It’s no secret that I love photography. After experimenting for years and years with my equipment, techniques & ideas – it’s hard not to fall in love with it. But when you’re new to photography, it can be overwhelming. Lenses, tripods, lighting equipment – what does it all mean? What does it all do?
I know it’s mind-boggling trying to work it all out. I’ve experienced that feeling first hand. I often still get stumped with photos & shooting believe it or not! I’m no expert, but I love sharing what I think works for me in hope that at least one of you gets something out of my advice. So, if you’re interested in finding out what equipment I play around with at photo time, keep reading!
A question I often get asked is “What camera do you use?” Well, to answer all of you from the past (and probably future hehe) I have a Canon 60D! I don’t believe that Canon make this model anymore but they now have a 70D out with very similar qualities. My favourite thing about the Canon 60D is the LCD screen that is completely adjustable. Because the screen can flip around, I can shoot from both high and low angles – score!
Another question I am often asked after “what camera do you use” is “what camera should I buy?” This is really a question only you can answer. Different cameras have different features & it’s all a matter of figuring out what works for you. Whilst the body of your camera can help improve the quality of your photos, I believe that it takes more than that to be a great photographer. If you put your mind to it, practise endlessly, research and just enjoy taking photos – you will succeed.
Gees I love lenses. I get shivers just thinking about buying new ones. Ahhh.. the satisfaction.
Okay enough of the creepy writing and onto the lenses I own! Believe it or not but the lens I use for literally all of my Instagram & blog photos is the first lens I ever bought. For only approx $150, my Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM is hands down the best lens I own! I love working with prime lenses, they just create such crisp images that you can’t get from a zoom lens. If you don’t know what a prime lens is, it’s basically just a lens with a fixed focal length. So, unlike zoom lenses, you can’t zoom in and out on a prime lens.
Another favourite lens of mine is the Canon 85mm f/1.8 USM. With a fixed focal length of 85mm, I can’t use this for my flatlays because I’d be having to stand on top of the tallest ladder ever just to fit everything in the frame. Now that’s an OHS issue! I also own a zoom lens that I used to shoot with a lot when I was doing portrait photography – the Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS USM. I don’t reach for this one much for my Instagram or blog photos but it really is great for everyday situations & travel photography!
Mmmm onto my baby, my prized possession – my laptop. After spending thousands on different laptops over the years, I got sick of them breaking. Samsung, Toshiba, Lenovo are just a few of the brands that I’ve had run ins with over the last 6-7 years. Well, no longer do I have to deal with screens randomly not turning on, viruses taking over my laptop or Photoshop running extremely & painfully slow. All thanks to my Macbook Pro 15″ with Retina Display.
I bet you’re probably thinking “ummm how much did that cost?!” Well, from what I can remember it was around $3,100. Sounds like a lot, I know. But with the help of a very hefty tax return last year, I was finally able to splurge & gees I’m glad I did! I’m not going to bother going into specs because Google can do that for you. But, what I can tell you is that this laptop is the best I’ve ever owned. For real though, my Macbook is my baby.
Photoshop runs like an absolute dream on it & the images are just so freaking clean & sharp. If you’ve never seen a Macbook in real life then I highly suggest checking them out at your local electronics store. Shout out to my brother who almost had to force me into buying it & for hooking me up with Photoshop all the other nerdy things I can never work out. You da bomb.com!
If you’re busy all day and can only get around to taking snaps for Instagram & your blog at night, soft boxes will be your new best friend. I got mine from eBay for about $50 and they arrived within a week (I ordered within Australia). Everything in the kit came in a big canvas bag – perfect for easy storage & travelling. Here’s what came in my soft box kit: 2 x Tripod Stands, 2 x Soft Box Covers, 8 x Globes (each box takes 4 globes). They were super easy to set up too!
I love Bunnings (if you’re not from Australia, Bunnings is a hardware store). They just have everything in there! Of course my favourite purchase ever from Bunnings would be my big piece of Melamine that I use for my background in all of my photos. It’s basically just a big piece of white wood and it only cost me approx $19! The best bit about it? If I spill makeup on it or throw cocoa powder all over it for the perfect shot of my Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette, it’s easy to clean!
When I first started my Instagram account, I used a white foam board from Spotlight as my background. Over time, the heat from the sun warped the board and it was covered in makeup marks. That’s the beauty of melamine – it’s firm, doesn’t cast off any unusual colours and can be wiped clean with a wet cloth or makeup remover. Brand new again!
As I just mentioned, I previously used foam board from Spotlight for my backgrounds. However, when I realised that this wasn’t the best option for a background, I started using them for “reflectors”. You see, white bounces light. And that’s what you want if you’re aiming for nice, bright photos!
As I take my photos straight in front of a big window, I position my white boards to help bounce the light back onto the subject. I often post “behind the scenes” of my photoshoots over on my Snapchat so make sure you add me to get a sneak peek of how I have everything set up!
If the lighting in your house really isn’t that great and the white foam boards aren’t enough, I would suggest checking out a reflector. Or, if you’re super savvy and smart with your dollars, you could do a DIY job with a piece of cardboard covered in foil! However, you can usually find reflectors on eBay for about $15AUD.
My reflector is collapsible and has many different sides. The silver side is my most used side as it gives off such lovely, neutral light. There’s also a gold (for warmer shots) and a plain white diffuser. The diffuser isn’t so much for reflecting the light like the silver or gold sides. You would use this only if you need to actually diffuse the light. For example, if you were stuck shooting in the direct sunlight, you would hold the diffuser over the products to soften the harsh sun and not give you those terrible black shadows!
Well, that’s my photography equipment summed up to as short of a blog post as I could write. I could go on for hours about this stuff but hopefully you made it to the end! Leave me a comment below with what lenses, cameras or other equipment you use!