A complete summary of the photography equipment that I use for travel blogging
I’m so excited to finally share with you guys a complete write-up of all the equipment I own. I can’t stress how important it was for my blogging career to invest in quality equipment. Especially as I started to work with more brands. At the end of the day, the numbers alone will not get you brand deals. Quality content will! (I wrote an entire blog piece about how to improve your content creation here.)
The below list is broken out between two sections – cropped sensor and full frame equipment. The difference between the two comes down to the size of the sensor inside. Essentially your photos will appear much wider if you shoot using a 35mm lens on a full frame camera vs. the same lens on a cropped sensor camera. Imagine using the crop tool of any photo editing app and cropping off a bit from each of the 4 edges of your photo. This is virtually what happens to your photo when you shoot on a cropped sensor camera.
Cropped sensor cameras and lenses are much more lightweight and affordable but don’t offer the quality and range of depth that full frame equipment offers. Looking back, I wish I had done more research about the difference between the two and invested in my full frame camera from the start. However, it doesn’t hurt to start with the basics using less expensive equipment and then upgrade yourself over time as you learn more.
Hopefully that makes sense! Now let’s jump into it!
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This camera is the first DSLR I ever used. This camera is GREAT for beginners. The quality is better than an iPhone photo plus it gives you a chance to learn how to use manual settings. Excellent starter camera all around!
I upgraded from the D3500 to the D5600 after a year. The D5600 has Bluetooth technology which means you’re able to take your own photos on a tripod using your phone or a remote clicker. You can use apps like Nikon WMU, where you’re able to see on your phone screen the exact shot you’re taking. This was a huge game changer in my early Instagram days when I had no one else to take my photos but myself and my tripod!
This is the stock lens that comes in the kit with most beginner level cameras. This lens is a great way to get familiar with different focal lengths. The smaller (or lower) the focal length, the more “zoomed out” your photo will feel. The larger (or higher) the focal length, the more “zoomed in” your photo will feel. This lens gets the job done and is great for carrying around on a long day of shooting since the focal length can be adjusted to fit the space or environment that you’re shooting in. The aperture of this lens only goes down to f/3.5, so you won’t get as blurry of a background as you can on a lens with a lower aperture.
This lens also came in the starter kit with the D3500 camera. Because of the larger (or higher) focal length, this lens is great for shooting subjects that are far away like animals in nature. I used this lens a lot when I traveled to Costa Rica two years ago and was shooting photos of animals high in the tree tops. This lens is nice to keep around for certain occasions but I don’t take it out of my bag often.
I purchased this lens not so much for the focal length but for the lower aperture. I was a year and a half into my photography journey and wanted to achieve the more “professional” look that photos have with a blurred background. This lens is a steal at only $150 and has taken some of my favorite shots. Because this lens is made for a cropped sensor camera, the 35mm view appears more zoomed in than a 35mm on a full frame. It’s great for portraits or half-body shots.
I actually bought this lens after I upgraded to a full frame camera without realizing it was made for a cropped sensor. I got it on Black Friday for only $200 (it usually retails at $300) so I figured it would be nice to keep around for the price. This lens has a super low focal length at 10mm. This is the first lens I’ve owned that I would consider to be very “wide-angle” and has allowed me to be more creative than ever with my shots.
After 2 years of using a cropped sensor camera, I finally upgraded to full frame equipment. I patiently waited until Black Friday and got my D750 for $500 off retail price (originally $1500+, but I got it for $990.) I’ve never been happier with a purchase! The versatility and quality of my photos are next level compared to the other cameras I have. The only downside of this nicer camera is that it’s a bit heavier which isn’t ideal when I’m running around the city all day to shoot content. But it’s still so worth it!
When I upgraded my camera, I knew I needed to upgrade my lens as well. As I mentioned before, all my old lenses are meant for a cropped sensor camera, so even if I put them on my full frame camera, it will make my photos appear cropped. I went with a 24mm because I do most of my content creation at home in Chicago where I’m capturing tall skyline views which require a wider angle. The aperture goes super low on the lens so I can achieve that blurry background feel while keeping myself (as the subject) super crisp.
The lower aperture also makes this lens great for night photography since the lens opening will be super wide allowing more of the light in whatever environment I’m shooting in to come through. I also got this lens on sale during Black Friday for $200 off retail price. The combination of this lens with my D750 camera makes me the happiest!
I don’t know what I would do without my trusty tripod. I bought my tripod at the same time I started my blogging journey because I had no friends in the community to shoot content with and didn’t want to bother my boyfriend to take all my photos. This tripod is super affordable (under $30!), is sturdy and lightweight. I truly cannot say anything bad about this tripod other than the fact that the bag fell apart after a year. This never mattered to me anyways since I don’t really need a bag to carry it around. The tripod has a handle built right in!
This particular tripod has metal legs which I have found to be sturdier than plastic tripods. I once left my tripod at home when traveling to Colorado and went to Best Buy to get one to use for the weekend. I purchased one with plastic legs and I swear the thing was ready to collapse with my camera on the mount every time. As I mentioned before, my camera and lens are heavier so I need to have a tripod I can rely on and not be worried about breaking my expensive equipment.
I totally understand how overwhelming it can be when you’re just getting into photography and not sure where to start. If you have any questions about my equipment, ask me in the comments below!