What’s in my camera bag // Wedding Gear // Huntsville Wedding Photographer

Wedding Gear

Let’s talk about wedding gear. Every photographer is a little different about what they decide to invest in, gear-wise. There are many items out there for shooting weddings so really it’s more about finding the equipment that improves your overall quality or makes it easier to do your job (or hopefully both). Ultimately, if you do photography as a profession/business you need high quality gear. Having the right gear for the type of photography you do is like having the right tools to build a house. It takes time and research to figure out what tools you need for the job (depending on what you plan to specialize in and your business model) and over time you invest in those tools.

Here’s what I take to every wedding:

-Nikon D810 (as my main camera)

-Nikon D800 (as a backup camera)

-Extra camera batteries

-Lots of memory cards (sd and cf)

-Nikkor 70-200mm 2.8 II- I use this mostly for ceremonies and anytime I want to get true candids from afar.

-Nikkor 105mm 1.4- Great for details and ring shots.

-Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art- A good one for large group shots or wide shots of the ceremony or reception.

-Nikkor 50mm 1.4 D-This one is great for family pictures and most everything else (its very versatile).

-Nikkor 85mm 1.4 G-My go-to lens for portraits that only involve one or two people.

*(I also have a Nikkor 24-70 2.8 but I rarely use this lens- which is just a personal preference).

That covers cameras and lens for weddings, what about supplemental lighting? Everyone knows that most receptions have poor lighting so you pretty much have to be ready for anything (check out the reception pictures from the Botanical Garden wedding, can you tell the power was out  for most of the reception and we only had the building’s emergency lights as ambient light?). Having fast lenses that work great in low lighting is very important (when working in less than ideal lighting) but additional light sources is important as well!

For additional lighting I use:

-Four Nikon Flashes (one on camera and three for ocf lighting)

-Pocket Wizards to trigger those flashes

-A video light

-Three sturdy light stands

-One small stand for backlighting

-LOTS of batteries

-Large reflectors

In addition to equipment, I also bring a lot of miscellaneous items to every wedding. Everything from command hooks to a sewing kit to pretty hangers… I feel like I have it all. Most of these items I have accumulated over the eight years I’ve been photographing weddings and I’m still adding items (just a few weeks ago I realized I needed a compact umbrella on me at all times, just in case it decides to rain in the middle of a ceremony).


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Brittany & Bradley // Chattanooga Engagement Session

Brittany + Bradley’s Chattanooga Engagement Session

Last month I had the pleasure of hanging out with Brittany & Bradley for their two part engagement session. Most of the session was shot in Chattanooga, Tennessee (which is one of their favorite weekend get-a-way spots). But we also did a few here in Huntsville. See if you can tell which ones are taking at which location 🙂

Brittany & Bradley brought a very special quilt to incorporate into their engagement session.

This is their ‘marriage quilt’. Brittany & Bradley decided to take on the HUGE project of making a quilt together. Each square was hand picked and meticulously sown together. Its not actually finished yet but they are hoping to finish it before their wedding in May 2018.

At our session, I asked how many hours they had put into the quilt (up to this point) and the answer is roughly 40 hours so far. WOW! I’m so excited that they have chosen to take on such a meaningful project together! And incorporating it into their engagement pictures was such a great idea!

For those who don’t know Brittany & Bradley; Brittany is a nurse and Bradley is a police officer!

I love how fun and laid back these two are! It made photographing them a breeze!

Nothing beats watching the sunset at a beautiful location. Thanks Brittany & Bradley for being so easy to work with at your session. It makes me extra excited about your wedding next year! Hurry up May 2018 🙂

Want to see more engagement pictures? Check out our engagement gallery!

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Miranda & Travis’ Huntsville Wedding // Annabella at Cedar Glen

I started talking to Miranda and Travis last December about possibly being their wedding photographer. I could tell they were detail oriented, organized, and on top of things when it came to planning their wedding. We all got along great so I was delighted when Miranda asked me to be their wedding photographer. Fast forward nine months and on September 16th, Miranda & Travis said ‘I do’ surrounded by all of their family and friends at the Annabella at Cedar Glen venue in Huntsville, Alabama.

Miranda’s bridal details were simple yet elegant and complimented their garden wedding perfectly.

Miranda’s mom and sister helped her into her dress. These two ladies were incredibly helpful throughout the wedding day and I loved working with them!

Around the time of Miranda & Travis’ first look, it started pouring rain outside. Miranda was relaxed and upbeat so this tiny inconvenience didn’t sway her mood whatsoever. We decided to have the first on the upstairs balcony (so we all would stay dry) and it turned out beautiful. As soon as the first look was over, the clouds parted and the rain stopped. It was pure perfection!

Miranda and Travis’ wedding party were so fun to work with! I can tell they all really care about Miranda and Travis and would have done anything to make the day perfect for them.

