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What Kind of Camera Gear Do I Need?

People who are new to photography often ask me about my gear – what camera I use, and which lenses I prefer. My answer to this question used to be fairly simple when I was doing strictly commercial work, but now that I am in school for photography, I have two sets of gear! I have my digital setup, and then I have my film setup (which is more for school). While I prefer film, I’ve come to rely on the ease-of-use digital provides for commercial work. So, for the sake of this post, I’ll talk about my digital gear.


My primary camera is a Canon 5D Mark II. I absolutely love this camera, and it is all I need for what I do. Sure, there are more expensive and fancy cameras on the market, but honestly? I’m not shooting for National Geographic! I just need a lightweight, full-frame camera for shooting portraits and weddings.

Before I purchased my Canon, I was shooting with a Nikon D90. I still have my D90, and use it as backup just in case, for whatever reason, my Canon dies during a shoot. I have never (knock on wood) had this problem, but carrying a backup camera helps me sleep better the night before a shoot.


My favorite lenses are the 50mm f/1.4 and the 24-70mm f/2.8. If I am shooting portraits, I will only use my 50mm. For weddings, I like to have the 24-70mm with me to get wide angle shots, and to zoom in a bit closer than the 50mm for candid shots.

If you are new to photography and not sure which lenses you would like to invest in, you may want to look into renting some lenses (or any type of camera gear, for that matter) to test them out before you invest. My favorite place to rent is through Aperturent


I prefer natural light, but sometimes, I use a flash for fill light. I use a Canon 430ex ii, because, like my camera, it is light-weight and provides just enough fill light. I also use a flash diffuser to prevent harsh shadows.

One of the items that I absolutely cannot live without is my tripod! Sometimes, especially if you are photographing a wedding in the evening, you may find yourself in lighting conditions that aren’t ideal. Having a tripod handy will let you keep your camera settings at a low ISO and a slower shutter speed, without risking camera shake and blurry photos. If you find that running around with a tripod is too cumbersome, look into a monopod like this.




I edit with both Lightroom 5 and Photoshop. However, nowadays, with all of the improvements made to Lightroom, I use it almost exclusively. I used to do a lot of heavy editing in Photoshop, but, I am at a point where I try to get my shots as clean as I can in-camera, so that I only have to do minimal editing in Lightroom. Plus, I find the workflow of Lightroom is much more convenient than Photoshop.

The above are my absolutely-cannot-live-without items, but I am, admittedly, a gear junkie, so it was really difficult for me to whittle this down to the bare essentials! What are some of your favorite pieces of gear?




*These are all camera accessories that we use and recommend.  Some of these direct you to affiliate sites that offer these accessories at the best price.  Enjoy and please let us know if you have any questions.

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