Chicago Wedding Photographer on Love, Relationships and What’s In My Camera Bag

Chicago_Wedding_Photography_by_Candice_CusicI have been a photographer for most of my life. I’ve used multiple cameras, lenses and gimmicks, spent loads of money, and had my heart broken a few times by photography equipment that didn’t live up its promises. After posting a recent photo of my camera equipment on Facebook, I started thinking about my love affairs with certain lenses and how photography is like relationships. Some lenses are dear friends, and some cameras I desperately try to avoid like an ex-boyfriend.

I started taking photographs at age six, which means I have dated everyone.  I have switched from Nikon to Canon and back to Nikon.  Each new piece of equipment was like going on a very expensive date.  After wine and candles, we would become lovers, besties, or we would silently ignore each other until newer, younger models moved in. Have you ever broken up with a lens because it was freeloading for years? 🙂 I have.

To summarize who I am currently dating, here is my Little Black Book of photography equipment.

The Ladies:

Two ladies dominate my camera bag. They’re twins (who doesn’t want twins??) that aren’t passive-aggressive with each other and are both named Nikon D750. I have romanced Nikon for years. I remember gripping my D4 with excitement, until she became a drag (literally and physically) to carry all day. Enter the sexy coupe of cameras, the Nikon D750. She is full frame, won’t order anything but a salad on a date, and will steal your fries when you aren’t looking. My kind of charmer.

Not pictured is the Olympus OMD EM1 with a 17mm lens, which is the equivalent of a 35mm on this mirrorless baby. She’s strong, lightweight and has a tilt screen which allows me to shoot from my waist. She’s super sexy and wears thigh-high boots on weekends. Game changer.

The Gentlemen:

I broke up with my arrogant zoom lenses the 24-70mm f/2.8 and the 70-200mm f/2.8. These two lenses are Photojournalism staples. They think they own the room, drink expensive scotch and are constantly comparing their size to other lenses. I carried them every day for over a decade as a Photojournalist with the Chicago Tribune. Since leaving daily photojournalism and starting my own business, we stopped texting each other. I started ignoring them, as they made me a sloppy photographer. It was a slow, sometimes painful breakup, but I have a new lineup of Nikon prime suiters to entertain me and shooting is fun again without these heavy Debbie Downers.

The Nikon 24mm f/2.8: This lens reminds me of the chubby kid down the street much younger than you who always wanted to hang out. We have yet to make a meaningful memory together. I only bought him because of peer pressure, so I went the cheaper route and got the f/2.8. He might not stay in rotation long, but that’s okay, he was a terrible kisser.

The Nikon 28mm f/1.8: I fell madly in love with the 28mm in college. I destroyed our relationship by cheating on him with the Nikon 35mm. We had a disastrous breakup, and only recently got back together. We haven’t officially dated yet, but we’ve checked each other out a couple of times. He reminds me of a prom date who spilled his iced tea on my dress during dinner but turned out to be a fun dancer. Awkward at first, but awesome if you take him to the right place.

The Nikon 35mm f/1.8: The Jake Ryan. This lens is a John Hughes movie. He always offers to pay for the meal on dates and I don’t even notice any other wide angles in the room when I’m with him. Did I mention his hot red Porsche? I own the f/1.8 version AND the f/2 because I just can’t bear to sell anything I’ve loved for this long. I love you, Jake Ryan.

The Nikon 50mm f/1.8: The 50mm reminds me of dating a super tall guy. I would get a crick in my neck every time we kissed. So, when I use my 50mm, I shoot a vertical. This basketball player is quiet, non-demanding, will allow you to push him around and will make you really focus on what you’re focusing on with very few distractions. He doesn’t have a lot of flash, but he will love you forever.

The Nikon 55mm f/2.8 Micro: The grandfather of my lenses. This Manual focus lens wears huge coke bottle glasses, can only see the world from up close and will always tell me I’m pretty before pulling a quarter from my ear.

The Nikon 85mm f/1.8: TheBradley Cooper of lenses. Super smart, sharp, fast, and consistent. Can talk to anyone, go do anything, will delight your parents and still hold the door open for you. You won’t mind wearing heels for this one. He’s a keeper and will charm the pants right off of you.

The Nikon 135mm f/2: This guy lied about his age, covered his grey hair and is on Tinder. He is crystal clear with his needs but lives at his parent’s house and collects disability from his freaky defocusing ring. Don’t touch his ring. Ever.

The Think Tank Airstream: I just downsized from the Think Tank Airport Security and I’m ready to move in. Carrying the Security up several flights of stairs at the end of a 15-hour shoot was enough to make me consider switching careers. I’m so happy with the Airstream, I’m ready to take up permanent residence in an actual airstream, park it beside a lake and decorate it with fairy lights.

Want to learn more about how I shoot? Request a FREE Strategy Session and let’s talk about my Moment-Driven Workshop this September 13-14.

Thanks for reading about my photographic love life. Happy dating to you all!

7 comments
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  • Veronica Rodriguez-BransonMay 13, 2016 - 2:43 pm

    You are amazing Candice. I love how you compare you lenses to humans. I feel like I am so lucky I met you before I made crazy decisions and started to date other, less promising, lenses.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley GillettMay 13, 2016 - 5:04 pm

    Love this!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda BynumMay 13, 2016 - 5:32 pm

    This is an amazing blog post. I love your writing and analogies. Thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Erika Jensen-MannMay 13, 2016 - 6:10 pm

    You are so creative! Love this post!ReplyCancel

  • Scott SharpeMay 13, 2016 - 9:01 pm

    Glad you still have a soft spot in your heart for tall men (and the 50 1.8)ReplyCancel

  • TimMay 14, 2016 - 11:19 pm

    How can you shoot a wedding without a lens longer than a 135?ReplyCancel

  • Luiz LucasiJune 2, 2016 - 1:17 am

    awesome post!!! 🙂ReplyCancel

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