Maine Wedding Photographer | Kate Crabtree Photography »

  • Kate Crabtree is an award winning Maine wedding photographer who creates evocative and timeless wedding photography for couples who would like their love story to be told authentically. Although she is located in Bangor, Maine (central Maine), she happily travels to coastal and southern Maine, and throughout New England to capture unique wedding photos and engagement portraits. She has been featured on Style Me Pretty, recently named as one of the top 50 wedding photographers in the United States by Weddzilla, and published in Maine Magazine and Real Maine Weddings.

A lot of people see my camera, usually when I have a large lens on it, and tell me, “you must be a great photographer!”  I know how easy it is to believe that, but it’s not true– although my photography is accentuated by using top of the line equipment, I very much believe that it is more my talent and skill than my equipment that goes into making each photograph.  Don’t believe me?  You’ve got to look at the shoot a fashion photographer did with his iPhone, which shows how a great photographer can use a low-grade cell phone camera to create stunning images.

Nevertheless, I believe it’s extremely important that I provide my clients with quality service, so I make sure I use high-end equipment that I can depend on to help me create strong work.  I thought I’d write a blog post about the equipment I bring with me to a wedding and photo sessions so that I can talk about my equipment, why and when I use each piece, and my backup equipment.


I carry all my gear in this ThinkTank Airport International 2.0 suitcase.  Inside are movable soft dividers that allow me to put all my camera equipment in snugly and safely.  I used to use a camera bag, but it’s impossible to move all my camera gear in a messenger bag anymore!

Maine wedding photographer Kate Crabtree

My primary camera body is the Canon 5D Mark II, which is what the majority of wedding photographers use if they use Canon cameras.  This is a wonderful camera– it’s full frame, produces gorgeous images, and rocks my world.

Maine wedding photographer Kate Crabtree

This is my backup camera– the Canon 60D.  I ALWAYS bring a backup camera to weddings because I do not trust electronic equipment.  I’ve never had a camera die on me at a wedding or portrait session (knock on wood), but I would much rather be safe rather than sorry.  I’ll sometimes uses the 60D at the same time as my Mark II during the wedding ceremony, especially if it is a short ceremony, so I can use two lenses and get wide and close up shots at the same time without worrying about switching lenses and missing an important moment.

Maine wedding photographer Kate Crabtree

I love the Canon 100mm 2.8 IS L macro.  I use this lens for detail shots (the rings, the shoes, jewelry, the flowers, etc), and sometimes for portraits.  It’s razor sharp– in fact, it’s one of the sharpest lenses Canon makes.  The colors this lens creates are just phenomenal and it’s my second favorite lens in my arsenal.

Before I continue, some basic information:

*The numbers before the mm stand for the focal length of the lens.

*The number after the mm is the widest aperture I can set the lens to.  All of my lenses open up to at least 2.8, which is a good thing for wedding photography, as wide apertures allow me to take photos in dim lighting situations.  Churches and receptions tend to be on the darker side, so these lenses help me shoot in difficult situations!

*IS stands for image stabilization.  It’s a mechanism in the lens to allow me to take photos at slower shutter speeds (which helps when I’m dealing with low light).

*Most of these lenses include L in their name.  They indicate Canon’s top of the line lenses and I prefer to work with them.

Maine wedding photographer Kate Crabtree

The Canon 50mm 1.4 is my favorite all-purpose lens.  I use only this and the 100mm lens during portrait sessions, and I use this lens throughout a wedding day, primarily during the wedding portraits.  It’s small, but it does the best out of all my lenses in dim lighting and produces sharp portraits with soft, blurred backgrounds.

Maine wedding photographer Kate Crabtree

I use the Canon 24-70mm 2.8 L primarily during the reception and the ceremony.  It’s a zoom, which allows me to shoot wide but also zoom in a bit toward the telephoto spectrum.  What I love about this lens is the versatility it gives me in situations where I can’t predict what will happen at a given time (during the dancing portion of a reception, for example).

Maine wedding photographer Kate Crabtree

I can’t help it; I partially love the Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS L II because of how people react when it’s on my camera.  It’s huge, heavy, and looks impressive.  As it’s a telephoto lens, I primarily use it during the ceremony (so I can zoom in and capture emotion while still keeping my distance), and the first look (for the same reasons– I want my couples to focus on each other, not me!)

Maine wedding photographer Kate Crabtree

The photos that my camera takes are huge files (25-30 MB!), so I bring a LOT of Sandisk 8 GB CF cards with me to ensure that I won’t run out of space.  I carry them in the ThinkTank Pixel Pocket Rocket, which folds up as small as a wallet and has a clip that I can connect to a belt loop or to my ShootSac.  By having these cards close at hand, I can change my memory quickly to ensure that I don’t miss anything big at a wedding.

