Some of the most frequently asked questions we get emailed about are around cameras. As photographers, we shoot every single day, so we’ve acquired quite the amount of gear and learned a lot along the way. Thomas initially picked up photography to help me with the blog back when we started in 2011, but since then, we’ve both fallen in love with it. It was frustrating at first, but with any new skill, it takes a lot of time and practice. Not a day goes by when we don’t shoot something, whether it’s for work or play. Here we’re sharing our three most frequently asked questions that range from what cameras we use to how we edit.
What kind of cameras and lenses do you use? When do you use each?
We have two types of cameras that we use 95% of the time- a Leica MP 240 and a Sony RXRII. The Leica MP 240 is a manual focus rangefinder camera, which is what we use for all of our outfit shots and many of our travel photos. We use these because we believe that the Leica M cameras give our images a special feel. We have two camera bodies and 4 different lenses. Most of our shots are shot on our Leica 35mm f/1.4 lens, which is an incredible lens that is extremely versatile for everything we shoot. Our next most used lens is our new Leica 28mm f/1.4, which is great for landscapes. We have two different 50mm lenses that we use for different purposes. Our Leica 50mm f/2.0 APO we use for closer portraits, product shots, architecture shots and some landscapes. Our Leica 50mm f/0.95 is a specialty lens with a super wide aperture, that means that it’s specially tailored for low light photography and it has an extremely narrow depth of field. We use this lens at night and when we want a very blurry background.
For flatlays, details shots and some travel shots, I shoot on a Sony RXRII, which is a professional level point and shoot. This is a great camera which actually uses the same sensor as the popular Sony a7RII. The 35mm f/2.0 lens is great for all picture types. And having a point and shoot means I can fit it in my purse and it’s much easier to use compared to the Leicas.
I’m also taking more and more photos just on my iPhone, including all of the Daily Look pictures. The quality of the images just keep getting better, there’s no easier camera to use and I always have it on me.
How do you edit your photos for the blog and for Instagram?
I edit all of my blog photos on my computer using Lightroom. I use mostly VSCO pre-sets for Lightroom and I’ve been using Kodak Portra 400 VC- most lately. After adding the film preset, the images don’t need much tweaking because it’s always our goal to capture the best possible image in camera. I’ll make slight adjustments to Exposure, Highlights and Shadows to get the light just right. I’ll up the Black just a bit to give it an extra pop. As far as color, I’ll balance out the Tint more towards the pink, our camera normally has a slight green tint anyways so this counteracts it. White Balance is normally pretty accurate, but I often make a slight adjustment depending on whether I think the photo should be warmer (more orange/yellow) or cooler (more blue). Depending on the scene, I often bump up Vibrance just a bit. If the photo needs it, I’ll rotate it. Sometimes I’ll edit an Instagram photo in Lightroom vs VSCO if I’m pulling the image from my camera rather than my iPhone.
For Instagram, I edit all of my photos using the VSCO app. I use about 3-4 different filters (my favorites include A5, A6, E5 and T3), that all cohesively pair well together, so the photos flow when they’re laying next to each other. I really don’t spend much time editing, sometimes I’ll adjust the exposure, up the contrast, add some saturation or bring the pink hues out in the tint. I love the app Planoly to help layout my feed so I can see what will make the most sense for the next image I’m posting.
What camera would you recommend for under $1000? Under $2000? Over $2000?
The first thing worth mentioning is that buying a new camera or major piece of equipment isn’t always the solution for you to improve your photography. In our opinion, you should look to upgrade camera gear only once you feel like you’ve hit the absolute limits of your equipment. Another note is that you should try renting gear before buying, we’ve made lots of mistakes in the past, so this year we decided to use Parachut, which is a monthly subscription camera rental service which lets us swap gear for a special project or if we are considering purchasing a new lens or body. This is not sponsored at all, Thomas actually found an article about them and was probably one of the first people to sign up for it because he loves testing out new gear before committing.
With that being said, we often tell people to get the newest iPhone if their budget is under $1000. The cameras on these phones just keep getting better and better and you’ll always have your phone on you. The larger iPhone 7+ has two lenses with one being a telephoto that’s great for those things a bit further away. If you are willing to spend over $1500 the Sony a7II and the Fujifilm Xt2 come highly recommended. If you are looking for a professional level camera and have a budget over $2000 we’d be happy to provide further advice, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.