When I was born, my dad had a Polaroid accordion style camera and I am grateful to have a collection of photos that tell the story of my fun beginning to life. He then jumped on board the Kodak evolution of cameras and it wasn't long before I was asking if I could take pictures too. In high school I took photography classes and was published in the local paper, as well as being paid to take portraits of children. My first 35mm camera was a Canon, and it traveled across Europe with me when I was 21. In those days, we shot slides for high quality and sharing. I still have my slide projector, carousels, and screen. I am constantly asked what type of camera I use and how I get all the photos I capture. I have stayed true to the Canon brand throughout my life, and when I recommend a point-and-shoot camera, this is the one I consistently recommend. It is amazing for a small camera!!! With a 40x optical zoom capacity and many options you find on DSLRs, you can also just set it on automatic and carry it with you everywhere to capture high-quality images. It also has a good mic and I'm pleased with the video quality it captures, both wide and closer up. This camera is small and people often don't realize I am shooting pics - which I like. With that zoom, I have many options in any location. Pro tip: one easy way to start utilizing your settings, is to get in the habit of choosing one of these modes: portrait (human head icon), close-up (flower icon), or landscape (mountain icon). These setting are an easy roll of the dial on this camera and will get you in the habit of thinking about settings, and taking a moment to select the best setting. When you don't have time for that, the automatic setting on this camera has been consistently successful for me. I already wore out one of these cameras after hundreds of thousands of photos and video, and I expect my second one to last for many years too. My dad gave me my first Canon Powershot as a birthday gift, based on the recommendation of a camera store employee - it is a generous and fantastic gift for anyone you know who loves photography! I am rarely without this camera at my side - but the camera is only part of the equation: you have to pay attention to what is going on around you. Thanks, dad, for teaching me to be observant! Click on my affiliate link below to give you a quality of zoom for images and video your cell phone cannot compete with!
I waited to get a gimbal, while the technology evolved and the price points came down. I studied YouTube videos about the pros and cons of various options. When I finally made the leap to the Zhyiun Crane, I was so glad I did! Using a gimbal makes it much easier to capture video with a more professional quality. You can lock the camera in position, set it to tilt up or down, push a button to sping the camera 360 degrees, turn it upside down to film at ground level - the gimbal is an important creativity and interest tool! The gimbal requires some practice, but this model is easy enough to use for anyone. Some of the vloggers on YouTube use their DSLR cameras on this gimbal, but that's too heavy for me. I use my Canon Powershot (see description above or left, and link below). I leave the gimbal camera plate set for this camera all the time so it is easy and fast for me to set up and shoot. If you use different cameras on your gimbal, be sure to take note of your settings to make set-up easier each time (this is too much hassle for me, so I dedicated one camera to it). It comes with a nice case (you often have to pay extra for cases), and it is well built. I like to tell stories through short videos, and I think this is the perfect gimbal for parents, grandparents, RVer's, or anyone who wants to capture people and environments with smooth, professional-looking video. Pro Tip: even with a gimbal, walking with your knees slightly bent will increase the smooth flow of your shots. Experiment with your gimbal: reach through spaces, over banisters, push the button to tilt the camera up while walking backwards, or down as you walk forward, etc. IF YOU AREN'T INTERESTED IN AN UPGRADED CAMERA, BUT WANT SMOOTHER FOOTAGE WHEN SHOOTING WITH YOUR SMART PHONE, SCROLL DOWN TO THE 3RD SECTION OF THIS PAGE FOR INFO AND LINK TO A TERRIFIC SMART PHONE GIMBAL!
Click on the affiliate link below and have fun perfecting your "gimal walk"! With this gimbal, you can easily shoot at ground level, crane up and down, pan left and right, and add depth to your shots as you move from behind foreground objects to focus on your oncoming subject. The gimbal will make you think about your shots in new ways - experiment, learn, and keep practicing!
