So let's start with the camera....
(photos courtesy of Canon)
I have always been partial to the Canon series. That was my first camera and so I've become comfortable with it :) I currently have the Canon EOS Rebel T3i....the hubby surprised me with it for Christmas last year and I absolutely LOVE it. I love that's it's easy to use and that it has an expanded ISO range so I get great shots in ANY light. I can shoot video in full HD which I couldn't do with my previous DSLR. I love that it has a high resolution flip out Vari-Angle 3.0 inch clear view LCD monitor, it really comes in handy when photographing or filming myself. This is just the perfect camera and one that will be with me for a long time.
Let's talk lens. My favorite lens for portraits is the Canon EF 50mm 1.8 STM which gives a perfect balance of clarity and background blur. I also love the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM lens. This lens is ultra-lightweight and slim, nice and compact in size and delivers not only great photos but is AMAZING when used to shoot HD video.
(Images courtesy of Canon and Amazon)
Now you've gotta have something amazing to put your camera equipment in so let's talk camera bags. I've had the pleasure of personally owning bags from each of these stores and loved each one. First up is Epiphanie Camera Bags. I own (and currently carry) the Stella bag in Hot Pink but it is now one of their famous discontinued bags...however they have plenty of amazingness in stock and ready for purchase!
(The Stella, photo courtesy of the amazing Jennifer Gamet Photography)
I also love Kelly Moore Camera Bags, her bags are top notch! I own the Libby in gorgeous Orange and have traveled quite a few times with this one...it not only fit my camera equipment but also the contents of my purse, my laptop, my iPad as well as a change of clothes (I used it as my carry-on when flying). This bag is really stunning!
(The Libby, photo courtesy of Kelly Moore Bags)
And let's not forget about Jototes Camera Bags! My very first camera bag was a JoTote and I've had a few since then! One of my favorites has been the Rose Bag in teal (again, this color is discontinued but you can still get it in a few other gorgeous colors). So stylish, you don't even feel like you're carrying a camera bag!
(The Rose, photo courtesy of JoTotes Camera Bags)
So there you have it, the most important essentials for a budding photographer or if you're just shooting as a hobby but want to do it in style! Are you a photographer with tips or suggestions about what are the more important things to keep on hand? Let us know about them in the comments below!