Kelly: What's in my bag

I'm a gear minimalist at heart.

In fact, for numerous years I shot with only one lens - my beloved Nikon 24-70mm. This past year I added a 24mm to my kit, but it was as more of a backup that was small, rather than a lens to replace my 24-70. 

I often receive questions about what I bring to sessions, so thought I'd bust open my camera bag and show you what's inside! 

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I have 2 Nikon D750 camera bodies that I bring to every session. One is my main camera body (the one on the right) and the other is a backup body in case something should happen to my camera during a session. 

My main body has a Peak Design Clutch hand strap, which is my absolute favourite hand strap as it's so easily adjustable and comes on and off the camera in seconds. I have a few of my Justine Ma enamel pins on my hand strap which just make me happy every time I put the camera on my hand. I also have a Camera Couture neck strap on that body. I don't use the neck strap much during a session, but I will put it on when I'm shooting a baby overhead (just in case the camera drops - don't want it dropping on baby!) or if I'm shooting video to use the tension against my neck to stabilize the video. 

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On the other camera I have a Ciesta hand strap. This was the first hand strap I bought and it served me really well. The strap fit great when I used a D700, but on the D750 the bottom plate of the strap covers part of the battery compartment, which means I have to unscrew it everytime I need to change the battery. They may have fixed this issue now, but for me the Peak Design Clutch still won becuase of it's ease of connecting and disconnecting. 

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As I mentioned above, I have 2 lenses. That's it. That's all. 

Nikon 24-70mm 2.8. This is my work horse and is on my camera 95% of the time. I know there's a lot of controversy out there about prime vs. zoom lenses, and for a long time I was a prime only girl, but then I discovered the versatility of this lens and have never been able to find anything that makes me quite as happy. The only real problem is that it's a beast and can get quite heavy! 

Nikon 24mm 1.8. I bought this lens earlier this year as a backup lens and as a lighter option to the 24-70. I use it when I'm carrying my camera out and about or if I need to open up more as this lens is 1.8 vs. the 2.8 of my 24-70. It's a great little lens and is super sharp. 

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Other things I bring with me to a session:

  • Memory cards. I have mostly the Lexar Professional 1000x (silver) cards in 32GB. I like the 32 GB size as it's big enough for a whole session but not so big that if a card fails I lose too many images. (Although I do shoot dual cards, so really, both cards would have to fail at the same time!)

  • Water-resistant/shock proof memory card case. I used to just toss memory cards everywhere and this case has been such a game changer. It stays closed when it needs to and my kids can't figure out how to open it, so if I leave it laying around I know my cards are safe. :)

  • Lens cloth and lens pen for cleaning smudges off my lens.

  • Swell water bottle. I don't leave home without it! I LOVE having ice cold water to drink during a session and this bottle never leaks so I have no concerns putting it in my camera bag.

  • Swaddles. I bring at least one swaddle to every newborn session. 99% of the time we use the swaddles the family has, but I like to have a backup just in case.

  • Diaper. I have a package of Seventh Generation diapers that I bring with me to every newborn session. When the baby is in just a diaper I think it's just nicer if there's not a pee indicator or Sesame street characters on it, so if the family doesn't have any plain diapers then I pull out one i brought and ask if they'd like to use.

  • Technically this isn't in my bag, but I also bring a sturdy stool with me to every session. Sometimes I don't use it, but I'd rather have it than be left not being able to get a shot. I use this one from Ikea and just keep it in the back of my car all the time so it's always ready to go.

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I keep all of this in my Peak Design Everyday Messenger 13 inch. This is the BEST bag. I've gone through multiple purse type bags and I find they are never big enough for what I need. This bag holds everything you've seen in the above image PLUS my laptop and cellphone. It has velcro dividers that you can configure in a million ways. I love the outside pockets for my keys and phone. I often have this bag packed to the absolute brim and it still closes securely and doesn't hurt my shoulder. I've shot a wedding with this across my body the whole day and it was amazing. 

I also own a Fuji x100t which I use sometimes for personal work (and for taking all the photos above of my other camera bodies!). The Fuji is what I toss in my purse if we are heading out on a day-trip or if we're going to the beach (because I feel safer having an affixed lens at the beach!). 

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The Fuji has a scarf strap from Camera Couture. The strap feels huge for the camera, but I actually love that it's so big and colourful as I can easily dig the camera out of my purse when I only have one free hand. 

-  Kelly