Maine wedding photographer Kate Crabtree

I bring two flashes to weddings for the same reason I bring two cameras– I don’t trust electronics.  I primarily use the Canon Speedlite 580 EX II, and use the Canon Speedlite 430 EX II for backup.  They provide light in situations where I have little light; I use them during the ceremony (if flashes are permitted), and during the reception.

Other equipment I bring along that hasn’t been pictured:

*The Shootsac – I carry up to three lenses in it in a messenger-type bag while I’m shooting, ensuring that the lenses I need are always at hand.

*Rechargeable AA batteries

*A video light, when extra light is needed for detail shots.

*Camera batteries

*Camera remote and shutter release (I rarely use these during portrait sessions or weddings, but I have them just in case I need/want to do a long exposure and don’t have my tripod right on hand.


*Cleaning supplies for my lenses and camera.

I believe that’s everything!  It may be a lot, but it means that I always have the right lens for a shot (my lenses cover 24-200mm, which is a large spectrum) and I’m covered should one of my lenses or cameras fail.  It may be mostly my talent and hard work that produces the images on my site, but I like to believe that my photography equipment helps with my consistency and reliability.  It’s important to me that my clients feel confident that I provide solid service and that they can feel confident that I can still provide great results if a piece of my equipment fails.

  • Kellie Elmore - I have enrolled in a photography class as I wish to do some freelance work for weddings and such. I am on a tight budget and I purchased an entry level Nikon d5100. My question is, is it possible to hang on to this body and just invest in a bunch of better lenses and still produce nice images?
    Thank you so much for you help!

    • Kate - Hi Kellie! Thanks for your comment!

      I typically recommend getting good glass before upgrading your camera, but if you are looking to photograph weddings, I’d suggest getting a camera body that can really perform in low-light locations, such as churches and dark reception halls. I don’t know much about Nikons, but it would be worthwhile to buy a fullframe Nikon camera with excellent noise abilities, and then spend what you can on lenses. You can then rent the lenses that you need for future weddings if you can’t afford them all right now!ReplyCancel

  • Kellie - Thank you for replying! I appreciate the tip. I had no idea I could rent lenses so that is great news. I really wish I had researched a nit more, as I’m kicking myself that I did not purchase a Canon :(ReplyCancel


A little while ago I put out a casting call for an artist because I’ve wanted to do a shoot with an one for a long time, but I never got around to it last summer/fall.  I knew I had a small window of opportunity before my portrait/wedding season picks up so much that I’d have no time for personal projects, so I asked on my fan page if there were any interested artists.  Lauren, a John Bapst senior heading to Mass Art in the fall, stuck out to me as the perfect choice.  We headed to the Ornamental Garden with her mom, Jennifer, who works at the Winterport Winery/Pairings (whose food and wine I adore– great location, by the way, for smaller weddings and foodies), and we exclaimed over how pretty the garden is right now (go check it out RIGHT NOW if you live in the area)!  Lauren’s a wonderful artist with natural talent– she only started her artist’s journey two years ago– and I loved watching her paint.  She’s got talent!

Here are a few of my favorites from my time with Lauren.  Thanks for being a great model!

John Bapst artist Lauren paints in the Ornamental Gardens at UMaine

John Bapst artist Lauren paints in the Ornamental Gardens at UMaineJohn Bapst student Lauren paints in the Ornamental Gardens at UMaineJohn Bapst High School student Lauren poses in a garden in Orono, maineJohn Bapst artist Lauren paints in the Ornamental Gardens at UMaineA photo of LaurenA beauty portrait of John Bapst senior Lauren in Orono MaineA portrait of John Bapst high school senior Lauren, taken in a garden in Orono MaineA natural light portrait of Lauren, a John Bapst high school seniorA garden portrait of a John Bapst senior taken at the University of MaineA beauty photo of LaurenA beauty portrait of John Bapst senior Lauren in Orono MaineA sun dappled portrait of Lauren, a John Bapst high school seniorA sun dappled portrait of Lauren, a John Bapst high school seniorAn artistic portrait of Lauren taken in Orono MaineLauren, a John Bapst high school senior, models for portraits taken in a garden in Orono MaineA creative reflection portrait taken in Orono MaineA unique portrait of high school senior Lauren taken in Orono MaineA unique portrait of high school senior Lauren taken in Orono MaineAn ethereal teen portrait of Lauren, a John Bapst high school senior, taken in Orono MaineA beauty portrait of John Bapst senior Lauren in Orono MaineA beauty portrait of John Bapst senior Lauren in Orono Maine

  • Kathryn Erskine - Lauren is flawlessly, breathtakingly, beautiful! Your photography captures all of her natural beauty as well as the beauty of nature!ReplyCancel