One of the most common questions I get asked is what camera equipment I use and what lenses to buy.
That’s why I created a video for my online photography students in my Beginner Bootcamp class, and I thought I would share it with you as well.
In the video I go through exactly what’s in my bag, and also what gear I first started with in my photography business. [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 why I think that keeping it simple is key when it comes to taking portraits of kids).
Can’t watch the video right now? Check this out instead:
When I turn up to a photoshoot, I bring just my Jil-e camera bag that looks like a handbag – ha!
To get great portraits, it’s important to focus on interacting with the kids, rather than messing around with lots of gear, so I suggest you keep it simple.
My camera is a Canon 5D Mark II with 50mm prime lens. This is my go-to lens which I use 95% of the time I take photos of children. The reason I love it is it gives you nice sharp images and blur while you can be quite close to your subject. I find with small children you need to be able to grab their attention and be close enough to interact with them. In order to take great portraits you should be close, without distorting their faces.
These days you can get different levels of lens at different price points. When I started my business I had a Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens – at the time it cost me around $120, you can get it online. [EDIT – Canon have since released a newer version of this lens for around $150-$190, however I have seen them online for around $120].
You don’t need to get the L series portrait lens, but the 50mm portrait lens is a great versatile lens to use in your portrait photography business.
The other lenses I have with me are the 85mm lens, which is the 85mm f/1.2. I also have the 24-70mm which is f/2.8 lens. Now this last one is a zoom lens which allows you to zoom in from between 24-70mm closeness to your subject.
I absolutely adore the 85mm lens, but I find it quite slow to focus. Moreover, you have to be quite far away from your subject in order for it to focus, otherwise it is too close. I’d say it works better with children over 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 every once in while I use it when I take landscapes (or families in a landscape setting) so I can get a wide angle.
You will find 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 keep lens cleaning fluid, cleaning cloths, cleaning brushes, spare batteries and lots of memory cards.
To download your FREE complete checklist of everything in my bag, go and grab it here.
The one thing I hope you take away is that taking great photos of kids is not really about the camera body, it has to do with your lenses.
A portrait lens is a must item for your camera bag if you are a portrait photographer. You don’t need to be spending thousands on your lenses – I use my 50mm lens 90% of the time with my shoots.
It’s not the camera but who’s behind the camera.
I hope this has helped you! I would love it if you left a comment below if it’s been helpful if you are just starting out.
And don’t forget to download your FREE Checklist right here before you go!