FAQ: gear and wishlists

Well hello there everybody! 🙂 
So I figured I’d start my new FAQ series with a relatively simple, post about my gear. I have a lot more questions I need to address from people (which I will get to, I promise!) – but I feel like this one will take long enough that perhaps this should be all I discuss in this particular post. 🙂 Sound good? Good! 🙂 
Laura asked, “I would love to know if you have a favorite camera, lens, detachable flash… and where you like to buy from.” 
I feel like I should start this off by saying that I’ve had three different cameras over the course of my ‘photography life’. When I first started in photography, the school I was attending required that we get a medium format film camera – more specifically – a Mamiya 645 with an 80mm f/2.8 lens. (Yes, I went to school for photography before the digital age had taken over… which is kind of crazy when I look back on it… but more on that at a later time.) 
Here are a couple samples of photos I took with that camera:

Then, a year into the photography program, my school decided they would allow us to have digital cameras – so everybody went out and snatched one up as soon as they could. (Because, let’s face it, it was much easier & cheaper to shoot digital for a project than to shoot film – which required spending the time & money to get it developed… scanning it into the computer and then reviewing the photos.) 
So out I went to buy a digital camera… The problem at the time was that I was broke (hello – I was a college student) and I had already spent a hefty amount of money on my Mamiya film camera. So – I did the best I could with what I had and bought a Canon 20D. (Which, at the time, was about twice the price it is now – which is a LOT of money for a college student to drop at once if you ask me.)
Anyway – that lovely little camera along with the 50mm f/1.4 lens I bought to go with it (which is a fabulous starter lens at a totally reasonable price, by the way) worked great for me. I shot many-a-photo with that camera, including my first 3 or 4 weddings (which is crazy to think about now!) I actually still have it… and it still works! Anyway – here are some photos I took with that bad boy:

Then – when I was starting to shoot sessions and weddings more and more regularly – I saved every penny from each session to buy the next thing on my ‘wish list’… which first and foremost included a Canon 5d Mark II (which I am completely in love with, to this day). All the photos you see on my blog for the most part were taken with that camera. 
As time went on I added a few more lenses to my line up:
Canon 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens (James bought me this lens for my birthday when we first started dating and I had just booked my first wedding. I needed something besides just my 50mm for ceremonies and this did the job at the time. Although, now I rarely use it unless I need a wider angle lens… because it’s a bit slow for my liking, and I prefer a much lower f stop.)
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS Lens (This guy is perfect for detail shots at weddings, especially rings… and it also doubles as a great portrait lens!)
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II Lens (This lens is sooo smooth and great for getting close up ceremony shots without getting in the way & for capturing candids of people from a distance without them having a clue they’re being photographed… 🙂 )
**To address Laura’s question – as far as flashes go – I don’t ever use flash unless it is ABSOLUTELY necessary (i.e. dimly lit wedding receptions) and in that case I use a Canon Speedlite 580 EX II
And since I feel like this next question fits right in with the theme of ‘gear’ – I figured I’d included it. 
Krystal asked, “I’m curious what’s on your wish list for your business!” So here we go…
Canon 35mm f/1.4L Lens (a fabulous wider angle lens than the 50mm, but without the distortion of the 24mm. I’d love this to get a new perspective on things!)
Canon 50mm f/1.2L Lens (I know I already have the 1.4 – but I love that one so much that I can only imagine how much I would love.love.love this one! I can’t wait to upgrade since the 50mm is definitely my go-to lens for almost everything.) 
Canon 45mm f/2.8 Tilt/Shift Lens (oh this lens takes such pretty images… I love the selective focus and the soft finish. I’m definitely renting this one to take with me to the wedding in Mexico in a couple of weeks!) 🙂 
Canon 24mm f/1.4L II Lens (love this lens for the occasional wider angle ceremony shot and for  dancing photos at wedding receptions like this one I took with a rental lens…)
How does all this mumbo-jumbo of information make any sense for someone starting out in the business? Well, for those of you looking to get into the industry and who are just starting their business – I would definitely suggest getting a camera body that allows you to get nice quality lenses so that when you upgrade your camera, your lenses can go right along with you! (Since I’m a Canon lady myself, I would suggest starting out with the Canon 60D or any version of this camera you can afford… since it will give you a wider lens selection – full of quality lenses that can move up with you as your business grows! Of course Nikon has equally amazing gear… but I just happened to start out with Canon and loved it, so that’s what I’ve stuck with. I’m only speaking from my experience here… not trying to start a Canon vs. Nikon discussion. haha) 
**Also – I always suggest buying the camera body and the lenses separate. Do not buy the kit lenses that come with your camera that they try to sell you! Instead, invest in a higher quality lens right from the get go… which doesn’t have to mean super expensive. You can get something reasonable – as I mentioned before… like the 50mm f/1.4 that will work wonders for you! 🙂 It’s important to remember that no matter how expensive or wonderful of a camera you get – it is still only as good as the person behind the camera! So even if you can’t afford much – you can take amazing photos with whatever it is you have at your disposal if you practice – practice – practice. Seriously. 
Okay – so now I’ve talked WAY longer than I had meant to. But hopefully this helped those of you who are interested in this stuff and wanted to know more! Feel free to email me or post in the comments or on my facebook page with any questions you may have about anything I talked about – or any new things you’d like to know for a future FAQ post! 😉 

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Christy & James are Chicago based but happily travel anywhere in the world that beautiful love stories take them!