One of the things most people ask me is what kind of equipment I use to make the fantastic photos you see every day on the blog and over our Instagram. They want to know “How to become a photographer?” thinking that by buying the most expensive photo gear, they will succeed. In this post, I will tell you all about my secret gadgets, and maybe this can shine a light on how to become a photographer, what are the costs and all the rest.
This list contains all my essentials, the every-travel items, my most precious possessions. In this post, you will learn the secret of my travel photography, get to know all my photo equipment. Also, you will see how I manage to get so good images in no time on our Instagram, twitter, and facebook.
After reading this, I hope you learn how to become a photographer, the one you always wanted to be. This post will not teach you everything, but for sure will help you in the gadgets area. And of course, if you need some inspiration and motivation, we always have our hashtag filled with great photographers posting daily breathtaking images. Have fun!
What about Cameras?
I think this is the question everybody is asking, huh? Which camera I use and why. The answer to this is simple: I’m a Canon girl since day one! And from all the Canons out there, the one that I identify myself the most is the one and only Canon 5D III.
But before you rush to Amazon to buy the same one, let me tell you something: it is not the camera that will make you do great photos. That is the most ridiculous thing ever said in photography. I hate when I read that the answer to the question “How to become a photographer?” is “Get one of those expensive cameras.”
I use the Canon 5D III because I like how quick and intuitive the menu and the system works for me, but I only think that because I’m using 5Ds for a long time.
I have the original 5D for years and years now, and once you know your camera system, your hands respond well to it. That’s when you’ll know you have the perfect camera for you. Felipe uses a Canon 7D that I previously owned and he loves it!
The 5D is a great camera, has a fantastic quality, is full frame and fulfill all my needs. Do you need to ask yourself that before investing this amount of money, ok? If you’re starting in photography, it is better to save some money in the camera department and spend in a lens.
If you’re already a photographer and is taking the thing more to a pro than to an amateur, the Canon 5D III is for you.
The other camera you can spot on the 1st photo of this post is my Russian baby, my Zenit 12XP. It is a film camera from the USSR, if you’re into film photography, this one is great!
That is what separates men from rats! That is where your money will disappear from your pockets if you have a DSLR. And you will learn why I tell you that I instead spend more in 1 lens than having 2 or 3 of not-so-quality.
I always carry around lenses of f2.8 or less; this means that my lenses behave better in darker situations. It also says that they are 2x or 3x more expensive than the cheaper versions. Keep in mind that I’m a professional photographer and this is my job, for me makes sense this investment.
My basic kit consists of a 24-70mm f2.8 from Sigma, a 70-200mm f2.8 from Canon and a fixed 50mm 1.8 also from Canon. If you want the complete one, add the Tamron 16-300, Lensbaby Composer and the Canon 70-300. The secret to the question “How to become a photographer?” for me, lies on the lenses.
Sometimes I leave the 70-200mm at home when the destination we’re going doesn’t demand such lens, I confess. But in general, those are my three babies.
And I would advise you to get your photography quality to the next level and spend a little bit more money in lenses and less in camera. It is way more valuable to have just one lens with impeccable quality, and that captures a lot of light than to have 3 or 4 lenses that are not that good. A broader range that does not perform well in dark situations will get in the way of anything indoor and evening shots.
A big deal for sure! Especially after I decided that it was way more smart and efficient not to travel with my laptop. But I’ll tell you everything about that in a second.
I carry four cards of 32g with me every time because it is always safer to have more space than to end up having to delete images, right? Besides, a great pro tip here: it is safer to have four cards of 32gb than two cards of 64gb. Why? Because those little things sometimes leave you hanging out of the blue. Smartly divide your amount of gigas, ok?
And remember to check the speed of your card, if your camera is like mine that produces huge RAW files (always shoot in raw!!!) and can make full HD movies, you will be better with a super fast card like Sandisk Extreme or the Kingstone 600x.
Another item that I have to tell you all about it is the Eye-Fi – the best invention for cameras that don’t come with built-in wifi.
