Beginnings | Equipment Isn't Everything

Maybe you have heard this before, maybe you haven’t, but it is genuinely true. When it comes to shooting and wanting to be a better photographer, better equipment is not what is going to make clients fall from the sky and your pictures look like they are likely made of pearls with a touch of unicorn horn dust and peacock feathers. What you need is to learn how to take better photos.

However, without my equipment I would not have been able to shoot what I wanted the way I wanted. Thus, here is the story of my equipment (which is still not everything).

Canon Rebel XTi
The first professional level camera I purchased was a Canon Rebel XTi. It allowed me to change out lenses and shoot much higher quality photos than my point and shoot would have allowed me. That was April of 2008. This is now my back-up body.

Canon 50mm f/1.8
A couple months later, I bought myself a Canon 50mm f/1.8. This pair was like a match made in heaven. They were the bread and butter of what I was shooting. This equipment allowed me to shoot professional looking photos in low light situations and also give me those buttery little blurry backgrounds that everyone loves and every budding photographer wants. This lens has since deceased… like broke in half deceased. It lasted me until November of 2011.

Taken with the Canon Rebel XTi and the Canon 50mm f/1.8.

Sigma 20mm f/1.8
Come April of 2009, I purchased myself another lens. My goal was to get a lens that was super wide, like bending horizons, distorted faces wide. It was something fun that I purchased for myself. That was the Sigma 20mm f/1.8. In my naivety, the lens did not give the wide look that I was going for. She became a new favorite after a while though because it was sharper than my 50mm, giving me a wider look and still being able to shoot in low light settings.

Taken with the Canon Rebel XTi and the Sigma 20mm f/1.8.

Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8
While I fell in love with the look and capability provided by lenses in the f/1.8 range, I knew I needed something with a zoom so I could shoot weddings from the back of the aisle, and my kit 18-55mm was just not going to cut it. So I made the purchase of a Sigma 50-150 f/2.8. I have only used this lens for weddings and nothing else, and am so glad that I have it. This was purchased around the Spring of 2010.

Canon 5D Mark II
This is a body that I have been wanting for, like, ever. Oh man. It’s clear, it’s sharp, it picks up colors that are like “bygollygeewhiz can I have that for desert?” It’s just fantastic, and I have been pining for it ever since I learned what it was, and now I finally have it. It will allow me to give people the images that I think they deserve. I purchased her in November 2011.

Canon 50mm f/1.4
This is the lens I bought to replace the 50mm f/1.8. It is an all-around better lens, focusing quicker and producing sharper images than the 1.8. I chose it over the Canon 50mm f/1.2 not only because it was about $1100 cheaper, because after it was all said and done, the benefits of the f/1.2 did not outway the cost. This one was purchased in November 2011.

Taken with the Canon 5D MKII and the Canon 50mm f/1.4

Additionally, I was given a Canon 420EX flash. I only use it at wedding receptions when it is absolutely necessary, popping a diffuser on the top of it to cut down on harsh shadows.

There you have it, a general equipment overview. Before you go out and buy everything on this list, there is something that you should know. Figuring out which equipment I bought was not a flippant decision. Google and resources like were my best friends.

Note, I have been shooting with the same equipment for almost three years and have come a very, very long way. Expect more insights in the next few weeks. Consider this your RWP Christmas gift. Woot!