Choosing Equipment / What I Use:
Canon Rebel XSi (buy) – This was my first DSLR camera bought nearly 10 years and one that I have fond memories of. I used it exclusively for about 2 years before upgrading to the Canon Mark II 5D. The Canon Rebel is a great entry-level DSLR camera that I would highly recommend if you’re still using a point-and-shoot. The quality is amazing, it’s easy to use, and it’s a great value for your money. The current models even shoot video so it’s a big win in my book! The newer T3i models even include video with a screen that flips backwards — a great option to have if you need a video camera too.
Canon 5D Mark II (buy) – This is the camera I use 99% of the time now for cute & little. I upgraded to this camera after blogging for 1.5 years and wanted to try a camera with a full-frame sensor (read this for a basic run-down of full-frame vs. crop-frame differences if you’re interested). While it was quite a big investment, I have to admit that the different is beyond comparison and I just can’t go back to the Rebel for day-to-day pictures anymore. Canon actually released a newer 5D Mark III camera after I bought my model with additional features, so do look into that!
Sony NEX 5R (buy) – I don’t own this camera, but I know of a few bloggers who use it with great results (check out Christine’s beautiful blog pictures!). This camera has the form factor of a smaller point-and-shoot camera while still allowing you to interchange lenses like the bigger DSLR cameras. This is the kind of camera that I could have on my at all times — just as small/lightweight as a camera phone but creates results like that of a traditional DSLR.
=> Bottom line: I can’t recommend enough the benefit of investing in a DSLR camera! Being able to swap out a nicer lens will create an unbelievable improvement in picture quality that is worth the investment as you’ll learn to use it outside of the blog for just capturing your life’s moments as well.
Mefoto Travel Tripod (buy – I have the gold color) – When choosing a tripod, I look for one that is lightweight, portable, and easy to set up. I actually just upgraded to this tripod in January as my previous tripod wasn’t able to support the weight of my bigger camera lenses very well and was unstable in windy conditions. This Mefoto travel tripod is sturdy enough to support even heavy telephoto lenses yet still lightweight at only 2.6 lbs. Another feature I look for in tripods is a quick way to get my camera secured on and off. This Mefoto tripod has a quick-release plate and I just leave the plate screwed onto my camera so that when I’m ready to take pictures, it doesn’t take more than 5-6 seconds to get set up!
=> Bottom line: Find a tripod that’s versatile enough for all of your shooting needs and is easy to set up / tear down.
- Camera Lenses
50mm f1.8 lens (buy) – This was my first lens that I used for almost the first year of my blog. Dubbed as the “nifty fifty”, it’s an affordable lens that is also easy to work with. I actually sold this lens when I upgraded a couple years ago to the 50mm f1.4 lens but I would highly recommend this lens to those who are first starting out and just testing the waters.
50mm f1.4 lens (buy) – When I was starting to get the hang of DSLR photography, I sold my 50mm f1.8 and bought the 50mm f1.4 lens. This lens is significantly more expensive, but the quality is significantly better! Not only do you get crisper picture quality, but also a better bokeh. Here’s a great quick video comparing the 2 different 50mm lenses if you’re interested!
85mm f1.8 lens (buy) – I’m partial to fixed lenses and use this 85mm f1.8 for all of my outfit pictures. The 85mm f1.8 simply has the best depth-of-field results while still picking the correct object to focus on when using the remote. I personally started with the 50mm f1.8 lens and then moved on to the 50mm f1.4 lens, but neither of them compare with the 85mm f1.8 lens as far as background blur and photo quality is concerned. While the 85mm f1.8 lens requires a little more finesse as far as self-photography is concerned, the results are worth it!
60mm macro lens (buy) – I use the 60mm macro lens for all my beauty posts and occasionally for up-close detail photos of my outfits (although generally I just don’t time to switch lenses mid-shoot). The 60mm macro lens is also an incredible lens if you ever need to do close-up pictures that require clear focus of small details. I bought both of these lenses on Craigslist and I would recommend you set up a Craigslist alert (using something like NotiCraig) to find a deal!
28-75mm f2.8 lens (buy) – This lens is definitely not essential for my blog as I never use it for outfit pictures. But, for when I’m at blogging events or out in a crowded space, this is the lens I use. I bought a Tamron lens in this case as it had glowing reviews and cost only 1/4 of the comparable Canon. This lens is touted as the “King of the Walk-Around Lenses” and it definitely lives up to that name!
=> Bottom line: If you’re doing full-body outfit pictures, start with the 50mm f1.8 lens and work up to the 50mm f1.4 and the 85mm f1.8. If you’re doing closeup pictures and need lots of clear detail like for makeup/beauty, consider investing in a good macro lens like the 60mm.
- Camera Remote
Canon RC-6 Wireless Remote (buy) – Obviously you want to buy a remote that is compatible with your camera. For Canon camera users, I highly recommend this one! I love that it has a 2-second delay feature (in addition to a 0-second delay option), which lets me hit the trigger button and have a 2-second pause before snapping the photo. Those 2-seconds are just enough time for me to re-position my hand that’s holding the remote as well as set myself up to look more natural. You’ll want to find a remote with a decent enough range and at 16′, this one has worked well for me.
- Camera Storage
- Case Logic SLR Backpack (℅ – buy) – For the longest time I was just lugging around my DSLR camera in my purse and sometimes I would just have it sitting on backseat of my car (so unsafe, I know!). I finally decided that given all of my gear, I needed to have a better way to safely store and transport it. This Case Logic backpack has been absolutely wonderful and I love the fact that I easily access the camera without having to open the front flap all the way. The backpack style is also hands-free (perfect for a mom with her hands full) and is something that Adrian would be willing to wear too when we’re out on vacation.
Stay tuned for the next part in this self-photography series. I’m planning on covering different camera settings and what I find works best for me!
P.S. In case you missed it: