Here are links to some of the gear I recommend in my Camera Mechanics and Lightroom Classic Workshops:
Today, you have many choices. I’ve done the research for you and here are my suggestions. I’ve divided them into DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras.
Canon T8i DSLR with EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens: Compatible with all Canon EF-S lenses. Cropped sensor. This camera is the newest version of the popular Canon Rebel series. (In Europe, it’s called the Canon EOS 850D and in Asia, the EOS Kiss X10i, so don’t be surprised if you find reviews that refer to those names…) It comes with the newer, improved version of the 18-55mm lens, too. It’s definitely a welcome upgrade. With it, you can shoot stills and video, too. If you love photography and want an excellent, consumer-level camera, this is the one to choose.
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens: This is the professional camera I use and I love it! It’s has a very sturdy body, which comes in handy when you travel. (My newest camera was only three weeks old when I tripped, walking up the steps at the Buddhist monastery in Oudong, Cambodia, and bounced it off the steps…Do not try that at home!!! 😱) It does not have a flash. It has a full-frame sensor and handles digital noise very well. The lens included with this link is an “L” lens, Canon’s designation of professional lenses. Oh… and it’s considerably more expensive than some of the other models I recommend here. 😉
Sony Alpha A6000 Mirrorless Camera with 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS & 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS Lenses: If you would prefer a really small and lightweight camera, this Sony is a good choice. It’s a 2014 model but has remained in production. It is an inexpensive introduction to mirrorless cameras. Cropped sensor.
Canon EOS RP Mirrorless camera with 24-105 F/4-7.1 IS STM Lens: This is a full-frame Canon mirrorless with a great price tag. It is also compatible with all Canon EF and EF-S lenses, using an additional lens mount. If you’ve been a Canon shooter and want to try out mirrorless, this is a good choice, since you can use your existing lenses!
Canon EOS R6 with 24-105 f/4L Lens: This camera has the photographers on the KelbyOne Community going crazy. (KelbyOne is Scott Kelby’s company. I’ve been a member since 2008.) Everyone seems to want one. It has a full-frame sensor and is compatible with all Canon EF and EF-S lenses, using an additional lens mount. It is more expensive than the EOS RP, so it’s an investment. In fact, it’s more expensive than my pro camera! The lens included with this link is an “L” lens, Canon’s designation of professional lenses. I suspect that I’ll break down and add it to my camera collection before long. 😉
Black Rapid Camera Strap-for Female Photographers: These are definitely my favorite Black Rapid straps! They are designed for women so they fit me better and they still take the pressure off my neck. I wear a heavy camera for hours and don’t feel the weight! When your strap arrives, remember to go to their website to see the video on how to fit it to your body.
Black Rapid Camera Strap for Everyone: I love these camera straps! They were the first Black Rapid straps I used. They fit everyone and take the pressure off your neck. I wear a heavy camera for hours and don’t feel the weight! There are many different designs, so you’ll be able to fit the strap to your personal needs. When your strap arrives, go to their website to see the video on how to fit it to your body.
Wacom Intuos Pro Creative Pen Tablet, Medium: I love editing my photos with this tablet. It allows me to control my edits with an electronic pen instead of a mouse, which is much easier. This is the size I use at home. For travel, I use a smaller version, the Wacom Intuos Creative Pen Tablet, Small. The larger version has more controls that you can program to work with your software. I don’t know any professional photographers who don’t use a Wacom!
X-Rite i1Display Studio: Have you ever spent time correcting the color of a photo and then shared it, only to find that the color wasn’t right? Worse yet, have you sent out your file to be printed and been disappointed by the color or exposure? Your computer screen is probably to blame. But, you can correct your screen, all by yourself! I use this small device to calibrate my screen. It is simple to use… you just follow the instructions. Hint: Laptop screens are notoriously bright. The first thing that it will do is to slightly darken the screen to correct for this. It’s definitely worth the investment if you are using editing software, like Lightroom or Photoshop. If you plan to submit photos to stock agencies, this is a requirement!
WD 2TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive – USB 3.0 – After trying many different brands of external hard drives, I think Western Digital is both excellent quality and value! They are very portable, too. I back up all of my photos on one of them when I import them into Lightroom. And, I store my photos on another WD hard drive. Lately, I’ve been buying the 3TB version, but if you don’t have many thousands of photos, you’ll be fine with the 2TB version. If you have a Mac, you can buy a version formatted for Macs, but I wouldn’t bother. Before you use your new disk, just launch Disk Utility (in your Applications folder) and ERASE the disk. It will rename it and format it for a Mac. Takes no time at all!!!
