I love taking photos – it’s the biggest thing that writing this blog has brought me; I have so many captured memories of our family life and our boys growing up. I’m often asked what photography kit I use, so I thought it would be useful to share it with you here.
Camera and Lenses
I got my Canon 700d nearly 2 years ago for my birthday and it’s been a wonderful entry level DSLR to learn on. I started shooting with it on Aperture Priority mode, and finally made the move to manual a couple of months ago, and I’ve loved the world of possibilities and increased control that have opened to me since making the switch. It’s a cropped sensor camera rather than a full frame camera, which means that you can’t fit as much in the frame, and the light sensitivity isn’t quite as good as more expensive cameras, but it’s been perfect for my needs and a great camera to learn with. I am currently eyeing up a full frame camera though!
Canon 50mm 1.8
Like most photographers, my first lens was the nifty fifty Canon 50mm 1.8 and I absolutely love it. It was the first lens I had which could really achieve the depth of field to allow you to get that blurry background and bokeh. I do find that it’s quite zoomed in on a cropped sensor camera, and as my son never liked to venture too far from me, I needed to invest in a wider angle lens as well, especially for taking photos indoors.
Sigma 17-50mm 2.8
I got the Sigma 17-50mm for my birthday last year and I’ve loved it. Ideally I would have got a lens with a lower aperture, but the cost was just too much to consider. I love this for taking on a day out as with the zoom you know that it gives you options. It doesn’t have the depth of field that I often want though, so I know that we’re heading to a spot where I’m likely to take some lovely portraits of my boys, I’ll usually take the 50mm 1.8 instead.
Tripods and Remote Shutters
The Gorillapod was my first tripod and I bought it specifically for taking our monthly family photos. Each month we take a photo of our family all together as part of the Me and Mine Family Photo Project, and it’s one that I love taking part in. Not every month is a winning photo, but I love that it encourages us to get out and take one every single month. The gorillapod is a great option as it’s so small that you can just chuck it in your bag and it takes up hardly any space on a day out. You can use the bendable legs to attach it to anything you like – a bench, a tree branch – or just stand it on the ground. We usually opted for the ground, which did lead to lots of photos of us all crouched on the ground. Which is why I then invested in the…
Velbon VEX640 Tripod Stand
This was a really reasonably priced option for us and it’s served us really well. It’s lightweight and compact, and comes with a bag, so you can sling it over your shoulder to take with you on a day out. My one word of warning is be careful about what you do with the ‘shoe’ that attaches your camera to the tripod! It’s so tempting to leave the shoe on the camera after using it, and that’s exactly how we’ve lost ours multiple times. Thankfully you can buy replacement shoes from Amazon.
We did have a Polaroid wireless remote shutter initially, but I found it didn’t work consistently, so now we use a wired remote shutter. It does mean running back and forth after setting the timer, but this is the best part of taking our family photos in Max’s view, and probably the main reason why he’s always smiling in them!
I love my Jo Totes Camera Bag! I’m probably guilty of just popping my camera in my handbag far too often which I know is bad, but those horrible camera bags that come with your camera are so bulky and ugly that carrying it around is a really unattractive option. Jo Totes bags look like normal handbags, and I have a reasonably compact one that will fit in my camera and one spare lens. Unfortunately it’s not the best option when you also need to carry around a huge baby changing bag as well, so I can’t wait until we’re at a stage again where I can just pop a few nappies and a bag of wipes in the bag and start taking the Jo Totes bag out with me again.
Clickin Moms is an online community of photographers, all focused on capturing their families through photos. It’s been an absolutely amazing resource for me. I started by just purchasing a few breakouts, which tend to cost between $25-$60, but a couple of months ago I invested in a full membership, as I was finding the advice so invaluable. Membership gives you access to the forum, where you can pose questions to the wonderfully knowledgeable community, and I’ve learned so much already.
This was a recent purchase for me and I devoured it. Produced by the founder of Clickin Moms and with input from some of their most highly regarded photographers, it’s a collection short focused tips, paired with beautiful photos, all of which give you the settings and camera used to capture them. It’s been a wonderful read alongside moving to manual, as it’s opened my eyes up to the flexibility that manual settings give you and how you can use that to create your artistic vision.
I bought this book a few years ago and it’s one that I still return to. It’s not a technical book at all, but one that aims to inspire you to take better photos of your family. It’s a book that will make you want to pick up your camera immediately and start taking photos.
My husband bought me this book a few years back on the recommendation of some photographer friends. But it’s only recently that I’ve attempted to get my head around it. I’m not the most technically minded person and the exposure triangle seemed overwhelming when I first read about it. I think I did need that time shooting on Aperture Priority before trying to attempt shooting on manual. It does lay out the exposure triangle really clearly for anyone looking to move to manual and I’d really recommend it.
A backdrop is every blogger’s friend! For a while I used my own handmade ones, where I’d used marble contact paper on a foam board, or wallpaper samples, but last year I bought 2 from Capture By Lucy and they’re so much easier to use. They roll up lovely and tight and fit in a tube so take up very little space when not in use, and they’re completely wipeable in case of spills. Lucy has such a lovely range and is always bringing out new textures.
Lightroom & Photoshop
I finally took the plunge and paid for Lightroom and Photoshop last November, and it’s been transformational for me. I’m slowly starting to learn how I like to edit my photos and the huge difference that can be made to a photo in editing to achieve your artistic vision. It was definitely a leap to sign up for a regular monthly subscription, but one that I think has been well worth every penny.
I hope this has been useful. Is there a must-have accessory you use that I’m missing? Do drop me a comment and let me know!