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Inside My Camera Bag | Carissa Cannizzaro

Hey there! I’m Carissa, an adventurous elopement photographer.

I have been shooting elopements for about six years now!

I started as a landscape photographer when I first moved to Colorado, then discovered elopements and immediately fell in love. I knew this was what I was meant to do with my life.

When I am shooting elopements, I’m typically traveling out of state, driving into the mountains, hiking and scrambling over rocks, or taking a helicopter charter to a glacier. That’s why it’s super important that my gear is compact and light to travel with.

My approach has always been to keep things minimal and invest in high-quality gear that will both get the job done and handle the elements of the outdoors.

I started simply with the Canon Rebel T5I, and slowly upgraded my kit over time as I felt the need for new camera bodies and lenses.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV – I now wear a dual camera harness during elopement shoots and use two of these bodies. I absolutely love these cameras!

I felt pressured to upgrade to a mirrorless setup for a while, but I am so glad I decided to stick with what I know. When I am shooting, I focus on many different things, like composing within the landscape, lighting, making my couple feel comfortable, the weather, etc., so I really need to know my gear inside and out.

I want my cameras to almost feel like an extension of my arm and not be something I need to think about consciously. I know the mirrorless cameras might be better on a more technical level, but I would rather stick to what I am comfortable with, a bit like a grandma, stuck in my ways!

Canon AE-1 Program – I’ve recently been pushing myself creatively with film photography. I love the nostalgia of film, and it’s fun to slow down and think through each image instead of rapidly clicking the shutter. It’s not something I have mastered yet, but I enjoy the challenge and love delivering fun film photos to my couples.

Because I use a dual camera harness, I can shoot simultaneously with two different lenses. I love this approach because I can play around with the different focal lengths and get a wide variety of shots for my couple. This allows me to deliver a more compelling, visually interesting gallery without much repetition.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 – this is my primary lens, and I pretty much have it on one of my camera bodies at all times during an elopement day. The creamy richness of color that this lens produces is truly unmatched. I also find it to be very versatile. I can also use it for portraits, detail shots, and landscapes.

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4 – this is the lens I almost always use alongside my fifty. This lens is wide enough to offer some variety without distortion and still produce high-quality images. I love using this lens to capture movement and wider landscape shots.

There is also something really visually interesting about shooting portraits on a wider lens like this. It has the unique ability to capture emotion alongside the surrounding landscape.

Sigma 24mm f/1.4 Art – I typically bring this lens along to most elopements. It’s a great option to have in my kit for capturing really expansive landscapes or towering mountain peaks. It’s not a lens I use very frequently, so I didn’t feel the need to invest in the top-of-the-line for this one.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 – this is the newest lens I’ve purchased, and I am absolutely obsessed! It’s super long and heavy, so it’s kind of a pain to bring along on elopement days, but it is so worth the trouble. I absolutely love using this lens for landscape shots. The compression this lens creates allows me to capture the scenery’s scale.

I don’t use any artificial light or triggers as I want my photos to feel exactly how the moment felt, so I use natural light to capture that feeling.

Wandrd Prvke 21L – I love this bag, and I firmly believe that the perfect camera bag doesn’t exist, but this one is about as close as possible. I chose to go with the twenty-one liter, which is a little on the small size, but I can travel with it as my personal item and fit it under my seat on the airplane, which is super important to me.

This bag is super high quality and weather resistant, so I never have to worry about things like rain, sand, dirt, or mud. I can toss this bag down on the ground and not think twice about it. It has all the pockets and compartments I could ask for and is super comfortable to carry around while hiking and scrambling outdoors.

RL Handcrafts Clydesdale Pro Dual Camera Harness – I need to shoot with a dual camera harness, as it allows me to switch back and forth quickly between my two different lenses and get a lot of variety in my imagery. I love this harness, and it wasn’t super expensive, but it still is high quality and does exactly what I need it to do.

PhotoMechanic – I use this software to cull my raw image files before editing. I normally walk away with anywhere from two to five thousand images on an elopement day.

With PhotoMechanic, I can cull the images down within about twenty minutes, making it an essential tool in my workflow.

Lightroom and Photoshop – editing is probably my favorite part about being a photographer. I am a big believer in the power of editing, and I love taking an image that might not seem like anything special and turning it into a piece of art.

I run every single image through both Lightroom and Photoshop. This allows me to see every image I deliver multiple times and ensure everything is absolutely perfect. Each has different advantages, so I have implemented them into my workflow.

Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD – I always use two of these to back up my photos.

Pic-Time – I use Pic-Time to deliver my galleries to my couples. It’s convenient, easy to use, and beautifully designed.

Everyone needs a yellow rain jacket, and my Eddy Bauer Port Townsend Yellow Rain Jacket keeps me out of trouble. I adore this jacket, not only because it’s such a fun, vibrant color, but it is also a necessary piece of gear when shooting outdoors as I get rained on more often than not, so I need a jacket that keeps me dry and looks good as well.

Blundstone Original High Top Boots are perfect for an elopement day as I am on my feet all day and often walking through water and mud, so I need something comfortable, sturdy, and waterproof. These boots are great quality, and they have lasted me for years.

Being an elopement photographer has fulfilled me in so many ways I never thought a job could.

I truly feel like I am living the dream and am constantly blown away by my couples and the intentionality they put into their elopement experience. I am so excited to see what this career holds for me in the future!

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