Many of my clients, friends and family often ask me for advice about purchases. So I decided to create this resource page to answer everyone’s questions and provide links to products all in one place. It’s a work in progress, but I hope over time it will be valuable to readers. Every item I’ve listed on this page is a product I have used and loved.
These are all cameras and lenses that I own (or the most updated versions of equipment I own) and love, with the exception of the 6d below. As a Canon girl, my recommendations are (with the exception of the Nikon Coolpix point and shoot camera) all for Canon equipment.Nikon COOLPIX P610 Digital Camera $379
The Nikon COOLPIX is a sophisticated point and shoot camera, meaning it does not have a removable lens. However it can take exceptional pictures!
Even though I’m a Canon girl now, when I first started trying to get out of auto mode on my camera, I was using a Nikon Coolpix 5500 (an earlier version of this camera) and I loved it. At the time, it was one of the few cameras with a rotating viewing screen. I really loved that feature, and I used it to get underneath flowers and see what I was focusing on and so forth.
It takes video too, and is an extremely light, portable camera — maybe not compared to a phone, but compared to an SLR. The Coolpix 5500 I used is no longer made, but the P610 is a worthy successor.Canon 70d $899
This is the upgraded version of the camera (Canon 40d) owned when I launched my business. The ISO (low light shooting capabilities) are crazy impressive on this — 25,600 compared to 1600 on the 40d. That means you’ll be able to take great pictures indoors, at birthday parties or wedding receptions, etc… It takes movies, has wifi capabilities, and is an overall excellent high end consumer camera.
However, it is NOT a full frame camera, which means a few things:
1. Because the sensor is smaller than the capabilities of Canon lenses, pictures will have a “zoomed in” effect. So if you are using a 50mm lens, the pictures you take will be from an 80mm lens. and
2. it will be lighter and more portable than the 6d and 5dmiii, described below. I still use my 40d on vacations and for personal use. I would not recommend purchasing the kit lens, btw. I would just go ahead and purchase one of the lenses I recommend below.
This is an incredible full frame camera at a great price that will enable you to take professional quality images. I don’t own this camera, because I already own the 5dmiii. I honestly have no idea why Canon introduced this camera, unless they are planning to eventually phase out the 5d series (the one I own), because from everything I’ve read this camera gives the 5dmiii a run for its money at a fraction of the price. You can also purchase this camera with the kit lens, as the kit lens is the 24-105 lens. The kit runs around $1999. Canon 5dmiii $2499
This is the camera I currently use, and even though it is a few years old, I would still use it over the 6d because of the dual card slots (so I never lose an image, very important when photographing weddings) and the advanced focusing capabilities. It’s an incredible camera. You can also purchase it with the kit lens for $3099. The kit lens is the 24-105 f4.
Lenses I Love
Lenses are either zoom lenses, or prime lenses (no zoom). Zoom lenses are wonderful for their convenience, because you can stand in one place and take a number of portraits that all look different because you can zoom closer and get details or zoom farther away and get more of the scene in the portrait.
However, prime lenses are beloved for their lighter weight, their sharpness and clarity, their ability to focus with a shallow depth of field, and their gorgeous background blur. You just have to get used to zooming with your feet (i.e., walking closer to or farther away from your subject).Canon 50mm f1.4 lens $329
This is a wonderful prime lens, perfect for portraits and events. It is known for it’s beautiful background blur and its affordable price. It is also a lightweight lens. I briefly owned the professional Canon 50mmL f1.2 lens, until it was stolen, but that is a story for another day. That lens was truly beautiful, so sharp and even more gorgeous background blur. It would be an excellent introductory lens, except for the price tag. Canon 85mm f 1.8 $369
This gorgeous lens is the classic portrait lens, with great color and beautiful background blur to make subjects pop. I love to use this lens at weddings and events. Canon 100 mm f2.8 $549 Also exceptional for portraits, and for detailed shots of flowers and butterflies, etc… I had a lot of fun with this lens early on because flowers were my favorite subject. This lens also comes with image stabilization for $799 — image stabilization minimizes blurry pictures due to camera shake. That is actually very important if you are shooting macro subjects like flowers and insects, because the slightest movement will blur the image when you are very close to the subject. Canon 24-105L f4 $999 This lens is one of Canon’s professional grade lenses (that is what the L at the end of the focal length means) and it is an excellent zoom lens. It is perfect for photographing events, because you can take wide angle pictures and then zoom in to get more details. It’s also a good portrait lens. I used this lens on almost every shoot for the first 5 years of my business. Canon 24-70L f2.8 This lens is known for is clarity and its lovely bokeh. It also performs much better in low light than the 24-105. I finally purchased this lens when I started booking a bunch of weddings, and it is now my go-to lens for all events. Canon 70-200L f2.8 This lens is the one I use most often. If I’ve taken your portraits, this lens was probably on my camera at some point! It is unbeatable for
These are a few products that make my life so much easier. As a photographer, I unfortunately spend a lot of time in front of the computer. In fact, more time in front of the computer than behind the camera! This wonderful seat cushion makes it so much more comfortable.
Now every home office needs a printer. It may seem tempting to purchase one printer that will print photos and documents, but if you are anything like me, you’ll use your printer a lot, and the ink for photo printers is much more expensive than the ink for a cheaper printer, so depending on how often you plan to print pictures and documents, it might make more sense to purchase two printers — one for paperwork and one for your photos. Or, to just have your photos printed by a professional lab and have an office printer just for documents.
I had a large Epson Workforce printer for 4 years, but when it died I decided I wanted more desk space. So I picked up this little HP deskjet 1513 for under $75 and it was easy to set up and does a great job of printing documents. The paper tray doesn’t hold very much paper however, so I do find that I need to fill it more often.
I also purchased this nice little stand for the printer — it is decent quality, and the compartments are large enough to hold two reams of paper. I also really like the drawers for holding ink cartridges and other miscellaneous items. It cost more than the printer but I think it was worth it!
If you want a photo printer, I loved my Canon Pixma Pro. The pictures were just amazing, and the quality of photo paper I picked up from our local camera store was exceptional. However, it is almost $400, and the ink will cost $100 every time you need to replace it. It was so nice to be able to print pictures on the fly, to make little gifts for my clients or fulfill an order myself, and to print studio samples and entries into photographic competitions. However, as my business grew, I started printing all of my work with professional labs (I use Millers Professional Lab and White House Custom Color) and let a few months go by without printing a photo — which pretty much ruins the printer.
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