I get a lot of questions about my gear and what I recommend so I thought it would be good to share everything in one big blog post!
thoughts on camera bags
Before we talk about the camera gear, let’s talk about the best bags to hold & protect everything. I have had many bags over the years, but BY FAR my favorite is the Lowepro X100. I bought this so that I could safely travel with my gear on an airplane (it’s legal carry-on size because good luck prying this from my ninja grip and asking me to check it!). But more importantly, I use this bag to store my gear ANY time it’s not being used at a shoot.
Speaking of shoots, while I’m photographing clients, I use a Shootsac. It’s comfortable, sleek and keeps my lenses easily accessible. I use this for every. single. photoshoot. Also, the flap is made with a super soft material that’s perfect for cleaning lenses on the fly.
For personal use and travel, I rely on my Tote & Shoot [pictured above]. This doubles as my camera AND diaper bag when we travel. It conveniently attaches to a rolling carry-on & also integrates my shootsac if I need more lens storage.
So, to recap… my camera bag recommendations:
- Lowepro X100: ideal for storage & travel
- Shootsac: perfect for using at a photoshoot
- Tote & Shoot: great for travel and personal use
- Kelly Moore: sophisticated style & quality for personal use
- Jo Totes: adorable & affordable styles for personal use
thoughts on cameras
I am a Canon girl. I currently shoot with the Canon 5D Mark IV. Oh, sorry, did I say “shoot with?” That sounds so casual. This is love. Having a backup camera is pretty critical as a professional, so I also have the Canon 5D Mark III on standby… in case of emergency. Sometimes I feel sad about my MarkIII collecting dust… we used to have something so special.
The 5D Mark IV is a spectacular camera, but it’s also a really hefty investment. So, if you’re venturing into the DSLR realm for the first time, I recommend starting with a Canon Rebel T6. My maybe-too-honest opinion is that using a DSLR in auto mode isn’t much better than a regular point & shoot camera so investing in a little education goes a LONG way. Once you have the skills to leverage your camera’s potential, you’ll notice a HUGE change in the quality of your photos. How do I know? When I got my first DSLR, I expected the very first click [taken on auto mode] to be MAGIC and when the photo STUNK, I was really disappointed. A few weeks later I enrolled in my first photography class and I fell in love with that camera.
If you’re not satisfied with the camera on your phone, but don’t want to dedicate the time to learning a DSLR, this is the point and shoot I own. It’s a great camera, but truthfully, I rarely (ok, never) use it anymore. With how powerful phone cameras are becoming, I think point and shoots are nearly obsolete.
So, to recap my camera recommendations:
- My camera: Canon 5D Mark IV
- Great starter DSLR: Canon Rebel T6
- Great point & shoot: Canon Powershot S95 (but, really, just use your phone)
thoughts on lenses
First of all… are you sure you want to go down this rabbit hole? Dang, lenses are an expensive addiction. I’m lucky to be in a place now where I have everything I need & I just pay for annual maintenance to keep it all running smoothly. Here’s what’s in my bag: 35mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.2, 85mm f/1.2, 24-70mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8, 28mm f/1.8 & 100mm macro.
I nearly exclusively use fixed lenses (meaning they don’t zoom). The 24-70 & 70-200 are leftover from my wedding days when I needed more of that quick flexibility. My favorite lens is the 50mm, although the 35mm is hot on its heels. At a photoshoot, you’ll most commonly see the 50mm or 85mm on my camera. And at home, it’s almost always the 35mm.
If you’re using the kit lens (probably an 18-55mm) that came with your DSLR and are looking for your next step/upgrade, I recommend purchasing a 50mm f/1.8. It’s reasonably priced and it’ll help you capture fabulous portraits with more of those yummy blurry backgrounds. If you have a little more to spend, check out the 28mm f/1.8. The color and clarity from that little lens is really stunning. Plus, if you’re feeling like the 50mm is just a little too ‘up close’ to your subjects, the 28mm provides more space because it’s a wide angle. Finally, if you’re looking for a more powerful zoom lens (as I said, this isn’t my style though), I’ve heard good things about the 28-135mm.
To recap my lens recommendations:
- My favorite lenses: 50mm f/1.2 & 35mm f/1.4 & 85mm f/1.2
- Great first lens to buy: 50mm f/1.8
- Great lens upgrade option: 28mm f/1.8
- Great zoom lens option: 28-135mm
Have more questions or want more details? Just ask me… I LOVE talking about this stuff!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, you will pay the same price, but I receive a small commission. Obviously I only share products I love from companies I trust.