I've been asked about the gear and software I use to take photographs many times, so I've decided to give in to the mob and make a list of the gear I use. While the equipment I use isn't the cheapest you can buy, it's also not the most expensive, and should be affordable for anyone with a real interest in photography.
If you do want to give any of this gear a try, please feel free to use the Amazon links below, which help fund this site as I get a referral payment :)
I use two main cameras, one is pretty standard, one is a little more modern.
My main DSLR camera is the Canon 60D. This was a bit of a downgrade from my previous camera, the Canon 5D mkii, but at the time I needed money, and the 60D had various advantages for shooting video, which is the main use this camera gets. It has a fancy flipout screen so you can run it in 'selfie' mode, which is useful for vlogging etc. It shoots in full 1080p, and I find the quality to be far beyond acceptable.
We use this camera on pretty much all of the Area 11 footage on our channel, apart from the main music videos, where we usually hire in better gear. Lens-wise, I have the kit lens which comes with the 60D, as well as a 50mm f/1.4 prime lens and a 60mm f/2.8 macro lens.
The 50mm is great in live situations as it has a very wide aperture which gives you maximum light in dark situations, meaning you can minimise grain by keeping the ISO low. It is also a great portrait lens.
The macro lens gets used less; I mainly use it for product photos of CDs etc and messing around with nature photography.
I've owned two of these, as the first fell off a letter box onto a concrete floor just before I went to America last year (here's a horrific video of the aftermath), so I'm treating this one with extra special care! This is my main camera day-to-day, and it's incredible. I'm surprised more manufacturers haven't build something like this.
On the surface it's a f/1.8 Carl Zeiss zoom lens which goes from 25mm all the way to 250mm, and produces gorgeous 20.2MP pictures. The camera does not have a viewfinder, instead you connect it via WIFI (or NFC if unlike me you have a device which can use it) to your smartphone, and via the free app you control the lens. The pictures are stored either to the phone memory, or to an internal micro SD.
For bloggers and photographers on the move who (like me) regularly upload to instagram etc, this is a genius piece of kit. I can take incredibly high quality photos and share them almost instantly. It's small enough to throw (place carefully) in my bag, and I nearly always have it with me.
Some people have voice disappointment with the WIFI connection, and it's true that it occasionally loses connection. However, I find if you turn off instant phone preview and let it save to the internal card, you can use it fine in most situations. If you're into nature or sports photography, however, this will not be fast enough for you!
I use a lot of different programs to edit photos. In my photography masters degree (that's right, I have an MSc in photography) I was told many times that I should try to keep photo editing to a minimum. To be fair, it was a Biological Photography degree (hence the MSc), but I still feel the same as I did back then: fuck that! If I can make photos more interesting through manipulation, then I will.
Here's the software I use on my desktop PC:
Photoshop is my go-to program for photo editing on my desktop. A full review is a bit out of the scope of this article, but I'm sure you're probably aware of it's existence and the fact you can pretty much do any image-related task with it.
My copy comes included in my Creative Cloud account. There's an option on there where you can get it with Lightroom for £8ish per month, which isn't bad at all.
Lightroom is a photo management system which allows you to organise a large photo collection, and make powerful edits to your photos. While not as powerful as Photoshop, for most general photography edits (brightness, contrast, warmth, saturation, crops etc) it's speedy and efficient.
Again, it's part of Creative Cloud, and as I mentioned you can get it bundled with Photoshop.
Although I couldn't have imagined it 4 years go, 90% of my photography work (shooting and editing) is done on just my mobile phone. I have a ton of apps which help me with this, I'll outline them all briefly here.
NOTE: I currently use an iPhone 5S, if you don't have a iOS device I expect that a lot of these apps will be available for your smartphone too, have a search!
The built in iOS camera app. There's nothing better, and I've tested a lot of others.
Only useful if you're rocking a QX100, it syncs to it (much like the GoPro app if you use that).
The main app I use, and worth over 100x it's price. I use this for 90% of my mobile photos, it has powerful cropping, filtering and adjustments. Like Lightroom on the move; it's essential.
Google's image editing app. Useful for making spot adjustments (something Afterlight can't do) and for it's various wild effects, which can be useful in certain situations.
If I shoot with the built-in camera, or just want to exagerate depth of field, this is great. You select the background and it blurs it with a realistic camera blur.
A somewhat gimmicky new camera app I've been playing around with: it's designed to take 'arty' selfies with minimal effort and it does that, with inconsistent results. Good for experimenting.
A powerful app which allows you to add multi-layer overlays which include film grain, light bursts, flares, dirt and smoke. A really creative and fun tool which can make boring pictures sparkle.
A useful tool if you want to blur something out in a rush (addresses, faces, number plates etc).
Sometimes you want to merge multiple photos together into a collage, and Diptic does it the best, with so much control over boxes and sizes.
I wish I got more use out of this app 'cause it's so cool: it corrects lens distortion, making lovely straight lines. Has to be seen to be understood really.
Glitch Lab Pro
A fun little app which has it's own 8-bit background music, Glitch Lab fucks up your photos!
Useful for Instagram users, steal other people's pictures and pass them off as your own!
Another one for Instagram, it adds multi-coloured letter-boxing to photos for when you need them to be square but don't want to lose parts of the image.
An alternative to InstaSize, which adds a blur effect instead of bars.
So that's it
That is pretty much all of the gear I use to take photos. I'll be keeping this as up-to-date as I can, as I add and remove things from my collection.
If you think I'm doing anything wrong, or there's a camera or app you think I'd like (or you've made a camera or app you think I'd like!) please get in touch via my contact page.
note: I am not endorsed, sponsored or paid in any way by any of the companies mentioned. My opinions are based on real world usage. I am part of the Amazon Associates program which means if you buy products from Amazon from links on my site, I get a cut of Amazon's revenue.