LETTING THE CAT OUT OF THE (JRP) BAG...THE GEAR I LOVE

Ok. So first thing first.  I have a confession.  I am NOT a gear junkie. There I said it.  I am not a photographer who always feels like I need a new gadget or gizmo.  I love the gear I have procured--gear that empowers me to produce an incredibly high level of quality for my clients, while having superior functionality, and "non-techy" user friendliness. To be 100% real---I don't really have any major items on my wish list at the moment.

Jessica Roman Photography | Sacramento Wedding Photographer | Gear-1.jpg

But, I have gone through a lot of trial and error (like the first camera I ever bought NOT being full frame, ugh--a total waste of money), lots of equipment rental and personal hands on research, to develop a streamlined collection of "I can not live (or work) withouts!" First...let's dig into the "non" lens side of my beloved gear...and honestly, brace yourself for the most non technological review ever. I'm just gonna speak from the heart.

  Nikon D750 DSLR Cameras  ... I own 4 of these lovelies -- Desiree and I each wear 2 during weddings. As backups, I also have 2 Nikon D700's, but those hang out in the bag and are only for emergencies--which I have never needed-Thank God ... Average Price Point: $2000 per camera body (no lenses included)   Manfrotto Light Stands  ... we bring 4 or more of these to weddings.  The one pictured is a compact stand.  The base is small enough to allow quick movement through crowds, hides behind couples for dramatic off camera flash shots, and isn't big and bulky like some other stands are.  I LOVE this stand! ... Average Price Point: $70 per stand (4' tall stands - for larger stands see the link at the end of this post for my beloved Cheetah Stands)

Nikon D750 DSLR Cameras ... I own 4 of these lovelies -- Desiree and I each wear 2 during weddings. As backups, I also have 2 Nikon D700's, but those hang out in the bag and are only for emergencies--which I have never needed-Thank God ... Average Price Point: $2000 per camera body (no lenses included)

Manfrotto Light Stands ... we bring 4 or more of these to weddings.  The one pictured is a compact stand.  The base is small enough to allow quick movement through crowds, hides behind couples for dramatic off camera flash shots, and isn't big and bulky like some other stands are.  I LOVE this stand! ... Average Price Point: $70 per stand (4' tall stands - for larger stands see the link at the end of this post for my beloved Cheetah Stands)

  Nikon SB 700, 800 and 900 Speedlights  ... and LOTS of them (usually 6-8 per wedding). These speedlights are the crème de la crème of flashes—and an investment for sure!  There are much less expensive speedlights out there, but I had already purchased my little collection before finding alternates that I loved.  When and if I ever need to replace these puppies, I will most likely research more and go a different route cause these guys can easily break if a stand gets blown or knocked over and can be a little finicky with battery power and overheating ... Average Price Range: $400-$700 per light   SanDisk SD Cards  ...  I will typically only use 64GB cards (even though 32s are pictured) and always use the secondary camera slot in my D750’s for backup—just in case.  So, after every wedding I have doubles of every image in case a card becomes corrupted or malfunctions.  I like using 64GB cards because I don’t want to constantly be switching out cards and risk getting them confused.  Having two cards per camera is enough moving parts as it is ... Average Price Point: $40 per card

Nikon SB 700, 800 and 900 Speedlights ... and LOTS of them (usually 6-8 per wedding). These speedlights are the crème de la crème of flashes—and an investment for sure!  There are much less expensive speedlights out there, but I had already purchased my little collection before finding alternates that I loved.  When and if I ever need to replace these puppies, I will most likely research more and go a different route cause these guys can easily break if a stand gets blown or knocked over and can be a little finicky with battery power and overheating ... Average Price Range: $400-$700 per light

SanDisk SD Cards ...  I will typically only use 64GB cards (even though 32s are pictured) and always use the secondary camera slot in my D750’s for backup—just in case.  So, after every wedding I have doubles of every image in case a card becomes corrupted or malfunctions.  I like using 64GB cards because I don’t want to constantly be switching out cards and risk getting them confused.  Having two cards per camera is enough moving parts as it is ... Average Price Point: $40 per card

  Phottix Remote Transceivers  ... these are my HOLY GRAIL and I use 4 sets per wedding!  They are the less expensive version of Pocket Wizards (which I wasted about $1200 on!) and by less expensive I mean they cost a third--that's right, these babies are 66% cheaper than PW's!!!  Oh, and the VERY best part---they are WAAAAAAAAY more reliable, recycle quicker, and are much more compact.  I would marry these guys if I could (wait, did that just get weird lol) ... Average Price Point: $100 per set (one transceiver and 1 receiver)

Phottix Remote Transceivers ... these are my HOLY GRAIL and I use 4 sets per wedding!  They are the less expensive version of Pocket Wizards (which I wasted about $1200 on!) and by less expensive I mean they cost a third--that's right, these babies are 66% cheaper than PW's!!!  Oh, and the VERY best part---they are WAAAAAAAAY more reliable, recycle quicker, and are much more compact.  I would marry these guys if I could (wait, did that just get weird lol) ... Average Price Point: $100 per set (one transceiver and 1 receiver)

And now...for the REALLY fun part and the part I know you have been waiting for....time to talk LENSES!!!!  Just about all of my lenses are “prime” lenses.  Prime lenses are lenses that are stationary at a certain focal length.  They do not zoom in and out on their own---I am the zoom by either walking closer to my subject or backing up.  Prime lenses are preferred because, unlike three "zooming" counterparts, they produce images that are much more tact sharp with fewer visual defects.  This fact has made me absolutely fall head over heels for them--although they weren't love at first sight that's for sure.  They took some getting used to after years of loving my 24-70---and as you'll see I still have one "zooming" lens that is a major part of my repertoire.