I love this mini-tripod and use it with my cameras, lights, and gimbal. Stop trying to use small gripper units as your tripod for ground-level shots - they aren't made for steadiness on flat surfaces, they are made to wrap around objects and will frustrate you when you try to use them as short tripods. I like Manfrotto products and this little tripod is a must-have in your camera bag or vehicle. It is built well and the short, wide legs with broad spread provide a sturdy set up. I keep this little guy in my messenger bag with my Canon Powershot (see links for both below). You can see some of the shots I captured using this mini tripod on my YouTube channel (Catherine Goggia WORK SMART. LIVE HAPPY!) "Table Mountain April 2019". Useful for both still shots (remember, you can set this up and use a remote control or timer to snap low pics or set up on high surfaces) or use for video capture, like the walking and low flower shots in that video I shot. I also attach this to the bottom of my gimbal to make it easier to set up my camera. Attached to the camera, it is a useful handle, providing you extended reach. And here is the other thing some of you might not care about, but I do: it's cute. I enjoy using it. Yes, you should also have a 3-legged gripper in your camera bag, but this shorty is a must-have. Once you start using it, you may wonder how you ever got along without it. If your phone has a tripod mount screw opening, you can use it with your phone camera. Go with Manfrotto - it's worth the money: wide leg spread for stability and good build. Click on my affiliate link below and get creative with low shots to add interest to your subjects! Pro tip: get in the habit of shooting subjects from 3 different heights so you have options when you get home or back to studio. Looking at your subjects from different heights literally - and figuratively - changes your perspective!
I have a Canon 70D body with a telephoto 70-300 mm lens. That 300mm lens got me through many years of shooting wild life and bird images, much better than I was able to capture before. And yet, there were many times I couldn't get close enough and didn't have the power to get a high quality shot - resulting in better than average shots in some cases, but far below the quality I could capture if I had more power. I set my sights on a Canon 600mm lens I told myself I would reward myself with when I "retire". Those lenses are incredibly expensive for a hobby shooter like myself, and honestly, out of my price range at this point. But I kept day dreaming about it, or when I missed an opportunity, I'd think about that lens. Then, one day, I read an article in Outdoor Photographer that was a game changer! It was about a Sony RX 10 Mach IV Camera with a 600mm equivalency. What the what!? My nephew said, "Why would you wait to get this camera? Do you know how many photos you will take in the next year if you just go ahead and get it?!" So I jumped brands for a camera that is so many thousands of dollars less than that 600mm lens, I had zero guilt about going for it. The lens doesn't come off the camera, so this Sony is light and perfect for hiking, travel, family gatherings, - well, honestly, EVERYTHING (on land). You can get a remote for it, and I will provide a link for the mic I purchased - this camera also does a great job with video. I am listing it before I list the Canon because instead of getting a camera body and several lenses, you might just go with this and find it has all the capacity you need. If you, like me, love all things nature, plus want a camera suitable for travel and friends/family gatherings, this might be THE ONE camera for you! Use live view or viewfinder. The functions similar to Canon, I just need to get used to the set-up, which is slightly different. I am a contributor on Shutterstock and you can see my portfolio there. Click on the affiliate link below and be ready for that next shot you would have missed if you didn't have 600mm on board!