How lovely is this shade of blue Miranda chose for the bridesmaids’ dresses?!? Not only was it perfect for the setting (blue and greenery look so good together) but it looked beautiful on all the girls!

The ceremony was no different from the rest of the day. Not only was the lighting perfect but it felt great outside (the rain had cooled it down a little).

Both Miranda and Travis’ families were so warm and inviting which made family picture time a breeze!

Although we didn’t have much of a sunset (due to it being over cast) we still did a few Bride & Groom shots in front of the venue around sunset time.

Toward the end of the night, we snuck away from the reception and enjoyed a few quite moments under the twinkling lights. The night ended perfectly with a sparkler sendoff and everyone waving good bye to Miranda & Travis!

Congratulations, Miranda & Travis!


Venue: Annabella at Cedar Glen in Huntsville, AL

Caterer: Chef Next Door

Florist: Bishop’s Flowers

Cake: Honeypie Bakery

Hair: MLA Artistry

Dress: The White Dress

Videographer: AVO Weddings




*Want to see another post like this? Check out Morgan & Josh’s wedding day!

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Wedding night shots // Why they are my favorite

Wedding night shots are some of my favorite images from a wedding day. To me, it’s more about capturing a feeling and less about everything being perfectly in place.

These are typically done at the very end of the night  (sometimes, right before the special exit). The Bride & Groom are usually more relaxed and stress free by this time; which gives an overall different demeanor when taking pictures.

Having night shots in your wedding gallery adds extra variety to your Bride and Groom portraits. Not only will you have a variety of well lit portraits but you’ll have these romantic shots with dramatic low lighting.

Sometimes, the hard part is making night shots happen, though! Its easy to get caught up at the reception and skip them when the time comes. Choosing between enjoying the company of your guests and taking MORE pictures is a hard decision and ultimately one you’ll have to make if you’re planning a wedding.

Have a questions about night shots? Feel free to ask!

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Morgan + Josh’s Wedding // Huntsville Botanical Garden

Morgan and Josh’s wedding was held at the newly renovated Huntsville Botanical Garden. It started out a beautiful day with the prettiest puffy clouds you’ve ever seen. We had no idea of what was to come!

One of my favorite parts about the new renovations at the Huntsville Botanical Garden is the beautiful welcome center that greets you as you pull up. Its such a stunning building!

Morgan had bridesmaids’ gifts waiting for all of her girls that matched the color scheme of the wedding perfectly.

I could tell Morgan put a lot of time and effort into coordinating the wedding details. It all looked wonderful together and had the perfect amount of femininity  and sophistication.

All the florals were done by In Bloom Design; they did an amazing job representing the look Morgan was going for!

Morgan was surrounded by some of the most helpful and caring girls with whom I have ever worked with. They made sure Morgan exactly what she needed throughout the day. It was so fun working with all of them!

Going into the wedding day I knew just how special Morgan’s grandmother is to her. They have a close bond and Morgan is one of her biggest fans. It was amazing seeing all the special moments unfold between them.

Right before the start of the ceremony, everyone started noticing dark clouds rolling toward us. Although we had a few sprinkles during, the rain held out long enough for us to have a beautiful ceremony!

About 10 minutes into the pictures of just Morgan and Josh, we start to hear a very eerie sound in the distance. We quickly figured out that it was heavy wind and rain that had not reached us yet so we all started running to shelter as fast as we could. It was a pretty surreal experience. As soon as we reached the main building, the weather was horrible. We had made it just in time.

Unfortunately, the horrible storm damaged a transformer (or that’s what I was told), so for the majority of the reception we had absolutely no power (only emergency lights).

However, this didn’t stop everyone from having a wonderful time!

Morgan & Josh’s first dance was sung a cappella by the Music City Rhythm Band. They didn’t skip a beat (pun intended) and really made the most of the situation at hand.


A few hours into the reception we regained power and the band was able to finish the night in full force!

After the rain died down, we snuck away and took a few romantic night shots of Morgan & Josh in front of the main entrance to the Botanical Gardens.  Overall, it ended up being a wonderful day, full of adventure. I can honestly say, it was one of the most memorable weddings for us. Overcoming a challenge can give you such a satisfying feeling.

Congratulations, Morgan & Josh! Your Botanical Garden wedding was beautiful!

Morgan & Josh’s Vendors:

Photography: April Stanley Photography

Venue: The Huntsville Botanical Gardens (Celebrate Garden & Grand Hall)

Florals: In Bloom Floral & Design Studio

Hair & MUA: Bangs Salon

Caterer: Creative Catering

Band: Music City Rhythm

Rentals: Mullins Rentals



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Hi, I’m April

I'm a wedding photographer based out of Huntsville, Alabama.

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