Tools or Toys?

One question I’m always being asked is what gear do I use? What camera? What lenses? What’s my favorite lens? I thought I’d write a quick post to answer those questions. When Im browsing other photographers’ blogs, I look to see if they list IF THEY POST WHAT GEAR they use. I like to know these things!

I’d like to point out that while my photography gear is fundamental to doing my job, the most important aspect of my job is you, my client. You are the reason I do what I do.


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My main camera body is a Nikon D750, a full frame camera. I had been a Canon girl for 8 years or so, but switched over in May 2017. I’ve read hundreds of posts of how difficult it is to switch from Canon to Nikon, and so many people switch back within weeks. I’ve heard Nikon people say this about switching, as well.

It was a breeze for this desert photographer! I purchased the D750, the 24-120 f/4 and the 50 f/1.8 on a Wednesday evening and was photographing a senior session Friday morning. Between Google, YouTube, and my manual, it was easy peasy, very intuitive.

I use a Nikon D300S as my back-up. It’s a pro-level DX, and is smooth as a baby’s skin. I use this as my main camera, on occasion, as I get a different perspective with this. It has a crop sensor, so the view is tighter. A 50mm on my D750 gives me 50mm view - about what the average eye sees when open. On a crop, it narrows down to a 75mm, so YOU SEE LESS OF THE SCENE IN THE FRAME.

(Love that camera strap? Me toO! Here’s where I purchased it!)

I’ve also got one of the best film cameras ever made, a Nikon F100. Man, I love this camera! Using an SLR really challenges one’s skills. It’s where the rubber meets the road. You find out if you really understand the exposure triangle or the Zone System when you look at your developed film! I love using this and am hoping to start using it on client sessions!

If you know a thing or two about photography, you’ve probably heard it said your investment should be in your glass. So true. Lenses are where you sink your money. Did I say sink? I mean invest. Invest, that’s it, lol. I have three lenses I use the most, followed by a few other that I use on occasion.

My. 50mm f/1.4 is fabulous for portraiture and everyday photography. I use it for my boutique school photography and client sessions. Sometimes I use it as a faux macro, because of the light, airy, creamy background I get with it.

I chose to use the 50mm here as I was in a tight location. I wouldn’t have been able to get much of anything w/ my macro due to the tight space.

I chose to use the 50mm here as I was in a tight location. I wouldn’t have been able to get much of anything w/ my macro due to the tight space.

Here’s what the 50mm f/1.4 looks like wide open.

The focus is on her eyes and drops off to a smooth creamy background. A must-have lens for portraits!

The focus is on her eyes and drops off to a smooth creamy background. A must-have lens for portraits!


My Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8G2 is my magical lens. The compression it creates (distance between background and subject) is heavenly. I use this during 75% of my sessions and sometimes the whole session, depending on the location. This baby is heavy and I may need a front BABY sling for it. I capture authentic moments happening among my clients without being right next to them. I love using this lens for landscape as well, it’s amazing. I also use this for a faux macro lens. I love this lens.

See how they stand out against that background? Swoooonnn!

See how they stand out against that background? Swoooonnn!

On manual focus, I narrowed in at 2.8, focus on one little spot. I love how the wind blurred it.

On manual focus, I narrowed in at 2.8, focus on one little spot. I love how the wind blurred it.

Macro photograph is my therapy,. I love it and I must have a macro lens. I can’t begin to explain to you what it is or how it works in any form of technical manner. It’s getting super close to the subject and pressing the shutter. There’s a whole lot more to it, but that’s for another day/year. I use the Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 Macro. It’s less expensive than the Nikkor lens and all my research showed it performed at least as well, and in some cases better, than the Nikkor. Plus I’m impressed with Tamron lenses. You can read a little about macro photography here.

Oh my word….. the bokeh of the leaves leading our eye to the tip <3<3

Oh my word….. the bokeh of the leaves leading our eye to the tip <3<3

Macro requires attention to detail. It is my therapy!

Macro requires attention to detail. It is my therapy!

Those are the three lenses that are always in my bag. I use them for family sessions, senior sessions, and boutique school photography, all here in the Las Vegas Valley.

I’ll write about the other three, oops FOUR real quick.

1) Nikkor 18-35mm f/3.5-5.5 D - an older Nikkor lens used for real estate photography

2) Nikkor 35mm f/2 D - another older lens, I use this indoors, in tight spaces, or on my f100 film..

3) Lensbaby Twist 60mm — You’ve got to try their lenses!

4) Helios 44-2 - an old Russian manual lens that adds the most amazing bokeh and flare.

So that’s it. These are my tools, and yes, my toys. They are tools that I use to capture fabulous photos of you!