I want to start off by saying this: your gear does not limit what you can create. Now, lemme repeat that for the kids in the back. YOUR GEAR DOES NOT LIMIT WHAT YOU CAN CREATE! Having the newest, shiniest, most expensive gear is NOT what is most important! What is most important is your creativity and how you can maximize what you can do with what you have.
For years, I shot on a Canon Rebel T3i, then a Canon Rebel T6s, both with the stock lenses. And plenty of my photos in my portfolio were made with those. Can you tell me which ones? Yeah, I didn't think so. It's all about determination and being willing to try and try until you get what you want. Having the "best" gear is meaningless if you don't know how to use it, so no matter what, I recommend really learning your equipment.
Now that that's out of the way, let's dive in on what my favorite daily-use gear is. In this little TedTalk today, I'm going to tell you about my favorite camera body, on-location lens, and in-studio lens. These first 3 items are my LIFE SAVERS! Bonus points at the end for extra accessories that I can't live without. These are just my personal favorites! Remember, there are always cheaper versions of things out there, too! Don't be afraid to shop used or refurbished! I do!
Canon 5D Mark IV
Yes, it's expensive. And no, you don't need it. But here is why I love it! Some unique features that this camera has are the touch screen, WiFi connect and autofocus on video. I was honestly shocked when I found out that not all DSLRs autofocus on video. It just seems wrong to me. Now, I don't do video work a lot, but I do use it for class projects, so this might be a perk you like.
I am obsessed with the touch screen. I used to hate shooting in Live mode. I almost exclusively use the viewfinder when it comes to weddings and studio work, but LOVE the Live Mode when doing on-location portraits and still lifes. You can click on the desired subject, and it refocuses and tracks that item! Super helpful for the moments when I'm not tall enough or don't want to have my face to the ground.
Now the WiFi is my favorite! I love using it when shooting astrophotography! My tripod is flimsy AF and picks up any sort of movement, so I use the WiFi mode as a wireless shutter release. It also lets you preview your shot! I am also incredibly impatient, so I love downloading a few shots straight to my phone if I know I won't be able to get home to look at images right away. It just makes my heart happy!
Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art
All about those moody bokeh vibes? Love having that shallow depth of field look? This is the lens for you. I honestly don't even have words because this lens is perfection. Perfect for portraits, still lifes, landscapes, and well, everything else too. If you have any questions about this lens, just ask in the comments below. Otherwise, I will literally go on about it for hours.
They also have mounts for just about every camera body, so even if you don't use Canon, you can likely use this lens!
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
Holy compression. If you want the mountains to look MASSIVE behind your subject, ugh. This lens is perfect! It's also an excellent lens for events (specifically weddings! I love capturing moments with this lens!
I know that this is a pricier item, but it is definitely worth splurging for this aperture! It makes a huge difference compared to the f/4. Definitely save up for this if you can!
Other than my camera and lenses, this is my MOST IMPORTANT item! I have a basic silver and white reflector that I take everywhere. It is my child. These are super easy, but if you don't want to dish out the cast, check out Home Depot or Lowes for simple DIY options!
I literally cannot live without these two straps from PeakDesigns. If you know me at all, you know that I am hands-down the most clumsy person you will probably ever meet. When I went to Bali earlier this year, I fell into the ocean twice, a river like 4 times, and then just in general like 40 times. Every time, the camera was saved by these fantastic straps. I owe them my life or the blood of my firstborn or something. They are just that good.
Backpack & Bags
Alright, I'll be honest. These bags aren't necessarily the most practical all of the time. They can be really bulky, heavy, and hot. But I am so in love with the way they look that it has made it totally worth it for me. They have hidden pockets EVERYWHERE and can be used to hold just about everything, not only camera gear. Not to mention, I'm that nerd that has the matching wallet. This brand is incredible from us girly photographers and senior sessions, but may not be as practical if you are hiking out into the woods.
Great. I went and bought another matching bag while finding the link to these. Typical. Anyways, they have a lot of great, colorful options! My favorite just happens to be moss-colored! Pro-tip: Ladies! I've heard you can also use these as a diaper bag!
Alright, these probably won't include links because I'm lazy, but here are some honorable mentions!
I lose EVERYTHING! So I always have a case for all of my SD/CF memory cards! A pro tip I learned this summer is when you are grabbing a new card if you haven't had a chance to back up old things, flip the old card face down in the case, so you know it has stuff on it!
I also always have extra batteries, extra lens caps, and a quarter. I know. A quarter? I can't even tell you all the uses this has! My favorite two applications are to get those pesky mounts off of your camera after using a tripod and for getting a piece of bubblegum out of unsuspecting gum machines, though I'll let you find your own uses!
Anywho! Hope this post helped you out! If you have any questions about my gear, please feel free to comment below or reach out to me!