Sam Hurd


This post on Sam Hurd’s camera gear was created with his kind permission and is a small sample of the equipment he uses on an average wedding day.

If you’d like to learn in more detail about Sam’s destination wedding photography gear and his other numerous gadgets and gizmos, check out his Patreon.


Nikon D850 (Previously a Nikon D5)
Sony a9

Sam shoots the majority of the wedding with only one body, the Nikon D850 swapping lenses on the go (check out his Nikon D5 Review to find out why). The Sony a9 is a backup body and seems to be a temporary experiment with mirrorless cameras. Sam has done this with previous Sony bodies in the past (see below), but it seems he still prefers the flagship Nikon D5 or  Nikon D850 for professional work.


Nikon 18mm f/2.8
Nikon 24mm f/1.4
Nikon 45mm f/2.8 PC-E
Nikon 58mm f/1.4
Nikon 85mm f/1.4 or Nikon 135mm f/2

Sam’s actual lens collection is no doubt much bigger than this, but the above lenses are the ones he chooses to bring to the average wedding. On the Sony a9 is a 50mm.

Sam shoots the majority of the wedding with the Nikon 24mm f/1.4, with the 58mm being used often for portraits too. The longer lenses stay in the bag unless reach is necessary, and the Nikon 45mm f/2.8 tilt-shift and 18mm f/2.8 wide angle are used for additional creative options.


Think Tank Turnstyle 20
Think Tank International V2
Peak Design Everyday Backpack 30L

Sam’s rolling camera bag of choice is the popular International V2, which is crammed full of all the above camera gear, with the Think Tank Turnstyle 20 sling bag (reviewed here) compressed inside too as padding.

On a wedding day, Sam shoulders his Nikon D5 with its original camera strap, with the Turnstyle on his back full of a selection of lenses or a secondary body. Having the lenses with no caps or covers attached allows Sam to quickly change them mid shoot. He’s not a fan of carrying two bodies at the same time, like the majority of other wedding photographers.

Although the Peak Design Everyday Backpack was included in my roundup of the best camera backpacks, Sam uses his purely as a travel bag for non-photography related items.

Other Gear:

Manfrotto Compact Light Aluminium Tripod
Manfrotto CROMA2 LED Light
Nikon SB-910
Macbook 12”
iMac 5k
iPad Pro 12”
Moshi USB-C Memory Card Reader
Heattags trackers
Omnicharge 20

Even though the Manfrotto Compact Light Aluminium Tripod fits snuggly into the Think Tank International V2, Sam rarely uses the travel tripod, choosing instead to steady the camera on the ground for a timed night portrait.

To light the night portraits, Sam uses a Manfrotto CROMA2 LED Light with adjustable power output colour temperature. As described on the Epic podcast, Sam never uses wireless flash triggers, choosing instead to use the continuous light from the LED panel, or the Nikon SB-910 for the dancefloor.

Sam’s a huge fan of the Apple Macbook 12”, using it for the majority of his photo editing, then connecting it in target disk mode to an iMac 5K to export from Lightroom and do the rest of the heavy lifting.

(Check out Sam’s computer set up here, and some images of his old workplace here.)

The iPad Pro seems to be used mostly for media consumption or the odd email while traveling.

Finally, following a well-documented (and no doubt very embarrassing) lost bag incident whilst traveling, Sam now uses Heattags trackers to try and keep track of his valuable gear.

To keep all his gadgets and gizmos powered up on the go, Sam’s power bank of choice is the popular Omnicharge 20.


In my career, I’ve been very lucky to have the opportunity to photograph not only well known individuals but the most fun and creative wedding couples I could ask for. Balancing 45 weddings and upwards of 120 press events a year has dragged me through more photography equipment than I care to admit. I own Nikon, Canon, Leica, and Sony brands and used them all extensively, but the only mainstay in my bag is the Nikon camera body.

Though I have a lot to choose from I always travel light on the day of a shoot so I’m able to think with my feet and not with my gear. The think tank bag I use has been my long time favorite because of it’s small footprint and deep pockets. My go to lenses are the Nikon 58mm f/1.4, Nikon 24mm f/1.4, and broken Nikon 50mm f/1.8 – which I use for freelensing.

