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Inside My Camera Bag | Steve Husted


Hi, I’m Steve Husted the owner of Knot Just Any Day (KJAD), a creative wedding services company. When I started KJAD I only offered photography, but now with my crew of fifteen, we offer photography, videography, wedding planning, and custom-designed stationery. We specialize in weddings and offer family portrait sessions as well as corporate services.

If I were to label myself, I’d say that weddings are my thing.

In 2002 I received a BFA in Photography from Kutztown University. Since then, I have found ways to make wedding photography my main squeeze. I constantly talk about it, love creating, and teaching what I’ve learned to others both as an adjunct instructor at Wilkes University and through workshops and one-on-one coaching at the KJAD studio.

I’m acutely aware of how people feel when I’m photographing them. It’s important that I lead my couples through a photo session or their wedding day while allowing them to be themselves. I often think about what it must be like to be on the other side of the lens.

An artist is a problem solver, and a photographer should be a people person. So, putting those two ideas together seems to be my focus, both the artist and photographer, every time I pick up my camera. I think to solve light, posing, composition, and so on while, most importantly, making my couples, and anyone I’m photographing, feel comfortable and relaxed.

It’s not my show it’s theirs. It’s knot just any day it’s their day. Get it? Witty, right?

As far as my gear is concerned, I prefer not to be in the way. However, being well over six feet tall doesn’t allow me to hide too easily, so I mostly choose to use zooms during a wedding. This way, I can hunker down in one spot during any specific moment and get a variety of compositions and shots, and then all stealth-like, move to a new spot and capture more images to write home about.

I spend a good chunk of a session finding creative spots to compose from, and as a result, I’m a very active photographer. Even when I get “the shot”, there’s always more exploring that can be done to find another great image.

So for that reason, I’m eager to outdo myself each time. Every shutter actuation is another time for me to push myself further. “Okay, last shot” translates to about a dozen quick new decisions with promising and exciting results.

Lastly, it’s important my photos be archival images free of over-processed edits and toning looks. My aim is for a photo to be timeless in the execution to truly represent what was in the frame. Diversity of composition is equally important to my photographic storytelling. A comfortably positioned frame feels great and is easily accessible, while a more challenging and unbalanced crop does everything to enable the viewer to feel just a little more from the shot.

Like I said before, the session isn’t about me, but the artistry of the captured experience is mine to tell in a way that’s familiar, welcomed, and emotionally provoking.

Enough about me now it’s time for gear talk.

Cameras
Canon R6 – I made the switch to mirrorless cameras from the Canon 5D Mark IV and haven’t looked back. This is by far the BEST piece of equipment that I own. The AF is far superior to anything I’ve used previously and it has enabled me to focus on anything and everything rather than wrestling my previous cameras into submission.

Before, there was always a limit to how fast, reliable, and expertly accurate the focus point was. With this camera, I’m now able to push my shots, compositions, lighting concepts, and speed to a new level. I prefer to act fast and deliberately, and this camera keeps up every time.

I’ve also taken advantage of the custom controls and changed my buttons and dials to suit my needs. Oh, and the articulated screen is a game-changer when I find myself in precarious positions.

Canon Battery Grip BG-R10 – A MUST-HAVE item. Sure it adds weight, but it also adds a second battery, which is necessary for long days at weddings. I shoot with two bodies, each with two batteries and this just gets me through a ten-hour day without any additional charging required. Also, if you have bigger hands, you really do need it as the R6 body isn’t that large, my hand literally spills off of it. These grips also include portrait orientation controls.

Lenses
Canon Lens RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM – my go-to-works-in-most-every-situation lens. Bright enough for most situations, and with this length, I’m able to get the where and who taken care of in one shot. You can also squeeze out a nice tight portrait with this lens as well.

Canon Lens RF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM – my most preferred lens.  It’s great as it allows me to work from a distance as I’m pretty tall. Being forced to be further away takes out the obscure angles and the need to bend over to come down to everyone else’s height. I’m often lying on the ground, so again it helps keep me further away and provides more appealing angles for my brides and grooms. It’s lighter than its EF predecessor, and it’s a blast to shoot with.

Canon Macro Lens EF 100mm f/1:2.8 L IS USM – this lens is one of the few that made the cut after I left the EF world. It’s a must-have for weddings as it captures all the close-up detail that’s required for some wedding images. It’s tack sharp and extremely lightweight. I use it quite a bit in manual focus, as I’ve noticed when you miss AF it takes quite some time to refocus. I recommend limiting the focusing distances on the lens when shooting AF macro.

Canon Control Ring Mount Adapter EF-EOS R – required to use the EF lenses on my R6 camera. I chose the conversion tube with the control ring and have the custom dial set to white balance.

Canon Lens EF 85mm f/1:1.4 L IS USM – a gorgeous portrait lens that is the best out of the fleet of 85mm options. I have tried others but absolutely fell in love with this one within seconds of working with it. It really doesn’t take a bad photo. The only downside is that it’s super heavy, and with the addition of the conversion ring, it pulls the camera body forward in my hands.

Canon Lens RF 50mm f/1.2 L USM – the newest addition to my arsenal. I’m aiming to use this with my corporate style headshots and when I’m interested in slowing down my delivery at weddings. I am eager to use this lens more as it is a beautiful lens for portraits. I once had its EF counterpart and found it sometimes missed focus with moving targets like kiddies. This one is much faster due to the R6 AF system.