X-Rite ColorChecker Passport Photo 2: This is a great tool to control white balance. You can use it to create a custom white balance calibration in your camera or in Lightroom Classic. (That’s where I use it!) You can also use it to warm or cool the white balance.
It is a good addition to your camera bag, especially when you are shooting in a mixed lighting environment. What is that? Say you are shooting a birthday party inside your house. The indoor lights are tungsten and, maybe, fluorescent. If there is sunlight coming in the windows, that introduces a third color of light. It’s hard for your camera to balance those different color temperatures.
Instead, you shoot a photo of the ColorChecker Passport Photo 2 in the scene. Then, follow the directions to either set a custom white balance in your camera for that day, or in Lightroom, when you import your photos. I prefer to use it in Lightroom Classic. That way, I haven’t set a custom white balance and forgotten to change it after shooting. (Anyone who has ever set the timer on the camera and forgotten to unset it, knows just what I’m talking about! 😉)
The Adobe Photoshop Classic Lightroom CC Book for Digital Photographers (Voices That Matter): This is Scott Kelby’s newest book about setting up and using Lightroom. I wouldn’t be without it!
How Do I Do That In Lightroom Classic? This is a great reference book from Scott Kelby. To quote Scott, “Don’t read it in order. It’s not that kind of book. This is more like an “I’m stuck. I need help right now” book…” It’s great to have on your desk for those moments when you can’t figure out how to do something in the software.
Lightroom CC Collection Bundle: This is training with SLR Lounge, a California-based photography school.
Lightroom Made Easy: This is California photographer, Phil Steele’s online training. It’s a good place to review what we learn in our workshop.
The Lightroom System: Great Lightroom training with Matt Kloskowski. You install this training on your computer. Matt is a fabulous teacher. He used to work for KelbyOne before he started his own company. I’ve learned from him in person as well as through his online classes.
The Photoshop System: You guessed it… great Photoshop training with Matt Kloskowski.
Dropbox: Need to send photos? Use Dropbox instead of email. Your friends will thank you!!! Also, great for online backup. And you can use it to sync your photos between your iPhone, iPad and laptop! Highly recommended!
CreativeLive: This site offers free online classes if you watch while they are broadcasting and recording live. Something always seems to interrupt me during the live broadcast (my dog, my husband, etc, etc…), but, luckily, you can buy the classes to rewatch at a later date. The classes are great!
Cricut: I love their products! If you are a crafty person, you’ll love how you can use your photos to create cards, gifts, etc! For my son’s wedding and then my daughter’s wedding, I made the gift bags for out-of-town guests. In each case, I used a silhouette I had taken of their dogs, a French Bulldog for my son and a Black Lab mix for my daughter. The Cricut Explore Air machine cut them out with incredible detail, and I glued them onto the bags. This would also be the perfect gift for the crafty person in your life!
GoDaddy.com: Domains, websites, email and more. This is the company I use to host my website. Their customer service is excellent! I’ve used them for over 10 years.
iStock.: One of my favorite sources for selling and buying stock. This link leads to my portfolio. Hope you’ll check it out!
Adobe Stock: This is the easiest stock site for uploading! I upload through the Publish Services panel in Lightroom Classic. This link leads to my portfolio there. It’s a great place to sell stock photography!
KelbyOne: You can’t beat the training you get on this website! And, your subscription comes with discounts and a subscription to Photoshop User Magazine. This is, without a doubt, the best training deal on the internet! They release a new class every Thursday.
MailChimp: The perfect site for sending email and newsletters. I’ve used them for almost 10 years!
MOO.com: The place to buy unique business cards, labels and postcards, just to name a few. My business cards always start a conversation!
SmugMug: Looking for somewhere to put your photos online? This is where you’ll find my portfolio. They’re a great company to work with! You can post and share your photos and also sell them!
Strong VPN: I use this to encrypt my data when I use the web in public. Works on my computer as well as my iPhone and iPad. I would never go on the internet in a public place without using Strong VPN! Great company!
Tailwind: I use this site to plan my Instagram posts. Give it a try! I think it’s awesome! You can also use it to post to Pinterest!
WordPress SEO plugin: A great SEO plugin for your WordPress website.
Most of these links are affiliate links. Clicking on them won’t cost you more… and I get a commission from the company if you click on the link and purchase something. A win-win for all of us! Thank you!!! 😍