I love finding small objects like a convex lens or prism to create interesting foreground artifacts in my portraits, and I find the unique looks they make connects me with more artistic minded clients. The litepanel LED video light is perfect for shooting at night and charging AA batteries.

The cameras I use are a Nikon D4 and a Sony a7r. The lenses I use are the Nikon 58mm f/1.4, Nikon 24mm f/1.4, Nikon 45mm Tilt Shift and a broken Nikon 50mm f/1.8D. As for accessories: Visible Dust Sensor Cleaner, mini-tripod, Litepanels Croma, convex lens and my bag, a Think Tank Turnstyle 20.


  1. Athena on January 11, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    just saying this isn’t closely correct anymore, he sold all his nikon stuff and went to Canon EOS R..

    • Mark Condon on January 12, 2019 at 5:15 am

      Yeah I know Athena – Sam’s a busy man and getting him to update this is proving to be a struggle! Will keep trying though ;-)

  2. Tarik on July 6, 2016 at 1:38 am

    Hey Sam, have you had a go on the new Sony A7Rii? Really interested in picking one of these up for my portrait and street photography work. I’m a Canon user (6D to be precise) and love the results I get, especially when using my Sigma Art lenses but I’m starting to find my Canon’s just a little cumbersome to carry around on a day to day basis.

    Cheers and thanks for sharing your amazing work.

  3. jasper on December 22, 2014 at 5:13 am

    Do you use a laptop if so which one and why?

  4. Sam Hurd on March 17, 2014 at 4:22 am

    @rajat I’d definitely invest in primes. It’ll make you a much better photographer being able to previsualize and react faster. Look into primes with f/1.8 as they should be very affordable!

  5. Sam Hurd on March 12, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    thanks for the feature and I’m happy to answer anyone’s questions!

    • Rajat Gupta on March 15, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      I am starting out as a wedding photographer (less than 6 months old), and I don’t have a lot of expendable budget for a lot of equipment. Should I be investing more towards prime lenses, or towards zoom lenses?

    • Yianni Mathioudakis on March 18, 2014 at 8:47 am

      Sam, thanks for taking the time to answer questions, and for all the helpful info in your interview and gear list. I’m also a fellow Baltimorian and have recently started a photo/video business with my buddy called CAST83. I used to be solely invested in Nikon gear, but made the switch to Canon to make things easier, since that’s what my partner shoots. Had a quick lens question for you.

      I love primes also, and currently have a 50 & 85. I’m debating whether to get the 35 or 24 next. My buddy has the 35, 50, 135, so we do have the 35 if we need it. So, the 24 would be a new addition that neither of us have. My only concern is the distortion compared to the 35. Just curious what your thoughts are, since it looks like you shoot with the 24 a lot.

      Thanks again!

    • Fabio Oliveira on April 1, 2014 at 1:41 am

      Hello Sam, what convex lens do you use? I´m looking one in Amazon but I can´t understand what diference betwen them.

      Thank you so much for you post!

    • rose on December 22, 2016 at 8:53 am

      Hi Sam,
      I am taking a uni course in photography next year.. and photographing my nephew’s wedding in May. I don’t have lots if cash but I have almost decided on buying a Nikon d750 body simply because from what I have researched, it’s the best in my price max budget. My thinking is, better to buy best I can now, rather than invest twice ie first in a beginner and then later upgrade my camera..
      I am nervous about it because I don’t know if the d750 is all it’s said to be. I would value your opinion. Maybe a different brand might be better?
      Second, if d750 is fine, which lens to buy.. I have read the 50mm 1.8d because it gets great reviews as an everyday lens and is so cheap for a starter… although I know nothing about any of it yet.
      I am guessing I need ? 3 lens – macro, mid range and zoom? Or will 2 do it?
      Last question. I will be doing mostly hand held shits and I am undecided as to whether I need a camera that has built in image stabilisation. To be honest, I can’t see myself dragging around a tripod at a wedding, although I am sure it’s best. I have some physical mobility issues. And, I also like taking unobtrusive shots.. my camera phone has been perfect for that. A tripod gives the game away.
      I MUST have a dslr camera for my course, but they don’t make recommendations. A bit tough when you are a beginner.. I have to do so much research, makes me wonder if the course will keep up (ha ha.)
      I live your photography and would really appreciate your thoughts and guidance.

  6. Swade on February 27, 2014 at 8:42 am

    What is the lens on the A7R?

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