Lesson two: essential gear

To begin filming, you’ll need a camera that records video, a lens, a camera strap (even your factory camera strap will do, sticky side out so it can slide), a battery, and memory cards.

I am a minimalist when it comes to gear, in general. I will share my own filming gear list below:


Nikon D850 DSLR
Nikon D750 DSLR


Sigma ART 35mm f/1.4: My favorite all-purpose lens; a good focal length for filming with minimal edge distortion.

Sigma ART 24mm f/1.4: A great wide lens for photojournalism and tight spaces.

Nikon 85mm f/1.4: My pick for environmental portraiture, rendering beautiful creamy bokeh and crispness even wide open. It is a bit longer and heavier than shorter primes.

Tamron 90mm macro: I use this lens only occasionally for newborn or birth details.

Sigma ART 24-70mm f/2.8: A versatile all-around zoom lens. Note: this lens is heavy and you won’t be using the zoom function during filming. It is not my go-to for filming, but I do use it for making videos while traveling, camping, adventuring if I can only bring one lens.

Lensbaby Edge 50: A fine creative lens, though it can be tricky to pull focus on a Lensbaby while shooting video.


Blue Bird Chic Scarf Camera Strap (Etsy)

Memory cards:

My personal favorite is SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC 95MB/s in 32GB or 64GB. Class 6 and 10 cards provide the most reliable option, as these are capable of keeping up with fast and continuous data transfer. This produces cleaner looking video which is easier to edit and color grade, and uploading is quicker the higher the data transfer rate. If you are shooting in extreme heat or cold (when shot performance generally lags), you can try the SanDisk Extreme Pro SDXC 280MB/s. It will save large files very rapidly and in burst-mode but is more costly. I also use the Sony XQD in my D850 which has speeds of R: 440MB/s W: 400 MB/s for reading and writing. I recommend bringing 4 cards along if you back up your card to a second slot, and a couple more if shooting for 8 hours or more (for safekeeping in the event a card becomes unusable).


Videography also requires significant battery life. I always bring 2 full batteries per camera body, and I recommend bringing 3-4 batteries for long shoots such as Day in the Life and births. When your battery heats up, your camera’s read and write speed will also slow down, so if you notice any lag, that is a good signal to switch out for a fresh battery.