I often avoid the hassle of tripods and have resisted using a mono-pod (one leg), telling myself I don't want to carry anything because I have to shoot quickly when I shoot animals and birds. I don't want to hike with a monopod. I don't want to have to grab it when I quickly pull over to get a shot. I wanted to believe I was something other than human and could get incredible shots by hand-holding my camera and holding my breath. What a bunch of lazy hooey! Becoming a Shutterstock contributor was humbling because some of my shots were rejected due to too much "noise" (the result of hand-held shooting). Simultaneously, I kept reading photography articles with the same message: you don't want to use a tripod, but you should! It's one thing to post your photos on fb, but it's an entirely different matter to compete professionally for customer dollars. When I purchased the Sony RX10 Mach IV (click on link below for details), I knew it would be stupid to get that camera and not get a mono-pod. At 600mm, hand holding the camera isn't going to work. The mono-pod is much easier and quicker to use than a tripod because you don't have to set it up: simply set it down! Focus! Click! The one I have also has little tripod legs I can extend if I want to stand it on its own and use a remote control shutter release (which is smart at 600mm). Those tripod legs can be taken off to use mono-pod as a walking stick - it comes with a sturdy walking stick spike you screw into the bottom. It came with a carrying case, easy to throw over your shoulder and go, or pack on camera bag. You can spend a lot of $ on tripods and monopods, but I think this one is good enough for me, and probably you too. Clarification: for landscape, flowers, cityscapes, skyscapes, or any still shot, use a tripod and a remote shutter release. The mono-pod for me is when I am on the move and need to shoot quickly at a distance. Click on my affiliate link below, get the mono-pod, and immediately improve the quality of your images! Train yourself to have it with you and use it. If you are interested in seeing my Shutterstock portfolio or becoming a Shutterstock contributer, go to catherinegoggia.com for links.
I was forced to start using a mic because the camera motor noise on my Canon 70D was coming through on my audio. For studio shoots, I use a boom mic. For shoots out in the field, I started with this little mic, and I am impressed. It fits neatly into your camera hot shoe mount, includes a stabilizing mount, and comes with a wind guard. Mics are another accessory you can spend loads of cash on, but I recommend you start with this, get used to using it, and determine if your video goals require a more expensive mic. I appreciate the size because it fits into the side pocket of my Sony camera bag and I've designated it for use with that camera. I have a larger mic for the camera designated for most video, and I'll share that info and link in the next section on this page. This mic gets good reviews and I think you will be happy with it if you are a hobby shooter like me. Click on the link below to learn more ABOUT THIS MIC.
If you find these articles helpful and you consider purchasing any of these cameras or gear, thank you for using the affiliate links on this page! You don't pay any more, but Amazon pays me a small fee for taking time to share my knowledge and product recommendations. It's the only way it's worth it to take the significant amount of time it takes to provide useful information and links, so thank you - it makes a big difference to me and helps people who are interested in this topic! KEEP SCROLLING DOWN FOR THE NEXT SECTION OF SIX PRODUCT RECOMMENDATIONS, and be sure to see the next page on this site: CAMERA GEAR: SET 2.
I am on the hunt for value bundles whenever I purchase tech. This Canon 80D deal is so incredible, I suggest you take advantage of it now if you are considering the purchase of a DSLR camera - I have no idea how long it will be available at this price. I spent double that years ago when I purchased these items separately at different times. If you want to get serious about photography, a DSLR camera is probably in your future (unless you want to start with the Sony RX10 IV I listed in the first section). This bundle gives you everything you need to explore all aspects of photography: macro, wide, and telephoto, plus the gear you need that goes with the camera body and lenses. If there is a budding photographer in your family and you want to get that person set up with some terrific equipment (that they can make money with), then I think this bundle is the way to go. Click on the affiliate link below to see everything included in the bundle and take advantage of this deal!
