Blogger U: Photography Gear 101

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Need to know what kind of accessories you need to build a great photography kit, but don’t have a clue where to start? You’re in luck! Today, Cassandra of Cassandra Monroe is sharing some of her top photography gear!
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I could go on and on about gear and can get off topic pretty easily, but I wanted to make this post blogger-specific, so I’ll be talking about photography gear that’s great for bloggers looking to add beautiful images to their websites. If you’re looking for the definition of a bolded word, I’ve added a terminology key at the bottom of the post. This is a very basic overall guide on gear, but if you have any specific questions please ask them in the comments so I can answer them!
3 Colorful Cocktails _ Black Cherry Mojitos 1
Also, keep in mind I shoot Nikon, but Canon cameras are just as amazing! The gear I’ll be sharing is from a Nikon standpoint.

Camera Bodies and Kits

If you’re ready to take your photography to the next level, you’ll want to upgrade from a point-and-shoot to a DSLR.
I can understand a DSLR can be intimidating. But trust me, they are so worth the investment! I recommend starting out with a mid-level camera body to get your feet wet with photography– the reason is you may simply outgrow your beginner camera fairly quickly and find yourself back in the camera shop searching for another upgrade.
Keep in mind, you can purchase camera bodies alone but there are also kits available that come with lenses. This is a great way to get started, and it’s generally a better deal price-wise to buy a kit.
Here are some great mid-level camera body + lens kits I recommend: Nikon 3200 DSLR – Nikon D7100 DSLR.

Lenses

There are many great lens options. Think about your end game when buying a lens. What are you focused on photographing?
If you’re a blogger and want to photograph food, product flat lays, and personal style portraits, I recommend a few different lenses…
  • 50mm is a prime lens perfect for food and portraits. I love this lens because of its aperture abilities– depending which version you buy, you can go as wide open as 1.2 through 1.8. This is great for low-light photography as well.
  • 24-120mm zoom lens is also great for overhead flat lays and personal style portraits.
  • 35mm lens is also great for personal style portraits.
Camera with Drinks
 Lens prices can get pretty steep– if you’re just starting out, I highly recommend your kit lens + a 50mm 1.4 or 1.8. Also, check out your local camera shops. You’ll be able to find some lenses and other gear refurbished or used for a cheaper price.

Other Gear and Accessories

External Flash
Your camera body comes with an on-camera flash; however, it’s not the best thing to use if you want more control of the artificial light you’re producing. I have never used my flash while photographing subjects or items for my blog, but I do use it frequently when I shoot weddings. If you’re interested in exploring the world of external flashes, check out what they’re all about here.
Tripod
I highly recommend getting a tripod! They’re awesome to have on hand during shoots, especially when photographing food or other still objects. I like using my tripod while photographing food because it allows me to keep my camera in the same spot while I tweak the layout of the food and props.
Tripods are also great when photographing home tours using natural light, or in other low light situations. When you’re working with a slow shutter speed, you need steadiness so your image doesn’t turn out blurry and a tripod can provide that.
Camera Bag
You’ll want a bag with good padding for your camera body and lenses, as well as plenty of pockets! I personally use and love Jo’s Totes.
A Good, Sturdy Camera Strap
Okay, this isn’t a must have, but I love custom camera straps because they really add personality to your camera bodies (and are really functional when shooting for long periods because they’re generally thicker and more padded than a basic kit’s straps). I love Nicole Berlowski’s Etsy shop.
My Gear
I shoot a Nikon D7000 (a present to myself after my first deployment five years ago!), but I’m in the process of upgrading my camera body and a couple lenses. I use a 24-120mm lens and a 50mm lens and an SB-700 Speedlight flash.

Terminology

Aperture
A space in which light passes through an optical instrument, like a camera
DSLR
Digital Single-Lens Reflex, a digital camera that  combines the optics and the mechanisms of a single-lens reflex camera
Prime
A fixed focal length lens (does not zoom)
Shutter Speed
The measurement of time that a camera’s shutter is open
Great Websites for Photography Gear
Nikon – Canon – B&H Photo – Adorama
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Thanks so much to Cassandra!
Cassandra is the blogger behind Cassandra Monroe and is a contributor for The Blogger Collective. 
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