One of the questions I get asked the most is “what camera do you use?” And I usually just chuckle to myself, because I have owned the same camera for the past 8 years. It’s the same camera I worked all summer in a bagel shop in my hometown to save up for, and it has been through a lot. To be honest, I don’t even have a camera bag that I keep all of this gear in.
My main gear
I currently travel with a Canon 60D, which is one of their mid-range cameras. While this body isn’t the highest end, it does have better quality than Canon’s entry level DSLRs and what I think truly makes the difference is the lens. If you have the cash to splurge and you’re interested in photography as more than just a hobby, I’d recommend getting one of their full frame 5D bodies.
I only shoot with prime/fixed lenses. While some people think that not being able to zoom in and out restricts them, I’ve never felt as though this is the case. Prime lenses often have better quality glass, and typically open to a wider aperture. When you shoot at wide apertures (2.8, 1.8, 1.4…), your portraits and detail shots get a very beautiful blur in the background.
I pretty much always have my 28mm f/2.8 on my camera at all times. It’s the perfect all-around lens, and takes great portraits and landscapes. I’d say that 95% of the photographs you see on this blog were taken with this lens.
When I want to shoot specifically portraits or details, I will often switch to my 50mm f/1.8. It’s probably the cheapest prime lens out there and takes almost as good portraits as the more expensive 50mm f/1.4. The autofocus isn’t always the greatest, but it does the trick and some of my all time favorite photographs have been taken with this lens.
Some extras for fun
I used to only shoot film, and I just recently purchased an old Canon FTb from an estate sale! It came with a 50mm f/1.8 lens. While it isn’t as cheap and easy to get film developed as it used to be, you can definitely still find places to buy film and get it developed. I just scored 8 rolls of expired color film from a thrift store for 1 euro the other day! Digital may be easier, but there’s nothing like getting a freshly developed roll of film back from the lab.
Nothing can replace the classic old Polaroids, but the Fujifilm Instax Mini is just as fun to use. The film for this camera can be a bit pricey, so I usually just take it out when there’s an exceptionally good moment or landscape that I’d like to capture.
Editing is everything
I edit solely with Adobe Lightroom. I used to use Photoshop as well, but since I mostly just do color correction now Lightroom does everything I need. I have created a handful of my own presets and use them on almost all of my images to create a consistent look and feel. Since I often shoot in similar lighting (overcast 99% of the time), the presets work beautifully on everything I shoot.
For those just shooting on smart phones, VSCO and Snapseed are both good free editing applications.
While purchasing the best full-frame body and most expensive lenses out there can definitely help you create beautiful photographs, I don’t think photography depends on what you use but how you use it. If you learn how to work with light, create beautiful compositions and color correct properly, you can shoot stunning photographs on any camera.