Canon Lens RF 14-35 mm f/4 L IS USM – I bought this for a specific reason but once I started using it the lens became less of a specialty so now it is one I rely on for a multitude of situations. Sure it’s great for the excessively large wedding party, but even at f/4, it’s great for tighter locations at weddings. The distortion is mostly corrected automatically once you get it into Lightroom, and once in a while, it needs a bit more adjusting to fix the center and edge distortion.

Pro Tip – although it’s a 14-35mm, only use it from about 16ish-32ish as the ends of the focal length aren’t as sharp on either side of this.

Canon Lens TS-E 24mm f/1:3.5 L II – my first tilt-shift lens. One of the best to learn on, in my opinion. The shift on this is very impactful, especially with architecture, and the effects from the tilt feature of this lens create super dreamy yet hyper-focused images. The shallow f/3.5 allows for those blown-out sections, and the L series glass help make what’s really in focus, really in focus. When paired with the precision of the R6, it is quite a delight. I use the zooming feature on my camera to lock in EXACTLY what needs to be in focus and then just let the lens do all the great dreamy stuff it does so well.

Canon Lens TS-E 90mm f/1:2.8 – my favorite portrait lens. Really clear glass, and with the relatively locked tilt-shift angles, it’s very easy to get the hang of it. A longer lens creates a more drastic TS look, and this one is at a length I prefer to shoot with. It also makes for a great straight manual prime 90mm. Just like the TS-E 24mm, it’s manual so forces you to slow down a little to create your desired look.

Lighting
Godox V860 II C – I love this flash. It was a super affordable upgrade from the Canon EXII-RT series. The controls and capacity are very similar to the Canon flash. The only drawback with the Godox is the screw-on style hotshot mount as it is cumbersome to take on and off.

Godox V860 III C – I only purchased this bit of kit because I wanted the updated quick release like the Canon EXII-RT has. However, it doesn’t fit as snugly as it should, so over time, it wore out the hot shoes on both of my R6s, meaning they both needed to get serviced. So this flash has now painfully been relegated to an OCF option. I would recommend version two and learn to live with the archaic screw fastener.

Godox AD200 Pro – an incredible dedicated off-camera flash with three times the power of a Speedlite. These have become my main light source when OCF is needed at weddings and events. They are so much stronger than the Speedlite and I can keep their power down and use them all day long. So easy to work with and they can really take a beating!

Godox X Pro C – easy-ish to use and very affordable. They sync and speak nicely to all of my flash hardware.

MagMod System – I use their lighting tools all of the time, no matter where I am. The ease of use, the speed at which lighting setups can be swapped, and durability put them in a league of their own. I tend to scream from the top of any small hill about how amazing these products are to anyone who will listen.

I now have and constantly use their three MagBox softboxes. The quality of light I can create in the amount of time it takes is mind-blowing!
My MagMod Products:
MagMod MagBox Pro 42 Octa w/Grid
MagMod MagBox Pro 36 Strip w/Grid
MagMod MagBox 24 Octa
MagGrip / MagGrid / MagSnoot / MagSphere / MagShoe / MagRing / MagMod Gels / MagBox Gels

Yongnuo Digital YN 360 II Pro LED Video Light –  these are fantastic light wands with full RGB and tungsten to daylight variations. They screw into a light stand with a quarter-inch thread, so I can set them up anywhere and get creative in the field.

CheetahStand C10 – these are my Linus blanket. I take them with me everywhere. With their auto open and closing feature, I can take them out and get them into any position needed without bumping into everything or having to unscrew and reset the tripod legs. I’ll never get another type of stand for weddings and events ever again.

Support Gear
Holdfast Gear Money Maker Water Buffalo Leather Burgundy, Large – I have had this for about seven years, it fits like a glove, it is an extension of me and connects me to the tools of my trade. So convenient and reliable.

Vello Hand Grip Strap for Vertical Battery Grip (Black) – sadly these are now discontinued as I love to use them. They take the weight off my fingertips and allow me to relax my hands when shooting. Perhaps I will update this post once I settle on a new brand.

Lowepro Transit Backpack 350 AW – my longest-used camera bag. I downsized to this camera bag from a larger Lowepro bag, and although I carry a spill-over duffle bag now for anything that doesn’t fit in my main bag, it’s really the perfect size. Anything larger is a hassle to carry, and anything smaller wouldn’t fit my must-have kit.

It also helps me weed out unnecessary equipment as I always aim to only take what I need for a job. This bag has seen some awful weather, flown all over the place with me, and been crammed with all sorts of equipment for quite some time, and it’s still ticking all the boxes.

Computers
Apple M1 iMac (not pictured) – it’s fast and reliable for editing.
Apple iPad Pro 12.9″ w/ Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil – something I use every day for business planning, sketching shot ideas, or working with clients, it’s by my side at all times.

Personal items
Fingerless gloves – when you are from Pennsylvania spending time outside can be chilly so these let me control my camera and still keep my hands from completely freezing during the colder months. I have to be able to weather any storm, and these keep me warm enough to not complain about cold hands.

Braddock Face Masks with KJAD logo screen printed on the front – at the beginning of the pandemic, I spent a considerable amount of money trying to find the most comfortable and safe cloth masks. I finally settled on Braddock’s face masks. With a moisture-wicking material inside, I can wear these for longer durations without any discomfort. Thanks, Braddock, for keeping the KJAD crew safe.

Regular Frills Initial Bracelet – my wife makes custom bracelets at her company, Regular Frills, and I wear this one every day. The three initials are TPH, SPH, and HPH, representing my late father, me, and my kiddo. Family is everything, and weddings are the beginning of just that, so this is my reminder to handle every wedding with that in mind.

Feel free to reach out and ask any questions. Thanks so much!

www.knotjustanyday.com | @knotjustanyday





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