Recommended Photography Essentials
Since I am often asked questions about the equipment that I use, my favorite photographers, and my favorite photo resources on the web, I thought it would be beneficial to create a single page with all of this information.
You cannot go wrong with many camera companies, including Canon (which I still use), Olympus, Nikon, and Sony; however, I highly suggest you consider Fuji cameras. In my opinion, Fuji is the camera company of the future. Particularly for travel and street photography, large SLRs can be cumbersome. This is where mirrorless cameras come in, and do not let the APS-C sized sensors deter you. The image quality is basically as good as full-frame sensors (the difference is negligible for most uses). Fuji cameras are sturdy, well-built, and the image and color quality are top class. But most importantly, they are the most ergonomic cameras out there. They are the perfect size, beautiful, and are extremely fun to use.
*Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, at no additional cost to you. Everything that I recommend is something that I use or enjoy. If you purchase equipment or products by following through these links, I will make a small commission off of it, so I would love it if you could click these links before you make a purchase. Also, please make sure to do your research before purchasing any of these products. Just because they work for me, does not mean that they are guaranteed to be right for you.
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- Photography Equipment
- Computer and Printing Equipment and Programs
- Educational Photography Links and Websites
- My Favorite Photography Blogs and Websites
- Fuji X100 Line: This is the primary camera that I use for my street photography. The X100 is the perfect complement to an SLR. It is an everyday walk around and compact travel camera, and it is perfect for candid photography. The image quality and lens are spectacular, and I routinely shoot with it at ISOs of up to 3200 and sometimes 6400 in extreme situations. It has a fixed 35mm equivalent lens, so you have to be okay with that focal length, but Fuji has now released 28mm and 50mm adapters. The quality and form factor of this camera makes everyday photography so much more fun than with a DSLR. If you need interchangeable lenses, you should consider the Fuji X-T line.
- Fujifilm TCL-X100 Telephoto: This lens converts the X100 into a 50mm equivalent. I shoot with it about 50% of the time.
- Fujifilm WCL-X100 Wide-Angle: This lens converts the X100 into a 28mm equivalent. Fantastic for busy areas and street corners.
- Fuji X-T Line: The X-T is a revolutionary mirrorless camera. Fast, ergonomic, small, and fun to use. The lens selection is second to none as is the image quality.
- Fujifilm XF 23mm f/2 R: This lens is small in form factor and converts the X-T into a 35mm equivalent. This is the perfect lens for everyday street photography.
- Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2: This lens is spectacular for portraiture. With an aperture of 1.2, it allows the X-T camera to have a beautiful shallow depth of field that is very similar to a full-frame camera.
- Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8: With an F2.8 aperture, this lens is an upgrade to the kit lens that comes with the X-T, however, it is much larger in size. This lens is perfect for event, wedding, travel, and landscape photography.
- Fujifilm X70: If you want to own a Fuji camera but cannot afford the X100 or X-T, the X70 is what you should get. This camera is small and fun to use, but keep in mind that it has a fixed 28mm equivalent lens, so make sure you like that focal length.
- ONA Bowery Camera Bag: My everyday camera bag for the Fuji X100s. I carry these two together wherever I go. This bag is light and small and still manages to fit the Fuji and other accessories, including an iPad mini. It can hold a DSLR and prime lens if you are ambitious. ONA bags are incredibly well made.
- ONA Union Street Camera and Laptop Bag: Another well-made ONA bag that I love. I use this for travel and whenever I need to carry a medium amount of equipment for a job, such as a DSLR, laptop, and one extra lens, along with other accessories. Fits a 15 inch laptop easily.
- Billingham Packington, Camera and Laptop Bag: I use this bag most often when doing jobs with my DSLR or traveling with my DSLR. It can fit two camera bodies, multiple lenses, two speedlights, a laptop, and multiple accessories in a fairly small form factor for the space it provides. The material is lightweight and very sturdy. Billingham makes unsurpassed bags and this has been beat up on a weekly basis and still looks exactly the same as when I purchased it 10 years ago. This bag is a long term investment that you will not regret.
