Who What When Where Why How

When one begins any skilled profession, they learn to use a set of tools to complete the task. Eventually, the craftsman develops a relationship with these tools, they evolve, and the tradesman progresses in skill. Developing your talent using the best product is essential to a quality end result and increasing success.

I was taught at age 19 on Canon using Canon lenses. Canon Speedlights. Canon battery grips. Canon Canon Canon. I had a giant Pelican Case full of L-Series glass at my fingertips, and I fell in love with certain camera bodies and lenses. 

Where do you find a reputable camera company? Which brand should I purchase? Which model should I buy? What kit do I get? What lenses are the best for what I want to do? WTF is a flash? Tripod, Monopod, Tide pods?

My first camera was a RebelT1i with probably an 18-55mm 3.5-5.6. So, that's a 'starter prosumer' dslr and a lens that will increase from an f-stop of 3.5 to an f-stop of 5.6 as you zoom-in, and visa versa as you zoom out you may lower your f-stop.

The benefits of purchasing a professional DSLR compared to a 'prosumer' DSLR are a greater variety of lens compatibility (especially with the nice L-series Canon glass), your sensors are going to be of a higher quality and absorb light better (aka more info recorded/higher ISO ability/ lower noise), and the quality of the body of the camera itself will be higher than a plastic grade on the 'prosumer' level. On the higher-end, L-series glass lenses are sharper, offer lower depths of field (Bokeh/twinkle lights), better quality of materials = longer life of lens, and they're more work horses than the lower-end/less expensive lenses (which are at the opposite end of all of those spectrums).

I currently shoot with a 5DMK3 (22.3 megapixels), 50mm 1.8, 17-40mm 4.0, and a 70-200mm 2.8 IS. The ideal 50mm would be the 1.2, but the 1.8 is more affordable at $200 vs 1.2 at $1,400. Again, more expensive lens, higher quality of materials/glass, sharper image, longer life, etc...  My backup camera is the original 5D; which has almost half the megapixels as the MK3, but in great lighting scenarios it's a stellar portrait camera. 

Less information recorded = Less pores (gasp) 

You want to photograph in a dark location, you want a camera that has a higher ISO capability than the original 5D (1600) and you want a better sensor than a prosumer camera for the least amount of noise as possible. If you don't know how to use a speed light or any flash off-camera, ensuring you're able to dial up the ISO is a safe route to set yourself up for success.


You've decided either a Prosumer or Professional DSLR is best for you. Top of the line RebelT7i prosumer, great beginner's camera, $800 ish. Top of the line 5DS just shy of $4k, the new cute and popular 5DMK4 maybe $3k. Your 6D at $2k is full-frame, but your 7DMK2 at $1.8k, 80D at $1.2k, and 77D at $900 are all crop sensors. Full sensors are a 'larger canvas' which offer more information, better for capturing more light, and lower depths of field, but with a lower margin of error. The advantage of a crop sensor are basically increasing your 'zoom' ability. A 50mm lens on a crop sensor is basically an 85mm lens on a full frame sensor. Full Frame sensors are 36mmx24mm while Crop sensors are 22.3mmx14.9mm. 

I LOVE FULL FRAME. #fullframeforever #iloveshallowdepthsoffield

Buy a new 5DMK4 or RebelT7i

Buy a refurbished 5DMK3 or MK2 from a trusted company

Find an original 5D, very affordable

I buy lenses new or from trusted sources, contact local pros and reps

Canon Speed-light | Yongnuo Flash on Amazon is the affordable route I chose

Studio Lights, I love my AlienBees | Neewer Light Rings are popular

Backgrounds galore, don't forget the background system

Pocket Wizards are great for studio triggers and sometimes the light systems have receivers built-in. However, the optical slave (usually located on the back of the studio lights), is easily triggered with a simple speed light, placed on-camera, and pointed in the direction of the light at a low enough power to not affect your subject. I was taught this old school way without transceivers and receivers, and am able to work with or without them. Versatility is important when you may have to work with different tools in various scenarios.