what’s in my bag | whoop whoop


iPhone pic because I wanted to include it all! 24mm not pictures because my neighbor borrowed it…

I had a post like this from way back and I have been wanting to update it. Yep, I have like 7 sessions to edit (the most I think I have ever been behind but this week was crazy!) but right now I am chilling on the couch watching Parenthood on the DVR (I love this show and I am SO sad that this is the end of it) and waiting for a pizza to cook because my husband & I decided that the dinner we cooked sucked and now its 10:30 pm and we are hungry. Oh and I hate editing on my laptop. Wow, holy overshare….anywho, here we go.


First things first…I don’t think the equipment makes the photographer but I do think good equipment is important if that makes any sense at all. Having a good eye and a creative mind are far more important – with those two things you can honestly create an amazing piece of art with an iPhone if need be. That being said, I don’t know a single photographer that doesn’t wait by the door for that big brown truck to pull up once they have hit the Submit Order button. We all love gear and gear does help us achieve our mind’s eye.


Before I start, if you want to see images by others besides me from these lenses or any other lens for that matter you can always go to google and type in that specific lens in the search box, then hit images…you are obviously going to get a lot of pictures of that lens as well but also images taken with that. I am sure you can also google “images taken with (insert lens)….” A lot of flickr results come up in the Web search as well (aside from the image search).

That being said, I am going to give some of my examples and try to give some of my favs but Lord have mercy (seriously) it is hard to choose which ones I love the best! (Updated to add-I have way too many images and honestly I probably am not even giving my best but I can’t look through thousands of images or you would never see this post! But dang I wish I could!) Maybe if I just stick with this year it will help – I shot less this year since the arrival of baby Hudson (this image shot with my 35-see below)…  Hudson1-21I shoot with a Canon 1D-X with a backup of the Canon 5D Mark III and…   If I could only shoot with one lens it would be … oh come on, you know lol THE FISHEYE…The funny thing is after I had started using it so much I noticed an incoming click on my blog from a forum and my interest was piqued. Click. It was a discussion about how you are never to use a fisheye for a portrait! Look, you can use whatever you want as long as it looks good and fits your style. That’s the awesome thing about photography right? It is creative and we are artists and we get to paint the canvas and decide how big or small it is. So mine is the Canon 8-15 mm f/4 (link to the actual amazon store that I bought it from as well as all the others are above and yes, I am an amazon affiliate so I do get some dollars if you purchase through here;-)-total disclosure peeps-I always order from amazon because the shipping is crazy fast and I have found that they beat almost every camera store pricing). I love the lens-I use it almost exclusively for family stuff. After all, if I can only take one lens with us someplace that one will get anything I want to get you know? I love the perspective and I don’t mind the distortion. Some people do. And, honestly this lens kind of sucks in low light because of the f/4.  So I think that most people would be more than happy with the 16-35 mm f/2.8 L because it is great in low light and still exceptionally wide. All you Nikonians, I do not know of a comparable fisheye for you – I have had workshop attendees (shameless plug-one seat left HERE) rent several and none seem to fit the bill for me. But that’s just my personal opinion-wait, all of this is hah! So here are some images I took with my 16-35 mm1635web Pitts-1  And here are some from my 8-15 mmWelkerFamily-31amanda & brian | a stonecliff inn wedding {mackinac island wedding}Untitled-2 HudsonBirth-123Schreiber-1 Fireworks-3 LallyBeach-4 15thPool-1 And if you want more on the underwater stuff and what I use that post is HERE!     THE BOKEH LOVELY…If I could have only a second lens it would be, hands down, my Canon 85 mm f/1.2 L. It is a little big and heavy and but the bllluuuurrrrr is so deliciously yummy. Never thought I would say that about the background of a photograph right? But it is and in the right light it is jaw dropping amazing. Pretty slow to focus in that nice golden hour light, I won’t lie, so be careful. Some favs from that lens…Formals-1 danielle-9Circa 2011 but look at that sparkle in the background!PresleuWildFlowersTakeTwo-1web3031Weeks-21HudsonOutdoor-38Traylor26HudsonOutdoor-76 85mm  1:1600 f:2.0 ISO100THE EVERYDAY…Because that 85 is slow to focus and kind of heavy I would say next would be the 50 f/1.2 mm L. It still gives yummy bokeh, buy maybe not jaw dropping, unless you hit it just right. Also, this is a good one for close up portraits of children and focuses faster. I recently read a post by a photographer that said you can’t use anything but this for newborns. A lot of people went to the 35 mm for a wider shot for newbies but there is a tad bit of distortion. (Technically, they said, the 85 is the real winner because of zero distortion but who wants to get that far from baby for every shot and who has a studio that large in general?) Some favs for that one…50mm 1:200 f:14 ISO250And, yes even though it doesn’t look like it, those are real clouds – see real clouds can look fake too lol!SarahKate05the schreiber family | sunset 30-a beach sessionon the way to grandmotherFirstPics-4matteTHE EVERYDAY WIDES…I am putting both my 35 mm f/1.4 L and my 24 mm f/1.2 L in this category. They are tack sharp and great for low light shooting like sunset and weddings & wedding receptions. I even like the 35 for up close portraits-I like the distortion.24mmweb24 mm24mmweb224 mmthe hubbard family 30-a beach photographer35mmthe hubbard family 30-a beach photographer35mm THE NEW FAV…Well kind of but not above my fisheye fo sho. Last year my 70-200 got stolen out of my car (as did a few others and my iPad but everything was recovered except that 70-200) and I wasn’t shooting many weddings which is what I used it for primarily but I definitely wanted a longer lens. Enter the 200 mm. There is an old 1.8 and a new 2.0 I believe (correct me if I am wrong lens gurus) – after researching for it I got the old 1.8 and, yes, I bought it used. Ain’t nobody got time to spend $5-$6k on a lens that I can’t carry and use that much. I shoot lifestyle-that word alone means I can’t run around with a huge lens like that and chase kids and expect to nail focus. Not to mention I can’t even get close to them hah. But wowzers! I am just getting to know this one so I won’t put many thoughts at this time but it does seem more gorgeous than the 85 but not as practical. Here are a few that I have taken with it…  BabyBrody-1PresleyRandom29th-9editwebMACRO…I have the 100 mm f/2.8 L macro just for ring shots and macro baby shots – I don’t use it much and its usually for fun but its neat. Some of those…OliviasEye-1GettingReady-23Chua-30 amanda & brian | a stonecliff inn wedding {mackinac island wedding}

