Best Photography Resources – Everything I Use to Shoot Food and Films. From gear to Lightroom presets to backup and printing your images. Everything you need is linked here.
I get asked a lot about what kind of camera gear I use. The question usually goes something like this, “You take such great pictures, what kind of camera do you use?” I can understand why people think that the camera takes the pictures, but in reality that is not the case. It is like saying that the stove made the perfect risotto, or the oven baked the perfectly gooey chocolate chip cookies. No, the person cooking made the risotto and cookies, the stove and oven were merely tools to create the final product.
Photography is a craft – just like baking. I was not making perfect loaves of bread right out of the gate. It took time, experience, and lots and lots of practice. I did take some classes in college, but I have no formal photography training. I learned from books, blogs, forums, workshops, but mostly it was the time I spent putting what I learned into action.
In the beginning, I shot all the time. Hundreds of frames a day. I learned to read light. I learned to shoot in manual. I took my camera everywhere. It is what made me a good photographer, not the camera I used. The camera is simply a tool.
As for food styling, for the most part I learned as I went. As you can see from early posts, I knew absolutely nothing in the beginning. I paid attention to magazines and the photos on blogs that I really liked. I would use those images as inspiration and I would try to figure out why I was attracted to those images. Was it how it was lit? The mood? Or how it was propped?
A word of warning about inspiration – do not copy someone else’s images or style. For starters, it just isn’t nice or good juju. Secondly, you want to find your own style. Mine is clean, simple, and white for food photos, and colorful and bright for people. I use minimal props and let the food and the connections between people do all the work for me. It took me awhile to figure out what my style actually was. When I first started I was emulating other people’s work, and while it looked nice, it didn’t feel right to me. My photography didn’t really begin to improve until I figured out what I liked and what I wanted my final pictures to look like. There are so many gorgeous places to go for inspiration these days. Have fun. Photography has changed my life, it is such a gift to me.
I also take workshops that are outside of my niche. I have never once regretted spending my time or money learning. You will gain confidence, experience, and I have made some of the most amazing connections learning alongside other creatives.
// MY BEST PHOTOGRAPHY RESOURCES //
Nikon D850 – this camera is new and a BEAST. I love it.
Nikon D800 – My backup body
Canon M6 – My travel camera. I’m super impressed with this little camera. I love it so much. The video is amazing too.
Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art – On my camera about 95% of the time. Gorgeous, buttery, and fast. The only con about it is that she’s heavy.
Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art – Another gorgeous lens. I use this for video all the time. And for travel.
Nikon 85mm 1.4 – A gorgeous portrait lens. Also great for shooting video B roll. The most buttery blur ever.
Tamron 70-200 2.8 – I need something longer for sports and it is also a gorgeous portrait lens.
Lensbaby Composer Pro II with Edge 50 – I don’t use this often, but it is fun for a slice of sharp focus and blur around it.
You can read about my backup process here.
CAMERA BAG //
The Kate by Kelly Moore – there isn’t a perfect camera bag, but I really do love this one.
Expodisk – This saves me so much time editing. I use it 100% of the time for portraits.
Memory Cards – 64g
BOOKS & PRINTS //
Chatbooks – I have books made from all of my Instagram posts.
Artifact Uprising – I make a yearly “best of” book and they are GORGEOUS.
Social Print Studio – I print straight from my phone using the app.
BOOKS & RESOURCES //
EDITING TOOLS //
I use Lightroom Classic CC to edit my photos and will go into Photoshop if needed. I do use some presets to help me and then custom edit from there.
Lovely Light Presets – I use these for all of my color work. These are almost one click. I do fix exposure and white balance, and the occassional black.
Mastin Labs Ilford B&W Pack – I don’t show a lot of black and white, but when I do, I use these presets.
iPHONE APPS //
I’m currently using the iPhone 8 Plus and shoot photos and video.
VSCO – When I take iPhone pictures (and I take A LOT) I often use the VSCOCam app. Gorgeous film-like filters, beautiful interface, and easy to use.
Lightroom Mobile – It takes a few extra steps, but I can edit my images on my phone using the same presets I use in Lightroom.
GoPro – I’ve been shooting professionally for over 10 years and I learned so much at this workshop. Blue Lily has taken our family portraits for the last 4 years and Wendy mentioned a workshop in San Diego in February. I had no idea what to expect (San Diego in February was all I needed to hear) but I learned more than I ever thought possible. The BEST workshop I’ve ever been to.
Xanthe Berkeley – I have taken all of Xanthe’s classes and she not only teaches the how to make, she really inspires you to be creative and push yourself.
Everyday Films – Emily Mitchell is an excellent teacher and filmmaker. Her classes are tough to get into, but worth it.
Filming Life Academy – I’m super excited to be a part of this community of filmmakers. Courtney’s films are heartfelt and emotive.