I like to call myself a "savvy photographer", because of the minimal amount of equipment I use to create portraits. When I first started out in the photography industry I started with a BROKEN point and shoot camera (the battery cartridge was busted and needed to be taped together). And that is all I had to begin with.
Over the years I learned I may need a few more things, haha! So over the past few years I have acquired the things I need to run a photography business! But to be honest, my equipment is still pretty minimal! I use a camera (a no brainer), 1-2 lenses, a computer and photoshop. I also have a few accessories in-between, but for the most part I keep it pretty simple!
I truly believe you don't need to break the bank, or have the most up-to-date equipment to be a successful photographer! While having those things is nice, I have always liked the challenge of pushing myself to work with what I have. Over the years I have made minimalism work for me. So here is a list of all the items I use to create portraits!
Camera: Nikon D610
I like to consider myself as "savvy", but I also like to be practical. Being a professional photographer means you need to have professional equipment. When I first started I started with a broken point and shoot. After I started to get some real interest in my work I decided to upgrade my camera. I was graciously gifted a Nikon D3000. That lasted me just a couple years before I realized I needed to up the quality of my images. Now, I HIGHLY suggest to anyone starting in photography to start with a crop sensor camera (like my Nikon D3000). Crop sensors are a GREAT way to learn the ropes of photography on a budget!
I now use a Nikon D610. I purchased it a few years ago and LOVE it! It does all that I need it to do, and a little more! It creates quality images and gives me the option to push myself on occasion (low light situations, video, etc). I didn't start with a nicest camera because I needed to learn the ropes first. After I learned what I needed to on my D3000, I upgraded to the D610!
"Learn the rules like a pro, and break them like an artists."
Lens: 50mm 1.8
My 50mm lens is my baby. I love my little nifty fifty. It is perfect for portraits and gives me just the look I want for my images! To be honest, it hardly leaves my camera. I do have a 28mm that I OCCASIONALLY use, but again that 50mm is my baby.
Lenses are a big part of customizing your images. Keep in mind the lens you use depends on the type of photography you do (landscapes, portraits, sports, etc). 50mm lenses are perfect for portrait photography. That creamy bokah you see in the background of my images is all due to my 50mm lens. that 1.8 aperture is just enough to get me low enough for all of the bokah!
** I do plan to upgrdae my lens soon, I have my eye on a 50mm 1.2 **
Extra's: Reflector, an Assistant, and a Little Bit Of Nature
My #1 tool is my reflector. It's a large, round frisbee looking thing with a black side and a silver side. The silver side helps me bounce light back onto my clients to give them that "glowy" look. I've used this tool for many years and love it so much!
My next "extra" is my dashingly handsome assistant (aka my husband). He is my reflector holder, coat rack, the one who treks through the creepy looking grass first. Having someone to come along and help during a session is super beneficial!
Another item I like to use is a little piece of nature, literally. When I'm on a session I like to grab a leaf, flower or some other type of nature and put it infront of my lens to give a more creamy touch of color to the image!
Post Processing: Photoshop cs6
And finally, the last thing I use to create my images is Photoshop! I know a lot of people use Lightroom, and I'm totally not opposed to it! But Photoshop is a powerful tool and can do much more extensive editing. I do some basic editing, tonal changes, brightening, and cosmetic fixes.
And that's it! That is all I use to create portraits. Simple and savvy!