Here’s the first thing I decided when I started my photography business:

I wouldn’t spend extra money on fancy new photography gear unless I made that money from my portrait sessions

and let me tell you: I am so glad I followed through on that! When I made the leap into photography after ending a long 10+ career in musical theatre, I knew I had to apply for a credit card in order to pay for my first camera, as I didn’t have the funds nor the extra time to save. I remember the day like it was yesterday: I did a quick tarot reading, wrote to my inutition and decided right and there to become a photographer. My heart was craving it. I was inspired to start a portrait business working with children and families, after years of watching my mom and cousin succeed in their small photography businesses, and I felt confident that I could do something similar. Plus, the idea of working as my own creative boss was a major plus! I spent 1,200.00 on my used camera equipment from, but that didn’t include the website domain, Adobe Suite, SD cards, and business license I had to invest in! After endless researching, I decided one used camera body and two prime lenses would be my equipment to start training and shooting with:

  • Canon 6D dslr  body
  • 85mm f./ 1.8 lens
  • 50mm f./ 1.4 lens

I have invested in a few new pieces in the two years since I opened my business: the Langly Alpha Pro waterproof camera backpack as well as the Canon 24-70mm f./2.8 lensmy favorite lens for travel and landscape shots. It is also the only zoom lens I own, as primes will always be my favorite. (The depth of field and amount of light those primes let in is magical!)

Starting my journey with only a basic body and two prime lenses made me a better photographer, as it

  • forced me to get creative in tight spaces
  • helped me speed up my knowledge on composition and framing
  • prevented me from getting stuck in the bad habit of standing still
  • inspired me to work hard and master portrait photography without relying on fancy zoom lenses for effect and quality

To this day, I still choose not to buy the latest fancy tech upgrade. I still haven’t splurged on the 5D Mark III nor the latest Mark IV, despite my wildest dreams urging me to invest. The Canon 6D is still my only body, and unless there is drastic change in quality, I don’t see a need to spend my money on gear. Instead I spend money on photography classes and trips so I can keep getting out there in the world to practice my skills.

The artist behind the lens, not the equipment, creates a compelling photograph.

Camera gear is truly a personal preference. If you are ready to upgrade, I recommend renting first. I used to think I needed the fanciest, most expensive equipment in order to be as professional as possible, but good art is created by the artist not the equipment. Remember to invest the time learning your camera, reading the manual, and getting practice in. That is the most priceless investment of all.


Being a Camera Gear Minimalist

March 23, 2018


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I'm Helena! As a creative storyteller, I document magical moments through my lens and my pen. A lover of childhood, fairytales and natural light, I'm inspired to share the light around me. I'm the ultimate Disney nerd, and I'm obsessed with cats and expressing my love for the simple joys of slow, daily life.

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Helena Woods is a destination newborn and family photographer based in France and New England and travels worldwide. She is known for her natural light, modern classic, and emotive photography style.