Hi, I’m Ryan, a photographer from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I shoot mostly glamour, fitness, boudoir, and fashion photos. I love traveling and meeting new people on my journeys. This is just a fun place for me to share photos and post stuff related to photography. If you need to get a hold of me, or would like to model for me, you can contact me here.
Below you’ll find my recommended camera and lighting equipment, but if you want to learn more about how I use this equipment, then you should be reading my blog. On my blog, you’ll find topics like:
- Photographing a lingerie model with three lights
- Sunset bikini photo shoot with no lights or modifiers
- Portraits with neon lights
- Photo shoot using coloured LED panels
- Soft light portraits with a single reflector
- Urban portraits — hiding a city in plain sight
- Foggy bikini photo shoot
- Portrait shoot with 85mm lens
- Wide angle portraits on the beach
- Outdoor fashion shoot with just a reflector
MY RECOMMENDED CAMERA GEAR
Here are a list of products that I use, love, and highly recommend. This is what I shoot with on a daily basis. Most links below are Amazon affiliate links (disable your ad blocker to see them) — you can help support this site by making your purchases by clicking the links below before shopping on Amazon.
FULL FRAME DSLR CAMERAS & BATTERY GRIPS
The Nikon D750 FX full frame DSLR camera (VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON) is my current workhorse camera body, with the Nikon D610 being my backup camera body. I use the third-party Meike MK-DR750 Battery Grip (VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON) on the D750, which I’ve found is fairly comparable to Nikon’s hideously overpriced version. The equally overpriced Nikon MB-D14 is what I’ve paired with the Nikon D610, before I knew solid third-party options existed. The Nikon grips have better build quality, but the value proposition of a third-party grip is too good to pass up — usually you can buy three or four for the price of just one Nikon.
Back to the cameras for a second, the D750 has a number of advantages over the D610, in case you’re comparison shopping. Here are the features I value most:
|Nikon D750||Nikon D610|
|Build quality||Magnesium alloy and carbon fibre||Magnesium alloy and polycarbonate|
|Image processor||Expeed 4||Expeed 3|
|Auto focus points||51||39|
|HD video resolution||1080p60||1080p30|
|Battery life||1230 shots||900 shots|
|[gpp_button color=”yellow” url=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0060MVJ1Q?tag=vtography-20″ title=”NikonD750″ target=”_blank” size=”small” display=”inline”]CHECK PRICE[/gpp_button]||[gpp_button color=”yellow” url=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FOTF8M2?tag=vtography-20″ title=”NikonD610″ target=”_blank” size=”small” display=”inline”]CHECK PRICE[/gpp_button]|
Some explanations for the data you see above:
- Carbon fibre is stronger than polycarbonate and thus makes the D750 a little more rugged (even though it’s smaller and lighter than the D610)
- Expeed 4 is Nikon’s latest image processor, providing better image quality even though the sensors between the two cameras are largely the same. The D750 especially excels at capturing a wide dynamic range, insane shadow detail, and is head and shoulders the best camera money can buy for low light shooting.
- The tilting LCD screen has come in handy more times than I can count — it’s very freeing to be able to hold the camera away from your face and still tilt the LCD in Live View mode so you can see your subject
- WiFi on the D750 has limitations — no raw file transfer, for instance — but it’s exceptionally useful for uploading a quick image to social media
I primarily use three main lenses for photographing models:
|Nikon 50mm ƒ/1.4G||Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G||Nikon 70-200mm ƒ/2.8G VR II|
|[gpp_button color=”yellow” url=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001GCVA0U?tag=vtography-20″ title=”Nikon50″ target=”_blank” size=”small” display=”inline”]CHECK PRICE[/gpp_button]||[gpp_button color=”yellow” url=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B006TAP096?tag=vtography-20″ title=”Nikon85″ target=”_blank” size=”small” display=”inline”]CHECK PRICE[/gpp_button]||[gpp_button color=”yellow” url=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002JCSV8U?tag=vtography-20″ title=”Nikon70-200″ target=”_blank” size=”small” display=”inline”]CHECK PRICE[/gpp_button]|
Each has their strengths and weaknesses. The 70-200mm lens is one of Nikon’s “holy trinity” of lenses and is probably my most used lens, especially when I shoot at the beach. It’s not the sharpest of the three (that honour goes to the 85mm lens), but it’s amazing for a zoom.
On occasion I use some other lenses to shoot models, but the other lenses are mostly reserved for landscape work, travel, events, and other miscellaneous stuff:
- Nikon 14-24mm ƒ/2.8G ED AF-S Lens
- Nikon 24-120mm ƒ/4G ED AF-S VR Lens
- Opteka 6.5mm ƒ/3.5 Fisheye Lens
Opteka’s 6.5mm fisheye lens is a fun toy and dirt cheap to boot. Great fun to play around with, though I never shoot at any aperture larger than ƒ/8.
