When I started out, I wish I had known how to make the most of my equipment. I had a Nikon D5100 and a 50mm lens. I loved that camera and lens, but as time went on I found myself feeling the need to stretch and explore. That time comes for every photographer, hobbyist or professional, but before I started buying equipment because I "heard it was great", I wish I had done a little more soul searching and exploring.
I am a lifestyle and wedding photographer. I shoot mostly families and newborns and also shoot couples, both engagements and weddings. You'd think you'd need a huge arsenal in order to create compelling images in so many genres, but the truth is, you don't.
Through all of my exploring I've learned that all you really need is a full frame camera and one or two of your favorite lenses. I wish I knew that when starting out. I shoot with a Nikon D750 and a Sigma 35mm & 24mm ART. Those are my babies, those are my go-to lenses for any session that I'm shooting. Sure, it's nice to have a few focal lengths at your fingertips, but for me, I find the simpler the better. What I love most about the 35mm is that you can get beautiful environmental shots but you can also move close to your subject to get breathtaking portraits and details. It truly is the most versatile piece of equipment I own, and to be honest, I know I could get by just shooting with a 35mm for the rest of my career.
What I've learned, and what I wish I knew, is it's not the camera and the lens that make the moment. While they certainly play a part in quality, they are certainly not what makes or breaks a photographer and by no means should you depend on them to make you successful. I wish I knew that I must depend on myself, depend on my creativity, my vision and my passion. You don't need all the equipment in the world to stand out. It's the Indian, not the arrow. And in this case, it's the photographer, not the equipment. If we all started out knowing that, then we all might have had it a little easier throughout our journey.
A tip that is helpful for new photographers, is to take a step back, especially if you started out like me with a crop sensor and a 50mm lens. Your images will come to life when you back away from your subject just a bit and really capture the environment surrounding them.
Also, don't be afraid to play around with composition and perspective. Shooting from above, getting down low, finding interest in the environment around you and moving around your subject will create different shots and make the most of the equipment you are working with.
Elise is a lifestyle and wedding photographer based out of Central MA. She is a wife to a US Veteran and mother to three boys. Elise has been shooting for just about four years now and running her business for a solid two years. Her passion is capturing connection while telling her client’s unique story.