Hi friends, do I have your permission to geek out for a little bit here? Awesome, thanks 🙂
My photography love affair began years ago – probably with the instant camera that printed out teeny little sticker photos? I had an adorable pink point-and-shoot throughout college, but I upgraded to a nicer (still point-and-shoot) Nikon when I started traveling. That Nikon got me some seriously crisp shots during my travels, and I am super thankful for going with a higher quality lens back then. One of my all-time favorite photos was taken with that nifty Nikon, and is so clean.
The little Nikon (current equivalent here) got me tack sharp images and stunning landscapes, but soon I wanted something with even more capabilities. I dreamed of creamy bokeh, and took the plunge with my first DSLR a little over a year ago. The Canon SL1 is the model I chose, based on my budget and desire for travel. I was initially torn between Nikon (known for sharp images) and Canon (more of a softer feel), but I ended up going with Canon because my main mentor also shot with Canon and I knew I’d be asking her thousands of questions, and because I wanted that soft bokeh that Canon naturally lends itself to. I have absolutely zero regrets choosing Canon. The model I chose is at a really accessible price point (which made it a lovely gift from my father), and is designed as the lightest SLR on the market. This was important to me, largely because I envisioned my main photography outlet being lifestyle – capturing images of my life and loved ones and travel. This camera is absolutely perfect for that purpose, and I love how light and handy it is. It has also performed well in a professional setting, but does leave some to be desired when compared to the big guns. I’ve got my eye on the Canon 6D as my next upgrade if I begin taking more professional gigs.
As far as lenses go, I learned how to use my camera with my kit lens, which was a long process with a steep learning curve. I can’t tell you how many times I would psych myself up to take photos, only to hate every single one. It was frustrating knowing what I wanted my images to look like and not being able to achieve it. After a lot of research, practice upon practice, and time with my photography mentor goddess, I began getting the hang of things and never looked back. After a few months of learning with the kit lens, I upgraded to the 35mm f/2 lens. This lens is my biggest crush, and is so versatile, especially on a cropped-body camera where it performs like a 50 mm lens would on a full-frame camera. This lens is a great go-to, and I would recommend it to anyone. Recently, a friend was selling her gently used 50 mm f/1.8 lens, so I snatched that up to have more options in my bag, and because it’s so light and great for travel. This lens is a little noisy, and almost feels too light to be taken seriously, but actually achieves really great shots and can hold its own. This lens is at a great price point, and would be a nice addition to any gear. Because most of my work is focused on portraits, I find that prime lenses are the best investments for me currently. The next lens I’ll add will likely be a 100 mm lens to nail those detail shots and add more versatility since my two lenses could mostly perform the same purpose.
As far as editing goes, as soon as I accepted my first paid gig I downloaded and learned Lightroom 6. It’s a pretty intuitive program, and the results are natural and nice (I don’t alter my images to any extreme – the goal is actually to edit as little as possible out of camera). There are a lot of great tutorials out there for the program as well.
And because I’m a total bag lady and am picky about my leather goods (I want it real or not at all), I have the ONA Bowery Camera Bag and the ONA Capri Camera Tote. I use both of these bags for carrying my gear and on a regular basis as my purse sans camera. They’re beautiful and it’s totally excessive to have two camera bags but I love them. The Bowery is great for all day travel, because it’s nice and small and fits my camera plus the essentials – there’s no overloading this bag. The Capri is excellent for toting all of my gear for longer days, can fit extra lenses, a water bottle, and my laptop as well. I use this neoprene wrist strap on my camera, as it encourages me to keep a grip on my camera and doesn’t get in the way like neck straps sometimes do.
That’s all for my camera gear! I love finding out what other photogs have in their bag, and I’d love to hear what’s in yours! All links above are through B&H – I’ve purchased almost all of my products through them and have been so pleased with the service every time (free expedited shipping is my love language).