Being a good photographer does not mean you have to have the latest and greatest gear. Learning about the latest and greatest techniques? Absolutely, yes! Purchasing the latest and greatest camera in hopes of it suddenly making all your pictures look amazing? Nope! Not gonna work. You’re just going to keep buying new camera after new camera and new lens after new lens. The key to being a good photographer is knowing & understanding all your options…then getting what works for you and does the job. This is why the camera business is such a lucrative one. You get one mom who can manage to get some decent soccer pictures with her big, fancy camera (in auto-mode nonetheless) and BOOM, you’ve got 30 other moms coming in and wanting the same thing. But after about a month it starts collecting dust in the bag because it doesn’t work like the other moms camera did, it’s too overwhelming and you don’t want to put in the effort to figure it out…but then a new one comes out that is advertised as being the best and BOOM…you convince yourself you need that one. And on and on and on it goes 🙂 You are never going to get consistently good pictures unless you know what you’re doing. A lens is not going to all of a sudden make your pictures consistently better. The latest, most expensive camera is not going to all of a sudden make your pictures consistently better. The only thing that is going to do that is you sitting down and learning about photography. Not just your specific camera, but photography in general. Aperture, shutter speed, iso, exposure, meters, light direction, etc. There is SO much to know and knowing how it all works together is the only way you will be able to get consistently good pictures. The good news is that you have TONS of resources out there to get you started. Pinterest alone will give you 5 million articles about photography, ha! Go start learning 🙂
Ok- so now that I’ve made you feel like you’ll never be able to ever take a good picture in your life..I’ll tell you some of what I use, hahahah! I promise I was not trying to rain on your parade or squash your dreams, just trying to get you going in the right direction 🙂
Random side note real quick that you might be wanting to ask me….Canon Vs. Nikon?? I’m a Canon girl, but that’s because that’s what I was first given as a gift. I’m comfortable with it and it works great for me! I hear Nikon’s are just as great and people love them as well. I don’t take sides 🙂 Go try both out (there are lots of great rental sites online, I love Borrow Lenses) and see which one you’re most comfortable with.
So I’ve had my current camera now for almost 6 years and I still love it as much as I did the first day I got it. True love, ha! Every photographer has their “thing” that they like to see in a camera. Mine are focus points. The more focus points, the happier I am! I will never forget when I went from my Canon 7D to a Canon 5D Mark II. I was definitely paying more, so I thought I was getting a nicer camera, right? Um no. I hate that camera. It had NINE focus points. NINE. I’ve never been more disappointed in my life. I had already sold the 7D, so I was stuck with the Mark II. I couldn’t stand it, so not even a year later, I purchased my current one, the Canon 5D Mark III and it has been so good to me. I have the Mark II has my backup/second camera and I use it on occasion and each time I’m reminded how much I don’t like it, hahaha! Lesson learned, always research the focus points! This is also a good example of “what works for someone else might not work for you.” I’m sure there are plenty of people who sing praises for the 5D Mark II…but I am not one of them 🙂 So if I love focus points so much, why haven’t I purchased one of the new Canon DSLR with even more focus points?? Well because they’re expensive and my Mark III and I are doing just fine right now. I’m comfortable with it and it works for me. Will I eventually get a new one? Absolutely! But I don’t need it right now…and I’m sure Canon will come out with even more between now and when I’m ready 🙂
When I first started out with photography, I thought I needed lenses for every possible situation. The more my lens collection grew, the more legit I thought I was. I was an idiot 🙂 Not only did all my camera equipment get stolen at that “stage” of my career, but I only needed a fraction of what I had. If I had taken all those lenses (except for one) and put that money towards a better camera, I would have been good. I think God did me a favor and turned on the light bulb in my head then, ha! Less is more. Does having a telephoto lens, a macro (nikon says micro), wide angle lens and a kit lens make you feel like you have all bases covered? Uh, yeah, but I don’t need them. I take pictures of families, moving kiddos, tiny babies. Not a bee on a flower or something on a mountain 500 feet away. I don’t need all those things. It’s not what I do. I don’t have time to switch lenses every few minutes during a shoot. Some photographers will have two cameras with two different lenses that they use during a shoot and that’s great (pretty genius actually), but I didn’t like it when I tried it. I kept banging the cameras together or accidentally hitting a little one in the head with one when it would swing down of my hip. I’m just kind of a disaster when trying to handle two cameras 🙂 ONE DAY I would like to get to that point though. I would like having a wide angle and my favorite (the 50MM 1.2) on my hip during a shoot, but I’m not there yet and it’s fine 🙂 So for now, my 50 1.2 is my BFF. There are some I’d like to get eventually though. Like the Canon EF 24-70 2.8II, but I’d like the the max aperture to be more than 2.8…so I haven’t taken the bait yet and probably won’t. That’s another good example. That’s a lens that LOTS of people love, but I’m not sure would work for me. I LOVE my 50 1.2, but lots of people don’t like it because it’s a fixed focal length. That means no zooming in and out. Drives a lot of people nuts, but doesn’t bother me. Lesson?? Find what works for YOU.
I have two Canon Speedlites and I can honestly say I don’t use them too much and you want to know why?? One reason is because I don’t like the flash look in pictures and the other is because (I’m going to be real honest here) I don’t know how to use them extensively. Should I? Yep. I’ll get there one day. But for now, I don’t really do anything that requires a flash. I will always try and find a different alternative because I just hate the flash look. There are some photographers out there though that can rock a flash and do it well! Some day I’d like to be one of those photographers, but I’m not there yet 🙂
Good to have on hand. I used to use them all the time, but I haven’t as much over the past few years. This year it is my goal to keep them with me for shoots. There is nothing more annoying than getting someone in just the right spot and then having a spot of direct sunlight on them or the lighting be just a smidge too dark on their face. That’s when these Reflector/Diffuser things come to the rescue! They are especially handy for Senior portraits.
Right now (and for years now), I have a few of these B400’s and they are great. Super easy to work with, versatile and I’ve never had a problem with them. I pair them with this easy-to-travel with Octabox (like a softbox), this Light Stand and I’m good to go 🙂 You can even use the Selena 5-in-1 Reflector I mentioned above to bounce the light back if you need to!
This is a new item for me. Just got it for Christmas 🙂 I’ve only used it a few times and I definitely need some more time to get the hang of it, but so far it’s great! I love that it’s made by a sweet Etsy couple and not some big manufacturer 🙂
I obviously have more equipment, but those were just some things I thought were worth mentioning. Feel free to shoot me a message if you have any questions or want my opinion on something. But if you’re going to ask me what lens you should get to get better pictures of your son’s soccer game or basketball game, please refer to my first paragraph. Figure out the photography part first, because without that you’ll be stuck with out that 😉