Gear

My camera kit is on the light side compared to a lot of photographers out there. For over three years, I was moving every three to six months, and everything I owned had to fit into a single camera backpack and my checked bag, so instead of improving my kit, I focused on improving myself.

You, the photographer, are the most important element in creating beautiful photographs, and you don’t need expensive equipment to do so. I’ve sold photos taken with my iPhone. Having said that, as you develop as a photographer, the right gear gives you more creative control over the images you’re creating.

So below is a list of what I currently own and shoot with. Many of the links below are to my affiliate stores. Should you make any purchases from these links, it’s at no extra cost to you, but I receive a small affiliate fee which is always greatly appreciated.

Camera Body

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Nikon D7100 24.1 MP DX-Format CMOS Digital SLR (Body Only)

I’ve been using this body since December 2014. I was debating between staying with a DX or making the jump to full frame, but since wildlife photography is such a passion of mine, DX is the way to go for me at this moment. Next time I’m in the market for a body, I’ll probably go full frame to give myself a wider range of options. My favorite features of this camera include its ability to bracket (not available in my old D3100), a ton of auto focus points, and great customization options.

Nikon D3100 Digital SLR Camera Body (Kit Box) No Lens Included – International Version (No Warranty)

This was my first DSLR camera, and I couldn’t recommend it enough for those making the switch from a point-and-shoot to a full SLR. It adds a lot to your tool set without being overwhelming, and the price point is affordable. Nikon has since upgraded this to the D3300 — it’s light, small and takes great pictures. I still use my boyfriend’s D3100 as my backup. My advice: don’t buy the kit. Get the body and invest in a better lens than the 18-55mm that typically comes with it.

GoPro HERO4 Silver

To be honest, I haven’t experimented with my GoPro as much as I’d like, but I already love that I can take it kayaking or dip it in the water to film dolphins swimming by. I can’t want to go snorkeling and be able to capture images without having to break the bank on a crazy expensive DSLR casing. I believe there’s a lot of potential here once I learn how to wield it!

Lenses

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED Zoom Lens

As I’ve previously mentioned, I love wildlife photography and have 300mm of zoom is a must for me in most circumstances. It’s reasonably priced and quite compact for a zoom — perfect for anyone planning on sticking with a DX camera for awhile. If you don’t think you’ll need that much zoom, the 55-200mm
model is cheaper (half the price) and just as high quality.

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8
When I’m not shooting wildlife, this is probably what’s on my camera. It’s great in low light. It’s great without flash. It’s great at forcing me to “zoom with my feet” and look for different angles. That’s what I love about fixed lenses — you have to get creative and move your body around because that lens isn’t going to do that work for you.

Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 80-400mm f.4.5-5.6 Zoom Lens

I rented this lens for a recent trip up to Churchill to photograph polar bears in the wild. It was love at first shutter release. This baby ain’t cheap, but if and when I get to the point where my wildlife photography is making me enough money to warrant the expense, you better believe I’ll be hauling this beauty around.

Tripod

AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod with Bag
I don’t often use a tripod, so when I decided to add one to my kit, the Amazon Basics model looked like it would get the job done at the right price. I’ve been very happy with it so far. Again, great intro tripod or tripod for photographers who don’t use/need one too often.

Camera Bags

Lowepro Fastpack 250

I’ve been using this backpack since I first started shooting DSLR in 2009, and I still use it today. It can carry a camera body, 2-3 lenses, my MacBook Pro, my Kindle and various other stuff that I might need during a day out shooting. Up until recently, this was my larger carry-on anytime I traveled as well.

vCQeamkQTGm8QcvQmoVD_valenciabrown-pouchinside_1024x1024Valencia Travel Tote

I was asked to review this bag earlier in 2016, and I think I found my new carry-on personal item. This tote holds everything my Lowepro backpack did (camera, lenses, computer, random other gear) and it slides onto the handle of a wheeled carry-on, which means no more shoulder strain while walking through airports. I also love this bag for day-to-day photography use; it’s much easier to take my camera in and out than with the backpack, and I don’t have to carry a second bag (I have to carry my purse with the backpack). I also love that it doesn’t look like a camera bag, which is a huge draw when you’re traveling and worried about the possibility of gear getting stolen.

Storage

Backblaze

I’m terrible at remembering to back up my computer, so I really can’t recommend Backblaze enough! Basically, the service keeps a constant online backup of your entire computer, so if something happens, you have everything (including your photos) saved in the cloud. As you go through and delete junk photos or add new ones, Backblaze updates, so you won’t have a ton of unnecessary or redundant stuff saved.

Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1TB Portable External Hard Drive

When I do remember to back up my computer, this is what I use. Affordable. Reliable. Small.

Software

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6

Learning to properly post process my photos in a digital darkroom was the single most important step I’ve taken in improving my photography. Not only can I make my images look more like I remember them in my head, learning to use Lightroom has helped me take better pictures to begin with, because I know what changes are possible and what are not.

Photocrati

If you’re enjoying my website, it’s because I use this WordPress theme that’s designed for photographers. The level of customization is wonderful, yet it’s easy to get something set up out of the box without having to know any code. It’s not only a great way to show off your photos online, it’s a great way to back them up somewhere in case disaster strikes.