Equipment Recommendations

Hey everyone!  Here I will give some equipment recommendations to take your own DIY Senior Pictures.  First, before we get into that, let me explain my gear philosophy.  I believe all of the equipment and gear is a tool to get you the best DIY Senior Pictures.  That is all it is, a tool.  I don’t believe that the newest equipment is always the best, especially if your are new and learning.  Don’t be afraid to borrow or rent a camera to get started. When you get some shooting confidence, go for the new gear!

I will share with you what I use for equipment.  This does not endorse any companies or products it is merely what we use.  I prefer mirrorless cameras because they are smaller and more portable.  I really like the Micro 4/3 format cameras because I can attach just about any lens I want to them with an adapter.  The fact that they are very adaptable comes in handy when shooting portraits.  You can adapt just about any old film lens to your camera.  Why would you want to do this?  First, you can get old film lenses really cheaply.  For example, an old Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens goes for around $50 to $75 dollars on Ebay.  If you were to buy the new Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 new,it will set you back almost $500 dollars.

Now, lens adapting is not for the faint of heart.  You lose autofocus capability with an adapted lens.  You have to be willing to focus manually.  That is OK because all of the recently released mirrorless cameras have focus peaking built in to help you nail your manual focus skills.

I also prefer the mirrorless gear because those are the camera companies that are really innovating these days.  They are the ones release these excellent features to help us get better shots.  If you wish to know more about my reasons for selecting my gear, let’s start a conversation about it.  You can reach me on Twitter @rick_bolt.

 

Cameras I Use

  1. Panasonic G7  –This is an awesome mid-range camera.  I love it for both it’s photo and video capabilities.  If you see me walking around, I will probably have this one with me.
  2. Panasonic GF5 — This is a backup camera that use to take many videos.  If I am going to be doing video that could put my G7 at risk, I am using the GF. The GF5 is only available used, so I added a link to the latest model.
  3. Olympus PEN EP Series —  I purchased the original Olympus micro 4/3 EP-L-1 on Ebay.  This was my first micro 4/3 camera and I have not looked back since then!  I started using my old Nikon film lenses with this camera and loved the results.  Many of the older senior pictures on this site was taken with this camera.
  4. Nikon D series —  I purchased the Nikon D40 several years ago when it was new.  It is still a great stills camera.  It can take any Nikon lens you throw at it, but you have to shoot in all manual mode.  This did wonders to help me learn the technical aspects of photography.  Latest Nikon D series is linked.
  5. Sony A6000  series — OK, I don’t own this one yet, but if I were to have an endless budget and was going to buy a camera today, this would  be the one.  It has excellent ISO performance and adaptability when it comes to the lenses.  Don’t buy this unless you have a large budget and are willing to let me borrow it to try it out!  I plan on renting one soon to offer a full review.

Other Equipment I Use

  1. Portable Reflector — You probably read one of our books, I won’t bore you again with the details.  Just get one, they are cheap!
  2. Mini tripod — I use this for both photos and videos.  Beats carrying around a giant tripod.
  3. Ball head — Works great with the mini tripod
  4. Giant tripod — for panoramas.  I love the ball head that comes with this one.  This is the best deal I have found yet.
  5. Speed Booster — This is what I use to add my old film lenses to my new m4/3 cameras.  It allows you to get a wider filed of view and a faster stop. This is only use when you adapt lenses. If you order one of these, make sure you purchase the correct lens mount.
  6. Lens adapters — These are some lens adapters I use.  These allow me to use my old Canon, Nikon, and Olympus film lenses on my m4/3 gear.
  7. Various filters — to protect the longevity of my lenses.  Worth every penny.

 

Where I Rent Gear

When I want to try out new gear before I buy it or have a special need, I go to borrowlenses.com.  This place has a vast selection of cameras and lenses you can rent to try before you buy.  They make it all really easy too!  They can ship things right to your front door and then you can turn around and ship them back when you your rental time is up.

 

Editing Software

Free

  1. Gimp
  2. Pixlr
  3. Google Nik Filters (requires an Adobe product)

Paid

  1. Lightroom
  2. Photoshop

Mobile Editing Softare

  1. Snapseed

Mobile Devices

  1. iPad Mini
  2. Samsung S4
  3. iPhone 4

And of course we use Amazon Prime for all of our gear purchase and we also use Amazon Prime for free unlimited photo backup!  Get a 30 day free trial and test it yourself.

I will continue to update this page often.  Please bookmark it and check back for the latest.  We will be showcasing some DIY Senior Pictures taken with mobile devices soon, so we will be updating that section in the near future.  This page does contain some affiliate links. They do not cost you anything extra and help support our site.