What’s in my bag (and why it’s mostly Nikon)

As a new photographer, and even now, one of my favorite things to read is what gear other photographers use and why they like it. I’m pretty sure I get my gear obsession and love of shiny new things from my dad 🙂 and what I shoot is a big part of my style today. (And, warning, this got way longer than I expected and apparently I felt the need to share my entire history of cameras! Haha…)

Back in 2010, I received a Canon XS dSLR for Christmas from my parents. We had two kids by then and I was getting frustrated by the point and shoot we had…it couldn’t seem to keep up with my kids! I kept that camera on auto with the kit lens for almost 3 years.

Fast forward to fall 2013. I realized that I wanted my photos to look as pretty as the scrapbook pages I put them on, so I taught myself how to shoot in manual mode. I was so impressed with myself! I discovered Clickin Moms that December (and thank goodness, because then I knew what good photos were supposed to look like).

I also quickly realized that my gear was holding me back. I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s not the gear that makes the photographer, but it will probably limit you in some ways! (If you are starting out, all you need is a dSLR and a 50mm 1.8 lens). I got the 50mm 1.8 lens for Christmas that year and that helped so much!

Then, I quickly moved through a lot of Canon cameras….a T5i, a 70D, and then a 6D, all within a year. I bought and sold several lenses during this time, trying to find my style.

A few months after I started my business in May 2016, I was super frustrated with my 6D. I worried so much about focus and sharp photos and I finally just sold it and switched to a Nikon D750, which was pretty much the cool kid on the block at the time.

And I felt like I was home. Seriously, from the moment I held it and snapped that first photo, I knew I was a Nikon girl. Which really did feel like the dark side coming from Canon.

And I’ve been shooting with the same Nikon D750 since!

Lensbaby Edge 50, Nikon 35mm 1.8, Nikon 85mm 1.8, D750, Tamron 70-200mm 2.8 G2, Tamron 24-70mm 2.8 G2.

Lensbaby Edge 50, Nikon 35mm 1.8, Nikon 85mm 1.8, D750, Tamron 70-200mm 2.8 G2, Tamron 24-70mm 2.8 G2.

I have never had focus issues with a Nikon – everything is so sharp. I love that I can focus on capturing moments and good portraits without having to worry that the photo might be out of focus. Everything just works.

I also love the dynamic range…I can shoot in low light and the camera doesn’t hesitate. If I need to pull up exposure in post, I can without a crazy amount of grain. Some people complain about the “Nikon green”, claiming that Nikon colors tend towards the green side and the images are hard to edit. I never found that to be the case; instead, my editing style fit much better!

I started with a 35mm and 85mm and thought I’d keep things super simple with those two primes. Well, then I took on a few weddings and realized that zooms are invaluable…there’s not always space to move exactly where I want to! I added the Tamron 70-200mm 2.8 G2 first and fell in love. A few months later the 24-70 G2 was released and I couldn’t resist. Now, I use the zoom lenses almost exclusively. I really should sell the primes, but I just can’t let them go!

Olympus OM-D EM10 mark ii with Tamron 14-150mm, Olympus 17mm 1.8 and Lensbaby Sol 22

Olympus OM-D EM10 mark ii with Tamron 14-150mm, Olympus 17mm 1.8 and Lensbaby Sol 22

Throughout the years, I’ve also been searching for the perfect “purse camera” – a small, easy to use camera to carry with me everywhere that I don’t want to take a big, heavy dSLR. I started with a Fuji X30 and quickly returned it for the Fuji X100T. I thought I liked that camera so much that I upgraded to the Fuji XT2 with a couple of lenses, even thinking that I might completely switch over to Fuji.

I was kidding myself though…I ended up realizing that it was a very fun camera to shoot with, but I wasn’t a fan of the actual images (some weird stuff happens in the shadows and I didn’t like the skin smoothing). I know so many people love Fuji and I really tried!

I sold all that and was without a smaller camera for awhile, until I started looking into Olympus. I ended up with the EM10 mark ii and it is such a great little camera! It’s not super good in low light, but I really love how small it is and it was very reasonably priced. Again, the images felt like “me” if that makes sense and very similar to Nikon.

However, I haven’t used it AT ALL since I got my newest baby….the Nikon Z6. I love mirrorless cameras, ever since I used the X100T. I love how light they are, how quiet the shutter is, how the focal points cover the entire image, the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) aspect of the viewfinder, and how sharp they are. I’ve been waiting for a full frame Nikon mirrorless forever and they finally delivered this fall.


Initial reviews of this camera weren’t the best and I actually ended up canceling my preorder. I was still on the lookout for a smaller, lighter camera to replace one of my D750s (photographers ALWAYS need a backup!) and since the Sony A7iii is the hottest camera right now, I ordered one. It was delivered in mid-November, I took two photos with it, and promptly sent it back. I HATED it. Capital letters hated it. I couldn’t even hold it without getting annoyed.

I held off until January and decided that I needed the Z6, so I sold my “client only” D750 and bought the Z6. Again, love at first sight! It is so light, sharp, fast, and fun to use. I’m a bit hesitant to use it for sessions, simply because it only has one card slot. I have started using it for newborn sessions and it’s amazing! The shutter is quieter and I noticed that babies don’t startle as much and I really like having more control over my focal point. I also shoot differently with mirrorless cameras, which sounds strange, but it helps me take more than just “safe shots”.

As more lenses are released and the second generation comes out, I’m pretty sure that I will end up switching over completely to the Z-line…even though that feels disloyal to my D750! Ha.

If there’s anything you want to know about any of these brands of cameras, just ask and I will tell you way more than you want to know.