Photographers use all kinds of equipment, and being in the field of portrait photography, I’ve come across plenty of different kinds of gear that people use. It can definitely be a difficult decision, trying to decide what to start with, especially if you’re starting out. When I first started, I had a starter hobby camera and stock lens, which helped me become familiar with manual photography and settings – and the best part is, it was all within my means at the time. I’ve only upgraded my equipment when I felt like I really needed something that wasn’t offered with my current gear, or the gear wasn’t performing well and it was time to upgrade. While this may be different for everyone, I’ve learned that you don’t need to spend $5000 to take a great photo! But, it’s important to know how to use your current gear well and how to use it to your advantage. Great gear will help you achieve great photos, but YOU get to take that great photo and use your imagination with whatever gear you’ve got.
So, I’ve decided to share what’s in my bag! I’ll be sure to update this post as I upgrade my equipment. If you have any questions about my gear, feel free to drop a comment below and I’ll let you know my thoughts!
So. What gear is in my bag?
- Canon 80D – I absolutely love this camera body. This upgraded crop-sensor offers tons of features for hobby photographers, amateurs, and those getting into more pro-level photography. It performs well at higher ISO settings, focuses well with its 45-point AF system, and has a touch screen for quick navigation and setting changes. I currently use this as my main body for portrait photography, and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a well-priced camera body that performs well in its class.
You’ll notice that my two favorite lenses to shoot with currently are prime lenses, which mean they have a fixed focal length. Other lenses that are highly recommended are the 70-200mm, and 24-70mm lenses, which are not listed below but are very common in this field of photography.
- Sigma 35mm 1.4 ART DG HSM lens – This lens offers a more traditional focal length (keep in mind, this is being used on my crop sensor body, so there’s a 1.6x crop factor (it’s like a 56mm view on a full frame body), which allows me to capture groups of people or more of the subject, while staying close to them and interacting closely with them. This is great for shooting with families, couples, and individual portraits. The lens is incredibly sharp and it consistently provides excellent results. Sigma creates this lens with mounts for other brands as well, such as if you have a Nikon or Sony camera body.
- Canon 85mm 1.8 USM – This is a medium telephoto fixed lens that I also enjoy shooting with. It’s fast, sharp, and frankly, an excellent lens for the price. There are other variations of this lens, like the 1.2L and 1.4, however, I’m currently enjoying the compression that this lens offers. It creates beautiful bokeh (light circles/background blur), intense colors, creates a nice soft effect, and focuses quickly on the subject. Because of the focal length, I tend to use this primarily outdoors, when I can back up a bit from the subject. I highly recommend this for beginners, amateurs, and just as a handy lens to have in your bag!
- Tamron 17-50mm 2.8 XR Di II VC lens – This is another budget lens that I have in my bag. It’s an upgrade from the standard kit lens, considering its 2.8 aperture range, allowing for quick shots, background blur, and a wide range (especially at 17mm!). The VC feature is useful for video and for photography in darker situations when I’m handheld and need additional assistance to capture the moment without risking the blur. While I don’t use this lens as often, it still makes for a great lens to have in the bag!
Wide angle photo captured with the Tamron 17-50mm lens
- Neewer NW-670 TTL Flash Speedlite – Last year, I had a photo opportunity that was going to take place in a darker room. I needed some artificial lighting to help compensate for the dark room. After reading several reviews praising this alternative to the Canon speedlites, I purchased this flash, which currently goes on Amazon for just $49.99 at the time of this writing. It has worked well for me, and paired with my wireless trigger, I’ve been able to add some artificial lighting in many scenarios where lighting was tricky.
Hopefully this guide is helpful for you! I will continue to add my portrait gear to this page. I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback. What kind of gear do you use currently? I’d love to know! Let me know in the comments below.