This has been a requested blog post for quite some time now and I honestly was super selfish about it in the beginning. I had been asked before what was in my kit and I ALWAYS deflected trying to protect my secrets. I thought that giving away my set up would give away the momentum I had developed and I would some how lose customers (I know, I know. It sounds ridiculous and it was) but then I realized something. It's SO easy to buy my exact kit and work with the same equipment, and I can’t do anything to stop people from doing just that. What I can do is open my platform and my heart to people who truly want to learn and have genuine intentions and just trust that my clients come to me for something other than the gear I have clunking around in my bag. So this one is for all my photogs out there, or kid in high school photography class, or the mom who wants to document their kiddos growing up.
My first ever DSLR camera was a Nikon D3200 and that truly started it all. I did a lot of research around what brand I wanted to commit to and it eventually came down to what Sam's club had at a good price when my mom did her Christmas shopping (I am the definition of humble beginnings). That happened to be Nikon. I don't have anything against Cannon users, I think there are some amazing photographers out there who throw amazing sessions with Cannons. But I am at heart a Nikon lover for a few reasons
1.) Their Nikkor lenses are the bomb.com with a price point to match (I'll talk more about them when I go over my lenses)
2.) their lenses transfer over all camera bodies so what worked great on my 3200 worked even better on my d750
3.) Everyone says that cannon is more user friendly but I thought to myself, if I can pass Intro to World Politics in undergrad with a head injury, I can learn this damn camera set up. So don't listen to all the hype on the internet, talk to someone who knows. You can learn the damn thing if I can. I also really like that all the functions I need are physically located on the camera, it makes it look super scary but I don't have to click into the menu for ANYTHING. It's all on the surface and I can change or adjust in the blink of an eye.
My D750 changed the MFing game. I got the camera for a surprise proposal that I didn't think my d3200 was advanced enough to handle and it shifted my world. My sensors are bigger, it's a full frame, and the motor is strong and quick. It's just an amazing work horse of a camera. My biggest piece of advice for someone who wants to get serious about photography is save your money and get a camera that you can grow into and with. I paid it with a battery extension MB-D16 (I’m pretty sure) and I love it
1.) because it makes my camera look bad ass and allows for my comfortable grips
2.) the additional shutter button is amazing
3.) I like the comfort of knowing I have extra battery should I need it in the middle of a wedding.
Nikon 50mm 1.8g
This was the first lens that I got after my kit lenses and it also changed the MFing game. The portraits I took of Sami at sunset all that time ago was that little 50mm and my 3200. That's it and they are still some of my favorite photos to this day. The bookeh is amazing, I finally felt like an artist instead of a hobbyist with that little guy on my rig. It's also SO light weight making it perfect for long wedding days. The price point is also spot on for someone building a professional kit, you can't beat a 200$ lens of this quality. The one thing I wish it did better is keep clarity on all of the subjects face, it seems to soften at the edges and I prefer crystal clear sharpness when I am up as close as I can get. I do plan on adding another portrait lens, the Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art because of the clarity and extra range.
This is the shortest focal length I have in my kit. I bought it intending to use it for wide landscape pictures with a small subject smack dab in the middle, what I ended up doing with it blew my mind. I LOVE this lens for senior boy portraits. It's not a fish eye but gives enough distortion around the edges to draw all the attention to the male subject. It looks more action and magazine like, so I don't tend to use it for female subjects or couples because I want a flatter image, but I can't beat the senior boy portraits I've taken with it (see Chase and Logan in my facebook albums). I also use it as a macro lens, I have no idea if that's the right use for this lens BUT my ring pictures at weddings don't seem to mind. The one thing I have to be careful with is the distance between myself and my subjects. I was using it at a new born shoot yesterday and while I got an amazing perspective on her beautiful eyes, I was INCHES from her face, and I couldn't really tell because the lens makes you feel so far away from your subject. Not that booping her would have hurt her by any means but those little fingers were inches from the lens and we all know how much fun cleaning a lens is.
This is my least favorite lens. It's not fun or special but it does serve a purpose every now and then. I originally bought a black market version of this which I knew was a mistake as soon as the motor in my 750 tried to move it and it started up like a lawn mower. I dropped the dime and got the real deal and I haven't used it much but I do like it for nature (shout out to all you butterflies) and using it to take pictures of Trevor when he plays football. I plan on using it more at my catholic weddings when I can't be as mobile during the ceremony.
Wacom tablet and computer
This thing is amazing. Trevor got it for me for Christmas not too long ago and I love it. It makes editing a breeze and has sped up my work flow tremendously. I hate editing on the track pad on my MacBook Pro, it makes my fingers cramp and it looks like I have a claw. My only complaints are that the Bluetooth connection is weak and goes out a lot so I have opted to use the cord instead, which hasn't been negative, and I wish there were more rubber topped nibs included so you don't feel as scratchey on the surface of the tablet. I will be upgrading my computer as soon as I can to an iMac so I have a larger screen to work with, my MacBook Pro has been amazing for this long but I would love a larger surface to edit on.
Sea gate back up drive
I love having an external hard drive to back up and keep larger files on, it's certainly made my computer a happy camper. I don't think I will be purchasing this brand again however, because the slightest movement in the USB cord can disconnect it and it scares the hell out of me when I'm editing.
Amazon Basics DSLR camera bag
This was a 2:00am impulse buy off of Amazon (just like my fidget cube, reusable straws, and desk fountain) but I am NOT complaining. This little guy is amazing. I took it to my shoots yesterday and was able to find everything quickly and easily. I also didn’t get that little knot in my stomach when I set it on the ground like I used to. For those of you who don’t know I used to have a Northface backpack with my lenses rolled up in a bathroom towel (Hey no one ever said I wasn’t resourceful). This is a major step up and for only $26 its already paid for its self practically.