  • Amber - October 10, 2014 - 12:45 pm

    Thanks for the info! :)ReplyCancel

  • Kristin Dos - October 10, 2014 - 2:44 pm

    Great post! Thank you for the share! I literally just got my Nikon 85mm today to rent, I can’t wait to use it and then possibly buy it!ReplyCancel

    • kansas - October 10, 2014 - 2:52 pm

      If it is anything like my canon you are going to love love!ReplyCancel

  • Katie - October 12, 2014 - 11:13 am

    Thank you SO much for sharing! I just stumbled onto your website recently and was blown away by your images! Gorgeous! And I was about to email you to ask what wide angle lens you recommend. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE wide angle photography and could never understand why everyone swore by the 50mm lens. I feel so confined with it! lol! When I saw your images, I felt like I’d found my place! Thank you for all of this!!! Off to buy!ReplyCancel

  • jo - October 13, 2014 - 3:12 pm

    brilliant share and a million times more than other photographers would ever dream of……ReplyCancel

  • Jen - October 15, 2014 - 12:39 am

    Kansas, do you know what I love about you? You have a beautiful spirit. I read your previous post about some of the ugly and rude comments you receive from Facebook fans and it irked me. People, or eh-hem, “fellow photographers” forget that no matter how many followers you may have, at the end of the day, you’re just a person trying to do the best they can to take beautiful photos, take care of your clients, fans and business, and most importantly, be a great mom, wife and friend. It is hard as hell to not drown in this business. After a day of giving all you can, people still demand more! And then I see this post and realize we have something in common… No matter how many times we give and it comes back to bite us, we will continue to give, because it’s good. It’s good for the soul. So keep on keeping on. I’m proud of the way you handled that last post. (Especially with a new baby! It always takes me a full year to get my brain back and my emotions in check! ;) ) But I’ve seen other photographers respond to ugly comments with their own ugly comments on their business page and you didn’t do that. You rose above it all and continue to try and help those in this business rise higher too. I appreciate and admire that. So basically, this obnoxiously long comment was to say, You are worth following and thank you for this cool post! xoReplyCancel

  • Melissa - November 28, 2014 - 11:34 am

    Great post! I will need to look at a wide angle. I also have the Canon 200 f1.8L. It was discontinued around 2003, so not easy to find (only 8,000 made) but a DREAM of a lens! Great post! Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • […] more on my personal blogIncluding a post about what I shot all these images withYou can read it HERE or see below to purchase from my fav […]ReplyCancel

  • […] L Canon Fisheye and my 85 mm f/1.2 L is close behind. All my info on lenses and equipment is here: http://photogingmama.com/whats-in-my-bag-whoop-whoop/ and my underwater stuff: http://photogingmama.com/underwater-gear-whats-in […]ReplyCancel

  • […] have the 200 f/1.8 (all my lenses can be seen at the end of the post and in a previous post I did HERE) so did I really need a 135? The answer? Yes! Could I do without it? Of course I could but I am […]ReplyCancel

  • […] in My Bag? See the post HERE or just check them out below and shop […]ReplyCancel

  • […] do I take? I usually put one of my cameras (take your back up if you are worried) and a wide angle (usually my 8-15 mm Fisheye) and a longer focal length (usually my Sigma Art 50mm) and put them in my diaper bag or beach bag […]ReplyCancel

  • molly - August 24, 2015 - 12:07 pm

    GREAT post! Thank you so much for sharing! I have long admired your work and it is fun to see what you use and how you use it.ReplyCancel

  • […] 85 f/1.2 and I now have the 200 f/1.8 (all my lenses can be seen below and in a previous post I did HERE) so did I really need a 135? The answer? Yes! Could I do without it? Of course I could but I am […]ReplyCancel

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