My 5D is perfect for me, but I can still see a lot of room for improvement, ok? And one of the things that I would love to have but the 5D does not have is wifi, but with this fantastic SD Card, I have!
So all the images that I’m shooting while on the road are being sent directly to my phone and that is the secret of better Instagram images! Magic, huh?
Eye-Fi is pretty cheap, and even though we travel a lot and use it more than the usual, I still haven’t felt the necessity for the pro-version, ok? I carry the 8gb with me every damn day, and it can keep up with me.
I would love to try the pro-version, but I’m happy with the standard version. Besides, I don’t want to spend more money. If you have the pro-version, please tell me the main difference and why is so much more expensive, ok? I would love to know.
Just like the Nikon VS Canon, we have the Apple VS Android, right I’m an iPhone girl not because I think Androids are worst or anything like that. Maybe this actually will change in the near future, who knows? I just spent so much money on the App Store that makes no sense to change right now.
And the iPhone 6+ is a lifesaver if you’re a travel photographer. Because of the 128gb options, I’m able to travel without my computer for two weeks or more! The images are sent to my phone via Eye-Fi so I can post everywhere. And with the Lightroom, Afterlight, Snapseed, and Darkroom, I can get some basic editing done for social media and the blog! Great, huh?
I will only post about Apple products because I don’t know Androids. I’m sure it has a great model with an amazing camera like the Iphone, but I can’t tell since I will only post products I trust 100% here. Without testing it for a few days or weeks, I can’t recommend to you guys. I’m actually with my eye on a substitute for my phone and I’m going for an Android. If you want to hear what I have to say, join us on the facebook group we have.
If you say yes to one or more of those three you should maybe get the iPhone 6+ or similar:
- if you hate traveling with your laptop,
- if you flip out every time your phone is almost with no battery
- If you get sad and frustrated when the camera of your phone does not live up to your expectations
Speaking of laptops, let me tell you something. If you’re making a long trip and you’re afraid that the space you have on your memory cards is not enough, travel with your laptop! I choose a pretty light one without losing the power, so I have the Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display.
It is not as light as a MacBook Air, of course. But this one has 16gb RAM and flash memory so that I can edit my raw photos fast! Perfect for posting on the road!
The bag issue for me is a little bit unorthodox, ok? I’m from Brazil if you carry around a photo bag that everybody knows that is a photo bag over there, the chances of getting robbed are high. If you’re a travel photographer, you should have a comfortable and practical bag that gives peace of mind to travel around.
That is why my photo bag is not really a photo bag, and it is an army bag. So this is my photo bag when I’m not using my 70-200m lens: Maxpedition Army Bag.
And for the complete thing, I use my Eastpak backpack as a photo bag without a doubt. My Eastpak is water resistant, small on the outside and significant on the inside. It is also made with a robust and resistant fabric, so I know that will protect my equipment. And the most important for me, it has tons of mini pockets inside so I have room for everything without getting lost! And since it is so old, I can’t find the exact model that I use online, but every bag of this brand will be great! But if you need something a bit more than just a simple backpack like mine, Emily is giving some excellent suggestion for her favorite backpacks. Don’t forget to check it out.
And I think it is important to mention that, if I know that I won’t be needing any other lens or flash, I go out using my camera on my Joby Pro Sling Strap. It is impressive the freedom that it gives you!
I will add my flash here (Canon Speedlight 430EX), my lovely and very lightweight tripod that it is perfect even for low budget flights (MeFoto BackPacker) and a set of extra rechargeable batteries because I’m a hater when it comes to flash. I can count on my hand the times that it made my life better and made an image looks right at the end, but it is good to have, ok? You can never know what you can expect on your next trip; a travel photographer always has to be prepared.
For the rest of the extra things, I gotta say this: keep a microfiber tissue with you at all times, especially when you’re traveling. You have no idea how much your lenses can get dirty.
And speaking about this, buy filters! Your lenses will last at least 10x more with them, and they cost almost nothing. Make sure that they are real glass and you’re okay, trust me!
If you have something else to add to this list, feel free to comment here or leave a message on our newest facebook group.