What Gear do we use?

I’m going to list some of the gear we use with a few examples of images and why we chose the lens for this particular picture. I’d also like to mention a few things to you aspiring photographers, I get asked all of the time what should I spend my money on, the camera body or the lens? The answer is the LENS!! If you are just starting out I highly recommend the “Nifty 50” the 5omm f/1.4 not to be confused with its big brother the 50mm 1.2 L. Both lenses are prime (aka not a zoom lens). The nifty 50 will offer you the most bang for your buck, it runs around $400 and is a work horse!

I took this sweet pic (below) in our kitchen on a cloudy day.. LOL (I’m kidding it’s painful for me to post this!) I didn’t want one of our DSLR’s to feel left out. It kills me to use the auto setting  on anything


Canon 50mm f/1.4 – This is the lens I started out with, when I was just learning on my little Canon Rebel xti. The nifty 50 is the lens that I recommend for anyone starting out, it is crystal clear, fast (has a wide aperture or f-stop of f/1.4) and simple to use! Here is an example from my Canon 50mm f/1.4 shot on the Canon 5D  Mark III

Canon 50mm f/1.4 1/1600 sec

Canon 50mm f/1.4 1/1600 sec

Canon 85mm f/1.2 L – The lens I’ve been swooning over for two years. This lens makes a beautiful creamy bokah (the blurry background that you see in images and always say “How do they do that?!”) and is as sharp as they come. I feel that this is the best of all of Canon’s L series lenses. At $2,300 for me it was a great buy, but I suggest for those of you that are just starting out, the nifty 50 will do for now, and once you master the craft with the Canon 50mm f/1.4 and you have the cash go-for-it! Here is an example of an image I made with the Canon 85mm f/1.2 L. Once you are use to a prime lens the transition to the 85mm will be smooth, the only thing that has taken me a bit to get use to is that it feels pretty narrow even on my full frame Canon 5D Mark III body.

85mm f/2.8 ISO 160 1/100 sec

85mm f/2.8 ISO 160 1/100 sec

Canon 100mm f/2.8 L MACRO – Okay, so this smooth little number is my favorite as impractical as it may be compared to some of my other lenses for a portrait photographer. The term MACRO basically means you can take a picture super close up and have it be in focus, and if you like catching critter and documenting the details you really cannot live without this lens. The Canon 100mm f/2.8 L get an A+ in my book, I cannot believe I went so long without it, I personally find a reason to use this lens everyday. Here is an up-close and personal I captured with this lens. I understand now why that little word MACRO is so important!

MACRO 100mm ISO200 f/2.8 1/200 sec

MACRO 100mm ISO 200 f/2.8 1/200 sec

(these are all “prime” lenses meaning that they do not zoom, unless of course you call your legs a zoom which I do when it comes to theses guys)

Canon 16-24mm f/2.8 L Hello beautiful! This is a landscape photographer must, the wide-angle gives a full dramatic view, a full picture of the scene, much more like the live view from the human eye. We purchased the f/2.8, because I like a faster lens, but now that we have been using it a while I rarely open it up that wide and could have done well with the f/4 which is much cheaper (don’t tell my husband)

Canon 16-24mm 2.5 sec ISO 100 f/22 18mm

Canon 16-24mm 2.5 sec ISO 100 f/22 18mm

Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L So this was my third purchase when I became a professional, I bought the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L thinking that this was a “wide-angle” whoops, the 70-200mm is a big zoom. So then I purchased this one the 24-70mm, my mentor said that this was a must have in my bag. I will say that I have used it a bunch, but I’m not in love with it. Maybe it’s just me but I feel like when I use this lens there is a little magic missing…

Canon 24-70mm ISO 200 f/2.8 1/125 sec

Canon 24-70mm ISO 200 f/2.8 1/125 sec

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L Top used portrait lens in my bag, has been and will be. This lens gives me the magic I’m looking for and has great compression (I will explain compression in a later post). If you are one that doesn’t feel comfortable in someone’s face, getting that perfect shot, this is a great lens. Her is a sample below.

1/250 sec f/2.8 73mm ISO125

Canon 70-200mm 1/250 sec f/2.8 73mm ISO 125

Canon 6D This is the camera body that is in Robb’s bag. He use to be a Nikon guy, but before we got married I made him make the switch, Canon vs. Nikon is like a religion in this house!

Canon SPEEDLITE 580EX II So I rarely use this, but when I do I really needed it. I try to avoid using the speed light because it will give your images a much harsher look, and as a portrait photographer isn’t all that flattering.

If you have any questions I’d love to help. There is so much that I wish I would have asked before I started buying gear!!

The First Mate of Miss Lone Star

The First Mate of Miss Lone Star


7 thoughts on “What Gear do we use?

  1. I recently switched from Nikon to Canon. The 50mm on my Nikon was my “baby” 🙂 I would usually take up to three lenses with my Nikon on my travels. The 5D though is much heavier, so I’m happy with every extra kilo I don’t have to carry around. Your posts helps me a lot narrowing down the options. The macro shot looks absolutely amazing. I should get one myself! 😉 Thanks for sharing!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! I read it over with my husband because I am working to teach him about photography. This was very helpful especially because the sample images really illustrated what the lenses produce. I respond best to visual. Thank you for the post. I dont have any zoom lenses because I cannot afford them 😦 and I shoot with two lenses: a 20mm and a 50mm 1.4. Sometimes I wish I had zoom. Which would you recommend as a first zoom lens given my kit?


    • The best zoom for a portrait photographer is the canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L. I used this for two years almost exclusively while I was building my business. If you are looking to shoot wildlife Tamron has a great lens out (my next purchase) 150-600mm f/4. It runs around $1200, which is almost the same price as the Canon 70-200mm if you buy the first series which I have and love.

      Liked by 1 person

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