My Equipment

I get asked so often:  “What type of equipment do you use?”

It’s about time I have an easy little post to share my goods… wait, this is LONG and detailed and should be a good read!

Make sure to keep in mind, that every photographer is different, so what I have may not be what you need or desire.


Let me start with my bags:

1. LowerPro Flipside 300

I love this bag because everything fits nice and snug in a very easy to carry backpack.  Great for traveling, weddings, etc.

Not convenient with a quick lens change, but I keep my bigger and less frequent items in here: big lenses, flash, Pocket Wiz, batteries, etc.

(photo from Lowerpro website)


2. Kelly Moore Hobo (in Mustard!)

Great bag for portrait sessions.  I am able to fit 3 lenses in here nicely and then have one on my camera.  The pockets are not super snug, so I have to be careful what I put in here.

I keep my CF cards, lip gloss, several batteries, lens cleaner and spray, cell and keys in the pockets.

(photo from Kelly Moore Site)


3. Shootsac (no fancy cover, it’s not my style)  (p.s. RIGHT NOW they have shootsacs for $150, from $179!)

Great bag for weddings!  Discreet, very snug fit on the lenses and and tight back pockets.

I know my stuff won’t fall out of this bag.  I tend to keep the same things as above in this bag’s pockets.  It can get bulky if you squeeze too much stuff in here.

They really suggest you don’t pack it full and use other bags to house equipment you won’t be using immediately.

(photo from Shootsac Website)


(both the Kelly Moore bag and Shoot Sac do NOT have a good cushion packing on the bottom of the bag. I have broken two filters just from putting the bag down.  Scary reaching into your bag hearing the sound of broken glass, but amen for filters protecting my PRICY lenses!!! – so set down GENTLY)


Let me preface the next sections by saying: I shoot CANON.

If you have been in the industry a bit, you know there are Canon lovers and Nikon lovers all around this world.

I haven’t shot on a Nikon since 07, but I am sure they have just as incredible equipment… I am not a die-hard Canon gal, but I love my gear!:)

No haters, k? k!


Now onto BODIES, oh yeah baby 😉

1. 5D Markii

I am sure you have heard of this lovely guy.  I love him.  I have grown through equipment.  Nikon D50, to Canon 30D, to 5D, now to 5DMarkii.

I really was able to take my images a step up, once I was filled up with knowledge and growth – this camera made my images so much smoother, more vibrant and simply lovely!

He also takes HD video, but now-a-days all of the new bodies do too.

(photo from B&H)

2. 40D (back up camera)

Now I rarely use this guy.  I know he is going to be a great back up in case something should go wrong.

Occassionally I will have a big lens on it during the ceremony – so rather than changing lenses, I can just swap cameras and snag a quick close up.

(photo from B&H)


Do I start with my faves?  I mean – I don’t know if I have a true favorite?  My lenses are all VERY different from one another.

Which is cool, because I can really get unique shots, they don’t all look the same.

I am not an ‘all prime‘ girl, though I adore the incredible BOKEH (or beautiful blurred background/foreground) that primes provide – due to their WIDE/Large aperture.

(all images of lenses are from B&H website)


1. 85mm 1.2 (L)

I use this lens A LOT for outdoor portraits.  85mm is pretty tight, so you must have ample room to move back.

This provides the PRETTIEST bokeh images, while allowing your focus to be nice and crisp.  I don’t often keep my aperture at 1.2, typically around 1.4-2.2 if I want a nice buttery background.


*My favorite for sure!


2. 24-70mm 2.8 (L)

Looking for a great zoom lens that gives you variety and almost macro shots?  This is the lens!  I love this because you can get as wide as 24mm, but also zoom in tight for a nice and compressed close up – with good bokeh!

This is the ONLY lens I use for detail shots.  Primes do not allow you to get close, unless it is a true macro lens.  I can get killer ring shots with this puppy!

I can also fit a line of 20+ people on the beach with this lens and don’t have to be super far away.

 3. 50mm 1.2

I just upgraded to the L Series from the 1.4.  I highly recommend the 1.4 as a  ‘getting started’ lens at a great prices, under $500! My lovely 1.2 however is a bit pricier!:)

It provides great bokeh, with it’s wide 1.2 aperture.

Not super fast and does not have the L-GLASS like most of my other lenses, but it provides pretty sharp images.

I am looking to upgrade to the 1.2, but haven’t ‘needed’ it yet, I probably will come fall.

50mm is a great distance for shots – indoor and outdoor.

4. 70-200mm 2.8 IS (L)

(IS: means IMAGE STABILIZATION… do NOT get a tele-photo lens without IS, it is more money, but you will NOT get that blur from slight movement)

Looking for a great zoom lens where you can get far away shots, nice and close?  This would be your go-to lens.  I primarily use this for ceremony shots, but it also makes for great portraits – if you want to step back from your clients and capture from afar.

You can also zoom in and when doing so the lens compression creates BEAUTIFUL Bokeh.:)

5. 45mm 2.8 Tilt Shift

My newest fella to join the bunch.  Ever wondered how photographers get an image where the clients’ faces are nice and sharp, but their bodies and the landscape fades/blurs out?

This is why… it’s not an action, it is a very tricky and cool lens!  You actually MOVE the lens around from side to side and tilt it up and down.  You can get some KILLER artistic shots with this lens.

Not an easy lens to use, as it is manual focus AND the focus area can be very small.  It’s important to narrow the aperture a bit to 5.6 or smaller, so that your focal area will be nice and crisp.

I have fun with this lens and it takes my images to a whole different look!


My on/off camera lighting:

1. 580EX Speedlite Flash

A great flash to enhance images at a reception, or if you want to get creative with portraits – outdoors and indoor!

