Jermaine Horton (@jermainehortonphotography) is a portrait, wedding and sports photographer based in Chicago. Using both off-camera flash and natural light, the Sony Artisan creates images that are dynamic and tell his clients’ stories. We took a look at his Sony Alpha kit in 2020, and now in 2021 he’s upgraded his kit with some of Sony’s newest Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras and native mirrorless Sony lenses. Take a look at his fully-loaded kit for portraits, weddings, sports and more below, and read why each piece has a place in his Sony Alpha kit this year.
See how pro photographer and Sony Artisan Jermaine Horton packs his bag with fast Sony Alpha bodies and versatile lenses for portraits, weddings, sports & more.
Sony α7R IV: My favorite camera for portraits is the Sony α7R IV! My goodness where to begin. I love everything about this camera, but having 61 megapixels is truly amazing. I love cropping into my images sometimes for a better perspective of my photos and you can crop in so much without losing resolution. Along with the megapixels, the feel of the camera is that of a pro camera. Even though it's still light, it's a great build that fits my hands perfectly.
Photo by Jermaine Horton from his Art Of Confidence Project (see more about the making of this photo in our Best of 2020 article HERE. Sony α7R IV. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/160-sec., f/5.6, ISO 100
Sony α9 II: I have two Sony α9 II camera bodies I carry at weddings and sports events. With weddings, I love how I can track my subjects using the tracking feature that holds my subjects in focus. With so much movement at times at weddings, it makes my job so much easier. People typically think that with 20fps this camera is just for sports, but I love being able to have that feature for certain things like the bouquet toss, popping a bottle of champagne, and more. The focusing system in the α9 II is by far my favorite feature. I previously had the α9 and one thing I love with the improvement of the α9 II is the mechanical shutter sound and no blackout in silent shooting.
Photo by Jermaine Horton. Sony α9 II. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/160-sec., f/4, ISO 250
Sony α7 III: This camera is now my walk-around-the-city camera and family camera at home. When I'm on the go I take this with me, or when the kids are out doing kid things it's my choice. Don’t let it fool you...yes the other bodies are big boys, but this one holds its own. There are times I take this with me to engagement sessions and also now my back up at weddings.
Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master: When I first got this lens I thought I would be doing a ton of landscape photography but I truly actually love using this lens for portraits. It's been my favorite wide angle lens thus far. My favorite used to be my 35mm f/1.4, and with the 16-35mm I love that I can go to 35mm, my favorite length, but also go wide with the same lens. This is also one of my favorite wedding lenses so it's super versatile!
Photo by Jermaine Horton. Sony α9. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/250-sec., f/2.8, ISO 500
Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master: OK so confession, the 24-70mm is often considered a must-have lens, but when I moved to Sony I didn’t get it. It wasn’t until recently where I said OK, I'm going to use this only for sports and video...HOWEVER, it has now become a favorite in my bag that's super versatile. I'm big on versatility especially since I shoot weddings primarily. Funny thing is most of my portraits this year have been with the 24-70mm f/2.8, but I'm perfectly fine with that. The best thing about GM lenses is that they are so fast and lock on to subjects quickly.
Photo by Jermaine Horton. Sony α9 II. Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/200-sec., f/2.8, ISO 800
Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G: Even though this lens is a macro that I purchased for ring shots, I found that this is one of the sharpest lenses in my bag. When doing beauty and portraits I couldn’t believe how sharp it was and how it allowed me to get closer to my subject than most lenses. One of the best features is being able to use the manual or auto feature. When shooting rings, I love to use manual because I have control over the final image. Sometimes I may want the center ring to be more in focus versus the other ring, and having that feature allows me to do just that. As I am getting more into beauty I LOVE to use this lens for it.
Photo by Jermaine Horton. Sony α9 II. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G. 1/125-sec., f/4, ISO 320
Photo by Jermaine Horton. Sony α9 II. Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G. 1/160-sec., f/5.6, ISO 125
Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master: I will NEVER give this lens up! Like ever! I love this lens for weddings to keep myself hidden and get candid photos from super far away. I also love this as a portrait lens. At the 200mm focal length, I love being able to pull that background closer to the lens with the compression it offers. As a portrait lens it renders so flattering at the 200mm range! Of course for sports as well it's a must-have coupled with my 24-70mm f/2.8 GM.
Photo by Jermaine Horton. Sony α9 II. Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master. 1/125-sec., f/8, ISO 100
Sony 135mm f/1.8 G Master: This is my favorite portrait lens! The bokeh, the sharpness, the clarity and color! This lens has it all. Ever since owning the lens I have kept it close. I honestly only use it for portraits mostly as for weddings I tend to use my 85mm f/1.8 as I can be closer to direct the subjects. The 135mm is the most complete portrait lens in my opinion. I could go on and on about this lens because it never fails.
Photo by Jermaine Horton. Sony α9 II. Sony 135mm f/1.8 G Master. 1/250-sec., f/2.8, ISO 100
Sony 85mm f/1.8: My workhorse lens. This lens gets the most usage. After ceremonies at weddings this is typically the lens that will go on my camera as it is the perfect focal length that allows me to communicate with my clients. The 135mm just isn’t always ideal as I may not have the space. The 85mm f/1.8 is affordable and super sharp. I also find that in low light it performs extremely well and fast. It's super lightweight so when I travel out of town for sessions this lens is for sure in my bag.
Photo by Jermaine Horton. Sony α9 II. Sony 85mm f/1.8. 1/200-sec., f/1.8, ISO 160
Sony 55mm f/1.8: The Nifty Fifty. This lens is an all around lens that honestly you can shoot any and everything with it. From weddings, to street, to portraits – it's always in my bag because sometimes the 85 is too long, the 135 is way too long and the 35 just isn’t enough. The in-between! Very sharp and light. I mean super light! You can travel with this and literally be unseen because it's so small, and the images this lens renders is very impressive.
Photo by Jermaine Horton. Sony α9 II. Sony 55mm f/1.8. 1/160-sec., f/4, ISO 640
Sony 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G Master: Because of COVID-19, I haven't been able to shoot many sports over the past year, so unfortunately this one has mostly stayed on the shelf lately. When I am shooting sports, especially Major League Baseball or NCAA Football, this lens is my go-to. It’s perfect for that long reach I need but also helps me easily track moving subjects.
Photo by Jermaine Horton. Sony α9. Sony 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G Master. 1/250-sec., f/5.6, ISO 2000.
Lighting: My favorite light is the FJ400 strobe and FJ200 strobe from Westcott. As a Top Pro and ambassador for Westcott, these two lights are my go-to lighting stores for my portraits on location and in the studio. Both are powerful enough to overpower the sun while the 200 is great for indoors when I don’t need as much power. Always bringing the light with me!
Lacie HardDrive: This goes everywhere I go because when using the Sony α7R IV the files can be massive that it's always good to have extra storage.
Wacom Tablet: M newest toy that makes my editing and retouching so much easier. I never thought one tool could cut my workflow in half. This does.
Sony Shotgun ECM: This mic when I shoot weddings, BTS or footage for YouTube is my favorite. It’s wireless, there are no batteries needed and the range is impressive. It’s very small and you can travel anywhere with it.
DJI Mavic Pro: A must-have when shooting weddings with beautiful locations, but I even use it for photos at times as well.
Sony XB43: My wireless bluetooth speaker HAS to go with me when i'm shooting on location or in studio for portraits. It gets my clients fired up and turned up and is great to have to keep amazing energy.