One of the questions I am asked most as a photographer is "what gear do you use?" I want to start off this blog reminding people, equipment isn’t everything. People have been taking beautiful photographs for almost 200 years. It's not the gear, it's how you use it.
Once you have a basic understanding of photography, ie; light, composition, depth of field; gear does become important. I see so many beginners spending all this money on top of the line, full frame cameras when they don't even know what aperture means, and should be spending that money on getting good glass anyways. Take your time, buy a lower end crop and spend those $$ on a prime lens! I still don't even have my dream gear yet. =P
With all that being said, lets dive into what's in my bag.
Canon 5D Mark iii
This has been my dream body since it first came out. It wasn't in my budget until very recently. Every single picture in my portfolio was taken with its predecessor, the 5D Mark ii. I am so excited to really see what this beauty can do on my roadtrip across the USA.
Brand new this body is $2500. It has an ridiculous amount of focal points, it handles high ISO a lot better than the previous model AND allows you to push it farther. That's great news for people who shoot low light photography. Those are the main reasons I wanted to upgrade to this body.
Canon 24-105mm f/4L
This is the lens that often comes with this body if you get a kit. Alone, it cost around $1000. I adore everything about it. Zoomed in at 105mm, it has beautiful compression and works phenomenally as a portrait lens. The only downfall is you will need a lot of light because of aperture capabilities. At 24mm it works well as a landscape lens, but I have also used it to take wider portraits.
Canon 17-40mm f/4
This ULTRA-WIDE lens is sharp sharp sharp, and reasonably priced at around $750!! It's great for landscape photography, but because of it's minimal focusing distance (28cm) I have even used it for a lot of my horror photography. It is super fun to get close to your models for a distorted reality. This is why it is important to learn the "rules" of photography. Once you learn the rules, you can figure out how to break them like a pro.
Canon 50mm f/1.4
I wish that I was typing that I had a prime 50mm f/1.2, but I haven't gotten to a place in my career yet where I feel I can afford it, or even need it. I do just fine with a 1.4, as long as I don't have it wide open it stays relatively sharp, and now that I have a Mark iii, I can trust the focusing on it a little more. It's a great, cheap, beginners portrait lens. Only around $300.
I would make this recommendation to anyone. One day down the road, maybe when I win the lottery, I'll trade this beauty in for Canons prime 80mm f/1.2 and 35mm f/1.2. Those are my dream portrait lenses. I had a Canon 70-200mm f/4, that was a beautiful portrait lens, also really good for weddings and events. One day I will also replace this, but the f/2.8 model.
Rangers 57" Aluminum Tripod
This is my tripod. I would be lost without it, because a lot of my work is self-portraits. It has a 360° ball head and a level, which is great for photo stitching. It also features a removable leg so you can use it as a monopod as well. I think I paid around $70 for it.
Etekcity 24" 5-in-1 Collapsible Photo Reflector
I don't use this a lot, but it is a great tool when I do need it. I use it to bounce natural light back into my models faces. This works especially well during "golden hours" - put the sun behind your models as a key light, and use the reflector to bounce light into their face. This allows you to have a proper exposure, and separates them from the background so they aren't just a silhouette.
Vivitar VL-900 LED Light + Vivitar Shotgun Microphone
These a great and ridiculously cheap tools for video blogging and goofing around. They aren't the best quality, but you get what you pay for. The light and the microphone are both around $35.
The only thing I am missing from my bag is a good Speedlight and a good Softbox. The majority of my work is natural light, so I am in no rush to spend any money on these. Definitely a must if you plan on doing any sort of studio/beauty work.
That's what is in my bag. In case anyone is wondering, I use Photoshop and Lightroom to edit my photos, and I have both a desktop computer that I built with lots of space, lots of ram and a good graphics card. I also have a Asus Rog Strix GL703VD Laptop so I can edit and blog, while I travel.