What's in my camera bag? - Amber Rivas Photography

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What’s in my camera bag?

For those that are curious, here’s a breakdown of my favorite lenses and cameras! This is not an exhaustive list of all the equipment that is used during Amber Rivas Photography sessions, but it gives you an idea of the kind of gear I like to use. Please remember that by no means does “the camera make the photographer.” I fully believe that you can be an amazing photographer without all the latest high-end gear. That being said, the gear helps! Once you’ve mastered the lighting, the focusing, the creative…upgrading a lens or two can really push your photos to the next level.

So…what is my camera of choice?

Canon EOS R – full frame, mirrorless!

My current main camera is the Canon EOS R: Canon’s full frame mirrorless camera, released in 2018. The focus is amazing. I think the touch screen is really really cool! And I love a lot of other things about this camera as well (EVF, silent mode, the control ring mount…). If you’ve heard about the new Canon EOS R5 coming out in a couple months, you can probably guess that YES, I want it!

What does this mean for your wedding day or photo session though? You will have sharp, high resolution photos, and I can take them quickly and efficiently. Because I can look through the camera viewfinder and see EXACTLY what the photo will look like, I don’t have to take as many “testing the light shots” as I might otherwise. I don’t have to push three buttons in a row to let more light in, I can just spin the dial! And during your ceremony, I turn on the silent shutter mode so you and your guests won’t be distracted by the clicking of my camera.

Canon 6D – full frame, DSLR!

My “backup” camera is the Canon 6D. This was my first full frame camera, and the camera I used to shoot all of my weddings on up until fall of 2019. It’s reliable, it works well in low lighting situations (like receptions!), and its batteries last forever! I take this camera with me whenever we go on a vacation or just on a fun day trip, as well as to every wedding I shoot.

The lens lineup…

For Portraits

My favorite portrait lens is the Canon 85mm f/1.4. This means it’s a pretty “zoomed in” lens, creates really soft backgrounds, and makes you look really good! It’s incredibly sharp, gets colors just right, and it’s really fun to use.

You’ll see me use this lens often during your “just married” portraits, during the first look, and during the ceremony. It’s also an engagement photo favorite.

Wide Angle

My favorite overall lens is probably the Canon 35mm f/1.4. It’s great in tight spaces like getting ready rooms, it’s great to capture the scenery, and it’s great for those lifestyle/journalism type shots.

I love to use it a little bit during portrait sessions, especially if we’re in an epic location. Otherwise it’s my go-to lens when I need something dependable and reliably sharp. I’m also a little bit partial to this lens because it was the first “big one” that I purchased…it has a special place in my camera bag because it was the first lens that really convinced me to keep investing in the L series!

I also use the Canon 17-40mm f/4.0. I don’t bring this lens out super often because it’s not as great for low-light situations. But if there’s something that needs a REALLY wide angle, it is a really fun lens to have around!

Up Close and Personal

For those detail shots, I have the Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens. It lets me get super close and sharp photos of small things like engagement rings, earrings, flowers, embroidery…

Details may not seem super important compared to the portraits, but these are the photos that help tell the whole story of the day. I love using them to start off the blog post, and they are perfect for wedding albums.

For the Ceremony

Of course I use a variety of lenses during the ceremony – wide, up close, in the middle…but one of my favorites for distance is the Canon 135mm f/2.0. It gets me close for the zoomed in shots without actually BEING close. I can use it to hang out in the back and not disturb you or your guests while still capturing every emotion.

Plus it’s really good in low light! I love it for church ceremonies especially.

Just in General

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 – this is my new one. I haven’t had the opportunity to use it at a wedding yet, but I’ve done PLENTY of testing around the house!

It’s a perfect lens for true-to-life sizing…it won’t distort any facial features, and I don’t have to be super far away to use it. It’s sharp and FAST. I love it. Possibly new favorite lens…we’ll see!

  1. Christine says:

    Love this! So helpful with the lenses pictures also!

  2. Always love seeing what other photos shoot with! I’ve heard fun things about the mirrorless, but I’ll stick with my 5D MIV for a while before upgrading again. I had my 6D for 5 years before upgrading it.

  3. Sara says:

    Thanks for the great info on camera and lenses!

  4. Kristin says:

    This is such a fun post!!

  5. Holly says:

    Would love to know if you’ve tried the 85mm 1.2 and which you liked better? Otherwise, I agree 100% with you, I’m obsessed with my 85!

    • Amber Rivas says:

      I have never used the 1.2! I had the 1.8 first, and by the time I was ready to upgrade it the 1.4 had come out and I had heard all the raves about it. I will say though that I didn’t like the 1.8 much, so I took a huge leap in going after the 1.4…it was worth it!

  6. Alina says:

    Love all of your images! I’m obsessed with 85mm 1.4 and I cannot wait to try the 35mm lens.

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