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OK technically i’m using the D3400, but it’s so old that it’s not even listed on most websites anymore…and the d3500 is basically identical. it’s as cheap as DSLRs come, so if you’re on a budget, it’s as good of a choice as you’re going to find anywhere. lots of people are shocked that i’m still using this thing after all these years, but honestly it does a damn good job, so i’m in no rush to upgrade. i’d absolutely recommend it if you’re just getting into the photography game.
the dream camera i will be buying once i’m making a little more dough! i’ve rented and tested it at multiple camera shops, and it’s a BEAUTY. i figured i’d list it here, for those of you that have the cash to skip the beginner camera and make the jump straight to the top-tier. let me know how you like it! i’ll be joining the z-team soon… 😀
if you want your photos to have that crisp, professional look, then you HAVE to hop on the prime lens train; the difference in quality they capture compared to kit lenses is insane. this bad boy is my personal choice for the d3400, and i know it’s compatible with nearly all Nikons pre-z series. fun fact: about 95% of my instagram photos were taken with this lens.
this is an accessory that I was always on the fence about…until i saw my friend’s tripod do a faceplant. trust me, you’d rather pay thirty bucks to replace a filter than hundreds to replace a lens. you can’t put a price on peace-of-mind.
i have never once used the little built-in pop-up flash on my camera, and you shouldn’t either. it’s garbage. if you’re planning on getting into event photography, weddings, or anything else that requires you to jump around quickly with speed and precision, an external flash is absolutely essential. i don’t shoot in these environments super often, so I opted for this low-budget option. it’s worked great for me, but if you’re going to be focusing heavily in this area, i’d recommend following the link and clicking into the supplier profile to grab one of Neewer’s higher-level flashes.
i know that most photographers use a camera-specific backpack, but i prefer a shoulder bag. most of my photos are spur-of-the-moment, so i need to be able to pop my camera out and be ready to shoot in 2-3 seconds tops. you simply can’t do that with a backpack.
i just wanted something different than that basic nikon strap that everyone has lol.
if you want to take your photography seriously while traveling (or ever), you’ll need to have the freedom to edit on-the-go. i haven’t personally made the jump to an ultra-portable one yet, since i love the durability and screen size of this one. plus, you can flip it inside-out and use it like a tablet which is pretty sweet.
nothing sucks more than running out of battery halfway through a photo sesh. STAY CHARGED, FRIENDS.
i’ve made photography buddies here and there, but as most of you know, i spend most of my time flying solo. that’s why this guy right here has been so helpful. it’s perfect for the occasional self portrait, and great for long-exposure shots too.
how do i get in “my zone”? i load up a few hours of bassy mixes on soundcloud, put on these headphones, and get lost with my camera until my legs can’t walk anymore. i can’t tell you how many hundreds of hours i’ve spent doing this exact thing- there’s simply nothing better in life.
side note: i bought these headphones USED in 2014, and they’re still working perfectly all these years later. they’re the best.
for the same reason i love my headphones, i always keep this speaker on hand when i’m wandering with friends. whether it’s a portrait shoot with one person, or an adventure with a bigger group, the creativity always flows better with a soundtrack. I can give you 3 reasons why this is the best speaker ever:
1. this thing has insane bass for the size. i’m a total nerd for sound quality, and it passes the test.
2. it’s only $100. that’s cheap as hell for a top brand like JBL.
3. it’s super compact, which is a must if you’re traveling and want to save space in your bag. (if you’re willing to go even MORE compact for the sacrifice of a little volume, check this lil guy out).
traveling by definition isn’t the best for the environment, so i offset this by reducing my daily waste as much as possible. you should too!
this thing is siiiiiiick. when i made my 2018 new year’s resolution to quit disposable cups for good, this was the very first thing i bought- and it has done its job beautifully. i’ve lugged it across 7 US states and 4 different countries so far (using it damn near every day, i might add), and there STILL isn’t a single scratch on it. it’s bulletproof, i tell ya. (plus it comes in a million colors, which is tight).
