I get a lot of questions about what camera and lenses I use as well as how I process my pictures. I received a bunch last week, so I thought it was time to share it all in a post. Well, a few posts. This post is about what gear I use.
My camera body is a Nikon D7000 digital SLR. This picture is from Gear Patrol, because it’s hard to take a picture of your own camera when that is the only camera in the house. I could’ve done the “mirror shot”, but I’m not exactly photo ready today. So, anyway, there she is…
You can whistle at her. It’s okay.
I really love this camera. The body is around $1200 (without a lens), so it’s definitely expensive if you’re just starting out. If you are looking for a solid mid-level SLR, the D7000 is a great option. If that’s out of your budget, don’t dismay. Until a few months ago, I was shooting with a four year old Nikon D50 that I bought refurbished for around $300.
It took me a few weeks with the D7000 to feel comfortable with it. I was really discouraged that I didn’t pull it out of the box and instantly take better pictures. It took me a while to get the kind of photos I wanted. I still have a lot to learn about it, but I love using it now. It has a crystal clear view finder, a large viewing screen, it takes two memory cards and has all of the functions I need. On B and H Photography, it has five stars after 340 reviews, so I’m not alone in my love for this camera.
So, for the lenses… I have shelled out a lot on lenses over the past year, but they are all totally worth it for what I do.
The lens I use most is the Nikon 18-200mm. If you’ve never shopped for lenses before, get ready to gasp at some price tags (and these aren’t even crazy expensive lenses!) This one is $800.
I can get some nice, tight shots with it…
…as well as full room shots…
…and everything in between. It’s the lens I keep on my camera, because I know it will do almost anything I need. If you can only buy one lens, this is a good one to consider.
My next favorite lens is my Nikon 60mm Macro lens. This one is $550. It is known as a “prime” lens, so it doesn’t zoom in and out like the 18-200mm does.
I was having a really tough time getting the super tight shots I needed for tutorials, so it was time to get a lens that would allow me to get mere inches from what I was shooting.
This lens is awesome and is my primary “tutorial” lens.
If you can’t get close enough with your current lenses, you may want to look into a macro/micro lens.
The Pioneer Woman made me buy this lens. I was looking through her photography blog as I was lens shopping and I was convinced after about five minutes that I needed this lens. It’s another prime lens, so the picture is crisp.
I use it for a lot of my “beauty shots.”
The last lens in my bag is the Sigma 20-10mm Wide Angle Lens. It is $480. (The Nikon is $650 and I was buying the 35mm at the same time, so I went with Sigma to save some money. I also don’t use my wide angle lens a lot, so it wasn’t worth the extra money at this point.)
The wide angle lens allows me to get full-room shots. I have small rooms, especially in the front of my 1940’s house, so I was finding myself setting up my tripod in the hallway or next room to get a full room shot. I was having a terrible time getting my full dining room table in a picture for the tablescapes I was shooting for HGTV.com, so it was time to invest in a wide angle lens.
(I still need to work on that chair, desk and shelf…)
The pictures look a little stretched when the lens is all the way out, but it looks normal when it’s zoomed in a little. A wide angle lens is a great option if you’re shooting in a tight space and you always find yourself plastered against the back wall or squished in a corner.
I’ll finish by saying a few things. First, I am not an expert in photography or equipment. I’m just sharing the gear I use and how I use it and I encourage you to do your own research on what will work best for you.
Second, there are a lot of sketchy online camera stores out there, so I only buy my equipment from B and H. They don’t sponsor me. I’m not paid to say that. That is just where I have bought all of my gear for years and they are known as being the professional source for anything photo and video. Don’t be lured by crazy low prices from sketchy stores. This is a big purchase and it’s worth the money. If you are curious as to what kind of sketchy stuff can go on, read Beth’s recent camera buying story. Just trust me on this one.
Lastly, don’t think you need to drop a ton of cash to get great pictures. Also, don’t think that shelling out a bunch of cash will make your pictures great. YOU are the main factor in a great photo. YOU are smarter than your equipment. YOU are the one who controls the dials and the lighting and the staging and the angles. AND, the best part, with some basic knowledge about those things, you can take magazine quality photos. Really. Yes. YOU.
I’ll share the “anatomy of my photo shoots” and how I process my pictures soon.
I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer. READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…
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