Peek Inside My Bag with DelaLane Photography
Who am I?
Hi! I’m Amanda, owner/photographer at DelaLane Photography. I’m a natural light family photographer located in Southern California, shooting in and around Yucca Valley, Joshua tree, and Palm Springs. I photograph families of all sizes and ages, and specialize in photographing little ones…my own and yours! My goal is to create images that showcase personalities and relationships and preserve memories. I’m a lifestyle photographer who loves traditional portraiture and I try to incorporate both styles into both my professional and personal work. Photos tell stories, and I love being able to be the storyteller, to be able to preserve faces and little bits of my clients’ histories, as well as my own family’s!
What’s in my bag?
Lenses!! I have a love affair with them. And I’m a Nikon girl, so my bag contains Nikkor prime lenses (prime means fixed focal length, one focal length, as opposed to zoom lenses.) The assortment I have right now allows me to shoot in just about every situation with the light that’s available. I’m a natural light photographer, so those big apertures and high quality lenses are important to me in order to make up for whatever lack of light there might be in any given situation.
Over six years ago, I started with one, my first, the Nikkor 50mm 1.8. I’ll never sell it. It’s still on my very first digital SLR right now, the camera lens/combo I let my almost-6-year-old daughter practice and learn with. It’s a fantastic, inexpensive lens, the lens I recommend to photographers who are on a budget and just starting out. If you want to ditch that kit lens and are ready to take that first step toward creative control of your images, it’s a great option.
For many years now, I’ve shot with the Nikkor 50mm 1.4. It’s quite a bit more expensive than its 1.8 cousin, and it’s worth every penny. It works for portraiture and documentation of most kinds, and it’s a great option if you’re looking for a professional lens with which to photograph children. Little ones need close-up interaction. My favorite strength of the 50mm lens is its ability to balance beautiful creamy backgrounds without having to be miles from little faces. The 50mm focal length allows me to be near my littlest clients, to be able to grab their attention and tickle tummies without having to run a sprint in between my shooting location and the location of my little client.
The Nikkor 85mm 1.4 is similar to the 50mm 1.4. It has creamier bokah and requires a little more space between me and the client. I use it almost exclusively for outdoor sessions. My favorite strength of this particular lens is its ability to capture fun and intimate interactions between clients. Because a little distance between me and them is required, it frees them up to relax and create their own moments without me being all up in their business.
The Nikkor 35mm 1.4 is, in my opinion, the most versatile lens I own. If I could only have one lens for the rest of my life, this one would be a top contender. It does everything, everywhere. It can go inside. It can go outside. It can create funky compositions and traditional portraits. It captures a little bit of environment and still creates beautiful bokah. It has a “lifestyle” feel. My favorite strength of this lens is its versatility. I use it for indoor client sessions quite a lot, and if I only take one lens on a personal family outing, it’ll likely be the one I’ll have on me to photograph my own kids.
The 50mm, 85mm, and 35mm I consider my workhorse lenses. I can shoot an entire session with any one of these three. But what’s the fun in that? I also have a few lenses I use to add some creative variety to a set of images. A couple of these lenses I use heavily for photographing my own personal story, and that of my kids.
The Nikkor 24mm 1.4 is a fun and funky lens. Again, because of those large apertures (f1.4 being the largest), this lens creates beautiful bokah, and because of its wide angle, it also showcases environment, giving context to the photographs is takes. It’s a lens that tells a story. I use it at home on my kids more than anywhere else. But it’s also a great lens to add variety to a client session. My favorite strength of this lens is its ability to create funky images, changing our perceptions and causing us to see something we ordinarily see in a unique way.
The Nikkor 105mm 2.8 macro is a lens I bought because of its ability to function as both a telephoto (long, portrait) lens as well as a macro (close up, detail) lens. In reality, I almost never use it as a telephoto portrait lens. Goal for the coming year, perhaps? But I do break it out at almost every newborn session to capture some little lips and teensy toes in macro mode.
The Nikkor 14-24mm 2.8 is the latest addition to my bag (and my one non-prime lens), and so far I’ve used it mostly to photograph my own kids (but I plan on incorporating into client sessions too.) This lens is super fun! It’s unlike any of the others I shoot with because its forte is sweeping scenes rather than isolated subjects. My favorite strength of this lens is its ability to capture environment, whether that be a whole room, or a whole mountain range. It’s panoramic. It’s fantastic!
I own two D700s camera bodies and have yet to feel the need to upgrade (but Christmas is right around the corner!) I also have a D300s that I keep around because it records video and video is something I want to learn how to do better!
I also keep spare batteries, lens wipes, extra memory cards, attention-grabbing toys/squeakers, candy (never offered except as a last resort and with parents’ prior permission), stickers, an emergency kit (containing things like safety pins, bobby pins, and lip balm), a lens cloth, lens hoods in the pockets of my bag, plus mints and extra contacts for me (heaven forbid one fall out while I’m shooting!)
Oh, and I do have an SB 900 Speedlight (and Gary Fong Lightsphere attachment for diffusion) that I will use if I absolutely have to for low light events. But I don’t like it. It almost never comes out to play.
There you have it. My stuff. Hope you enjoyed this peek inside my bag! Happy shooting!