As I begin my 8th wedding season I thought I would put together some posts for the aspiring photographer. I get asked often how to begin a photography business and what equipment to invest in. This post will be geared towards building a strong equipment base that you won’t outgrow in 6 months. When I started out I wanted to make sure I only had to purchase photography equipment once so I took the leap and bought professional gear instead of budget equipment. I know money doesn’t grow on trees, so it is important to purchase gear wisely and a little bit at a time. A photographer told me very early on, try to pay cash for your equipment because shooting to pay off your gear is not a fun way to start, instead save up money to invest in your camera and one lens, then use that equipment to make money for additional equipment.
Because I LOVE Amazon so much this posts will link to recommended gear from my Amazon affiliate links. The first thing i recommend to invest in is a full frame digital camera, I use a Canon 5D Mark 3 which is a great value since Canon released the Canon 5D Mark 4 but, if this is your first camera purchase a Canon 5D Mark 2 is an excellent value and is the first camera I purchased for my business. If you don’t have an Amazon Prime membership yet, click for your free 30-day trial and get free two-day shipping and prime photos, which I use to back up all of my phone photos and personal photos. The photos below were taken with a Canon 5D Mark 3 and a Canon 50mm 1.2 lens.
Once you’ve selected your camera I recommend one or two lenses. I use prime lenses (these are fixed lenses that do not zoom, they have larger apertures so shooting in low light is optimal) My first lens purchase was a Canon 50mm 1.4 I used this lens for over two years and to this day a 50mm is still my goto, I did upgrade to the L-series Canon 50mm 1.2 a few years later. If you decide to add on a second lens I highly recommend a longer prime lens, not many people know this but the Canon 100mm 2.8 IS macro lens is incredibly versatile. I use it for detail shots such as rings and flowers as well as portraits, group photos, and even ceremonies where space permits. This lens has a longer focal length, so the background appears closer to the subject and blends so nicely. The ring photos taken below were shot with the Canon 100mm 2.8 IS macro lens.
Once you have acquired your camera and at least one lens there are several accessories you will need. The Canon 5D Mark 3 takes both CF and sd cards, I always shoot on two cards at the same time, the sd card acts as an instant backup in case the CF corrupts (which has happened to me). I use 16g Sandisk Extreme Pro CF Cards and 16g Extreme Pro SD Cards. I do not use more than 16 g at a time just in case they corrupt, It is better to loose 500 images vs. 1000 if you were shooting on a 64g card.
I also use an expo disk for custom white balance (that is how I get great clean color in camera every time) and a black rapids strap to hold my camera during long wedding days. I am thinking about getting a Holdfast moneymaker to hold two cameras, if I make that leap I will be sure to blog about that too!
I hope you have found this useful, this is one of my first posts geared to other photographers, I hope to write many more! All the awesome links in this post direct you to my Amazon Affiliate links!