I saw a meme that made me giggle. A person said, “Your camera takes amazing pictures!” The photographer replied, “Thanks! I taught it everything it knows.” It’s not exactly accurate, but it is funny.
In my bag, at the very least, is a professional full-frame Canon camera with a 50mm f/1.4 lens. My other favorite lenses are my 85mm f/1.8 and my 70-200mm f/2.8. For weddings receptions, large groups, or for artful portraits with a full landscape included, I love my 28mm f/1.8. For details like wedding ring shots, my 100mm f/2.8 macro is a thing of beauty! Last, but not least, and usually for sight seeing or for times when changing lenses will take too much precious time, my 24-70mm f/2.8 will be attached to my camera.
Other items I like to keep in my camera bag include my phone, a small notebook and pen, hand sanitizer and lotion, lip balm, no-mess snacks (usually cashews and a protein bar), tissues, bobby pins, safety pins, and band-aids. I always stick a few bucks in my bag just in case cash is needed. A few over-the-counter medications are always included: Advil, Excedrin, and even anti-gas pills because you just never know what foods might make you uncomfortable.
A photographer has to learn about aperture, shutter speed, and ISO and how to adjust all three along with pleasantly composing a shot to get the results they want. The camera can’t do it all on its own. If you want great photos with a consumer-level camera, my best advice to you is to first read the manual (the whole thing) and then experiment with settings. Practice. Practice some more. Buy a book to learn more about shooting in manual mode. Practice. Watch tutorials online (there are so many). Practice even more. The most expensive camera out there won’t give you better photos unless you really take the time to learn how to make great photos yourself.
My photos look fine right out of the camera, but I shoot in raw mode so I can process my photos in my own style. That’s when the magic happens! What’s in my bag gets me from point A to point B so I can take them to point C – final image.