About once a week I get asked “What Camera do you use? What Lens is that?” I love answering questions and supporting new photographers!!
So, today I am sharing the cameras and lenses I use, along with my camera bags, card reader, camera strap, and my favorite shooting shoes!
Just a warning! Please, do not let this post discourage you! Instead, let it reinforce that we all have to start somewhere. My photography journey started in 2005, with a dinky 6.1-megapixel camera with a $79.00 kit lens and now, in 2018 I am a multiple award-winning & published photographer traveling the world and living the dream! I looked up the D40 and they are worth about $65 now. Haha.
Mastering exposure and learning to find “good light” will ultimately be more important than upgrading your gear to the latest technology. Practice and master your craft with the gear you have and make small upgrades as your skill improves or when you need a specific lens for your line of work.
Before I share my current gear let’s rewind to exactly where I started.
My first camera was a silver 3 mp Kodak point-and-shoot. I took photos of my dog, my family, and my artwork. When I graduated High School, I upgraded to a 6.1 megapixel Nikon D40 and photographed my first three weddings with the 18-55mm f/5.6 kit lens.
I worked as a server at a local restaurant and did sessions for near pennies. I saved and saved and every time I had enough money to upgrade my gear, I would. My next camera was the Canon Mark II and I shot with the 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.8, and the 24-70mm f/2.8 for several years. Before upgrading to the Canon Mark III and the 50mm f/1.2 and 85mm f/1.2.
About two years ago I started developing terrible tendinitis in my right wrist, forearm, and shoulder, so I switched to Nikon gear because it was significantly lighter and we were incredibly impressed with the dynamic range capabilities.
I still have all of my canon lenses and shoot with my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV for certain sessions, but I use my Nikon setup for 85% of my current work.
I credit my current success to several years of practice, online courses, mentor sessions, and challenging myself every day to be the best photographer I could be. I still take part in online classes, photography meet-ups, and photography retreats so that I am always staying fresh and inspired to grow.
Shop My Studio 29 Photography Gear
Nikon D850 – I am so lucky because Nikon just released its newest camera, the Nikon D850. My first reaction to the Nikon D850 is in the words of Beck, “Wow!”
Since they are still hard to come by, I figured I would write a brief review of my initial thoughts. I have only had it for a few days but have used it at home, for a family session, and for some food photography.
It is truly an amazing camera. I am in complete amazement of the high ISO capabilities, weather-sealed body, crazy resolution, and superior dynamic range. I love the silent shooting live mode and hope to take full advantage of the touch-tilt LCD screen when I am doing flat-lay photos.
I do not mind the re-location of the ISO button, but I know it might slow me down a bit since I also still will be shooting with dual cameras on wedding days. My second camera is the Nikon D810 or the Nikon Df. We have three 810s and one DF in our arsenal of gear. When you are traveling and shooting as much as we do, I always like knowing if any one of our cameras has any issues we have plenty of back-ups on hand so we can still do our job without any stress or interruptions.
Nikon D810 – Both Caleb and I love this camera so much, that we have three of them.
Nikon DF – I love the image quality, ease of use, weight, and classic look of this camera SO MUCH!
Nikon 50 mm – My favorite lens. I could (and do)photograph an entire wedding with this guy. I shoot families, food, products, babies, kids, dogs, products, and landscapes – literally, this is my baby and I never leave it behind.
Nikon 85 mm – I use this for headshots and high school portrait sessions.
Sigma 10-20mm – I use this for photographing interiors.
Nikon 24-70mm – Great for family formals on wedding day & for capturing wide angles of the entire wedding party.
Sigma 50mm Art – The bokeh from this lens is just everything. I love it so much – if you love watercolors blur in your photos I really think you’d love this lens too!
Nikon 58mm – I love this lens for wedding party group photos, individual portraits, food photography, and family sessions.
Nikon 35mm – I use this for family sessions, bridal prep, group photos, and pets.
Nikon 70-200mm – Caleb uses this telescope to photograph intimate details during the ceremony such as the ring exchange, first kiss, and crowd reactions.
Tarion “Vintage” Camera Strap – I have this on my 810 so that I can tell the difference between Caleb’s camera and our backup camera.
Godox V1-C Round Head Camera Flash Speedlite – Both Caleb and I have one of these. We are natural light photographers and only pull out our flashes when absolutely necessary. These are inexpensive and have amazing recycling time.
Reflector – This little guy is so handy! I bring it to all my newborn sessions just in case!
SD + XQD Cards – Memory cards, nothing special.
Sony XQD + SD Memory Card Reader – Reads cards quickly, nothing special.
ONA Camera Bag – Fits a camera body, two lenses, a flash, and a laptop. It is a great bag for traveling and the leather is very durable and looks super-duper cool. This is the bag I use to carry my gear when I do family, commercial, or newborn sessions and Caleb uses it on wedding days.
Fjallraven Kranken Backpack + Camera Bag Insert – I love Fjallraven so much! This is my camera bag for traveling and on wedding days.
Canon AE-1– My favorite film camera.
Monochrome Converse – 99% of the time you can find me shooting in my converse.