When the GoPro came out, it blew my mind. How could they pack so much power into something so small?! With available accessories, it can go anywhere, on almost anything (have you seen the YouTube video of footage from a GoPro on the eagle?). I had used disposable waterproof cameras and knew I wanted the ability to shoot more underwater scenes. I also like the ability to strap the GoPro to helmets, vehicles, your grandkid's baseball cap, your dog's harness - whatever you have - and capture a unique point of view, even in small spaces. For example, when I did a product installation video for one of the companies I work with, the GoPro made it easy to work in tight spaces around visual obstacles. For me, the biggest initial incentive was going to Maui and capturing footage when I went snorkeling. I love seeing the fish in that uniquely blue water, and being able to bring that experience home was worth the price of the camera. I've since used it in pools and lakes and other environments where going under the water adds interest to the story. The GoPro is EASY to use and practical to put in my pocket when on snow shoe or hiking treks. I put GoPro mounts on my vehicles: I run it as a habit, just in case something exciting happens or there is an animal sighting as I drive by. My next goal is to capture more time lapse and night lapse: the GoPro makes it easy with settings and app. The battery bundle is my first choice because I use several batteries when I am on site shooting video or running in video mode on my vehicles. I am also providing the hard case bundle link for you, should that be your priority over extra batteries. I use an oversized snow shoe fanny pack for all my GoPro stuff and added a shoulder strap so I can carry it like a messenger bag. It's easy to grab on take with me in my vehicle. I dedicated an inexpensive tripod to a GoPro mount so I can set up quickly. The stabilization in the GoPro Hero 7 Black gets high reviews and guess what? NO MORE WATERPROOF CASE IS NEEDED - IT NOW HAS A WATERPROOF HOUSING! Pro tip: in your new GoPro box, the GoPro is mounted on a stand in the box. Don't throw it away!!! It is perfect for a POV (point of view) shot more realistic than having the camera on your head strap. Simply mount your GoPro on that stand and hold the stand between your teeth (it's fine for short shots). So many people were doing this, GoPro came out with a mouth piece mount you can purchase, but why do that when you can use the stand that comes in the box? Click on the affiliate link below and remember: you have the lead starring role in the movie of your life. Tell your story and have fun with it! Once you get used to using a GoPro, I will warn you: it can be addictive. I'm always trying to think of new ways I can use it because you can do with a GoPro what you cannot do with regular cameras.
If you want a small beginner drone with a fixed camera (no gimbal), I highly recommend the Tello. The pro drone people think of this as a toy, but I think it's fun and useful. It is easy to fly and surprisingly stable! You can fly it with an app on your phone, or you can purchase a controller (sold separately). It is quiet in comparison to bigger drones. It can take off from, and land in your hand. The app has a "fly up and away" feature, which you can use to capture video selfies (so fun with friends!). It has a fly 360 degrees command. The video quality is not high (tho is video selfie worthy), but the photo quality is decent. I use this to take aerial photos for reference material when drawing. I've used it to take location photos for businesses. It's fun to fly, even if you don't want to take photos or video - that's why I recommend it as a beginner drone. It doesn't use GPS, so the range is short. But, here's the good news: I was recently shooting on site for a client, and couldn't use my Phantom because the business is in a no-fly zone, close to an airport. Since the Tello is controlled through wifi/blue tooth, I was able to capture shots of the outside of their buildings and shots from a high point of view in the factory, with my Tello. I carry the Tello and my little Canon Powershot (see info and link in first section of this page) in my messenger bag when hiking or attending social functions - be ready! It is small with a nice design. I am listing a bundle with batteries for you (I ended up purchasing three more batteries and a multi-battery charger, otherwise you have to charge the battery while it is inserted in Tello). Batteries last about 10 minutes. This bundle doesn't include a case, but I think you should get one. For the price point, this is a nice little camera drone. PERFECT FOR CAPTURING PROGRESS OF BUILDING PROJECTS. Click on the affiliate link below and start flying and capturing those moments!
As an employee job performance trainer, I was delighted to do some training with A Main Hobbies, a local seller of remote control equipment/toys. I had been watching the drone market, and knew this was camera gear I wanted to add to my line up. Camera accessories that include learning how to fly a drone? I'm in! I learned how to fly with an inexpensive nano drone, and then moved up to the DJI Phantom. The moment the drone turned on and the gimbal camera moved into position, lights on, my heart sped up. Everything about flying a drone to capture images and video is fun for me. I consider myself a beginner pilot, because I don't do the crazy moves and distance flying other pilots risk. I live in an area wooded with tall trees and miles of forest, so I fly conservatively. I fly a Phantom 3, and it's all the drone I need. I found a Phantom 4 bundle for you because it has the added feature of being able to track a designated moving object, like a person on a bike or a vehicle. This bundle is a good buy and comes with all the accessories you need to get started. Before you purchase, see the next article about the DJI Mavic Air. If you plan to share your drone with other family members, you might want to stick with this Phantom. If it's just for you and you want to take your flying skills to the next level, you might want to get the Mavic. Happy flying!
