One of the most common questions I get asked is what camera I use and what camera and lenses to buy.
So I thought today I would go through exactly what is in my bag now, and also go through what I actually started with. [EDIT – since recording this video, I have purchased a new camera bag and also a new Canon 5D Mark III camera body, I’ve updated the PDF below].
If you would like a downloadable PDF which details the exact equipment I have in my bag (including the details of the $100 you need to spend, you can get that here for free right now!
Watch the video below to get a behind the scenes into all the equipment I have (and how I think that keeping it simple is THE most important thing when it comes to taking portraits of kids).
Can’t watch the video right now? Check this out instead:
Your Life Video Transcript: what’s in my bag (and the only $100 you need to spend to take great portraits of kids)
When I turn up to a photoshoot, I turn up with just this. (my Jil-e camera bag that looks like a handbag!!).
to get great portraits, it’s important to focus on INTERACTING with the kids, rather than messing around with lots of gear
So lets start with the camera.
My camera is a Canon 5D Mark II and on this camera is a 50mm prime lens. This is my go-to lens, I use it 95% of the time taking photos of children. I find it’s a really great lens because it can give you nice sharp images and blur, but also you can be quite close to your subject. I find with small children, that you need to be able to get their attention and you also need to be close enough to interact with them. So in order to take great portraits, you need to be relatively close without distorting their faces.
Now you can get different levels of lens at different price points. These ones with the red rim around the edge are the Canon professional level L series lenses, but I actually started my business with the Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens – I think at the time it cost me around $120, you can get it online. [EDIT – Canon have since released a newer version of this lens which retails for around $150-$190, however I have seen the f/1.8 lens online for around $120].
this is an example of a baby portrait taken with the 50mm f/1.8 lens.
It’s a great lens to start with and it will completely transform your photos, so if you haven’t got a portrait lens, my one piece of advice that I would beg you to do is go and get one today!
My other lens that I have are the 85mm lens, which is the 85mm f/1.2 and I also have the 24-70mm which is f/2.8 lens. Now this one is a zoom lens (i.e. you can zoom in from between 24-70mm closeness to your subject.)
I absolutely adore the 85mm lens, but I find it quite slow to focus, and also that you have to be quite far away from your subject in order for it to focus, otherwise it is too close. So I tend to find it works better with older children, than say children under four years old.
I don’t use the 24-70 lens that often these days for portraits, as I tend to stick with the 50mm and the 85mm, but sometimes I do use it when I am confined for space. But I mainly use this one for when I am taking landscapes (or families in a landscape setting) so I can get a wide angle.
Also in my bag, lens filters and lens hoods for each of my lenses. This is to protect the glass as well as for when you are shooting with sun flare. Other than that, I also have lens cleaning fluid, cleaning cloths, cleaning brushes, spare batteries and lots and lots of memory cards.
To download your FREE complete checklist of everything in my bag as well as the details of the $100 lens, go and grab it here.
So the one thing I hope you take away from today is that taking great photos of kids, is not really about the camera body, it’s about the lens, and the lens does not have to cost you thousands of dollars, you can start with this $100 lens. The 50mm portrait lens is different to the 18-55mm kit lens (another question I get asked alot!) – so if you are thinking of buying a camera, you will need a better lens than that kit lens and the 50mm portrait lens is a fantastic price for the quality.
I hope this has helped you! I would love it if you left a comment or if you have any questions, feel free to ask me anything! my entire business has been built on word of mouth, so I would so appreciate you ‘liking’ and sharing below for me :)
And don’t forget to download your FREE Checklist right here before you go!
Thanks so much! .