I have taken a couple of courses, to learn how to use this guy with more creativity, in manual mode and how to enhance images.

I have a few things to use my flash with… You can click on the images to see more details about them.

Umbrella similar to this with stand, flash mount and bag:

Octagonal Softbox with stand and flashmount (the BIGGEST pain the arse to put together), similar to this:

Pocket Wizard Plus (two of them!), to utilize off camera flash!

I have a Square Perfect Backdrop Stand which has come in handy for NEWBORN shoots and ‘intimate’ photos for clients.:)


I always have a reflector attached to my backpack, to keep with me on ALL shoots – whether I need it for reflecting or blocking light… they always come in handy.

I’ve even used it as a cushion so my client’s clothing stays nice.  I really like mine, it’s four sided with a diffuser too – similar to this:

Now onto some photos using my lenses!

All of these images are of family, friends or personal shots!


My lovely 85mm

(notice the crisp subjects with a nice soft background!)

(ISO 400, SS 1/500, F/1.8)

(ISO 400, SS 1/640, F/1.8)

(ISO 400, SS 1/640, F/2.0)

(ISO 250, SS 1/2500, F/1.8)

(ISO 1000, SS 1/125, F/1.8)

The versatile 24-70mm

(ISO 250, SS 1/640, F/2.8)

(ISO 250, SS 1/640, F/2.8)

(ISO 400, SS 1/4000, F/2.8)

(very bottom image is 1/6400)

(ISO 640, SS 1/250, F/4.5)

50mm 1.4 Inexpensive Great Lens!

(provides great blurred background, while keeping the focus sharp)

(ISO 500, SS 1/125, F/2.0)

(ISO 320, SS 1/2000, F/1.4)(ISO 320, SS 1/2500, F/1.4)

(ISO 320, SS 1/1250, F/1.4)

(ISO 250, SS 1/1000, F/2.0)


70-200mm 2.8 IS – the big mac daddy zoom!

(ISO 640, SS 1/320, F/2.8)

(ISO 640, SS 1/1000, F/3.2)

(ISO 400, SS 1/500, F/2.8)

(ISO 640, SS 1/800, F/2.8)

(ISO 640, SS 1/800, F/2.8)

(ISO 400, SS 1/500, F/3.5)

(ISO 250, SS 1/500, F/9)

(this is zoomed in at 200mm)


The unique 45mm 2.8 TiltShift

(notice the blurring around the focal point – this is NOT an ACTION, it’s the lens!)

(ISO 320, SS 1/640, F/2.8)

Next 2 images:

(ISO 400, SS 1/250, F/2.8)

(ISO 640, SS 1/200, F/2.8)

(ISO 250, SS 1/2500, F/2.8)





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by Arden Prucha

show hide 11 comments

Ana What are some classes and training a have you taken?October 13, 2012 – 9:13 pm

erica I just stumbled upon this post and man am I ever glad I did! Thanks SO much for sharing all of your knowledge!! you are amazing :)March 14, 2012 – 11:14 am

Kate Williams Arden,

I follow your blog and facebook page. I love your work! I have a quick question for some experienced like yourself. I use Lightroom 3, and am thinking of getting photoshop. What version do you recommend? I have been doing photography for a year now and loving it. Any advise you might have on with version of photoshop would be great!

KateNovember 1, 2011 – 12:30 pm

Gerald Stidham Great info on the type of equipment you carry. got some great idealsthanksAugust 27, 2011 – 10:42 pm

Life with Kaishon I loved this little lesson : ) Thank you. Your tilt shift is way cool. Your pictures are so pretty.July 31, 2011 – 6:41 pm

Melissa :) I love this post! Thank you for sharing & I love the examples! I find it interesting that your ISO doesn’t drop below 200, even on your outdoor shots. I wonder if this is because it allows you to raise your SS. My SS is always too darn slow which as you know, is not super with little children. And can I say I don’t like the tilt lens! LOL I need/want the 24-70 & now need to consider the 85! :)July 29, 2011 – 10:23 pm

Hayley Roebuck Great post Arden! Unfortunately for my husband, my Christmas list just grew :)July 22, 2011 – 11:25 pm

sandra bludau Awesome post! This helped, because I was deciding on upgrading my camera to Mark II or getting a 50mm 1.2L. I have an 85mm 1.2L and just may have to go with the Mark II. Thanks! I know this sort of post takes time to do and thank you so much for sharing!July 22, 2011 – 7:08 pm

Meghan Thank you so much for this post, Arden. I love when pro photographers share this information! I upgraded my crummy kit lens to the 50 f/1.4 a couple years ago and just recently added the 24-70 and I love it! I am a huge fan of your images and processing! Thanks for all the great inspiration and for being so open to teaching others. I truly look forward to your blog posts!July 22, 2011 – 4:29 pm

Julie Thanks for sharing your equipment Arden! I’m a Nikon girl myself but it’s really neat to see what your Canon does! :)July 22, 2011 – 3:49 pm

Heidi Williams This blog post has made my friday! I am serious – I have been a lurker of your blog for about a year now (I don’t even recall how I found it, since I’m in Oregon) but I really admire your work. I have been so tempted to write you an email and be one of “those” people “what kind of lens do you use?” but I don’t want to imply that it’s the lens that makes the work…. It’s you’re talent first! The 24-70 is at the top of my wish list. Since I’m not taking my photographer super seriously, I’ve been renting as it’s a bit of an investment for me. However, I was thrilled to see it’s a lens you love and use a lot. I also fell in love with the 85, but i think I should pick up the 24-70 first! Again, thank you so much for sharing this information!! You have an amazing talent and are such an inspiration.July 22, 2011 – 3:41 pm

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