What's in My Bag - Sean Lara, Wedding & Engagement Photography


This month, What’s In My Bag heads to Fort Collins with Sean Lara of Sean Lara Photography. His busy schedule requires a lot of organization and a lot of gear. To learn how he and his wife do it all, follow along below:

As a professional portrait photographer it’s important to have the best equipment for the job. Like any hands-on profession, having the appropriate tools will allow you to effectively and efficiently perform your task. Based in Fort Collins, CO, my wife and I are full-time on-location photographers with our primary business being focused on weddings. Sometimes we’ll have 5 weddings in a week so it’s important that we have gear that can take a beating and work well for our style of shooting. In addition to having the right gear that works well for us, I firmly believe that any professional photographer should have backup equipment in the event that something goes wrong. As a result, we have quite a bit of a gear to ensure that we are prepared for any situation.

 Sean Lara Photography Camera FlatlaySean Lara Photography 125310

Pictured above - the gear that we use weekly and what works well for our photography style.

 Primary Camera Bodies:
  • Nikon D750Sean Lara Photography 172721
  • Nikon Df
  • Nikon D850 (x2)
  • Nikon D4
  • Nikon D7000 w/ 18-200mm (infrared converted)
  • Nikon D80 w/ 18-70mm (infrared converted)
Backup/Secondary Bodies:
  • Nikon Df
  • Nikon D300
  • Nikon D200
  • Nikon D70 w/ 18-70mm (infrared converted)
  • Nikorr 70-200mm f2.8 VRII
  • Nikorr 70-200mm f4 VR
  • Nikorr 24-70mm f2.8
  • Sigma 24-35mm f2 ART
  • Tamron 15-30mm f2.8 VC
  • Nikorr 105mm f1.4E
  • Nikorr 85mm f1.8G
  • Nikorr 50mm f1.4D
  • Nikorr 60mm f2.8D Macro
  • Tokina 100mm f2.8 Macro
  • Nikorr 10.5mm fisheye
  • Nikon 20mm f1.8G

We use the 70-200’s as our main lenses for the ceremony, reception, and capturing candid moments from a distance. Because of the variation in focal lengths, this makes a great all-around photojournalism lens. The 70-200 has traditionally a fast focuser and the vibration control makes it a good choice in low light situations.

For our wide/standard coverage lenses we choose the Sigma 24-35, Tamron 15-30, and the Nikon 24-70 depending on our situations. One of these lenses will be on our hip at all times during the day. We have the 20 as a backup.

For preparation photo coverage, portraits and other controlled shooting situations, I love using the Nikon 105 1.4 and my wife uses her Tokina 100 2.8 macro (this macro lens is also great for portraits). Our 85 and 50 don’t get used as much and are mainly there for backups. My wife will use the 50 primarily for her boudoir studio sessions.  

For our macro shots, I carry around the Nikon 60 and my wife uses the Tokina 100. We use our macro lenses regularly for creative shots of the rings and other small details.

Sean Lara Photography 163519
Lighting Equipment and Important Accessories:
  • 7 Godox speed lights with built in radio triggers
  • 2 Godox AD200 strobes
  • 4 Godox Xpro triggers
  • Magmod flash modifiers
  • Multiple light stands with supporting accessories
  • Manfrotto flash clamp
  • Two Manfrotto tripods
  • Manfrotto monopod
  • Lowepro Pro Roller camera bag 300 and 200
  • Holdfast camera straps
  • ThinkTank waist pack
  • Lowepro day pack
  • Dakine hiking bag
  • Cable trigger
  • Reflector kit
  • Photography sand bag
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Snacks
  • Watch
  • Peppermint beadlets/Pepto
  • 15” Macbook Pro Retina x2

Because of our on-the-go style shooting, we need light sources that are small, portable and affordable. The Godox flash system makes it easy to accomplish this as they’re small, put out a decent amount of power, have rechargeable batteries and don’t break the bank. Best of all, they have built-in radio triggers to communicate with each other which eliminates the need for external triggers. We modify our light using a variety of MagMod products, and have a few different light stands, clamps and other accessories to make our job easier.

In addition to our lighting, we have a variety of other accessories that make our jobs easier such as Holdfast camera straps, ThinkTank, Lowepro and Dakine camera bags and other useful tools. If you do all-day photo sessions like I do, I can’t stress enough the importance of a comfortable shoe. I struggled to find something that wouldn’t kill my feet at the end of the day, but still looked nice enough to wear to a wedding. Even though they’re quite expensive, I’ve landed on the Cole Haan Zerogrands and so far they’ve been worth the price. I also recommend bringing snacks so you don’t get hangry, and a watch to keep track of time. If you have a sensitive stomach such as myself, I recommend some peppermint beadlets or Pepto-Bismol - both which always carry and have come in handy more than once.

So there you have it! My recommended list of items we bring to every wedding and portrait session. Everyone has their own style, gear preferences and way of doing business, but this is what I’ve been using for years that has made my job easier and has allowed me to be efficient at what I do.

Sean Lara Photography 195649


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Sean Lara

Sean Lara

About Sean Lara My name is Sean Lara, and I'm a full-time wedding photographer based out of Fort Collins, Colorado. I started my career almost 10 years ago as a photojournalist for a major newspaper in Southern California. In 2013, I moved my business to Northern Colorado to focus primarily on wedding photography and portraiture. Today, my wife and I, as well as our team of photographers, focus on providing photojournalism-style wedding coverage with artistic elements. Back-lit images, infrared photography and unique perspectives are all styles for which our business is known and help us stand out from our competition. I have a passion for educating other photographers, and my goal for the future is to become a teacher and mentor in the wedding photography industry.