I’ve been wanting to do this post for awhile now and finally got around to it. I’m giving you a peek inside my camera bag (actually it’s a pretty cool fanny pack) and the lenses I bring to every wedding and shoot.
First things first, I buy all my gear from B&H Photo! If you’re a new photographer, my number one tip when buying equipment is invest in lenses. Don’t stress about the fancy camera body…lenses are where the money is at and will be a game changer with your images. Also, get the legit expensive lenses. Yes, I know you cringe at the price but down the road if you buy a cheap one you’ll end up buying the expensive one later and you’re just wasting your time and money. We all know, you get what you pay for. Just do it!
These three babies are in order of what I use most often to least. I keep one on my camera body and the other two in my super cool fanny pack. For Canon users the red ring means the lens is legit, amazing and SHARP a.k.a and “L” series. As you can see none of these are zoom lenses either (it’s called a prime lens). That means YOU are the zoom – kinda weird to get used to if you’re new to the game. But the less there is going on inside a lens (more glass, more parts, etc) the sharper the images can be. Prime lenses also allow your aperture to go down to a 1.2 and that’s a game changer as well.
Here are some photos with these three different lenses so you can see the different focal lengths. The camera and I didn’t move in any of these. My ISO was set to 320, aperture 2.0 and shutter speed 1/500.
The 50mm is on my camera 95% of the time at any wedding or shoot. It’s the love of my life and the perfect lens for anything and everything. It’s also the first lens I bought while I was still shooting on a Rebel when I started in 2010 (camera body info is below).
The 85mm is also the love of my life. I love them both equally…well…I think I love the 85 more but I use it less. The 85 produces the most amazing, creamy and rich images with this buttery backgrounds for my subjects. There’s nothing else like it. One of the best investments I’ve made and what my second shooter at weddings uses the most by far. Just keep in mind it’s really close up. So if you’re just shooting babies or inside a studio I would hold off on this one.
The 35mm…oh the 35…this one is whatever to me. I don’t really like her that much and only need her for a few things. (Wow I sound like a really mean and manipulative boyfriend or something haha) I only use this lens for a couple things: if I’m in a really small bridal suite and need to capture the bride getting in her dress, the cool wide ceremony shots and for large family portraits andddddd that’s about it. Kinda like the macro below – I only use it for a few things but it’s definitely a must if you don’t have zoom lenses. If you’re looking into a wide angle lens though this is the one! I did SO much research on this thing and went back and forth forever. The 35mm is the perfect focal length to get a beautiful wide shot that isn’t warped or unnatural. Some of the other lenses like a 14mm or below 24mm can distort the image on the sides and make it look unnatural – not my personal style.
Macro 100mm ($200 cheaper than L lens below)
The only cheapo lens I bought was the macro because when I bought it I was only using it for wedding ring shots and didn’t see the reasoning to spend $200 more. It’s a little touchy and sometimes you have to hold your breath to keep yourself from moving and get a tack sharp image but that’s fine with me. My second shooter and I have started using the macro for details (earrings, jewelry, invitations, etc.) and it comes with me on newborn sessions so I can get really close up shots of the babies nose, toes and all that cute stuff.
I bought this lens for my second shooter this year. This is the only zoom lens I own and the only time I personally use it, if ever, is to get a super wide shot of something. Because this goes just a tad wider than my 35mm. I thought my second shooter would like something more versatile. This allows her to get a wide range of options without having to change her lens like I am frequently. I just hate how the aperture doesn’t go below 2.8 so I kinda hate this lens (shhh don’t tell it I said that). I always try and get my Mom (second shooter) to use her prime lenses. If you’re curious – when we first started she just used my lenses and we’d switch back and forth (money saver, duh!!!). Then I finally got her her own 50mm and she still uses my 85 when needed.
My body – Mark IV
Backup body/second shooter – Mark IIIIII
Mark’s are my boyfriends. Always have been. I’ve had the II, III and now I have the IV! Every time I get a new camera, I pass the old one down to my second shooter. I love these bad boys so much! All three of them are excellent cameras – I can’t really suggest one over the other.
I started with a Rebel
There are two kinds of Rebels. You can compare the two of them through the B&H website. There aren’t huge differences. The Mark ii was discontinued for awhile but it looks like they just came out with that again if you want something in between the Rebel and iii.
Okay now should we talk about some fun stuff for you regular folk? If you just want a cool camera to get some every day shots of your kids and family vacations just look into some point and shoots. I will never use anything other than Canon but I know Nikon and Sony have some great point and shoots as well. My specific model says it’s no longer available (on the B&H website) but there’s another model just like it or just shop around. You won’t get anything bad, don’t stress or overthink it. You can get ones where the lens retracts into the camera body. My model does not and the lens sticks outside the camera body pretty far but it’s still small and lightweight. Mine has a pretty good zoom lens on it and I love it. This is the camera I took with me to Spain. I also have a mini tripod for it and it’s great for the self timer!
Another fun camera is the Polaroid and it’s about $20 cheaper than when I bought it. There’s a million colors you can choose from and just buy your film in bulk on Amazon. There’s only 10 photos in a roll of film. It’s not outrageously priced but I think these are so fun! You can also find these cameras and film at Target and Michael’s.
That’s all my knowledge on my camera equipment! Thanks for reading along and let me know if you have any questions! I’m going to start doing more of these helpful blog posts for aspiring photographers. I get a lot of questions all the time and even have some clients that are dabbling in it!