a lens from back in the day, made sometime between 1987 and 1992.  The Nikkor has a different feel and produces a different type of image.  It’s hard to describe in words, but I really love the differences between these two.  Honestly, we don’t use these very much anymore, but still love them!These next two lenses we rarely use.  Nikkor 35mm DX f/1.8 (below, left) and Nikkor 55-200mm DX f/4-5.6 VR.  They were from our first crop frame camera, and we’ve held on to them because they are great back-ups if needed.  Because they were made for crop frame sensors, when putting them on our full frame cameras, there is a square in the middle, and nothing outside of that square is captured in the picture.  It kind of drove us nuts at first, but we got used to it. So instead of this being a 35mm, it’s a 59.5mm.  And instead of 55-200mm, it’s 93.5-340mm.  Now that I think about it, we also have a Nikkor 18-55mm.  I forgot to take a picture of it, though, because we haven’t used it in years.  It’s the kit lens that came with our first crop frame camera.And last but not… well… actually, we use these least!  When we bought these they served a purpose.  Now, we’ve upgraded and just don’t ever use them.  They just sit and collect dust.  Anyone want to buy them?  Sigma 28-70mm (below, left), and Tamron 28-200mm (below, right).

Well, that was super long, but hey, it answered the question!  I hope we didn’t bore you too much, and it gives you a little insight into what we use and how we utilize it!  Equipment is important, but it also matters how you use it, how well you know your equipment, and knowing when to use a particular lens for the best results.  Let me know if you have any questions!