Camera bag Crashing

Questions about my camera & lenses are a frequent occurance…and so I thought it would be a lot easier to just create a post about them all.  That way, when someone asks about the stuff in my camera bag, I can say “I think I blogged about that one time…say hi to the sidebar search engine for me”.  Not that I would say that.  It would be snarky.  I might want to say that…but I wouldn’t.  I was homeschooled afterall.  Gotta represent.

So here’s my current camera studs…

Canon EOS 5D Mark II

I LOVE this camera.  Not that I didn’t love my other camera.  I did.  I still do.  But upgrading to this puppy from the Rebel XSi
was the up there in ‘Katie’s best days of her life list’ securing definitely a spot in the top five.  I can only liken the results to this very masculine analogy – the Rebel was like DVD…Markie Mark (what I call the Mark II) is like BluRay.  The Rebel was like nosebleed seats at a little leagues football game…Markie Mark is like sidelining it with the Steelers at the Superbowl.  Of course they win.  Duh.  The Rebel was like regular viewing of The Biggest Loser.  Markie Mark is High Def viewing of The Biggest Loser…where you can see each dimpling cellulited roll upon roll and each dramatic drop of sweat and then each perk of a promising little muscle and then each bit of confetti as it lands on Jillian’s spandexed bootie.   

When I upgraded cameras, I also upgraded 50mm lenses.  I started with the nifty fifty lens (the 50mm f/1.8 ) and loved it.  I rarely took it off the camera body.  But I heard such great reviews about the brother (the 50mm f/1.4 ) that I had to give it a whirl…and let me tell, love this piece of glass.  It’s now my go-to lens for portraits and photoshoots.  As long as I am not shooting running children or am in a confined space, I will pick this lens every single time.   

Lastly,  when I switched to Markie Mark, my kit lens (18-55mm f/3.5
) from the Rebel would not work…the type of lens wasn’t right for this camera (it was a EF-S and the Markie Mark takes EF only).  So I stashed all my christmas money, I socked away all the money I could from photoshoots and we sold a few things….and I saved up for this GORGEOUS little lady. 

It’s the 24-70mm f/2.8.  Thud.  Woosh woosh wooosh. 

Yeah that was me, dying and going to heaven.  I have decided that this puppy is my workhorse lens.  It works like a dog and a couple of camels.  It’s awesome.  VERY versatile…and the 2.8 fstop is perfect for low lighting shots.  Plus it’s perfect for me because I am constantly running around and want to shoot everything from a screaming child to a close shot of a leaf to photos of our house for the blog.

Okay – so I hope you enjoyed crashing my camera bag….and I’d love to hear about your camera situation…is it a point-and-shoot?  maybe you are just starting your journey in DSLRs?  Or perhaps you just want to celebrate the joy I get out of these tools?  Because I do…consider me the queen of celebration….imagine me right now shaking my hiney in the mirror…yes, it looks like a velociraptor eating dead prey…but all that weird movement is all for the joy of photography!



  1. says

    My husband and I recently upgraded to a Canon Eos when he was accepted to a graduate program in Landscape Architecture. We love it, but are still in the muddling our way to learn it stages. Thankfully the camera is smarter than I am (at least I can admit it) and takes a gorgeous shot even when I dont think I know what I’m doing. Its been a fun journey so far

  2. says

    I am super jealous of your new camera, that is my dream camera! I recently upgraded as well, from the XSi(which I loved as well!) to the 7D. I am loving it but it also got me obsessed with getting new lenses. It is funny because my 2 first purchases were also the 50mm 1.4 and the 24-70mm f/2.8 and UMM I am obsessed with them!! :) I always love reading your photography updates, so keep them coming!

  3. Bethany says

    Your pictures are always really beautiful, thanks for posting this! I definitely can’t even come close to affording ANY of this stuff, (I should have gotten a husband before I got a house to help with my mortgage, ugh!) but it’s nice to know for the “someday”. I took a semester of photography in college and absolutely loved it, of course we had to use the old school 35mm cameras and develop the film ourselves, but it was soo relaxing – I think it’d be fun to get back into someday, digital or film. :)

  4. says

    I JUST got (for Mother’s Day) my very first SLR, a Canon Rebel, and I finally worked up the nerve to pull it out of the box yesterday – I had SO MUCH FUN. I can’t wait to save up for a lens with a lower f-stop!