I am delighted with my Phantom, and it's all the drone I need for what I do. However, I feel like it's my job on the blog to tell you about The DJI Mavic Air - if I were purchasing today, this is probably what I would buy. And, the bundle I've listed is a lower cost than the Phantom bundle I listed. Benefits: this drone is smaller than the Phantom; it folds down and is much easier to throw in your backpack with other things. Because the design is newer, it's cooler to pull out of your trunk, not so obvious as the larger Phantom backpack case. I watch a lot of YouTube tutorials, and most drone pilots on YouTube are guys, and they pretty much rave about the Mavic. I don't have one, so I will leave it to you to compare and contrast, read reviews, watch YouTube videos and decide. Click on the affiliate link below to learn more about this DJI Mavic Air Bundle!
In the 1950s, my dad started out with a Polaroid Camera. In the 60's, 70's, 80's, he always had the newest style Polaroid in his work truck, and made sure my mom and I had our own, so we wouldn't borrow his. My mom loved her Polaroid, because as regular cameras got more complicated, the instant camera was easy and provided instant gratification that made it easy for her to share stories from her day. Polaroid cameras are uniquely fun and I was trained to take a Polaroid shot to check elements of image in the days of film when experiments could prove expensive. I still have my 1970's Polaroid camera on the book shelf here, in my studio. So, imagine how excited I was one Valentine's Day morning to unwrap my gift and see those iconic band of colors on the Polaroid box!!! What? They are still in business?! YES! The Polaroid SNAP! is an amazing piece of fun equipment: there is no ink cartridge and it is rechargeable - no batteries! You can set it to shoot in color or in black & white. You can shoot without borders, or choose that familiar Polaroid white border. You can even set it to shoot one photo per print, or choose the photo booth setting for several small images on the 2"x3" print out. The photo paper is reasonably priced and I will include a link for the photo paper in the next section on this page. Cool detail: the lens cover is magnetic! Pulling the Polaroid SNAP! out of my bag at social gatherings always generates smiles and conversation. I take it to parties and give people SNAP! pictures for their refrigerators. One time at a family pizza party, the print out fell in my beer and gave everyone a good laugh. If you are a scrap booker, don't you NEED one of these cameras?! The story of Edwin Land, the man who invented Polaroid, is a good read. I am sentimental about this brand and hope some of you will purchase the Polaroid SNAP! and have great fun with it. PS You don't have to "shake it like a Polaroid picture," but sometimes I still do it to make people laugh. Click on the affiliate link below and get SNAPPING!
2"x3": a lot of happy on a little printed space! Stock up, it's really fun to use this camera. Remember to keep the camera charged. At a retirement party for a friend, I took pictures of each guest with the person being honored and people were thrilled. Yes, each of them could have taken their own selfie with the man. However, using a Polaroid was entertaining in a unique way, and people lined up. Using a Polaroid camera creates a different vibe. There are many people who haven't seen one in action before! It seems incredible to them to hear the camera whir, and then see the printed image come out! It's still incredible to me, even after all these years. Fun camera for kids establishing their photographic vision. Click my affiliate below for the photo paper, or the link above for the Polaroid SNAP! camera.
The only way I stay organized and ready to go each day is to dedicate different bags to different gear. In the section two article, on this page, I mentioned I like to carry my Canon Powershot compact camera and small Tello drone in my messenger bag on hikes or social gatherings. I also sometimes carry my Polaroid SNAP! in this bag for some occasions. The key to getting shots is to be READY to get the shot! I don't always want to lug around my backpack camera bag with lenses and accessories. I like messenger bags because they are comfortable, quickly accessible when I spot something and need to take the shot NOW! The other aspect of messenger bags is it not being completely evident there are cameras in there. For all people know, that's just my "purse". Click on my affiliate link below to see my messenger bag of choice, water resistant, and available in different sizes. I am drawn to this vintage style, but if that's not your thing, there are many messenger bag camera bag styles to choose from.
