Shooting Light & Airy - The Equipment

Hey you!  Welcome back!  Today we are talking about shooting light and airy. 

Sooo, I don't want to tell you that shooting light and airy is all about your equipment because it's not. And I know, I know. People love the phrase that it's not the equipment, it's how you use it.... and well that is true....  but it's also a little bit about the equipment.

 Let me explain why. 

The short of it is, you just won't get the same airy look and feel from a kit lens that you will from a lens that opens up to 1.8 or even HELLO 1.2 or 1.4.  You just can't.  And if you are wondering what a kit lens is... that is the lens that often comes with a consumer brand camera body.  It is usually like an 18-55mm with the lowest aperture being 3.5.  It usually feels very lightweight (plastic). 

The type of lenses that are going to help you achieve a light & airy look are prime lenses that allow you to open that baby up nice and wide.  So think 35mm, 50mm, 85mm.... and you don't necessarily have to get the L series lenses right off the bat.  The first prime lens I ever bought was the Canon 85mm 1.8.  And that lens almost never came off of my camera until I could afford that really nice glass - my 35mm 1.4!  

My First Lens!

In fact, this right here was my very fist prime lens and it has a very affordable price compared to the professional L series lens which has a price tag of $1849! YIKES!  So start with this guy --->

This one allows you to open up to 1.8, which is a huge step forward from 3.5 or even 2.8!  This lens and any of the other prime lenses are going to seriously UP your indoor photography game as well!  They will allow you to shoot in lower light like a pro!

If you are a Nikon shooter, than the link on the right would be your lens! Or you could always look into a Sigma brand lens to save even more moolah!  I am not 100% familiar with Sigma and Nikon as I am a Canon shooter, but you are more than welcome to reach out to me with questions before you buy something! :) 

This image on the right was shot with my 85mm 1.8 and LOOK at that creamy background!!!! 

Shot with the 85mm 1.8 Canon Lens. 

Shot with the 85mm 1.8 Canon Lens. 

Being able to open your aperture up to to 1.8, 1.4 or 1.2 is going to let WAY more light in and give you that buttery dreamy background AND I always find that skin tones look insanely better with the high quality lenses.   So again, equipment is not every part of the formula, but it is a piece of it.  

The images below were shot wide open at 1.4 and it would not have looked like that if I could only open up to 3.5.  A prime lens made these shots possible! I shot these with a 35mm at an F-stop of 1.4.  

shooting light and airy photographs in michigan

If you are trying to get creamy skin, buttery backgrounds, and bokeh - you will want to invest in the best lens you can afford.  And you really only need one to start. Or hey, rent one!  Renting isn't that expensive and it gives you the chance to test one before investing.  I even suggest buying a better lens before upgrading your camera.  It makes THAT much of a difference.  If you have a wedding or killer session coming up, look into renting one of those lenses above and watch the difference unfold before you between your kit lens and one of those beauties!

Which one should I start with?

 If you are just starting out and not sure which one to pick first, I would say start by renting the 50mm 1.2 and don't open it up all the way to 1.2, at first.  Shooting at 1.2 takes some serious practice to nail your focus consistently.  Instead, start at 1.6 or even lower like 2.0 and practice nailing your focus.  

If you are wondering where to rent equipment from, my recommendation, for Michigan shooters especially, is  They are always running specials and they have a wide range of equipment for both Nikon and Canon shooters!  

I hope you found at least one piece of helpful advice in here!  If you would like me to write about this topic more or answer a specific question, shoot me a message! 

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