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What’s In My Bag: 2 Fast Cameras & 3 Sharp Lenses For On-Location Portraits

Madison Webb (@madisonwebbphotography) is a portrait and landscape photographer based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Photography started as a hobby over two decades ago but soon developed into a passion and ultimately a career. She moved to Wyoming in 2014, where the beauty and abundant wildlife inspired her to pursue landscape and wildlife photography. Five years ago, she was asked to photograph a surprise proposal in Grand Teton National Park, and the rest is history. She now photographs nearly 200 portrait sessions a year, ranging from proposals and engagements to elopements, weddings, and everything in between. She has been shooting with Sony since 2016. “I consider myself so lucky to document people’s lives and love stories. Most of the time, I am witnessing and capturing some of the happiest moments of their lives—it’s an honor I genuinely cherish.” We caught up with Madison to learn more about the gear she packs in her kit for creating such beautiful portraits in nature. Keep reading as she shares what’s in her bag.

Product Preview – In This Article You’ll Find:

Sony Alpha 9

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master II

Sony 85mm f/1.8

–Sony 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G Master


I work almost primarily in Grand Teton National Park and the surrounding wilderness. So, my gear and bag need to be up for that challenge—they need to be lightweight, portable, durable and versatile.

Madison Webb's gear for landscape and portrait photography

Cameras 

Sony Alpha 9 (x2): I bought my first Sony camera over seven years ago, it was the Alpha 6000. I have been sold on Sony ever since! That camera was the perfect stepping stone into the professional photography world, from there I upgraded to the Sony Alpha 7 III and finally to the Sony Alpha 9, pictured here. There are so many things I love about this camera that I actually bought a second one, you’ll see I shoot with two Sony Alpha 9’s. 

As a proposal, elopement, and wedding photographer the complete silent shooting ability with the electronic shutter is amazing. When it’s just you, your couple, and the officiant in the middle of the wilderness the last thing you want to hear during the vows is *click**click**click.*Another feature that I value of the Sony Alpha 9 is the impressive battery life, it almost doubled that of the previous model I shot with. Working in Wyoming, it’s not unusual for me to be shooting in extreme cold, I have photographed couples in -15 degrees. The Sony Alpha 9 still performs at that temperature and the battery does not fade. It’s not uncommon for me to get stuck in unexpected summer thunderstorms or be shooting in the blowing snow—the weather sealing on the Alpha 9 is amazing, and that has been crucial. Finally, the speed of the Alpha 9 is ultimately what drew me to it. I still photograph wildlife, so the impressive 12-20 frames per second was a huge selling point for me. While this is most often discussed in sports or wildlife photography, it’s also very relevant for portrait work as well. For example, during a surprise proposal, you only get a few seconds to capture that initial reaction or the opening of the ring box.

Photo by Madison Webb. Sony Alpha 9. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/125-sec., f/2.8, ISO 100

Photo by Madison Webb. Sony Alpha 9. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/125-sec., f/2.8, ISO 100

Lenses

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master II: This is the newest piece of gear in my bag! I upgraded from the original GM version of this lens a few months ago. The first selling point for me on this lens is the focal length range. I started as a landscape photographer, and that still deeply informs my portrait work. In fact, clients often tell me that that is what drew them to me. I strive to capture people within the landscape, not just in front of it. Hence the need for something as wide as a 24mm, with the flexibility to quickly capture as close as 70mm. With this lens I can capture a couple walking in front of the Tetons, with the landscape taking center stage, and in the next frame I can zoom in and show that same couple filling the frame, with the Grand Teton looming behind them. I also often shoot backlight, and this lens provides both beautiful bokeh and sharp focus. This lens is so lightweight compared to the previous version, which when shooting an 8-hour wedding can make all the difference!

Photo by Madison Webb. Sony Alpha 9. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master II. 1/1600-sec., f/2.8, ISO 100

Photo by Madison Webb. Sony Alpha 9. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master II. 1/1600-sec., f/2.8, ISO 100

Sony 85mm f/1.8: 85mm is my favorite focal length for portraits. Especially when shooting in the mountains where space is not an issue. It provides the perfect amount of compression, soft bokeh, and sharp details. I always have this lens with me for portrait sessions.

Photo by Madison Webb. Sony Alpha 9. Sony 85mm f/1.8. 1/200-sec., f/2.8, ISO 100

Photo by Madison Webb. Sony Alpha 9. Sony 85mm f/1.8. 1/200-sec., f/2.8, ISO 100

Sony 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G Master: I’ve had this lens for six years, and originally purchased it for wildlife photography. This is honestly an incredible all-around lens. For landscapes it creates stunning compressions, and for weddings and proposals it allows me to capture intimate moments from a discreet distance.

Photo by Madison Webb. Sony Alpha 9. Sony 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G Master. 1/250-sec., f/5.6, ISO 800

Photo by Madison Webb. Sony Alpha 9. Sony 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G Master. 1/250-sec., f/5.6, ISO 800

Accessories

Peak Design Everyday Backpack: This is my go-to camera bag. It has room for both the camera bodies, and all three lenses. Not to mention it has side pockets for easy access to bear spray (a must in Wyoming!). 

Godox TT685S Flash: While I prefer to use natural light, for indoor venues and late night wedding events I pop on this trusty flash.

Photo by Madison Webb. Sony Alpha 9. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/6400-sec., f/2.8, ISO 100


Photo by Madison Webb. Sony Alpha 9. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/6400-sec., f/2.8, ISO 100

SD Cards & Case: I always carry spare SD cards in a protected carrying case.

Cleaning Kit: Whether it’s champagne spray, dust, or snow, I use these items to keep my lenses clean.

See more of Madison Webb's work on Instagram @madisonwebbphotography.

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