A Peek Inside My Shooting Equipment.

So, I gladly admit that I am a total tech N-E-R-D. Keeping up with the latest software, downloading the newest and greatest, finding new nerdy tech toys for me to play with, getting excited when Mac comes out with a new and improved iSomething...

Having said that, I love it when other photographers blog about their camera equipment. When I first started shooting I had NO IDEA what to purchase, where to go, or how to use the damn thing. So today I wanted to blog to my beginner, experienced, and professional photographers. No matter what skill level we come from we all learn from one another.

When you admire the work of another photographer; or someone who influences you in your trade, you want to know HOW and WHAT they use in order to get similar results. Different camera bodies, lenses, filters, etc all provide different outcomes. I have retained so much more information and insight through others blogs and websites than I ever did in college. Networking with others and seeing first hand what "tools" they use or refuse to use has influenced me tremendously with each purchase that I have made over the years. So today, I'm sharing my list of tools, and things that have helped make my business run a little more smoothly.

Here's a peek of my studio.


The Cameras.

Over the years I have seen photographers with 20 lenses, 8 camera bodies, a gazillion memory cards, 50 of everything... and thought, do I have to buy ALL THAT in order to become a real photographer?! Found out no you don't and that just isn't how I roll. I am a very simple shooter. I like my same dependable stash and purchasing my upgrades every now and then.

Listed above is my Canon 7D, that is actually available on Craigslist right now. She has been my backup, a very good backup that I have never had to use. My main shooter, which will soon be my new backup is the Canon 6D. I truly love this camera. If I could recommend any starter camera for an advanced shooter the Canon 6D would be it. Next month I will be purchasing the Canon 5DS, which I cannot wait to get my hands on. I highly insist purchasing a backup, or keeping your old camera body when you upgrade. Cameras are dependable 98% of the time but you never know when one might shoot out on you, pun intended.

Straps

Every camera needs a strap. I never shot with a strap until I had a close call after one camera fell out of my hands and luckily didn't break! I quickly refrained back to my Canon camera box and dusted out the old generic Canon strap. My recommendation is FOTO strap found here at www.fotostrap.com. They're comfortable, high quality, and completely customizable. You can even have yours monogrammed if you would like.

If you're wanting something a little more trendy try www.thevintageclothespin.bigcartel.com

My other strap is my Double Strap from www.blackrapid.com. I only use this for when I shoot weddings. It definitely comes in handy when you're constantly switching lenses in a hurry. You feel like it should also come with an inner thigh gun holster and a crossbody strap of ammo!

On to the lenses...

#1 -  70-200mm f/2.8L II USM - I use this for my wedding aisle shots. I don't like to be seen or heard during a wedding ceremony and this lens lets me be able to be stealthy. Or you could use it for bird watching :)

#2  - 85 f/1.2L II USM - My favorite close up portrait lens. Make those eyes POP!

#3  - 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM - This is a great all-in-one lens. You have room to zoom in for tighter shots and also have the capability to shoot a full room of people without having to move. I use this lens quite a bit at wedding receptions.

#4 - 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM - The grandaddy of Awesomeness. When I first purchased my Fisheye, I just thought I would use it for quirky bridal party shots. I thought wrong. I use it for wedding receptions, pet portraits, sporting events, night time shots, the list goes on and on. If you had some extra $$$$, it would be worth it!

#5 -  50mm f/1.4 USM - I know we're not supposed to have a favorite kid, BUT... this is mine! I only spent $$$ on this little guy and he is my next upgrade. So versatile, I love close shots, but the forgiveness of having room to move a little; my 85mm doesn't allow me to do that. I will be moving on up to the 50mm f/1.2 soon!

#6  - 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS - This is a good vacationing lens, a little more zoom than the 24-70mm. However, I rarely use this one.

#7 - 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II - This is another good vacationing lens as well. You're able to take more closer portrait shots without blurry backgrounds. I never use it, I love my large apertures.

Being a Bag Lady...

Again, I like simplicity, functionality, and a clean smooth look. There are A LOT of great expensive camera bags out there... I want my equipment safe, but I'm not going to spend an arm and a leg on carrying it around. I picked up my silver box at Harbor Freight Tool Co. Yes, its a tool bag. It was $40, spent $20 on velcro, liners, and padding for the inside and BAM! It fits ALL my lenses, both camera bodies, has compartments for memory cards, batteries, etc. It even has those awesome little scrolling password locks for safe keeping. My other bag is actually my day-to-day crossbody bag. I picked it up at Fossil in the Mens section.  I take it to my smaller shoots when I only need one or two lenses. Good to go!

Here are some more bag recommendations:

  1. www.kellymoorebag.com
  2. www.gusti-leder.de {warning this sight is in German, click the top right corner to switch to English}

Lights, Camera, FLASH

I am a natural light photographer, but sometimes receptions can get dark, candle lit only dark. Most of the time I crank up my ISO, and love getting grainy black and whites, but sometimes I need those crisp and clear shots, so I turn to my Canon Speelite 600EX-RT. When a flash is mounted on top of your camera and you need to turn your camera body for a shot, well guess what... your flash is turned as well, so light will bounce off the wall instead of the ceiling. In order to fix this problem I purchased a flash bracket from Custom Brackets through www.bandhphotovideo.com

Love my diffuser. I take it on every shoot. It is a 4 foot pop up round diffuser. It has a gold glow, a sheer soft box, and a black full shade diffuser all-in-one. Did I mention I like simple? :)

Here are some more important items. I have a Seconic L-308S Light meter. Honestly, I only use this in the studio for headshots or checking my light ratio with the soft boxes. If you're not going to do studio work then don't waste your money on this. Camera batteries and chargers... I do have 3 sets of chargers and keep a 30 pack of AAs in my bag at ALL TIMES. I realize its overkill but, I'm always worried that I'll run out out of charge. Memory cards I like to keep about 3 16GB on hand, but I have 10 in the bag. I would suggest throwing your memory cards when they are about 2-3 years old. Even though they're tough little guys, they do get worn out. You wouldn't want to be in the middle of a shoot and one bail out on you and erase all of your previous work.

My life is written down in monthly planners. Not just my photo shoots and weddings but birthdays, parties, bills, sale tax deadlines, holidays, vacations, blah blah blah. I'm a very visual person, when I see it written down, I won't forget it, when I see it crossed off my list I feel satisfied. I've kept all my planners since high school. Its nice to be able to look back and reread your whole life by date. Its a reminder of where it all started and how far you have come.

On photo shoots I always take lotion for clients with ashy elbows and knees. Lipstick and gloss for the ladies, even the little girls. Take your business cards with you wherever you go! In fact, I got this Tiffany and Co. business card holder for my birthday one year and I use it ALL THE TIME, I hand them out like candy. I also bring Clamps! You know when you walk in a clothing store and you see that mannequin standing there with that nice tailored blouse then you walk behind it and realize its not a XXX Small but instead, its clamped, pulled, and safety-pinned to the waist... That's what clamps are for. During photo shoots if I need to accentuate a waist line, or if a dress needs a higher hem, or need to make a higher slit in a skirt, etc. You get the picture, they come in handy.

and lastly, can't forget the cup of...

 

Until next time. Peace. Love. Pictures.
— your photog