  AF Nikkor 50mm, 1.4   This sweet little prime lens is at a focal length of about what the human eye sees and is the least expensive of my collection.  This is a lens that is great at snagging detail shots, behind the scenes, and because of it’s great low light performance is awesome during receptions.  This lens can generally be found attached to one of Desiree’s cameras as she captures all things candid during wedding portraits and cocktail hour.  I always recommend this lens as a great starter lens for its performance and relatively inexpensive price ... Average Price Point: $370

AF Nikkor 50mm, 1.4

This sweet little prime lens is at a focal length of about what the human eye sees and is the least expensive of my collection.  This is a lens that is great at snagging detail shots, behind the scenes, and because of it’s great low light performance is awesome during receptions.  This lens can generally be found attached to one of Desiree’s cameras as she captures all things candid during wedding portraits and cocktail hour.  I always recommend this lens as a great starter lens for its performance and relatively inexpensive price ... Average Price Point: $370

  Sigma 105mm, 2.8 MACRO HSM   Wonder how I get those incredible close up shots of rings and jewelry?  Well friends, this lens is IT!  I use this lens in manual focus mode for sharp and extreme close ups of rings, and then I am able to easily switch it into Auto Focus and full frame for stunning bride and groom portraits.  This lens is very versatile! It delivers distortion-free images and is very well built! It is sturdy and has a Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) that ensures high-speed auto focus.  The motor kind of sounds like a very quiet duck quacking lol ... Average Price Point: $650

Sigma 105mm, 2.8 MACRO HSM

Wonder how I get those incredible close up shots of rings and jewelry?  Well friends, this lens is IT!  I use this lens in manual focus mode for sharp and extreme close ups of rings, and then I am able to easily switch it into Auto Focus and full frame for stunning bride and groom portraits.  This lens is very versatile! It delivers distortion-free images and is very well built! It is sturdy and has a Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) that ensures high-speed auto focus.  The motor kind of sounds like a very quiet duck quacking lol ... Average Price Point: $650

  AF Nikkor 85mm, 1.4   Oh, this lens.  This is a lens that at times I love and times I don’t really care for—which to many photographers is blasphemy! It can deliver a bokeh that is sooooo dreamy and a reason why the pros love it…and as of this wedding season, I love her too.  There is absolutely NO edge distortion—especially when I bump the f stop to 2.8. But---the reason why I am sometimes disenchanted with it - well, in my opinion the autofocus can be sluggish and therefore makes the process of using this lens a bit slower.  I will use this lens when not in a rush; when I can really take my time. The more I use her the more she is grows on me ... Average Price Point: $1600

AF Nikkor 85mm, 1.4

Oh, this lens.  This is a lens that at times I love and times I don’t really care for—which to many photographers is blasphemy! It can deliver a bokeh that is sooooo dreamy and a reason why the pros love it…and as of this wedding season, I love her too.  There is absolutely NO edge distortion—especially when I bump the f stop to 2.8. But---the reason why I am sometimes disenchanted with it - well, in my opinion the autofocus can be sluggish and therefore makes the process of using this lens a bit slower.  I will use this lens when not in a rush; when I can really take my time. The more I use her the more she is grows on me ... Average Price Point: $1600

  AF-S Nikkor 28mm, 1.8   This is the latest addition to the family.  I really went back and forth with purchasing this lens over the Sigma 35mm Art-which to be honest may be the only item on my hypothetical “wish list”.  This lens is light-weight, and is an exceptional wide-angle option for me.  It allows me to capture dramatic full frame images with very minimal (if any) edge distortion.  Thiis my go to choice for dance floor action—it is compact so I am don't get bonked by dancing elbows and shoulders.  This one is ALWAYS attached to one of my cameras during a wedding (shown with the optional hood attached) ... Average Price Point: $700

AF-S Nikkor 28mm, 1.8

This is the latest addition to the family.  I really went back and forth with purchasing this lens over the Sigma 35mm Art-which to be honest may be the only item on my hypothetical “wish list”.  This lens is light-weight, and is an exceptional wide-angle option for me.  It allows me to capture dramatic full frame images with very minimal (if any) edge distortion.  Thiis my go to choice for dance floor action—it is compact so I am don't get bonked by dancing elbows and shoulders.  This one is ALWAYS attached to one of my cameras during a wedding (shown with the optional hood attached) ... Average Price Point: $700

  AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm, 2.8   This whopper of a lens is my work horse—and my only non prime lens.  I just can’t seem to part with my first true love of lenses.  My amazing “get that close up shot during a ceremony, but still not interfere with the sanctity of what is happening” lens.  This lens is heavy, and contributes building my biceps for sure.  The glass and design allow for incredible foreground separation and delivers exceptional bokeh for portraits ... Average Price Point: $2100

AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm, 2.8

This whopper of a lens is my work horse—and my only non prime lens.  I just can’t seem to part with my first true love of lenses.  My amazing “get that close up shot during a ceremony, but still not interfere with the sanctity of what is happening” lens.  This lens is heavy, and contributes building my biceps for sure.  The glass and design allow for incredible foreground separation and delivers exceptional bokeh for portraits ... Average Price Point: $2100

I purchase much of my gear online from Amazon (cause HELLO Prime Shipping, I totally LOVE you!) and at a local camera store in the Roseville area, Action Camera.  Gear that I adore, but is not pictured...

If you have any questions about gear, rentals or equipment, please don't hesitate to DROP ME A LINE. xo


All images and reviews, copyright Jessica Roman Photography, LLC 2016