Do you ever see someone's photos and wonder what kind of gear they use?... Yeah, me too, all the time. I'm always curious how people are making their photos. Are they using some secret weapon that I just haven't found or heard about? Are they using off camera flash? What is it about their gear that makes their photos so great?...

What I have come to learn is that often times, they are simply sitting on a whole lot of experience... okay... and maybe some really cool gear. But it probably also took them some time to accumulate their gear, just like it has taken us numerous years to accumulate all the gear we have. It's just been since this past year that I have really started to use and experiment with different kinds of accessories too. 

When I first started shooting I started with a basic DSLR, the Nikon D60. We used that camera until we broke it, ha! We used it until we went through all the shutter accusations. It was a great camera to get started with. In 2012, we upgraded to the Nikon D300s


1.) Nikon D300s : We have been shooting with the D300s since 2012. It was definitely an upgrade and the original price tag is rather steep, which is one reason I'm so glad we bought ours used. The D300s gave me greater range and pushed me to gain greater control over my picture making. One thing that I really appreciate about the D300s is that it has an internal focus motor, the D60 did not, and the D300s also has a really great ISO range. Paired with a solid lens it does an amazing job in low light sittings. The D300s is perfect for every day situations and on the go. I use it often for photo shoot and we also have used it on many trips. 

2.) Nikon D700 : We added the D700 to our everyday gear last year. The main difference between the D300s and the D700 is that the D700 is full frame while the D300s is crop sensor. The D300s also had video while the D700 does not. Having a full frame camera totally changed the game for us. You can really see the difference with full frame. The D700 has amazing picture quality too, but compared to the the D300s I don't think it has the same ISO quality. 

We use both cameras all the time, almost every week. I often use the D300s when shooting for blog posts and we most often use the D700 when doing style shoots. 


3.) 50mm 1.8 : The 50mm was the very first lens I bought and it made such a difference in my photography. Good lenses make all the difference and really help at crafting quality images. I can't recommend the 50mm enough, especially at such an amazing price. The 50mm is versatile, produces high quality photos, and gives you a low aperture which many people are really hoping for when upgrading from their kit lens. We often pair the 50mm with the D700, since it's our full frame camera and we almost always shoot our style photos with the 50mm. 

4.) 35mm 1.8 : We purchased our 35mm right before moving to the east coast. One thing we struggled with was pairing the 50mm lens with the crop sensor of the D300s. Pairing the 50mm with a crop sensor means you have to have plenty of space between you and your subject. Tyler and I would often go on road trips but we couldn't take photos in the car because the 50mm was to tight. We bought the 35mm to serve as a wider lens and it has turned into our favorite lens. We are able to get so much more in frame and it's incredibly sharp. We often pair our 35mm with the D300s. If we need to shoot really wide shots will pair the 35mm with the D700. 

5.) 55-300mm : I purchased the 55-300mm when I was working on booking weddings... a long time ago, like 2011. I needed a lens that would allow me to capture images from any where while at a wedding. The 55-300mm services it's purpose well, it's a great quality zoom lens. We use the 55-300mm least often, but I'm definitely glad to have it as a part of our gear. 


6.) Monfrotto Tripod : I have used the same tripod for years, Tyler's dad actually got it for me and it has been a solid tripod. I wish I could provide you with lots of different tripod recommendations, but this is the only one I have used.  I use this tripod multiple times a week and it has traveled with us to lots of different places. It's tough, sturdy, and easy to use. 

7.) Filter Kit : I have just recently started using filters, but I love this filter kit. It's a perfect purchase to experiment with filters without dropping a load of cash. I've read a lot of great stuff about filters, so once I learn more I'll be sharing it with you. 

8.) Wacom Tablet : We love using a Wacom tablet for editing and design. I was resistant to a tablet thinking I didn't needed one, but once Tyler talked me into one, it made editing so much easier. Using a Wacom tablet made learning photoshop so much easier as well. When I first started learning I did a lot of experimenting and the ease of using a tablet made learning far less stressful. Using a tablet will make editing easier if you do a lot of post processing and manipulating or if you like adding you own personal touch of handwriting or painting. 

9.) Reflector Kit : I've been using this reflector kit since Christmas and I really love it. Along with this reflector kit I also use a lot of white foam core boards. These reflector discs are nice and big and they come as a 5-in-1, so you have lots of different options. Using reflectors are often necessary at my house because we don't always have the best light and I usually have to work to reflect the light. 

I used to think that the camera made the photographer, but that's just not so. Our cameras are just tools we use to make photos. With every new piece of gear we add to our collection, it simply provides us a new opportunity to learn, grow, and stretch ourselves within our craft. I hope this list gave you a little insight into our shooting gear. Let me know if you have any questions, I would love to answer them. :) How are things coming along in your photography journey? What has been some of your favorite pieces of gear? xoxo. Samantha