A Guide to Camera Gear and Getting Started!

Happy Friday friends!! I’m excited to start a new thing around here, tutorial Tuesdays (I know I know, it’s not Tuesday but hey I’m trying lol! Expect the next one on Tuesday, promise!) Annnnd we are beginning with one of my favorite things to talk about, camera gear!! I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to be able to take better photos!! I’m going to give you a rundown of the gear I use + what I suggest when friends come asking!!

It has to be said, the iPhone X takes amazing photos (and so did the models I had before that, the 7+ and so on..) and once you understand lighting, composition and editing, you can really ROCK a cell phone camera. We’ll get to those topics in future tutorials.

My Current Gear

Canon 5D Mark IV – To be fair, I wouldn’t spend this unless I was a photographer full time (hey, I was!) and I purchased this while I was still shooting all the time, before I took down my photography site (cue all the memories) Anyways, if you are a professional + this camera body has piqued your interest, go for it! It’s amazing!

Canon 35mm 1.4L – This has been my workhorse and a lens I was *not* willing to sell when I closed down shop. I love how versatile this wide lens is + it is a prime lens which means it doesn’t zoom!! You know those “blurry backgrounds” people always talk about?? That’s thanks to a low f/stop capability like this prime lens (that is the 1.4 number!) But the 35mm means it is “wide” which also = less of a blurry background. I’m trying to skip using “technical” terms here people LOL

Taken with Canon 5D Mark IV and 35mm 1.4L

Canon 50mm 1.2L – I had to keep this one too! It is a lovely portrait lens. It creates that creamy background + incredible depth when photographed wide open (wide open means low f/stop, see how it can go all the way down to 1.2?) but we’ll cover how I actually set my settings on my camera and the f/stop in another tutorial. Let’s focus on the gear!! The 50mm is a great length and I highly recommend if you are using a full frame DSLR (like the one I linked above.)

Fujifilm X-T1 – LOVE the old school look of this mirrorless camera I picked up last year! I wanted a small functional camera I could take on trips and easily put in my bag! This is a fantastic camera andddd it’s being sold for only half of what I paid for it now since a new model is out. Save yourself $ and go with this one over the new one!

Fujifilm XF35mm 1.4R – This is the lens I have on my mirrorless and it is great! It’s equal to around my 50mm in terms of the view (vs. being a wide angle) and it’s a great all-around lens!! I do want to purchase a wider lens for my Fuji but I can’t justify spending $ on lenses these days like I used to!

Ona Brixton Camera Bag – This bag has only gotten better with time. I am O.B.S.E.S.S.E.D. with the leather and how it ages! It seems the price has gone up (boo!) but I love this one too!

This is my Ona camera bag!! Plus my Contax 645!

My Suggestions for a Beginner or Someone Interested in Photography

Rule number one friends!!! When buying a camera with interchangeable lens, never buy the “kit!!” The lens that comes with the camera body isn’t worth your money (usually) and you’ll be so much happier with your images if you start off choosing a great lens! We always say in the photography world that it’s about the photographer not the camera, but I’ll add that it’s also about the lens and less about the camera body! I am including items in different price ranges and indicating the investment with “$$$” or “$” ya dig though right?

$$ – The Fuji I linked above is one of my first recommendations!! Such a great setup + middle of the pack investment-wise.

$$ – Canon 6D – This camera packs a serious punch for the price point! I recommend it for anyone with a larger budget or someone interested in taking the first steps towards a photography business because it is a full frame camera!!

$ – Canon Rebel T6i – This compact DSLR is great for mamas or someone wanting to take the step into the DSLR world.

$-$$$ – Canon 50mm Lens – Take your pick based on budget!! This a must have lens in my opinion and I started with the 1.4 long before I could invest in the 1.2 version! Depending on if you are using it on a crop sensor (like the T6i I linked) or a full frame (like the 6D or 5D) the lens will give you a different angle (wider on the 6D vs. more cropped/zoomed in on the T6i) Choose from the 1.8 f/stop, the 1.4 f/stop, or the 1.2 f/stop.

$-$$$ – Canon 35mm Lens – Another one that has options!! I really really love the storytelling capability of a wider lens like a 35mm! And if you purchase a crop sensor, you’ll want to go with this one! Choose from the 2 f/stop, or the 1.4 f/stop, or the new 1.4 II.

$ – Canon 85mm Lens – This is a fantastic portrait lens, if you are stepping into photography, this is lovely lens! It creates so much depth and is great for photo sessions! This lens will feel really close to your subject.

$ – This camera bag is super rad + a great price! Can’t beat that!

On my wishlist!

$$$ – Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L III – Drooooool, I seriously want this guy so bad!! I’ve been obsessed with super wide shots lately and the story they tell. Can ya blame me?? Def a splurge I won’t be making though while I’m on a hiatus from photography clients until we settle down again, but I had to share with someone!

Okay how unreal are these shots by Jaci Marie with the Canon 16-35??? I mean if I buy it, I’ll automatically be transported to these magical locations right??

And certainly wishing I still had my Contax 645 film camera that I sold this past winter. It was heartbreaking to let go of this beauty but it was entirely too expensive of a camera to be a paperweight in my office when someone else could be utilizing it for their business. They aren’t made anymore and incredibly hard to find in good condition, let alone the like new condition I found mine, of all places, on eBay!

Taken with my Contax 645 film camera… these make me smile so much!! Ugh, miss that camera for sure!

So tell me, do you own a DSLR?? Do you wish you knew how to use it?? I can’t wait to dig more into this series with you guys! Drop a comment if you have specific questions!!



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