where i prefer stainless-steel for my coffee cup, i opt for a reusable plastic water bottle to save a bit of weight due to its large size. i’ve been a huge Contigo fan since 2013, since their one-hand button-push drinking is goddamn revolutionary. when i go out for a long day of shooting, i can literally drink water with my left hand while taking photos with my right. what a time to be alive.
since i avoid buying plastic water bottles, these guys are perfect for making sure that any questionable tap water you encounter while traveling is all-good to drink. these are the tablets used by the military and emergency organizations worldwide, so they are tried-and-true. just pop one into your bottle (1 tablet per 1 liter is the proper ratio) and the water will be good-to-go in 30 minutes.
you wouldn’t believe how many backpackers i’ve seen using plastic bags to hold their clothes and toiletries. don’t be that person… they’ll just rip up every time you move to a new location, and you’ll go through tons of them. these organizers will last me for decades (if not a lifetime).
super compact, super light, and super easy to rinse out after each use. once you stop using those skimpy little single-use plastic bags in the grocery store, i promise you won’t miss them.
an awesome & easy alternative to plastic toothbrushes. you can literally COMPOST these when you’re done with them, how cool is that?! (just make sure to remove the bristles with some pliers first, that’s the only non-bio-degradable part).
i actually ended up giving this away to a hostel friend a while back since i hardly ever used it, but if you if you’re a straw person, you HAVE to make reusable straws a staple in your bag. pretty please.
i eat a lot of food. this means lots of leftovers. i think that’s all that needs to be said here.
stop buying new adapters in each country you travel to. this one covers a ton of places (USA, Europe, Australia, China, Japan, etc.), so you may never need to buy another one again
no goal of mine is greater than making money online. from photo-editing to website management, here’s how i’m getting there.
Adobe is the gold-standard for creative producers. period. you can name any professional photographer in the 21st century, and i can just about guarantee you they use Lightroom and Photoshop for their post-processing. on top of these two programs, i have personally chosen to upgrade to their cloud-backup plan, which gives you 1 TERABYTE of space for just a few extra bucks per month.
i’ve said it before, and i’ll say it again: you can’t put a price on peace of mind. i legitimately sleep better at night knowing that even if ALL of my stuff were ever to be stolen – laptop, camera, phone, everything…then all of my work would still be safely backed up on Adobe’s cloud. if you’re as paranoid as i am, there’s no other way to go – ESPECIALLY if you’re traveling.
Smugmug is awesome. they make it super easy to set up a slick, well-organized gallery for your photos, along with a ton of great e-commerce options if you plan on monetizing your work like i have.
did you know that 30% of the entire internet is powered by WordPress? there’s a reason why. it’s hands-down the best option out there if you want to create a website for a personal blog, photography portfolio, or anything else you can think of. it has a bit more of a learning curve than the beginner-focused sites like Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, etc. but its ceiling is FAR higher. don’t cave for one of those beginner platforms i just listed- they know that their audience is primarily newbies, so they charge you extra $ for every single little function that you could just learn how to do yourself for far cheaper (or free) on WordPress.
Namecheap is great. there isn’t a huge difference between all the domain marketplace sites out there (i also haven’t used any others so i can’t compare them), but i’ve bought a handful of domain names through Namecheap over the years, and i’ve never had a problem. plus, their support is FANTASTIC. domain setup & management can be a pain in the ass sometimes, so that’s important for sure.
i’m a huge fan of Bluehost for one main reason: their support is AWESOME. connecting and managing domains across different website platforms can be very confusing, so their instant chat support (rather than sending an email and waiting 2 days for a reply) has been a godsend for me. this has saved my ass more times than i can count.
Elementor is by far the best website pagebuilder on the market in my opinion. it is extremely easy to use, and since it’s one of the most widely-used on the web, you can always find resources to help you through any hiccups in your workflow. the $50/year for the Pro version is totally worth it in my opinion, since it gives you some really cool extra features, and 24/7 customer support. if you want to make a fairly complex site in a relatively quick time period like i did, you’ll want to have their support line ready for when you hit a snag (and i promise… you will…many times).