Blonde girl in a green dress, standing in a field, holding a camear

Want to see all the amazing things I keep in my camera bag and couldn’t live without? I’m in a handful of photography groups on Facebook, and a question I see being asked a lot is what lenses are best… Over the last couple of years, I’ve worked on finding the gear that works the best for me and my sessions. It’s no secret that photography can be an expensive hobby. But I have a few tricks for being able to afford all that fancy equipment!

I currently shoot with a Mirrorless Canon R6. Upgrading to a mirrorless has been a game-changer for my business and I regret not doing it sooner! I was previously shooting with a Canon 5d Mark iv and it was a workhorse that I loved dearly. I was comfortable with it, knew it by heart, and it never let me down.

Let me tell you. Mirrorless is like nothing you’ve ever seen before! If you’ve gotten manual shooting down, taking pictures on the R6 will be a cakewalk! I feel like it takes all the hard work out of shooting – if you know what shutter speed, ISO, and aperture are.

Essential Lenses

You’ve probably heard the term “Nifty Fifty” by now and know that a 50mm lens is a staple in your kit… there are people out there who say it’s the photographer that makes the photo, not the equipment… that may be true in some cases. But the quality of glass also makes a significant difference. There’s a reason there’s such a price difference between the 50 1.8 (EF $125, RF $200) and the 1.2 L series (EF $1400, RF $2300). You. Get. What. You. Pay. For.

Those higher prices may be a hard pill to swallow, but I want to let you in on the secret of how I afforded that EF 1.2 when I first started out…

I just want to preface and say that I’m not a financial advisor, and I’m not trying to give any sort of financial advice, I’m just sharing what I did and why it worked for me.

“But they cost so much”

I applied for a Best Buy STORE Credit Card. I want to emphasize the difference between a STORE credit card and a Visa credit card. A Visa CC you can use ANYwhere. A STORE CC you can ONLY use at the STORE it’s for. My favorite perk of the BB CC is interest-free financing. Depending on the amount of the purchase will determine how long you have to pay it off. Smaller purchases give you 6 months, larger purchases can give you up to 24 months.

Do the math… a $2300 lens split over 18 months means you only pay $127 each month. That is a much easier pill to swallow, AND you get instant gratification. Again. I don’t want to tell you that applying for a credit card doesn’t have its risks. You should educate yourself on the process, what it means, and the penalties.

I learned the hard way what happens if you don’t pay off the item within the time frame given, and I don’t recommend that to anybody ?. In case you don’t know, you’ll have to pay a pretty high-interest rate that will take effect from the date of purchase (so 18 months of interest tacked on at once)…

There are lots of places that offer some form of interest-free financing (I’ve heard B&H is a good one) but I’m just sharing the one I have personal experience with.

Back to the main topic though, my favorite gear.

Out With The Old

Surprisingly, I used my 50 1.2 for a while! It was the lens that never left my camera body for probably a year. Untillllll I got the 35. What a game-changer! The 35 1.4 is such a universal lens. From tight spaces during in-home shoots to large group shots at weddings, it was my favorite lens! Once I got my R6 I even got the EF lens adapter so I could keep using it!

I had been hearing a lot about the Canon F/2.8 24-70 lens and how much people loved it, so I even bought it out of excitement when I got my R6. {big} Mistake. I randomly came across a comment that said something about an amazing new lens RF F/2 28-70 from Canon and so I had to start digging. Katelyn James has an awesome intro to the lens here which is what convinced me to buy it. I’m not going to lie… It took me quite a few months to get my hands on it because it was on backorder EVERYWHERE. B&H. Best Buy. Adorama. Best Buy. Canon. You name it. Nobody could get their hands on it. I ended up getting it within a couple of months from Amazon. You guys.

I Can’t Live Without It

The 28-70 is the best lens I have ever owned. It was 120% worth the wait. As KJ also said, this lens has replaced almost every lens in my arsenal. Also, that .8 difference from the 24 to the 28 is worlds apart. This lens doesn’t leave my body during family sessions, weddings, you name it. While I still have my 35 1.4 and use it for newborns and other indoor sessions, that’s about the only time it comes out of my bag. (Waiting for Canon to come out with the RF version so I can ditch my lens adaptor, but it works just as well as an RF lens).

One downfall from the 28-70 is how bulky it is. Unfortunately, It’s quite the sizable lens and my arm /shoulder is pretty sore after a 10 hour wedding day, but to me, the pain is worth the price. I highly recommend renting this lens, and any other for that matter before investing in it to make sure that it’s the one for you and avoid any potential buyer’s remorse (none of which lives here though). To counter that issue, I got a BlackRapid crossbody camera strap which helps distribute the weight across my body.

Wondering about some of the other things I keep in my camera bag? Check out my freebie here!

If you’re completely intimidated by all of this I’d love to book an in-person or virtual mentoring session with you! You can find out more about my mentorships here.


Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a small commission. Keep in mind that I will only ever share about companies that I truly believe in.

new on the blog



Becoming a legitimate photographer can be a little intimidating! Even if you don’t plan on going full time right away (or at all) these are the things you absolutely need to have in place when you start taking on real clients. Heck, these are things you should have in place even when you’re portfolio building! […]




Want to see all the amazing things I keep in my camera bag and couldn’t live without? I’m in a handful of photography groups on Facebook, and a question I see being asked a lot is what lenses are best… Over the last couple of years, I’ve worked on finding the gear that works the […]


... and everything in between! Fueled by equal parts coffee and chickfila, I spend my days capturing the kinds of images that make you stop, smile and ask time to please slow down. Your story, your love, is beautiful and I can't wait to capture it in images you will treasure for years to come. 

I believe in real moments and heartfelt conversations on the front porch. In the kinds of images that remind you of the joy that can be found in the simplest of moments together. Keep reading to see how I became the Hilton Head Photographer

I’m Elle. Elementary teacher turned lifestyle photographer...


Take the guesswork out of preparing for a session with my in-depth, 23-page guide, that has tons of links and photo examples!

Session Prep & Style Guide

the free guide!