In terms of studio strobes, I’ve only ever used monolight flash units from Paul C. Buff Inc. as my main lighting source in studio and on location. The Alien Bees and Einstein models are tough as nails, reliable as hell, extremely economical, and many products are made in the USA. For events and other work, the Nikon SB-910 Speedlight flash unit has been serving me well for eons and it’s since been replaced by the SB-5000 (VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON).
In terms of accessories and modifiers, let’s start with light stands. Manfrotto’s 1052BAC are heavy duty stands with a super neat system that allows multiple stands to be clasped together for easy transport. When I need to travel light, however, I go for the super slim Manfrotto 5001B Nano Stand.
|Manfrotto 1052BAC||Manfrotto 5001B|
|Load Capacity||11 lbs||3.3 lbs|
|Maximum Working Height||93” (2.37m)||74” (1.9m)|
|Collapsed Height||34” (86cm)||19” (48cm)|
|Weight||2.7 lbs||2 lbs|
|[gpp_button color=”yellow” url=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003AM38DG?tag=vtography-20″ title=”1052BAC” target=”_blank” size=”small” display=”inline”]CHECK PRICE[/gpp_button]||[gpp_button color=”yellow” url=”https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001M4HXB2?tag=vtography-20″ title=”5001B” target=”_blank” size=”small” display=”inline”]CHECK PRICE[/gpp_button]|
So once I’ve got the light on a stand, I usually put a modifier on it of some sort. My favourite light modifiers:
- 5-in-1 Collapsible Reflector
- 22” Beauty Dish by Impact (with honeycomb grid to control spill) or Fotodiox
- Paul C. Buff 86” PLM Umbrella — a comically large modifier only suitable for large indoor spaces. I can’t imagine how many sandbags you’d need to weight it down for outdoor use. The quality of light it produces is amazing and I wish I had the space to use it more often.
- SMDV Speedbox Diffuser 60 — a fun little softbox-type modifier intended for use with Speedlights that’s great for headshots. It can be easily handheld or mounted on lightweight stands like the Manfrotto 5001B.
CAMERA & LIGHTING ACCESSORIES
At some point, every photographer is going to have a bag, box, drawer, cupboard, or even a whole closet overflowing with various knick-knacks and accessories. These are some of the more useful ones I use:
- Vello Freewave LR Flash Triggers (VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON)
- They’re the most reliable no-frills flash triggers I’ve used. No, they don’t do TTL or have Bluetooth control or an LCD screen or any other fancy nonsense. They just work. They appear to be a rebadged version of the well regarded Phottix Ares triggers. Double check the price on both to see what’s better.
- LowePro Transit 350AW Backpack (VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON)
- After trying way too many ugly, uncomfortable, camera backpacks, I can say Lowepro’s Transit 350AW is the first one that’s truly comfortable and one I use for every light duty shoot. My most recent purchase is for more gear-heavy needs: the Manfrotto Pro Roller 50. It’s an awesome rolling bag, airplane friendly (on most airlines anyway), and holds a ton of stuff.
- SanDisk Extreme Memory Cards (VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON)
- After a recent failure I had with Lexar brand cards, I’ve switched back to SanDisk. They’re the industry standard for a reason.
- Rode VideoMic Pro (VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON)
- Rode is pretty much the gold standard for shotgun mics, and I use one when recording behind-the-scenes videos. For more dialogue heavy purposes, check out the amazingly priced lavalier microphones from Aspen Mics. Paired with a spare smartphone and a basic audio recording app, these mics are crazy good for the price.
- AmazonBasics AA Rechargeable Batteries (VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON)
- The AmazonBasics brand of AA and AAA batteries are an insanely good, insanely less expensive competitor to Eneloops. They’re fantastic. That being said, I’d recommend sticking with the regular capacity AA rechargeable batteries instead of the high capacity models. Every set of the high capacity batteries I’ve purchased has failed.
- Spider Pro Camera Holster (VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON)
- When carrying a camera around all day, neck straps are the actual worst. The Spider Pro Holster is an ingenious belt/holster solution to take the pressure off necks and shoulders. I love mine.
- Mag Mod Flash Modifiers (VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON)
- I gave up on Gary Fong products a while ago after discovering MagMod, a unique solution that uses magnets to attach modifiers to speedlights. I’ll never go back to Fong.
- Drobo 5N RAID Storage (VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON)
- For computer file storage needs, I store everything I’ve ever shot on Drobo devices. I have four of them now. Remember the rules of file backup: you need a local version, a local backup, and an off-site backup. Make this your number one priority if you’ve never done it.
- Gaffer tape (VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON)
- You can never have too much gaffer tape.
- Peak Design Clutch Hand Strap (VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON) and Slide Camera Strap (VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON)
- Peak Design seems to make stuff that’s so well-designed, you’d think photographers actually designed them. What a novel concept! The Clutch Hand Strap is a comfortable way to grip my DSLR, and I use the seatbelt-material Slide Camera Strap as a cross-body strap when not using my Spider Holster.
- Cleaning products
- Lastly, to keep my gear in top shape, I recommend sensor cleaning brushes from Visible Dust (VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON), lens wipes from Zeiss (VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON), and any brand of rocket blower (VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON).
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