dallas portrait photographer uses the canon camera and lens

What Camera and Lens do you use?

As a Composite Photographer, and one who specializes in Creative Portraits with a Norman Rockwell twist, I receive several emails asking me questions about equipment and editing.

“What editing software do you use?”

“What plugins do you like best?”

“What is your favorite lens to use?”

So, today I’m going to answer one of the more common questions I get regarding equipment, which is “What Camera and Lens do you use for your Composites?”

While I do understand this question, and even catch myself asking it when I’m looking at amazing Composite Photographers such as Erik Almas, Adrian Sommeling, and Robert Cornelius.

But the truth of the matter is, the camera and lens you use matters far less than the concept you create and Compositing technique you develop.

Regardless, let me answer the burning question of camera and lens for you.

Canon 6D

I’m currently using the Canon 6D as my primary camera, and that’s really only out of necessity.

I know I sound critical of Canon, but I love using the Canon camera and lens, and feel very fortunate to be using such an awesome line of cameras.

canon 6d used by dallas composite photographer, jason ulsrud
My Canon 6D Camera

Before my Canon 6D, I was using a Canon 5D Mark 2 as my primary work horse, which again, was a camera I was using a bit out of necessity.

Let me explain the necessity thing…

dallas composite photographer, jason ulsrud, uses the canon 5d mark 2 camera
Canon 5D Mark II with Shutter Problem

A couple of years ago a friend asked me to do a series of video shoots for him, which I accepted the job with my payment being a 35mm I could use to shoot “quality” video with.

back of the canon 5d mark 2 used by dallas composite photographer, jason ulsrud
The Canon 5D is a great camera, but it has a shutter problem

Knowing nothing about Digital Photography, I had heard that an episode of “House MD” was filmed on the Canon 5D Mark 2, so figuring that must be a badass camera, I said “I want that camera!”

Now, the Canon 5D is a good camera, but I’m pretty sure it’s not the camera I would have chosen knowing what I know today.

Anyway, I used my Canon 5D until I started getting an artifact showing up on photo shoots, which I shot around since I was Compositing pieces of the frame, or I would fix in Photoshop.

Finally, I took my 5D into Competitive Camera here in Dallas to find out it was a shutter failure, and would take 6 to 8 weeks to repair.

But, I needed a camera that weekend.

Strapped, and not wanting to spend a ton of money, I popped for the Canon 6D, which I’m really happy with it’s performance to date.

canon 6d used by dallas composite photographer, jason ulsrud
The Canon 6D is a mighty fine camera

Canon EF 24-105mm

As of this writing, and since I started my journey back into Photography 18 months ago, I have only used one lens.

The Canon 24-105mm, which came with my Canon 5D.

canon 6d with canon ef 21-104mm lens
My Canon 6D with Lens
canon ef 24-105 lens used by dallas composite photographer, jason ulsrud
My Canon EF 24-105mm Lens

This has proven to be a great lens for my style of Composite Photography, because it gives me a lot of flexibility.

That said, here is a list of lens I will be getting when finances allow.

  1. Canon EF 100-400 – For those wildlife shots I really want.
  2. Canon EF 85mm – For the portrait work I really want to produce.
  3. Canon EF 16-35mm – For those fun wide shots to blow perspectives.

For starting out in Composite Photography, however, I really like the Canon EF 24-105mm for it’s versatility.

Embrace Your Limitations

Generally, I’m not a big fan of limitations and being limited to one thing, but for the sake of Composite Photography, I believe the limitations in equipment I’ve been faced with, have shaped who I am as a Photographer.

Composite Photographer, Joel Grimes, says his style was born out of the limitation of color blindness, which is the reason his work is so desaturated.

My limitations of only having one lens to use, no lighting, and a super slow computer for editing have shaped my style of Composite Photography, which I now call Photillustrations.

I say, rather than looking at your limitation as a reason you can’t create a great Composite, look at them as an opportunity to create a new and unique Composite.

Some of the best albums ever created in music were the band’s first album, because they weren’t limited by the lack of limitations.

“Don’t be limited by the lack of limitations.” ~ Jason Ulsrud

That’s a Wrap

Ok, I’ve said way more than I should have here, but the camera and lens I use, while good quality, really have very little to do with the Composites I create.

In fact, I would venture a guess that I could create a badass Composite using only my iPhone 6s.

Hmmm… That may be a good challenge for you and me, to drop the crutches of fancy photo equipment and use something as simple as an iPhone.

What’s your take on this subject? Does the equipment you use make a difference to the quality of the Composite Photography you produce?

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