  5. says

    That’s a heckuva camera set-up Katie. Thanks for sharing! I just bought my first DSLR (Sony A55) and I’m still learning how to use it well, but I can already tell I’m going to want some faster glass than the f3.5-6.3 superzoom 18-200mm lens I started with. A 50mm portrait lens like yours seems like a smart way to go.

    • says

      I have the same one and just bought a 50mm 1.8 Sony lens! I love it! I do have a fabulous flash and I have to say it makes all the difference!! Would love to compare camera notes since we have the same one :)

  6. lynn says

    I purchased as rebel back in November and had to wait through the long cold winter to practice with some natural light. I purchased the 50 mm 1.8 after reading all you had to say about it. I still call it the nifty fifty which drives my husband crazy. :) I also just upgraded to the 1.4 after a friend told me she gets such better results in low light. It was $$< but worth the money since in NH were in doors so much about 8 months out of the year :) Your photography posts are among my favorites so keep them coming!

    Are you still using the Missy Jo camera bag? ( I think thats what its called. I tried to find it online but it appears sold out :(

    • says

      I am still using the JoJo Tote bag…it’s called Missy Gray I believe. Love it. It’s my camera bag slash purse slash diaper bag :)
      xo – kb

  7. lynn says

    One more thing…if it wasnt for YOU…Id be relying on my flash still. THANK YOU for demanding (ok…telling us nicely) that we turn off our flashes!! Totally changes EVERYTHING.

  8. says

    Woohooo love this post!! I’m waiting patiently for Monday to come when my 50mm 1.4 and is coming to my doorstep! Can’t wait to see that UPS man!!!!

  9. says

    I’ve just recently switched from a point and shoot to an SLR. I bought the out of production Nikon D40 from eBay, which I was a bit nervous about for obvious reasons, but he’s perfect. He wears either his kit lens(a 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6g) or his 35mm f/1.8g.

  10. says

    I’m so glad you posted this! I got the Rebel T1i for Christmas and love it!

    My husband actually surprised me for our anniversary two weeks ago with a Sigma 50-200mm F4-5.6 lens. I actually still don’t know what the F4-5.6 means! I mostly point and shoot. I don’t use flash, so I at least have been working on shooting that way! I feel like I have so much more to learn.

    Do you think Photoshop makes a huge difference in the end result? Or do you think the lens and it’s features make the biggest difference?

    • says

      Both. I think Photoshop can make a huge difference and definitely every photographer will agree that lenses make a difference. I would suggest first before worrying about lenses and editing software to learn how to use the lens you have and the camera – you can do A LOT with that setup.
      xo – kb

  11. Lindsey says

    I have been thinking about getting a camera….my mom has a rebel. Oh and BTW…I was homeschooling too… (bob jones or abeka?) ….this may be a save for item for me :)

      • Lindsey says

        Pretty much Bob Jones ….some abeka in middle school. I did the Bob Jones High school satellite program…a little rigid…but ok :). I always heard Saxon math was super hard but awesome. I will probably do it with my kids.

  12. says

    I’ve got the same lenses in my bag, but with a 40D. Not fancy enough for a 5D here. I love both lenses! Last year we were living in Mexico and I was on the beach shooting my kids at sunset at least weekly. The 50mm was sooooo incredible. I have some of the most amazing shots from that. Now that we’re back in the states and things are a bit more confined, I end up using the 24-70 a lot more. I miss using my 50.

  13. says

    ahhh! So jealous of your 24-70! I have had the 50mm 1.4 for a little over a year now and I love it! But you’re right about needing to use something wider when you are in cramped spaces. One day soon, or not so soon, but one day.

