Easily, the number one question I get is, “What camera do you use?” Most likely followed by, “What is your favorite lens?” So, here is the low down of photography gear that I use and what has worked best for me as a mom and a beginner photographer. This list reflects the actual gear I use regularly and the order I acquired it in as I progressed through my photography journey. I have added affiliate links to the products as a resource to you. The prices for your items do not change, my reviews remain honest, and the commissions I receive help support our family and this website.
This is a basic, entry level DSLR that is perfect for any parent who just wants better pictures than their cell phone or point and shoot can offer. It also is a great camera to learn on. You can sit happily in automatic mode for two years, like I did, and get great images. When you’re finally ready to make the jump and start learning more about photography, this camera will allow you to do that. The current model of the Rebel series is actually the t6i. My model is a bit outdated, but still alive and kickin.
Now, if you have aspirations of starting a photography business or doing professional level work, I would say this isn’t the camera for you. Go with a full frame camera, like the Canon 6D or Canon 5D Mark IV. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself discouraged and in need of an upgrade very soon.
The next piece of equipment I picked up was this manual bounce flash. I lived in Oregon at the time, so we are talking about lots of low light photography, and I did most of my shooting in my apartment. The lens that came with my camera body wasn’t quite up to the challenge. There is a flash on the Rebel cameras, but using the built-in flash on any camera will not do your photos much justice. This bounce flash was an inexpensive and simple piece of equipment that made a big impact on my indoor photography. Now, I know that we all love natural light photography, but right out the gate, this truly was a good upgrade that taught me a lot about directional light. I would definitely suggest it if you do a lot of photography indoors.
This. This is gold. It is basically the only lens I use. I haven’t invested much in glass because I am hobbyist photographer and can’t justify dropping that kind of money on a camera equipment. I would recommend this lens to any beginner photographer, even if you are just shooting in automatic. It is a prime lens, which means no zoom. This is to your advantage because it is a faster lens and you learn your angles. This lens is able to work in lower lighting conditions and makes a massive difference in your images. It is sharp and beautiful and took my amateur photography to the next level. I am telling you, as a beginner or hobbyist photographer this is the best upgrade for the price you will ever make. I cannot recommend this lens enough.
If you have a camera model that doesn’t already have wifi built-in, a Wi-Fi card will allow you to transfer images from your camera to your phone via an app. I mostly use this when I am traveling and want to share images on the fly.
I actually picked this affordable reflector up because I was doing a high school senior’s photos. I love deep shadows and contrast, but for this shoot, I wanted things to look light and young. This reflector did the trick. It has four different reflection options, as it is reversible, and casts a nice, soft fill light. While it was perfect for this shoot, as a mom, I don’t use it as often. Only when I am doing a more posed shot or just desperately need some extra light.
After about a year of shooting in manual mode and taking tons of photos of my children, I wanted to start getting in the frame. I found this basic remote to help me out. Honestly, the remote setting with a t4i is less than user friendly and I tend to just use the self-timer and run back and forth, but it was the next piece of gear I bought on my photography journey and still comes in handy from time to time. If you purchase a newer Rebel model, like the t6i, Canon has an app you can use and your phone works as a remote! Game changer.
I have no idea why it took me so long to decide to get a tripod. Getting photos of the entire family is priceless and I wish I would have purchased it sooner. This tripod is lightweight, can fit in a suitcase for travel, and even has a built in level. It is affordable enough that I’m not afraid to use it outdoors or haul it around, just in case. It is the perfect starter tripod.
That is pretty much the sum of all my gear, at the moment. I am a strong believer in the idea that you should stick with your basic gear until you grow out of it. Expensive gear does not make you a photographer. You will know when you are ready to move on. Just get started and get shooting!
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