Author: Elsie Larson,Photography Tips,Tips,

ABM Photography Gear Favorites (click through for links)Today I'm here to talk about photography gear. We haven't written a post like this in two years, and a few things have changed in that time (although not as much as you would think—we're still using a LOT of the same equipment). We enjoy having a simple photography gear set up, and we use most of what we own every single day! 

Our goals are simple! We aim to capture clean, clear, bright images for ABM. In this post you'll see all the tools we use to take our photographs. 

A Beautiful Mess photographyIn the interest of organization, I'm going to break these items down into three categories—cameras, lenses, and useful accessories. 


Through the years we've used the full range of Canon cameras, and I can honestly say that they are all great. When shopping for your first camera (or an upgrade even), I recommend choosing whichever is the best model you can afford at the time, then investing in lenses as you go. DSLRs are not lifetime purchases. We upgrade every 3-5 years (depending on how much our cameras get used). So don't stress out too much about which model you buy. Any of these cameras are light years better than what people had access to in the past, so count yourself very lucky! 

I have used all of these cameras personally and seen my blogger friends use them to take incredible photos! 

1. Canon EOS 5D Mark III Two years ago we upgraded to our first full frame camera, the 5d Mark III. It's significantly more expensive at around 3k for the camera body. I'll be honest, that price was what kept us from upgrading in the past. I just didn't think that a full frame camera could be three times better than what we were already using, and I assumed that the upgrades were more useful for different types of photographers, but might not be necessary for our purposes, which were mainly blog photos. After we upgraded, I became a true convert, and now this model is what most of us use at ABM. The thing that really converted me was the difference that a full frame camera made for interior photos. In the past I had to use a wide angle lens to photograph rooms, which created a warped perspective. The full frame makes it much easier to fit most rooms into my frame with just a 35mm lens. That sold me, since we photograph rooms often. It's also especially good in low light situations and can handle a higher ISO very well. 

2. Canon EOS 70D This is the category that we've owned the most of. My first camera was a 20d, then I upgraded a few years later to a 40d and then a 60d (that's what we currently have). The newest model is a 70d. I highly recommend this camera for bloggers. It's what we used to write our first book with as well! This model is around 1k for the body. It's a great camera! 

3. Canon Rebel A Rebel is the lowest priced SLR you can get (with models starting in the 300s). It is a little bit smaller and lighter than some of the other bodies. It can take amazing photos and makes a great first camera. If you are new to photography, or on a tight budget, we recommend the Rebel as your first camera. 

Again, all these models are awesome! We have owned and loved them all. We recommend choosing whichever is most comfortable for your budget. Remember that you'll probably end up upgrading in a few years, so it's not that big of a deal! 


Lenses are super important and can completely change your camera's abilities to capture light, close ups, and far away shots. Lenses are a big factor in what makes quality photographs! There are infinite choices, but we like to keep things pretty simple around here. Here are the lenses that we use and love! 

4. Canon 35mm f/2 This is our everyday lens. I rarely take it off my camera because it's useful for so many different situations. When traveling, this is the only lens I take with me. So it goes without saying, but this is the lens I would recommend buying first if you only want to invest in one lens. We use this for most DIY photos, food photos, and room tour photos. We use two 35mm lenses at ABM, and this is the one with a friendlier price. :) 

Food photography

5. Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L This lens is incredible for taking portraits. It's nice and crisp, and the quality is unbeatable.

Sister style6. There are two great choices when it comes to a 50mm lens—

50mm f/1.8  This lens is what we call the Nifty Fifty! It's crazy how good this lens is for how affordable it is.

50mm f/1.4 Another 50mm lens that's a little bit more, but the quality is incredible! This is the 50mm lens that we all use around the studio for pretty much everything.

Useful Accessories + Programs

7. Wacom Intuos Pen and Touch Small Tablet If handwriting or hand-drawing is your look, then we highly recommend getting a Wacom tablet! There are a bunch of great ones out there for less than $100, such as this one that we use.

8.  Reflector Set We definitely recommend having a reflector around, especially if you're shooting a lot of portraits or working in harsh light or shadows. This 5-in-1 reflector is just one of many different kinds, and they allow you to really up your photo game for around $20.

9. Canon RC-6 Wireless Remote Controller All SLR cameras come with a self-timer function, but this remote makes it even quicker and easier to capture tons of "selfies" without running back and forth to trigger the self-timer. We use ours often. 

10. Tripod Sarah recommended this tripod and has used for it for 10+ years! It's an incredible quality, and it has a middle-of-the-road price point that is well worth it for the durability. 

11. Adobe Creative Cloud (subscription). We use Photoshop almost everyday. It's such a useful tool for blogging, small business, and personal photography as well. The cloud subscription is amazing and super affordable ranging from $10-$50 and it can give you access to many Adobe programs (Photoshop included). 

12. Photoshop and Lightroom Actions We use actions every day to speed up our editing process and produce consistent images. We highly recommend finding a set of actions you love to invest in! 

Actions by A Beautiful Mess

12. If you're interested in learning to use your DSLR or Photoshop program, I suggest looking into the e-courses we have available! 

DSLR BasicsDSLR Basics / Photoshop for Bloggers / Discounted rate for both courses

I hope this has been helpful! I am here to answer any questions you may have in the comments. Investing in photography gear can be intimidating, but they're some of the best purchases I have ever made. We're here to help! xx- Elsie 


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