What's in my camera bag? These are all my lovelies. The things that actually fit in my bag (not studio lights, etc)...

Cameras Bodies and Lenses

Canon 5D Mark II

Canon 5D Mark III & Mark II

I carry one 5D Mark III as well as one 5D Mark II (my back up camera). In my opinion, well worth the moolah. The Mark III camera is so good with higher ISOs and I love the quickness and the great color. Sharp great images come from this camera when paired with great lenses.

Canon 70-200mm 2.8L IS

My trusty zoom lens. This powerhouse of a lens is a great one for photographing weddings, families outside from a bit of a distance, kids' sports and lots of other things.

Canon 85mm 1.2L Lens

Canon 85mm 1.2L Lens

This is probably my favorite lens because of its loveliness. Though it's not the one I use the most because it's not fast enough for really fast little ones. But it's just so beautiful. The warm, buttery bokeh that it creates is my favorite. I use this mostly outside with families.

Canon 35mm 1.4L Lens

Canon 35mm 1.4L Lens

My trusty (and most often used) 35mm. It seems this lens is always on one of my cameras. It is my go-to lens in a newborn shoot as well as my go-to lens in a family or child outdoor shoot. It's a wide angle lens but fits my need because I can be close enough to interact with my subjects.

Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art Lens

This is a great standard portrait lens. I probably use it most in studio sessions with smaller backdrop areas. It's not on my camera as often as the 35mm or the 85mm but it's a great middle ground lens.

Canon 100mm Macro 2.8L Lens

Canon 100mm Macro 2.8L Lens

This lens is perfect for babies' fingers, toes, lips, and close-ups of beautiful little faces. Though it can be used for much more, that's when I find myself using it primarily.


White Balance Target

White Balance Target

A white balance target. I don't use this indoors as I'm usually on kelvin with my studio lights. But I take this on every outdoor shoot. I use it almost every time. Realistically I don't always use it when I'm snapping quick pictures of my own kids. My camera is often on auto white balance in those daily moments.

SanDisk 8gb Compact Flash

SanDisk 8gb Compact Flash

Memory cards are obviously very important. I have more than a dozen. Most of mine are these San Disk 8GB or 16GB cards.

Canon Camera Batteries

Canon Camera Batteries

Extra camera batteries are also very important. I have four, two per camera.

Shootsac Camera Bag

Shootsac Camera Bag

I wear my shootsac on every outdoor photo shoot. It keeps my lenses, memory cards, batteries, and more accessible while I'm shooting. The rest of my goods stay in my large camera bag when they're not needed for a particular shoot. The shootsac also has fun, stylish covers.

Lowepro Camera Bag

Lowepro Camera Bag

This is my big camera bag. I love Lowepro. They're fantastic and such good quality.

Canon 580 EX II Flash

Canon 580 EX II Flash

I have one of these and one 580ex (the first edition). I don't use them much except for weddings with my pocket wizards but I always bring them along in my big camera bag because you never know when you just may some extra light.


  1. kera on April 20, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    i just sent a email from your website about answering some questions then i saw this on your blog. Thanks for this page this helps a lot. I would love to get the white balance prop. I still would like ot know some of the other questions if you have time. thanks again kera

  2. Shannon on June 2, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Hi Cori!

    I’d like to find out if you’ll be having another workshop. I take lots and lots of pictures, in auto! I want to learn how to use my manual settings and a friend of mine took your workshop and loved it! I hope you will be having another soon…


    Shannon Stewart

  3. Cori Derksen on June 2, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Yes! I’m having two workshops this summer! One in June and one in July and there are only a couple more spots available in each workshop. You can see the info here:

  4. Anisa ray on August 15, 2011 at 9:02 am

    Hi cori,

    I’ve been following your posts and Facebook or quite some time. I’m quite new at manual mode. I have the basics down thankfully. Just recently my darling husband bought me a 5D Mark II as a birthday gift. I LOVE this camera for the awesomeness in low light settings without a flash. however, I want a flash for other instances. Unlike the 7D, the 5D’s doesn’t have a built in transmitter so I am purchasing a 430ex II and I want to fire the flash off the camera like say someone is holding it towards my subject for a portrait. How do I do that at the lowest price? Or does the flash produces ok photos when mounted on the camera?

    Any tips would help. Thank you


  5. Cori Derksen on August 16, 2011 at 10:38 am

    I have the 580 ex flash and I use it both on camera and off camera. It works great on camera but I prefer to diffuse the flash a bit as well as bounce it off the ceiling or walls to make the light softer. When using the flash off camera I use pocket wizards to fire the flashes. Check them out.

    Good luck!

  6. Anisa Ray on August 17, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Thanks so much for the information Cori.. one last question, I hope. lol Are UV filters necessary? I am considering getting one just for protection of my lens.

  7. cori on August 21, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    I for sure put UV filters on every one of my lenses for protection. If the camera gets dropped on the lens, the filter will hopefully break and not the glass on the lens. :)

  8. Allie on July 10, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Hi Cori

    I love your site! I am just getting started but have learnt so much already reading your articles