As a new photographer it can be totally overwhelming deciding what gear to choose.
The market is LOADED with products, and everything is pretty pricey! Making the right choice is important in order to keep costs down and maximize equipment use. You don’t want to be stuck with an expensive piece you never use.
Here, I will break down some of the products I use EVERY DAY.
I am a Nikon user, so I am sorry to the Canon users reading this, however, a lot of the lenses I use can be purchased with a different mount that will fit a Canon, so read ahead for that!
I will break down items that are best for each stage of photography you might be in and share what exactly I’ve worked with and graduated to. But, first things first!
THE CAMERA BODY
+ Nikon D3400 (Beginner DSLR)
- This beginner level DSLR camera is great to start out with. It was my first camera for a couple months and it definitely did its job while I was learning.
- Some features include: It’s insanely affordable ($399.95), 24.2 MP, DX
+ Nikon D7200 (Mid Range DSLR)
- A few short months after playing around with my D3400, I upgraded to this bad boy and I LOVED it. It was such a difference – still not full-frame, but image quality was insanely better.
- Some features: Still so affordable for the image quality! ($699.95), DX, 24.2 MP, Dual SD card slot
- This is my back up camera and I kinda love the colors produced by it more than my D750…. and I was not expecting that at all. This camera is an older model, but still works well and I think it rocks. Because it’s an older model you have to buy it used. Be careful of the shutter count if you purchase it, or you could opt to get the newer model, the D610, which is just as wonderful.
- Some features: Price point rocks ($550), Full-Frame, 24.3 MP, Dual SD card slot
Image from: DPReview
- Introducing my baby! I am obsessed with this camera and how much it has changed the way I shoot. This was my first full-frame camera and for me, that was like wearing glasses for the first time after thinking that leaves were just green blobs since I could see. I highly recommend this camera if you want to move towards the realm of a professional camera. I would say this camera is the next best thing to the D850 or D810.
- Some features: Pricing ($1299.55), Full-Frame, Sensor Size- 35.9 mm x 24 mm, 24.3 MP, Dual SD card slot
+ Crop-sensor (APS-C or DX for Nikon’s) vs Full-frame – So this is kinda tricky to understand until you see the difference or yourself. A full-frame sensor is the size of a standard frame of 35mm film and a crop sensor produces a smaller imager by a crop factor depending on the camera. So for example, if you used 50mm lens on a APS-C with a 1.5x crop factor, then the view and image production would be similar to that produced by a 75mm lens. In simpler terms, the full-frame will produce a a higher quality image since it allows for larger individual pixels.
Image from: B&H Photo
+DSLR (digital single lens reflex) – which basically means that inside the camera there is a mirror reflecting the light taken in by the lens to the viewfinder normally by another set of mirrors which allows you to see the image through the lens. Compared to mirrorless cameras and the basic point-and-shoot models, DSLR’s allow you to see what you’re going to shoot in real time without any delay.
+ Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM
- This is my baby! If it wasn’t super lame to sing Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” to this lens every time I use it, I WOULD.
- Features: $899, Wide Angle Lens, High speed with large aperture, HSM (Hypersonic motor) and inner focusing system
+ Tamron SP 85mm F/1.8 Di VC USD
- I just purchased this lens so I am still learning the ins and outs of it, but it is perfect for headshots and close-up images.
- Features: $749, Medium Telephoto Lens, fast-aperture lens with image stabilization, VC (Vibration Compensation) system
+ Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Lens
- This was the first non-kit lens I purchased and it works perfectly, especially for the price point. It’s super lightweight and compact which makes it easy to carry.
- Features: $219.95, Silent Motor, Great in low light
I won’t really go in to specifics here, but I provided recommendations and links to the items I use everyday.
+ NEEWER 160 LED CN-160 Video Light
- I prefer video lighting over flash because I like how the light turns out in the photo so much more than a harsh flash. AND this guy is crazy affordable!
+ Sandisk Extreme Pro SD Cards
- For wedding days, I carry a range from 16, 32, 64 and 128 GB and have two copies of each size. I switch out the matching cards when I have completed a portion of each wedding day. For example, I will use my 16GB to shoot the reception since it is a shorter period of time and therefore needs less memory. I set my camera up to shoot my 2nd cart slot as my backup memory AND NOT overflow. Switching cards throughout the day makes it less likely that you will lose any portion of the photos.
- Protect Yo’ Cards…. and don’t lose them either!
+ Extra Nikon ONLY EN-EL15 Batteries and Chargers
- Don’t go the cheap route on batteries. They need to last you ALL WEDDING DAY!