  14. says

    Still rockin’ the Canon Rebel and 50mm 1.8 here for my business. I bought it a year and a half ago and plan on using it until it goes to the Great Camera Retirement Home In The Sky.

  15. Caitlin says

    Hey Katie,

    I think you’ve said before that you are self taught…? What photography blogs or websites do you recommend for tips and inspiration? Thanks!

    • Lynn says

      on the top of her blog, under the photography tab, you’ll see a place where she has all her favorite blogs for inspiration, and tips, and even a bunch of her photo shoots too! Hope that helps. ( I only jumped in because she told us if we knew the answer to a question, feel free to answer it if she hadnt yet :)

  16. says

    We’ve been slowly working our way up the Nikon chain. We recently replaced our D70 with a D7000 and now we have our eye on a marcro, super wide angle, and 50mm prime lens. I love my camera but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t SUPER jealous of yours! Equipment aside, you have a great eye for photography and I love seeing your pictures!

  17. Katie M says

    I have a Rebel EOS XS and love it! Love it so much I am nervous about cleaning it myself.. Any tips on cleaning your camera? I’ve read about doing it yourself but I am fearful I will destroy the camera somehow.

  18. Jaimee says

    I just upgraded to a Nikon D90 and a nifty fifty and am loving it. I’d love some advice though. I’m debating between a 24-75 f/2.8-4 and an 18-200 f/3.5-5.6. I love, love, love bocha and a low aperature, but I also hate changine lenses. Any advice?

    • says

      I think it all depends on what you are planning on shooting. Plus, I’ve heard that the 18-200 is very big. I could be wrong but that might be a lot to lug around.
      xo – kb

  19. Karen says

    Do you edit your photos on a laptop – if so which make model do you own. My current laptop does not have the capacity for photoshop. TIA!

  20. chris says

    i have a canon powershot s3 is. i used this camera for 3 years as a point and shoot. i never learned to do anything else with it but was happy because it takes pictures of anything. it takes pictures of what i see in my mind… they just turn out every time. then i got a nikon d80 with a couple lenses that i really dont know squat about.
    to tell you the truth i really dont understand any of it. i kind of miss just getting the picture i want. im kind of frustrated with it all. the lingo just turns my public school brain to mush.

  21. Maryna says

    Hi, I have a Canon 7D and 24-70 lens, love it, and after reading your post I start to think about getting 50mm 1.4. As someone who has both of them, do you think I should get it? I’ve had 50mm 1.8 and I know that 24-70 gives me better pictures. What would you suggest?

  22. says

    I really enjoy your tutorials! I just got Lightroom as a Christmas gift and we’re planning on making the plunge to Photoshop from Elements when the next version comes out this summer. I have been seriously considering trading in my nifty fifty 1.8 for a 1.4. Do you see a big difference for portrait photography? Thanks for the tips, I really enjoy reading your blog!

    • says

      I love my 1.4 but I must admit, I don’t see the difference as much (I do see it and think it’s worth it but some folks might not) because I like to open it up a little more so that more face is in focus…but I imagine that it would come in very useful if.
      xo – kb

  23. says

    Ok, thanks! I usually shoot portraits at 2.2-2.8 when we’re indoors (we live in the cold midwest so that’s most of the year!) and was hoping that the better glass would perform better. So, you think it’s a little better but not like the jump from a kit to a prime perhaps?

    Thanks again for the tips, I LOVE your tutorials and think they are so helpful. I’m trying to teach myself and those little informational pieces are like gold!

    • says

      Spot on comparison. It’s no jump from a kit to a prime…or even the jump to a more professional camera body but there is a slight difference :)
      xo – kb

  24. says

    Just saw a review on the new Canon 5D Mark III to be released at the end of this month. Oooh, if I could get my hands on that one. Looks awesome. Maybe if I win the lottery.

  25. carly says


    I am ready to purchase my first DSLR, but can’t decide which one to buy. I am a graphic designer with a 12 month old and I am not happy with the quality or lack of control I have with my Nikon s9100. What would you suggest? I can’t afford to buy a Mark II and I don’t think I need a professional grade. Also, do you ever use a point and shoot? I think I might want something small I could stick in my purse, but then again, I might not be able to part with the DSLR once I get one. Sorry for the ramble. Thanks for your help.

