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What’s in Your Gear Bag? Ben Hartley’s Tools of the Trade

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What do you currently have in your wedding photography gear bag? If you are first starting out in your business, you may be looking for gear to help you get established. If you have been in business for a while, but are looking for an upgrade, discovering what type of equipment is available can help you make your choice. Here at ShootDotEdit, we know that the more you know about your gear, the easier it will be to use it to create the photos your clients will love. So you can get an idea of what gear you should use (and what else is out there), Ben Hartley of Style & Story Creative is sharing a few of the pieces he uses in his photography business.

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Camera Body

Canon 5D Mark III Our work horse. We shoot all of our weddings on these babies. The main advantage with the Mark III is in its auto-focus and its crazy high ISO capability.

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Sony A7S II – For the money, it is incredibly hard to beat the dynamic range, color profile, slo-motion, image stabilization, and low-light performance of this camera. Are there better cinema cameras? Absolutely, but not for under 3k. I use all Canon glass on my setup with the Metabones Adapter that I link to in the video section below.

Related: How can you shoot through any scenario and create stunning photos?

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Camera Lenses

Sigma 85 1.4 I have been saying this lens is better than Canon’s 85 1.2L and I stand by it. The great news is that since I have been saying that, Sigma has released 2 new “Art” primes, the 50mm and 35mm which confirms I am not crazy. These three lenses are insane. And, at half the cost you will not be disappointed.

Sigma 50 1.4 Art This lens has everyone scratching their heads because it so ridiculously good. The only comparable lens is the brand new $4,000 Seize 50mm…and this Sigma 50mm is only $950. It is arguably better AND more affordable than Canon’s 50mm 1.2.

Sigma 35 1.4 Art Just like the 50mm above it, this lens set a new precedent for image quality at the 1.4 35mm range. Nothing touches it. This lens is sharper, more affordable, and an all-around better lens than the Canon 35L alternative.

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Canon 24mm Tilt Shift The Canon 24mm tilt shift is my all-time favorite lens. This lens gives me something no other standard lens can on a wedding day. Creative inspiration. This lens allows me to create images which feel more like works of art, rather than traditional imagery. It is not all about the miniature effect with tilt shift. Truth be told, I very rarely use it for that look. Just like with the Profoto D1, this lens has helped to separate our work form the crowd.

Lens Baby Edge 80 Love the quality of this lens for its price. I am always looking for creative approaches to portraiture. It helps to keep me on my toes, always inspired, and creating fresh work. The edge 80 works similar to a tilt shift lens without the shift, but plenty of tilt.

Related: What are you doing to keep your gear safe during the wedding day?

Lighting Equipment

Yongnuo Flash YN600ex-rt Speedlight – For the longest time, the hands down BEST option for speed lights was the Canon 600 series (but with a hefty price tag of close to $600). The Canon 600 series had built-in radio remotes and it was killer… Nikon was and still is stuck in the past. Without built-in radio transmission, their speed lights suck. However, thanks to Yongnuo, they have created the same 600-series power, but made it for a quarter of the cost AND available to both Nikon and Canon. This is hands down the best option currently. Definitely check out the trigger option below as well if you want to fire remotely but don’t have need for a 2nd light.

Yongnuo Flash Trigger – See above.

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Magmod – Allows you to quickly add modifiers.

Impact 8ft Lightstand – We call our lighting setup “Light on a stick” This is our stick. Small, light, portable. It simply gets the job done. We take it with us everywhere with a single Yonguo 600 attached to the top with simple flash bracket.

Speed Light Clamp – Sometimes because of tight spaces, our “light on a stick” technique just won’t work. We use this clamp to literally clamp our speed lights on to just about anything! It helps to keep them hidden, out of the way and puts the light exactly where you want it, especially when combined with a Magmod Mag Grid!

Ice Light 2 – While I don’t agree that it gives you “window light” per se, this light undeniably rocks. It is a quick tool that is easy to carry with you and use when you need it. Beautiful for fill light on details, hair lights, and night time shots.

Cheetah Stand Love this stand because the legs auto extend and collapse.  This is fantastic at a reception when moving around the stand to re-position your light.

Westcott Micro Apollo Softbox An invaluable tool for lighting details. It has saved the day numerous occasions at receptions as well.

Westcott Rapid Box Sometimes, the Profoto D1 is just too powerful. This will sometimes happen indoors or often at night when trying to balance for ambient light. The Rapid Box allows you to use a lower powered speedlight with a familiar soft light in these situations.

Promaster Reflector This comes with me to every shoot I do. You have five options with it, but my favorite and most used sides are the “sunlight” side (NOT gold) and the translucent side.

Find out what else Ben uses in his business in this post. Also, check out his 7-Day Crash Course to get a deep dive into how to better your business!

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Did you see anything from Ben’s list you currently use or want to use in the future? When you choose the perfect gear for where you are in your photography business, you can more easily work during the wedding day shoot to capture photos for your clients. Speaking of capturing photos – how comfortable are you with lighting and posing during your shoots? Our Guide, Pro Photographer Lighting and Posing, is a must-have resource to help you become the best photographer possible. Grab it today!

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