- Gitzo Mountaineer Tripod (Base): Before I purchased my Gitzo, I broke three more affordable tripods. You will save money in the long term by purchasing a better tripod. This tripod is light enough to travel with and carry around for hours, but large enough to handle a DSLR and big lens if you are careful with it. The carbon fiber body is amazingly light.
- Adobe Creative Cloud (Instant Download): Creative Cloud, and specifically Lightroo,m will the best bang-for-your-buck purchase in the world of photography. There is not one other single piece of equipment that will make you a better photographer. This is due to its intuitive editing controls as well as its organizational abilities for accessing your image archive. All of my images are created in Lightroom, with Photoshop being then used for very specific purposes, portrait retouching, printing, and sharpening. I spend about 90% of my time in Lightroom and 10% in Photoshop. All of my black and whites begin in Lightroom. I do not use Silver Efex.
- Epson SureColor P800 17×22 Inch Printer: My workhorse printer. This printer is a beast and it is incredibly reliable. It creates gorgeous prints. I highly recommend it over Epson’s smaller high-end photo printers because of the ink costs it will save you. Epson makes the best photo printers in the world.
- NEC 27 Inch Wide Gamut Monitor: The first thing that I did when I purchased an NEC monitor, was open photoshop and a new square canvas and fill it with pure red. I stared at that red for what seemed like ten minutes. I had never seen such a vivid and strong color on a monitor before. Good color rendering control is imperative for good photography and that all starts with a good monitor.
- Ilford Galerie Prestige Gold Fibre Silk Paper: I also love Epson’s Exhibition Fiber paper, but I have grown to prefer Ilford’s Gold Fibre Silk. This is what I do all of my prints on when I create them myself.
- Apple Mac Pro Desktop: I have went through two generations of Mac Pros and they have been so reliable despite being abused on a daily basis.
- G-Technology G-DRIVE 4 TB External Hard Drive: I wouldn’t risk my archive on anything else. A good file storage strategy has multiple backups, but the individual hard drives are extremely important because some brands can be very unreliable.
- Wacom Intuos Pro Medium Tablet: I love my tablet for retouching. I particularly use my Wacom tablet with photoshop, portrait retouching, dodging and burning, and making selective masks. It has lasted about 10 years, next to my cup of coffee, which is an amazing feat in itself.
- Crashplan Backup Service: A good backup plan for an archive has multiple points. Crashplan backs up your archive consistently in the background and in realtime to a remote server. Should you lose your archive they will mail you a hard drive. I backup my images in four ways and this is a very important and affordable element to this strategy.
- Digital Silver Imaging, Printing Service: They rock. This is the best printing place that I have ever used. They are reliable, fast, fantastic prints, and have excellent customer service. I use them for all my prints over 17 by 22 inches.
- Digital Photography School: A wonderful site for photography tips of all types. Great to pop in on a regular basis.
- International School of Photography (ICP) School of Continuing Education: Where I studied. They have fantastic weekend and night classes and an intensive full-time program.
- CreativeLive: Has photography classes of all types, as well as business and marketing classes for photographers. The latter is so important as there is a lack of good training on these topic for professional and aspiring photographers.
- Digital Photo Mentor: A great educational photography website that I enjoy writing for. The owner, Darlene Hildebrandt, offers wonderful worldwide photography workshops.
- Kelby Training: Great photography training classes and videos.
- Lynda.com Training: My go to for learning about programs and improving technical skills of all types.
- Picture Correct: Photography tips website.
- The Online Photographer
- B by Blake Andrews
- The Strobist by David Hobby
- NY Times Lens Blog
- This Week in Photo
- The Candid Frame
- Eric Kim Street Photography Blog
- John Paul Caponigro
- A Photo Editor
- Aperture Blog
- Time LightBox