With the year coming to an end, it’s a great time to take inventory and see what you did right and what needs improvement. This also translates to your gear. What was used the most and what should be thrown up for sale? This is a list of my most used gear for 2019.
1. Sony a9
When I first made the move to Sony, I started with the Sony a7 III. At the time, I thought the a7 III was close to perfect and saw no need to explore what the Sony a9 had to offer. Then, I got a great deal on two Sony a9s and haven’t looked back. Now that the a9 is my main camera body, I couldn’t imagine shooting with anything else that didn’t have a fully silent shutter with no rolling shutter. The ability to document a moment on a wedding day in full silence is beyond amazing. It has allowed me to get nice and close to my couples during some of their more intimate moments and not interrupt what’s happening. This feature alone makes the Sony a9 indispensable for me.
2. Sony CZ 35mm f/1.4 lens
What good is a camera without a great lens? For me, I could live and die with a 35mm lens. And the Sony CZ 35mm f/1.4 is one of the best I have used. It’s fast, sharp, and not too big attached to the smaller mirrorless form factor. I also really enjoy having the aperture control ring on the lens as well, as the focus ring not being made of rubber.
3. Salsa Photobooth
The Salsa booth is one of those items that not only makes us more money, but it looks good while doing it. We have the ability to talk with clients about a photobooth before they even think about looking for one somewhere else. This makes us their first and normally only option that they explore. We have also been able to use the booth to encourage unsure couples to book with us. If a couple is on the fence or needs that little extra push, we will offer to let them use our booth at a steep discount or even for free. This gives us a way of adding value to our packages without discounting our prices. I have said it before, but I think every wedding photographer should have a photobooth. And the Salsa booth is so easy to set up and use and doesn’t require a full-time attendant to run. So, it’s the perfect option for us.
4. Loupdeck CT
Editing a wedding is one of those areas where saving a few seconds per image can add up to a ton of time saved. The Loupdeck CT does just that. It’s similar to the Loupdeck plus, but so much better. The small size allows me to bring it with me and edit in a coffee shop without looking weird or carrying a giant bag, but the digital screen and modifier buttons give me way more customization options. The build and usability also feel very refined.
5. Godox AD200
So much light with such a small form factor. Add to this that you can pick one up for less than $300, and it’s a must-have light. This light is almost glued to my light stand and basically always has a Magmod grid, gel, or sphere attached. It also works in TTL and high-speed sync with any camera manufacturer so long as you have the right trigger for your system.
6. Elinchrom ELB500 TTL
When I need more power than the Godox AD200 has to offer, the Elinchrom ELB 500 TTL is the light I grab. The ease of use and power make this light a dream to work with on a wedding day. The pack and head style also allows me to continue using the small light stands I enjoy since I can have the majority of the light's weight strapped lower to the base of the stand. I also love that I can control two lights from the same pack, which makes it much easier to carry a two-light setup without a ton of added weight and bulk.
7. Light and Motion Stella CLx8
While flash has been my go-to style of light, the Stella CLx8 is quickly converting me to constant light. The ability to see your exact light placement makes things so easy. And the 8,000 lumens makes shooting in even bright conditions possible. Add in the fact that you can place the light in a full downpour of rain without issue, and this is a must-have light. My go-to setup when using this light is to pair it with the 50-degree fresnel.
8. Phottix Padat Carbon Light Stand
On a wedding day, I prefer to stay as mobile as possible while still having access to the gear I may need. So, having a kit that’s small and light is very important. The Phottix Padat Carbon has been the perfect light stand to allow just that. It packs up small enough that I can strap it to the side of my bag or even place it inside a carry-on suitcase. It then extends to seven feet, which is perfect for the majority of what I need. I also love that it has an adjustable leg that allows me to place the light on an inclined surface without issue.
9. Wotancraft Sniper Backpack
A great kit means nothing if you can't bring it with you. And the Wotancraft Sniper bag is the perfect combination of size, comfort, and versatility. It allows me to carry everything I need on a wedding day, while remaining small and compact. I also love the style and look of the bag.
10. DVLOP Presets
Although this one isn’t a physical piece of gear, DVLOP still remains one of my most used items for the year. The custom camera profile that comes with each pack is a must-have for any photographer that works with multiple camera brands or models. The presets also work with the mobile version of Lightroom, which allows me to use the same presets I use for my wedding work on my personal cell phone images. My personal favorite of all the packs is Mystical Potions from Two Mann Studios.
So, there you have it. These are my most used pieces of gear for 2019. Now, I’d love to hear what pieces of gear you used the most in 2019. Leave your list in the comments below.
Most used gear... Laptop... :-)
Haha true! I should have had that one on the list too!
Most Used Gear in 2019:
1. My iMac! I take it with me on all of my extended photography trips. Gotta have that 27" screen for editing.
2. Canon 1D Mark 4. It's been my main camera body for 6 years ..... but just got replaced with a 5D4 for 2020. The 1D4 will now be my backup.
3. Canon 100-400mm v2. I use this more than any other lens because its 30" minimum focus distance at 400mm gives me great close-up capabilities for little critters like lizards and butterflies.
4. Sigma 300-800mm f5.6 This is now my only "big" lens. The zoom is invaluable, as it is the only lens that enables going from tight head shots to full body shots with large mammals like deer and wild sheep.
5. Heavyweight neoprene camouflage chest waders. From freshwater marshes to the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the brackish waters of the Chesapeake, these served me wonderfully.
6. Gitzo tripod. Serving as my only "real" tripod since 2009, this is getting long in the tooth, and breaks down regularly. But it's still being used on an every day basis. I hope to replace it in 2020 with a tripod that fares better in salt water.
7. Wimberley II gimbal head. The only head I use when shooting with my big 300-800mm lens.
8. Manfrotto messenger bag. This is the only messenger-style bag I have that is large enough to hold my 1D4 with the 100-400 on it. There's even room left over for snacks, a water bottle, game calls, extra socks and gloves, and oodles of additional miscellany.
9. Cell phone. Not only do I use it to research wildlife opportunities and as a GPS while living on the road, but in 2019 I also learned to use it to set up a WIFI connection with my Canon 6D, so that I can operate the camera remotely.
10. 2008 Toyota Corolla. This is what transports me and my gear to all sorts of wildlife opportunities all over the United States. I spent 5 months photo-road-tripping in 2019. 37 miles per gallon gets me wherever I need to go affordably.
My most used gear for wedding:
3) Nikkor af-s 50 1,4
4) sigma art 35 1,4
5) sigma art 85 1,4
6) a couple of godox ad200+ad-b2
7) Lenovo Legion Notebook
9) my car
10) lots of patience
Most used gear...my reading glasses . :)
Don't underestimate the power of a solid tree branch 😂
It's pretty crazy how much money a photo-booth can generate.
Totally agree! Especially for the low cost of entry.
Jason, does it make you a little nervous at all to have to rely on an app to operate a photobooth that you own? Companies go out of business all the time.