I have had several inquires regarding the equipment I use, so I thought a “What’s In My Bag” post was appropriate.  I feel like my gear is pretty basic, for a couple of reasons.  I enjoy keeping my photography simple, I’m a less is more kind of girl.  By that, my equipment has remained pretty simple.  


My first digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera was a Canon Rebel. I was shooting with a Sony Cybershot point and shoot.  That was a great little camera; however, I craved more control over my settings and wanted faster shutter to capture the movement of our little man (baby girl wasn't here yet).  I specifically remember wanting to have a “blurred background” and I remember like it was yesterday spending hours on Google trying to figure out how to get the look I wanted with my point and shoot.  It can be done, but is much easier with a DSLR.  After a lot of research and holding several DSLRs at Best Buy, I decided on the Canon Rebel and that is when it all began.  The camera came with a standard kit lens and I bought the “bundle” so I could get a zoom lens as well.  To be honest, I cannot remember which Rebel series or the kit lens.  But I do still have the zoom lens, we will talk more about that in a little.


After having my Rebel for about five years I finally took the plunge to upgrade last summer (when I decided to officially start my business).  Initially, I upgraded to the latest Rebel, which was great…but it just didn't offer enough “challenge” for me.  After only having it a few months, I upgraded to my current Canon 70D.  Like I said I upgraded because my first DSLR was getting rusty, it was old and I wanted to start my business.  I knew I needed reliable equipment to get my business off the ground.  

Let’s talk about my body, the camera body that is…we don't want to talk about my personal body!  Like I said, I shoot with a Canon 70D.  She is a beast and a beauty all rolled into one.  She has several focal points, wi-fi ability (can connect to your phone like a remote), video capability, and an awesomely fast shutter speed.  This camera is really a great DSLR and I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to get their feet wet in the DSLR world.


Let’s talk lenses…starting with my tiny baby lens.  I call the Canon 24mm my “baby lens” because it is super thin and compact.  But let me tell you do not be fooled by the size of this lens.  She is a machine for indoor photography.  If I’m in the house shooting candid shots of the kiddos playing, or have limited space I turn to this lens first and foremost.  With a F/2.8 it handles low light situations very well, and is surprisingly fast.


Next up, my first lens purchase, the Canon 50 MM F/1.8.  This my friends is called the “nifty-fifty” for good reasons.  This lens was my first purchase and quickly became my go-to lens for any portraits.  It is a prime lens so you have to “zoom” with your feet, but I love that about the lens because it allows me to get creative and challenges me in my photography.  With the F/1.8, this lens creates beautiful bokeh, remember that was what I was looking for when I started seeking out the DSLR world.  I purchased this lens soon after I entered into the DSLR world, and nearly seven years later she still rocks a photoshoot like nobody’s business!  I have her big sister, the 50MM F/1.2 on my wishlist also…but I’m having a hard time pulling the trigger on the price tag when this one works so beautifully!  If I had to recommend one lens to anyone getting started it would be this lens hands.down.without.question!  Great starter lens for an unbeatable price tag!


Most recently I purchased the Canon 85MM F/1.8 after reading glowing reviews of its portrait photography.  Like I said the 50MM was my go-to portrait lens, until the 85MM came into my life.  This lens was about double the price of the 50MM, but also double (maybe even triple) the quality!  I cannot explain to you how amazing this lens is.  The bokeh that the 50MM creates is drastically improved in the 85MM, it offers creamy soft backgrounds, and a comfortable length between you and your subject.  I have noticed it doesn't seem to be as fast as the 50MM, so for children portraits it can be slightly challenging…but it doesn't stop me from keeping it on my camera for the entire portrait session.  I have noticed I cannot use this lens inside due to the length; however, most of my sessions are outside so I don't have too much of a challenge with the length.


My oldest lens is my Canon 55-250MM.  This is the zoom lens I got with the bundle purchase of my very first Canon Rebel.  I have kept this lens because it is my only zoom lens, and it reaches a decent distance for what I have needed thus far.  I’m currently crushing on several upgrades for this baby; however, haven't found myself “needing” to take the plunge…yet!  With most of my photography being portraits, I’m able to control the distance between me and my subjects.


When I began Renee Dawkins Photography, I found myself needing a flash.  The cropped sensors come with on camera pop up flashes; however, they can be rather harsh.  After some research, I quickly purchase an external flash and I’m loving it.  I used it almost every time I shoot within our home, there is very minimal natural light…and I ALWAYS use it for my studio newborn sessions.  I purchased a reasonable Insignia flash.  It works great and I feel like it gets the job done; but, I have found my shutter to be a good bit faster than the flash.  For example, for every five frames I shoot there are about three that are dark and two that turn out.  For that reason, I am researching other options.  


So where do I keep all this beautiful gear?!  I have a bookcase where I display my gear.  When I’m headed out to a session, I pack what gear I will need in my gorgeous Jo Tote.  My hubs spoiled me this past Christmas with several photography inspired gifts, my Jo Tote being one of those.  I love it, all the pockets and spacers keeps my gear protected, me organized, and not to mention its adorable!


It’s not “in my bag” but I have to talk about my latest life changing piece of equipment I have recently started using, my Wacom Tablet.  This little baby has seriously changing my photography editing forever.  It plugs into my computer (although I’m searching for the wireless adapter as we speak!) and the stylus replaces your mouse.  This little pencil allows you to control your editing based on the amount of pressure you use.  It makes editing SO much easier, and has doubled the amount of pictures I can edit at any given time.  I cannot imagine how I ever edited without it.  I highly, HIGHLY, recommend the Wacom Tablet to anyone in graphic design, art, or photography!