Cameras and Lenses

Today, on the blog, I am so excited to be sharing some information for photographers about my three favorite lenses to photograph my clients (and other subjects) with!

When  I first began photography, I had a Canon Rebel T3i DSLR with a 17-55mm kit zoom lens. Y’all….this was not the greatest combination. But, of course….I thought I was pretty cool when I was first starting out! 🙂

I have since upgraded to the Canon 5D Mark III, with a Mark II as my back-up camera! I also have four trusty lenses that I shoot everything with, and I always bring these babies with me on the wedding day and to engagement sessions!

I love each of these lenses for different reasons, but if you notice, I don’t have zooms on my list of favorites! I am a prime lens girl, all the way! Don’t get me wrong, the 70-200mm 2.8L IS USM lens is a DREEEEAM, and I do have plans to one day add that to my camera bag! But, I love my primes because of the bokeh they produce; I can shoot super wide open, and they just are not as heavy!

The 50mm is super versatile, and I can shoot couples, bridal parties, details, ceremonies, receptions, dancing shots, families, and more with this lens! I can do nearly every single thing that I would need to do with it!

The 85mm is probably at the top of my list, and I also have plans to upgrade this one to 85mm 1.2L USM, but for now my 1.8 treats me just fine! I love this lens because of the bokeh and compression that comes along with the lens. I can photograph my clients closely…without being really close to them! Does that make sense?! I love to use this lens for engagement sessions as well because I can step back and just let my couple love on each other, flirt, and have fun without being in their face. Who loves to have a big hunk of camera in their face while kissing and whispering sweet nothin’s in each other’s ears? I’ll answer that for you…not a lot! Hahaha!

The 100mm is a great lens and versatile as well because not only can I use it to photograph gorgeous details, but I’ve also used it for portraits! Like the 85mm, this lens offers amazing bokeh and compression, and I can be super far away from my subject but still photograph them closely and fill up the frame! My favorite detail to photograph with the 100mm is always the ring! During engagement and anniversary sessions, as well as on the wedding day, I always make sure to have this lens with me so that I can capture that gorgeous bling!

I see a lot of posts online or in workshop settings where people are wondering what type of lens to get next, and the answer completely depends on what you’re shooting, your personal style, your budget, if you have a crop or full-frame body, and your needs! Some lenses are best for families, some lenses are a must for weddings…but at the end of the day, the only way to truly know is to try them out (you can rent from places like LensRentals.com and BorrowLenses.com) for yourself and just see what feels right! I hated that very first zoom lens I had! I added the 50mm 1.8 lens to my kit almost immediately after that and from that point on, I knew I was a prime girl! I knew I would always be a Nifty Fifty girl, and I can’t tell you how in love I am with the 50mm now! I pretty much consider that thing my third child! HAHA!

Stay tuned for more educational posts for photographers! I hope y’all have an amazing day!



Find the  right Camera

Deciding to buy a digital camera can be quite challenging. There are so many brands offering a wide range of cameras with numerous features. While this gives consumers a lot of choices, it can also make finding the "best" camera a daunting task. To make the decision-making process easier, a good approach is to consider some broad criteria when buying a new camera.


Now, if you are a photography enthusiast seeking more detailed information, I'm not certain if Expert Reviews will provide the level of detail you need. However, for regular travelers like myself, it is an excellent resource.


Another website that offers comprehensive reviews and buying guides is Digital Photography Review. They provide thorough evaluations and might offer even more detailed information than Expert Reviews.


If you want to compare two specific digital cameras directly, pxlmag.com/db is an excellent resource. It allows you to compare cameras side by side. Additionally, they have a "smart finder" page that lets you search for cameras based on specific features. You can select up to five cameras to compare simultaneously.


Something important to consider during your research is that different manufacturers often maintain consistency in their model branding. For example, my Lumix ZS20 was an update to the previous ZS10 model. Subsequently, newer versions have been released, the latest being the ZS200. Similarly, the Sony DSC-HX90V replaced the DSC-HX80V, and so on.


It might be tempting to assume that the latest model is always better, but that is not necessarily true. Even if a newer model offers improvements, the increased quality may not always justify the higher price. Additionally, older models may become more expensive as they are no longer discounted. The main point here is to conduct thorough research and familiarize yourself with the brands and model lines you prefer. Once you find a winner, it will be easier to check out the latest model in that series when you're ready to upgrade. And if you end up dissatisfied with your purchase, you'll have an idea of other options to consider.


Another aspect worth noting is that certain manufacturers use different branding for their camera lines in different countries. For instance, my Lumix ZS20 is also known as the TZ30 in some countries. Therefore, if you're using the Expert Reviews site, which is based in the UK, finding a review for a specific US model you're interested in might be challenging (although they often mention when a model is marketed differently). Similarly, if you receive a recommendation from a fellow traveler from a different region, the model name and number they provide might not be applicable in your home territory.


For instance, back in 2012, I considered a list of higher-end compact point-and-shoot cameras. While this list is from a few years ago, most of these brands and models are still available today (x represents a variable number that changes as models get updated).


Included in this list are some of the well-known brands in the industry (excluding Olympus). I have come across fellow travelers who are satisfied with each of these brands, depending on the model and personal experiences. This doesn't mean you should overlook others, but this list was comprehensive enough for my needs.


If you already have a limited list of brands you want to consider, a different approach would be to examine each brand's current models in detail. While Amazon is still a useful platform, you might find the manufacturers' product description pages to be even more valuable.


Throughout this discussion, we have assumed that a mobile phone camera is insufficient for your needs. This assumption is quite significant considering that today's smartphone cameras can rival, and sometimes even surpass, the quality of point-and-shoot cameras. Some smartphones even offer features typically found on DSLR models.


Many mobile phones now come with multiple lens cameras, allowing you to capture stunning shallow depth of field shots that traditional point-and-shoot cameras cannot achieve. Increased optical zoom is also becoming more common in smartphones. There are even lens kits available for purchase to extend the limited focal lengths of default smartphone cameras. If you're not yet ready to invest in a advanced mirrorless or DSLR digital camera and have been considering a point-and-shoot, upgrading your smartphone might be a more worthwhile use of your money.


Personally, I decided to purchase the Sony alpha a5100 as a replacement for my point-and-shoot camera. Although it's an older model, it still delivers excellent quality, and I found a great deal on a used one. Moreover, it is the smallest and lightest mirrorless camera I could find. I also invested in a prime lens, which is perfect for capturing portrait and close-up shots.


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