The Zhiyun Smooth 4 Gimbal for smart phones: your cell phone footage will improve dramatically. Most of my friends are shooting an increasing amount of cell phone video. From bday parties, to live music gigs, to travel logs, the hand-held cell phone video craze is alive and growing. Understanding that quality video is not the goal for everyone, you might not care about a smart phone gimbal. But, if you want to shoot even simple clips that look great and might even impress, then check out this gimbal. The controls are easy to use and the shot features are interesting - with practice, you will be able to add dramatic shots with ease! Parents out there: you might not want to deal with a gimbal today, but when you look back on your videos, I'll bet you'll be glad for improved quality! Same with vacation videos for all of us. The quality of gimbals for the price right now is impressive: it seems like a good time to buy if you care about this type of thing. A gimbal gives you so many more options, including Pro Tip: move through objects, over objects, point of view (tilt) up or down as you walk forward or back, ground level shots, running after your dog, kids, or friends, and following movement will all be smoother with your gimbal. Heck, just walking down the sidewalk of a city will look better with this gimbal! With this one piece of equipment, you can easily shoot 3 points of view: ground level, eye level, and as high as you can reach. Click on the affiliate link below to learn more about this gimbal and know that Zhiyun has a good reputation for quality! Be sure to email me with a link to the first video you shoot with your new gimbal, I'd love to see it!
I have been known to grab flashlights and my vehicle windshield sunscreen to manipulate light in a shot. I've used all kinds of lights to light an object in the foreground when shooting a bulb shot at night. I have hidden the cheapest little lights on shelves or behind objects on photo shoots to create depth. I have used different types of lights on my camera for video interviews. And finally, recently, I purchased a very nice light. It's in the nice-to-have category, but has become my primary camera light. With LED's, colored films, small, light weight design - it makes me happy just holding it and turning it on. This is a round, not square, light, which makes it good for shooting portraits. It has a tripod adapter and I like to use it on the Manfrotto Mini-Tripod (above on this page), and have also used it on a regular tripod. This is unique and useful: the light is constructed on a ball head so you can rotate it in any direction. And yes, if I need a light for any reason, and a flashlight isn't available - but I have my camera bag - I can bust this out for great light with several brightness settings! I can use it in all the applications listed above and a million more. Pro tip: when shooting a portrait outside, you can use lights and reflectors to create more light on the shadow side of the subject. Shoot so the shadow side of the face is closer to the camera for a more dramatic effect. This light has it's own power (cold shoe), and fits on your camera's hot shoe. I suspect I will use it off my camera as much as I will use it on. Click the affiliate link below if you are ready for this cool little item to light up your photographs and world.
Keeping the camera steady and on the same plane when you move your arms is challenging. Back in the day, we duck taped our cameras to skateboards as a DIY solution. The pros use slider tracks to remote control their cameras along a smooth sideways pan. Sliders can be pricey and they take up space. This little skate board camera dolly is an inexpensive solution for the rest of us. Pro tip (even if you don't get this dolly and you are hand-holding your camera): place an object or set of objects closer to the camera and then roll your camera around that object to reveal your main subject. For example, I am preparing to do a short spot to highlight the loaded Bloody Mary at a local bar. I plan to roll past some glasses on the bar to reveal (in perfect focus and lit by the Manfrotto LED light listed above or left) the final product, loaded, bright., and icy cold. Sounds and will look yummy, right? Another scene: your baby or grandchild is sitting in the highchair enjoying Cheerios. You set their favorite stuffed toy on the table and roll past that to reveal this cutest baby and moment. An interesting object in the foreground creates depth and interest. Now then: you are using a nice camera and you want a higher quality, smooth shot on the floor, table top, or other flat surface. Mount your camera on this skateboard, and lock the skate to move in a straight line as you shoot, or in a curved line to move around the subject - this is another useful feature, you can lock the wheels on the same rotation angle. Wow! You're a pro - click on the affiliate link below to make it happen. Small size, doesn't take up much space in camera bag.