Monday, December 7, 2009

Tools of the trade

Lately I've been approached and emailed with questions and advice on what I use, how do I do it and why...

First thing I'd like to state to my present and future readers is that whatever I write I am providing that information with my own personal experience and knowledge. All of the research that I do is on my own and receive from others.

Now...onwards to the post.

One of the things I'm continuously asked is what do I carry in my camera bag? What do I shoot with?

Well, here's what I have in regards to equipment:
- Nikon D300
- Nikon D80 (backup)
- Nikon 24mm f/2.8
- Nikon 50mm f/1.8
- Nikon 85mm f/2.8
- Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8
- Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8
- Off-camera flash SB-600

I prefer using primes in studio or in an environment where I have control over both set and lighting. I use the zoom for events and sometimes outdoor shooting.
Next question I receive most often is why do I use a third party lens? Well for one thing it's cheaper. Secondly... it hasn't disappointed me yet! Both of my tamron's are fast lenses and comparatively sharp to other reputable lenses in the market. I did have to try a few lenses at the store prior to purchasing just to make sure that I was happy with the product. Quality control at the consumer level is key! Take advantage of an opportunity like that if you can.

Differences between the 85mm and 24mm. Why do I have these two lenses? is wider than the other. I like using the 85mm for head/beauty shots. Even from torso up I prefer using the 85mm. I can use the 85mm for full body shots as well, but if I'd like to be closer to my subject and get more in the frame a 24mm comes in handy.

Here are some examples using the 85mm:

The 85mm is a fantastic lens. It's tack sharp with great manual control for focusing.

Some examples using the 24mm:

With the 24mm I can have the chairs in the black and white photograph be part of the image as opposed it being tiny and unappealing. Even the model is able to have more of a presence in the frame along with the setup behind her. It also enabled me to be much closer to both the set and her to attain a photograph like this.

Onto the tamron's. Firstly here are some examples using the tamron for both a model shoot and events:

It's a good versatile lens that fits my needs. I know some people would like a good range in a zoom lens where they wouldn't want to have to change lenses while out and about. That's going to be pointed out in another post since I've already received a question on it by a reader. So be sure to check in about a week's time!
Back to the tamron.... I've been able to use this for when I'm not able to zoom with my feet because of restrictions and/or limitations by obstacles. Also in a low light situation this lens has been able to perform beautifully and my clients have been extremely happy with the results.

Now this particular image was taken using a Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 lens for the Distillery District in their Fermenting Cellar building for an annual event. No flash was used. I was asked to capture the lighting effect and decor of the room as is. Benefits I find photographing in manual mode is that you can play with exposure. Which is what I did here. I'd like to point out... I didn't use a tripod. I do have one (nothing to extravagant, but does the job when used). I've made a habit of practicing on just using my body as a tripod. I'm a small lady and sometimes I can be easily overwhelmed with the amount of equipment one may have to carry for a shoot. So by not having to use the tripod at times really helps in my case. This was photographed at f/5.6, shutter speed 1/5 and focal point is 10mm. I have sold this lens though. I found it slightly heavy and too clunky for me. Plus I wasn't using it that often so I couldn't justify in keeping it when I used the money I received from selling the 10-20mm towards prime lenses.

If you'd like to see more of these photographs please feel free to visit my flickr site
I don't hide the EXIF data on my photographs if you're curious as to what the settings were when the photograph was taken. Do keep in mind that all photos are copyrighted and cannot be used without permission. For inquiries or permission please email me at

Next post I shall discuss resources for researching. What I've used to help me progress within the realm of photography and mainly portraiture.

Please feel free to comment.... I encourage it!

1 comment:

  1. You're the real minimalist. I am really impressed with what you can achieve with them. I used to buy lenses (something like 18-200) because I didn't want to change lenses. After shooting for some time, I started to realize what kinda lens I need. I started to love prime lens too. Thank you for sharing those wonderful experiences in detail. I will try to get a 24mm lens later. I have never tried third party lenses but I don't mind to give a try now.