What’s In My Camera Bag | Northampton Family Photographer

[Nikon d800 with the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 lens]


I like to keep my camera gear as simple as possible and relevant to the work at hand. While I have separate bags for my digital and film cameras, I thought I would cover my digital first.

To keep my bag lightweight and efficient, I use a Lowepro shoulder bag I can comfortably wear across my shoulder. 

Whether I’m working in the studio or on location, the contents of my digital camera bag are the same. My bag includes a Nikon d800, a full frame 35mm camera with 3 main lens for my portraiture work. My favorite lens is a 50 mm f/1.8 lens, which renders true to our eye’s perspective. Next in line is a wide angle, 35mm f/2 lens, offering a slightly wider perspective that is still flattering without being too distorting in portraits. Last is a telephoto  zoom 70-300 mm f/4.5 lens. I love this lens for portraits, especially outdoors. The fourth lens that I have but don’t often carry is a short telephoto macro 60mm f/2.8 lens for close up work.

[Nikon d800 with the Nikkor 35mm f/2 lens]


I always use a light meter in the studio and often on location, a Sekonic L-358 Flash Meter, for accurate light readings.

For location work that doesn’t require studio strobes, I carry a Nikon 600b flash that I mount on a tripod to add extra fill light when necessary. By bouncing the light off a window, white wall, or white ceiling corner I am able to create a soft light source. A small piece of bubble wrap is tucked into the flash case to diffuse the flash on my camera, along with a wide rubber band to hold the bubble wrap in place, and AA batteries to power the flash. 

[Nikon d800 with the Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5 lens]


To keep my lenses clean, I always have a lens pen in my bag.

Battery charger for my Nikon d800. 

Two memory cards in camera plus an extra set up backups: SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB Compact Flash card and SanDish SDHC 16 GB card.

Lip balm. 

That’s it for the digital bag. 

Stay tuned to find out what’s in my film bag…


5 Gifts Every Mother Loves | Northampton Family Photographer

There are buds on the weeping cherry tree and daffodils in the front yard. Leftover Easter cake sits in the refrigerator. Mother’s Day is only weeks away. While we are still spending our days at home, it doesn’t mean we can’t plan for a special gift for Mom.

1. Simple photo book. Imagine creating a small hand held book for mom to cherish for years to come. A single subject works best—turn to her favorite vacation memories, a fun weekend adventure, or a memorable day in her life. Soft or hardcover, your choice and anywhere from 20-100 photos.

2. Black and White Engineer Print. Large-scale black and white engineer print of Mom and the kids. Engineer prints are large prints (4x3 foot) made on paper typically used for architectural plans. Oftentimes, mom is behind the camera instead of in front of it. I talked about this in my Date Night Photo Sessions post. It’s so important to document mom and to find ways to jump into the frame. A photo of mom in the same frame with the kids, especially one that exudes love, is dear to her heart. 

3. Framed Fine Art Prints. Once you’ve printed those photos from your digital storage, show them off in frames you picked up at yard sales, thrift stores, or your last time at the craft store. The beauty of framed photos is that they can be displayed anywhere. My favorite spots include bookcase shelves, kitchen backsplash, and next to plants. 

4. Create a gallery wall. Choose an empty wall in the house, such as an entryway, hallway, or stairway. Surprise her by filling that blank space with the art, people, and places she loves most. Print out those family photographs stored on your phone, in hard drives, or in the cloud. Frame some of her favorite artwork next to family photos. 

5. Portrait session for Mom. Gift her a special Mother’s Day portrait session for mom and the kids, mom and friends, or just mom. You can shop for an eGift card from my studio over here.


Why Family Prints, Albums, and Films Matter | Northampton Family Photographer

I remember watching my grandfather’s slide shows and 8mm family films as a kid. I loved seeing the story unfold. Scenes of my grandparents camping, my parents married in a church, me as a chubby baby. All these slides stitched together a story of my history, the people I loved and who cared for me. 

What I remember most though were the printed photographs on the walls as well as the prints tucked into photo albums. My grandmother kept a current photo album on her coffee table next to the candy jar. Whenever I visited, I would flip through the album, often asking to look at previous albums as well. I wanted to put all the stories together and to learn more about who my family was before I came along. Shots taken out the window of an old Buick when my grandparents drove to Florida. My aunt and uncle dressed in tennis whites back when they first started dating and then when I was a flower girl at their wedding. I studied all the printed photographs, imagining my grandparents together as teenagers, wondering who they were and what their lives were like.

I became a photographer because I love telling stories, in single and multiple frames. I love listening to the stories one hears watching home movies as well as slide shows. 

The family films (then video), slide shows, framed prints, and photo albums all have a place in our family archive. They are all incredibly important to me, especially as the years pass along with some of my loved ones. 

Fast forward to the age of digital technology. We snap photos and record videos on our phones, often on a daily basis. Our enormous family albums are stored in the cloud, on hard drives, and social media feeds. This isn’t the same as having a collection of family heirlooms to hold or watch together regularly. All of our images are at our fingertips, just a scroll away, and yet, how often do we see the edited version of the full story? 

The truth is we don’t. We leave them on our devices. We’re busy with work, family, and social demands. We don’t have the time, patience, or skills to create an heirloom quality archive of our family. 

It’s important to make the time to create these heirlooms to pass down in our families, whether that’s something you do on your own, or whether you hire a professional photographer to create them for you. Imagine up to date beautiful prints of your children, your partner, your parents and siblings framed on your walls, printed into albums you can hold and gift, as well as edited footage of your favorite summer days and trips together. 

Imagine the stories you have to tell and the ones not yet told. Imagine your children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren holding these heirlooms in their hands. Imagine how they’ll hold and reflect on their own histories.

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