What Gear Do You Need To Start Your Photography Business? What’s In My Bag

May 21, 2021


Have you ever wondered how to start your photography business? Here’s the story of how I got started with photography.

I love photography. The first camera I practiced on was an old first generation Sony digital camera that I found in a box of my dad’s old things. I used that camera to learn all about the different settings I would have to get used to for photography – things like ISO, aperture, flash, shutter speed and more. There’s a lot that goes into photography outside of clicking a button! 

The Gear I Learned On

Photography isn’t an easy skill to learn, but digital gear gives a much better (and cost-friendly) opportunity to learn photography. Imagine learning when film was the only option! Digital cameras may be initially a little larger of an investment, but you save SO much money on film development this way. 

When I was first starting out in my photography business, I wanted to make sure I was investing in good photography equipment, and here’s what I started on: 

  • Canon 5D Mark 3

I purchased a used Canon 5D Mark 3 camera when I started my photography business. After playing with my old Sony digital camera and getting used to the settings – the flash, ISO, aperture, and everything else that goes along with learning photography, the Canon 5D Mark 3 was a logical choice. It had every capability that I needed to continue learning and improving my photography. 

(From the Canon official website)

With supercharged EOS performance and stunning full frame, high-resolution image capture, the EOS 5D Mark III is designed to perform. Special optical technologies like the 61-Point High Density Reticular AF and an extended ISO range of 100-25600 (expandable to 50 (L), 51200 (H1) and 102400 (H2) make the EOS 5D Mark III ideal for shooting weddings, in the studio or out in the field, and great for still photography. Advanced professional-level high definition video capabilities (that includes a host of industry-standard recording protocols and enhanced performance) make it possible to capture beautiful cinematic movies in EOS HD quality. A newly designed 22.3 Megapixel full-frame Canon CMOS sensor, Canon DIGIC 5+ Image Processor, and shooting performance up to 6.0 fps provide exceptional clarity and sharpness, even when capturing rapidly-unfolding scenes. Additional technological advancements include an Intelligent Viewfinder, Canon’s advanced iFCL metering system, High Dynamic Range (HDR), and Multiple Exposure mode — all of which that help make the EOS 5D Mark III the perfect multimedia tool.

  • Canon 50mm lens

Also known as the “thrifty fifty”, this lens is still in my bag to this day! It’s a great beginner lens with a ton of features for professional looking photography, and incredible portraits. 

  • Natural Lighting

For anybody starting out with photography, I would recommend mastering natural lighting before trying out any special lighting. I mastered all of my camera and lens settings in natural light before moving on to lightboxes, strobes, and more. Trust me – spend the time in the beginning mastering natural lighting – you get some of the best shots with no external lighting!

The Gear I Use Now

As time went on and my photography skills developed, I wanted to upgrade my photography gear, but I was still attached to my Canon camera! I decided to upgrade to the next model, and work on using different lenses and lighting. 

  • Canon 5D Mark IV

The Canon 5D Mark IV is one model up from my beginner camera, and definitely worth the upgrade as I progressed into developing my skill set and building my business. I started to use it in tandem with more advanced lenses and lights. 

(From the Canon official website)

The EOS 5D Mark IV camera builds on the powerful legacy of the 5D series, offering amazing refinements in image quality, performance and versatility. Canon’s commitment to imaging excellence is the soul of the EOS 5D Mark IV. Wedding and portrait photographers, nature and landscape shooters, as well as creative videographers will appreciate the brilliance and power that the EOS 5D Mark IV delivers. Superb image quality is achieved with Canon’s all-new 30.4 Megapixel full-frame sensor, and highly-detailed 4K video is captured with ease. Focus accuracy has been improved with a refined 61-point AF system and Canon’s revolutionary Dual Pixel CMOS AF for quick, smooth AF for both video and Live View shooting. Fast operation is enhanced with Canon’s DIGIC 6+ Image Processor, which provides continuous shooting at up to 7.0 fps*. Built-in Wi-Fi®**, GPS*** and an easy-to-navigate touch-panel LCD allow the camera to become an extension of you. When quality matters, the EOS 5D Mark IV helps deliver results to inspire even the most discerning imagemaker.

  • Canon 50mm Lens and

Yes! I still have a love for my “thrifty fifty” lens because it does take GREAT photos, but I also expanded into two more lenses I love now, too.

  • 35 Sigma Art 3

This lens is incredible for low light atmospheres, and boudoir photography is all about using lighting. This lens was a perfect investment to creating some stunning boudoir photos. 

  • 85 Sigma Art

Definitely pricier than the Sigma Art 3, this lens is perfect for creating a shallow depth of field and bokeh, and features a full manual focus option to get that photo JUST right. 

  • Natural Lighting and

I still love the simplicity of natural lighting. Though I have now comfortably ‘mastered’ the art of natural lighting (well, photography, like any other skill, is an art we’re all still always learning), I still do love the effect it can bring to a photograph. When the shoot calls for it, I have also adapted to using other methods of lighting. 

  • Strobe Lighting

Strobe lighting is short bursts of light, rather than one continuous LED light. It requires you to use your camera fully in Manual mode, so be sure that you’ve mastered that part of photography first! 

  • Modifier

Sometimes the lighting in your shoot isn’t quite perfect and so I use a modifier! Using a lighting modifier such as a bouncer, reflector, absorber or shaper can help create more depth and allow you to be more creative with your lighting in photography. 

You may find you like other brands of cameras better (though not much beats Canon!) but this is a rough estimate of what you will need to start your photography business.

Want To See My Photography Gear In Action?

Have you seen our Vancouver GCP studio? Book your boudoir session now, and see how we put this gear into action! You’ll see exactly why I chose the camera, lenses and lights to work with when you see your photos, and see yourself.

Contact us today.