    • says

      I have a point n shoot from YEARS ago…but I don’t even know the type it is (that’s how long it’s been since I pulled it out)…now I just use my iphone when I have a random snapshot moment. I have heard really good things about the Canon Powershot though!
      xo – kb

  26. Emily says

    I have the exact same gear as you!! Do you find that you go to your nifty 50 most of the time? It seems so much sharper than my $1000+ 24-70. My husband bought me the 24-70 for my birthday and he has noticed that I never use it. My images never come out as crisp as my 50, do you have the same issues? What am I doing wrong? For being such an expensive piece of glass, it is hardly on my camera! UGH Also, you should totally look into an 85mm. The bokeh is so creamy, I am starting to use it more than my 50 for portraits.

    • says

      Yes – I recently got the 85mm…it’s great, right?! But I feel like the learning curve is a little tougher than the 50mm…
      And I do notice that the 50mm is crisp but my 24-70 has a sweet spot too…I’m still working on it regularly but in general, yeah the 50mm rocks.
      xo – kb

  27. says

    Hi Katie!
    Thanks so much for posting this!
    I am currently in the position you were in before making the jump to the Canon Rebel Xsi. I love it and what I’ve done with it so far… but I’m so ready for something better.
    Based on your recommendation with your old gear, I bought the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 lens. It rarely comes off my camera, since I do a lot of portrait and food photography.
    So, my questions is: if you could only have one of these lenses mentioned above, which would it be? I’m looking for the big investment to make now that will get me the farthest, until I can make another purchase. I would appreciate your thoughts!


    • says

      I think that if you are looking to do portraits – the 50 is really all you need…and food – well, from what I’ve heard it helps to use in addition to the 50mm, sometimes to have a macro lens? You might wanna ask Pioneer Woman :)
      xo – kb

  28. Kelly says

    Hi Katie!

    I know you wrote this post a bit ago, but I’m now starting to seriously look at getting a DSLR camera, but I don’t know which to get. I’m not looking to spend a ton of money, but I know I’ll at least need to spend $500+ to get something good with separate lenses. I usually just take pictures of people or scenary, mostly outside. Do you have any suggestions? These would only be for myself/friends, nothing professional at any point!


    • says

      I know that both Canon and Nikon are the best brands…so I definitely recommend sticking to them. The Canon Rebel is the one I can personally recommend…I had it as my first DSLR and loved it :)
      xo – kb

  29. says

    Hi Katie,

    I just started my small photography business (and have been reading your blog forever) and I am looking to eventually upgrade my Rebel T3i to the Mark camera. Probably Mark II since Mark III is out of my price range right now! I did hear the Mark II has some focusing issues. Have you ever encountered that, especially when shooting running-around kids?

    Yay, thanks! I love your blog. Congratulations too for the baby on the way! :)

    • says

      I haven’t yet on shoots…but I probably use my camera more than the average bear…so I have had it happen for regular blog stuff. It wasn’t a big deal though…since the table setting wasn’t going anywhere.
      xo – kb

  30. Abbie says

    I would love to know more about your editing workflow. Do you use actions in photoshop and if so which ones? I use a mixture of photoshop and Lightroom, but I’m always looking for helpful hints (your photos always look so amazing!)

  31. says

    Merry Christmas, Bowers! I was browsing through kevin {&} amanda’s blog and came across amanda’s passion for this strap, as seen here It made me think of you and wonder about how you lug all your equipment around with you! I know very little about cameras in general, (I’m more the click-and-hope-for-the-best kinda gal!) but I thought I’d share this info with you in case it’s something you’d like to look into.

    Wishing you guys the very best Chrissy evuh! Have fun. Richest blessings throughout the year ahead.

    heather x

  32. says

    I just want to thank you for all your great camera tips! I’ve been attempting to wrap my brain around this photography thing for awhile now and your tips are very helpful.

    Thanks again!

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