What is in my camera bag? I figured I should chat about one of my most frequently asked topics in DM’s – what camera gear do I use and what do I recommend?
Truthfully, I have a secret love for “What’s in My Bag” blog posts and YouTube videos. It is always so fun to me to listen to my favorite creators speak about the tools they use, why this lens is their favorite, what they use for editing, and all the in’s and outs of creation. If you are like me and love camera gear talk, this is the blog post for you!
I want to preface this post by reminding you that equipment DOES NOT equal talent. I firmly believe that you can create beautiful images with nearly any equipment that is out there. Some of my favorite creators photograph exclusively with an iPhone or what some may consider ‘entry-level’ equipment. The talent and magic lies behind the lens, within you friend!
Links in this article are affiliate links, meaning if you purchase something from a link I share here, I will receive a small commission from your purchase. Affiliate links help support my content creation and don’t cost you any extra! For ordering convenience purposes, the links I provide are from Amazon, however, if you have a local camera shop, PLEASE, consider making your purchase there and supporting your local community! I absolutely LOVE the people at my local camera shop – they are a fountain of knowledge, incredibly friendly, and it is a way to connect with other individuals that may be a resource if you have questions or concerns or want to chat “hands-on” with someone.
I dove into the mirrorless camera pond in early 2021 and I have no regrets. I previously shot with a Canon 6D Mark II and truthfully this upgrade wasn’t a true necessity, but I am happy with my investment and the influence of two very special photography friends that recommended I look into a mirrorless camera. I have always shot on Canon (like literally since 2002 when I had a Canon film camera in high school) and it was generally a very easy switch to get used to. I love the eye auto-focus that practically guarantees sharp images even when shooting wide open. I love that it is pretty lightweight for a full-frame, dual card slot camera. Literally, zero complaints, not even about the electronic viewfinder, that I was very skeptical of even after purchasing. BONUS: It is more than capable of handling any needs I have for short video footage.
You can check out the Canon EOS R6 here
I initially purchased the EF to RF adaptor to use my previously purchased lenses with my new camera, but quickly realized that I was missing out on one aspect that I initially purchased my camera for – a lighter/smaller setup. I traded in my EF lenses for similar Canon RF lenses and it was a great decision.
My ride-or-die lens is the 35mm F1.8. I love this little lens so much. It is on my camera probably 85% of the time and whenever someone asks what lens they should get, this is my immediate answer. It works great for the way I like to shoot – close up and in tight spaces. Our home is an average-sized home, and I just can’t get away from my subject enough to use anything else when we are indoors. And when I’m shooting outdoors, I love being right up close to the girls so I can tickle or play along with them and snap photos unobtrusively while were are living life. I use the 50mm and 85mm occasionally, but truthfully, I think if they left my camera bag, I wouldn’t even notice LOL.
The 50mm is usually on my camera when I’m shooting product stills. It is a great lens (and a great buy!), super low profile, and many photographers would deem this their favorite focal length. If the 35mm isn’t right for you, then try the 50mm!
The 85mm lens is totally dreamy for portraits, but I don’t do a lot of portrait sessions, so it just doesn’t get a lot of love from me right now. I will occasionally pull this out when photographing the girls, but honestly, I have to be a good distance away from them while using this lens, and I’m not certain I trust them enough to be out of my arm’s reach.
You can check out the Canon RF 35mm F1.8 here
You can check out the Canon RF 50mm F1.8 here
You can check out the Canon RF 85mm F2 here
I have a tripod for self-portraits, self-shot family photos, and photos with the girls when Matt isn’t around to serve as my second shooter. I have a Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod that gets the job done. It is light but sturdy, has an attachment for a phone, and priced really well!
Check out my tripod here
I use a Rode VideoMicro microphone for audio recording on camera. I can definitely tell a difference in the audio that is recorded via this microphone versus the in-camera microphone, but truthfully, I rarely use this. File this under ‘nice to have but mostly unnecessary’ unless you’re recording a lot of video content that has accompanying audio instead of voice-over audio. For voice-over audio, I just use the voice memo app on my iPhone.
Check out my microphone here
All my camera goodies live in my Brevite Jumper backpack. Do you know how Instagram reads your mind sometimes? This was one of those times. A targeted ad for the Brevite jumper showed up on my feed and I snatched that sucker up before I had a chance to forget the name of the company that I saw while scrolling (don’t you hate when that happens?!?). It has plenty of room for my gear, is well padded, has great compartmentalization, and doesn’t scream “I’M A CAMERA BAG”.
Check out my bag here
Friends, this is a complicated question, but I’m going to try to answer it as concisely and broadly as I can. If you ever have specific photography gear questions, please do not hesitate to reach out via instagram direct messages. I love to chat gear! I’m not an expert on all the photography things, but I have watched enough YouTube and worked my way through Canon’s line to make some solid recommendations. For reference, here is my camera bodies progression: Canon Rebel T3i (2011-2019), Canon 6D Mark II (2019-2021), and Canon R6 (current).
I generally recommend in two categories: family purposes with under $1K budget and experienced photographer “level up” with $1-2K budget.
Because I am most familiar with Canon, I am partial to recommending Canon’s Rebel line for a family camera recommendation. They are user-friendly, good quality, and overall a great place to start. I personally prefer an articulating LCD for ease of shooting in weird angles, but that might just be because that is always what I have used. The Canon Rebel SL3 is very similar to what I started with. I would pair this camera with the Canon EF 24mm f2.8 lens (here) because it photographs very similarly to my current setup. Many photographers would recommend pairing this crop-sensor camera with the Canon nifty-fifty (EF 50mm f1.8), but I would avoid this combo if you intend to photograph indoors and your rooms are not fairly large. I was not able to move back away from my subject enough with a 50mm lens on a crop-sensor camera.
If you have an entry-level DSLR and feel like you’re ready to take another step and upgrade your gear, my vote is to make the jump into full-frame mirrorless! The Canon RP (here) is part of Canon’s amazing mirrorless line-up and pretty much checks all the boxes when you are looking to upgrade from a crop-sensor DSLR camera. Assuming you’ve already been shooting with Canon, you can use the EF to RF adaptor (here) to adapt your current lenses to the new RF lens mount. If you’re wanting to go ahead and grab an RF mount lens (or two), I would say grab either the RF 50mm (here) or RF 35mm (here) that I have in my camera stash!
I know I sound like a Canon rep here, but I just really love their products. If you’re not a Canon shooter, there are amazing options for Nikon and Sony as well!
I hope this was helpful and maybe saves you a teensy bit of time from watching hours and hours of YouTube videos like I did when trying to decide what camera to get. Be sure to follow me on Instagram and watch for my Photo Tip Friday series, where I share weekly tips on how to capture meaningful photos of your everyday family life.
Visit my family favorites page to check out my ongoing list of photography must-haves and be sure to keep an eye out for my Lightroom presets to be released soon!
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