My Camera Gear

I became interested in photography in the spring of 2008 after I had been blogging for a bit.  At that point I was blogging just so that my brothers (who both live out of state) could see pictures of my kids.  I soon began wishing that “maybe I could learn how to take beautiful photos” like the ones I was seeing on other blogs.

From that day on I started to absorb every online tutorial concerning photography that I could.  A few months later I took the plunge and purchased Photoshop and made myself learn how to use it again by reading online tutorials.  To this day I’m still amazed at the vast resources available to the budding photographer if they just take a half hour each day to make themselves learn something new.  It’s all right there at your fingertips on the internet!

A year after I began blogging, a friend and I created a photography blog called I Heart Faces as a way for bloggers and photographers to share portraits with other people in the blogging world.  That idea exploded into a business path that I never dreamed could happen.  It’s been a wonderful, crazy ride ever since!


Camera Gear Information


A couple of things to note before you read more about my camera gear:

1)  To learn more about getting started as a mom photographer who wants to take better photos, I highly recommend you read this in-depth guide first:  How To Get Started With Your Camera

2) I always shoot in RAW (this is covered in the link I just shared above).  I love how you have so much more additional information to work with in a RAW file compared to a jpg.  Whether you shoot in RAW or jpg though, you can still edit either file in Camera RAW (in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.)  Yes!!  Even jpg’s can be opened in Camera RAW. 🙂

3) Purchasing a camera with high ISO capabilities is one of the best photography gear purchases I have ever made.  You do not need to purchase a Canon 5D Mark II to do this…the reasonably priced Canon T2i has amazing ISO capabilities as well (I know this for sure because both of my sister-in-law’s just purchased this camera and I was astounded at what they could do when I borrowed their cameras to try them out.)

4) For photo sessions and with photography I take of my family, I prefer to shoot with camera lenses that have a lower aperture number (2.8, 1.8, 1.4, etc.)  For sports photography though, an affordable long zoom (like the Tamron 150-600)is a great option for capturing the action from a distance.  You can read my review of that lens here:  Tamron 150-600 F5-6.3 Camera Lens Review




Canon 5D Mark II
In February 2010 I became the proud owner of my baby, the Canon 5D Mark II and I absolutely love it!  I saved long and hard for this beauty refusing to let myself purchase it until I had earned all of the money myself.

The camera overall is fabulous, but two of the things I loved the most were that it was a full frame camera and that  the ISO capabilities were phenomenal.  I can easily shoot at high ISO’s with very little noise showing up in my photos.  That right there made the cost of the camera worth it for me and my business.

Canon Rebel XT
I also still own my Canon Rebel XT which is used mainly by my teen daughter who is also interested in photography.


Camera Lenses

• Tamron 24-70mm 2.8
The Tamron 24-70 lens is on my camera most of the time and it is my main lens for all portrait sessions and lifestyle photos of my family.

• Canon 50mm 1.4

In December 2008, I purchased a Canon 50mm 1.4 lens as a Christmas gift to myself. Although I would prefer to use the Canon 50mm 1.2 lens, this is a wonderful, affordable way to have a nice fixed lens to use for portrait photography.

• Tamron 70-200 2.8

The Tamron 70-200mm 2.8 lens was one I chose because of the indoor sports my kids are involved in.  I have found that this lens works very well for those types of events (indoor sports, school events, family get-togethers, etc.) because the 2.8 aperture gives a lot of leeway in darker, indoor venues.  For outdoor sports (and indoor sports that keep you far away from the action), I prefer my Tamron 150-600 because I need to be able to zoom in so much closer.

• Tamron 150-600 F5/6.3
My children are all super active in sports so when Tamron announced that they would begin selling a 150-600mm F/5-6.3 lens for well under $2,000 I knew it was a must-have for my lens collection. In sports like football, track, soccer, and cross country it is very difficult to get close enough to the action to be able to capture any decent shots with a smaller zoom. This longer zoom lens has been a wonderful, better option for me to use instead.

You can read my review of this lens here: Tamron 150-600 F5/6.3 Zoom Lens Review

• Canon 15mm 2.8 Fisheye
When I began to realize that my true passion lies in photographing high school seniors, I purchased the Canon 15mm 2.8 Fisheye.  It really has been a fun lens to use with this demographic.  Teens love to be unique, creative and different from everyone else and this lens has helped me incorporate a few amazingly creative shots into each of their sessions. I am literally astounded by this lens every time I use it…the color is so bright and vivid when I use it and it is so sharp.

• Canon 18-55mm
My camera came with the standard 18-55mm lens.  I rarely use this lens except for outdoor landscape photography or when I want to capture a wider scene outdoors.

• 75-300mm
At the time that we purchased the camera, it also came with a 75-300 mm zoom lens.  This is a cheaper lens (and an affordable way to begin with a zoom lens) but I definitely prefer my 70-200 2.8 lens over this one now.

• Tamron 28-75 2.8
I purchased a 28-75mm to use at the second wedding I photographed.  (Please Note:  It was after this second wedding that I realized that I was not meant to be a wedding photographer.  Hee!)  The 2.8 aperture worked great at that event though and the 2.8 aperture was fantastic for indoor purposes.  This camera is mainly on my Canon Rebel for my daughter to use, but I steal it back from them quite often!


• Canon Speedlite 580EX II – Hot-Shoe Clip-On Flash

I really prefer and am drawn to the look and style of Natural Light Photography, but I have discovered though that there are situations when an off-camera flash is very useful and needed…especially at weddings and indoor school events where flash is permitted.  I purchased a Canon Speedlite 580EX II Flash in February 2009 right before I photographed the Father-Daughter Dance that my husband and daughter were attending. It proved to be invaluable and I drag it to all the school dances I photograph now.

My Photo Editing Programs:

Photoshop(I still use Photoshop CS5, an older version, but will be upgrading to Photoshop/Lightroom Creative Cloud soon. This monthly fee version is so much more affordable than it used to be when you had to buy the expensive program.)


Photoshop comes naturally to me now but I am still trying to learn how to use Lightroom effectively since it can cut down dramatically on your editing time for larger sessions and events.

Photoshop Actions that I use, own and love:

The Pioneer Woman’ Action Sets 1 & 2 (free!)

Florabella Collection

Imagenomic Noiseware Professional

Totally Rad Actions

Lightroom Presets:

One Willow

Totally Rad Actions

Printing Services

I used SmugMug Pro for years but discontinued my membership after their yearly fees went up substantially. Since I mainly do digital sessions now (digital images are included in the price of my session), I recommend these online professional printers to my clients:
1) Unit Prints
2) MPix
3) Bay Photo (Bay Photo is by far my preferred choice of printing companies.)

Starting a Photography Business – Tips & Advice:

After I first began thinking about starting my own business, I spent over a year practicing and honing my photography skills by shooting free sessions.  Even after that I only took the plunge because people I didn’t know personally were asking me to take photos for them and I didn’t have enough time to do sessions free any longer.  I still wonder if I should have started my business when I did though.

It’s something to think long and hard about because owning a photography business can completely suck the joy out of photography for you.  You definitely end up spending much more time on the “business” part of owning a business rather than on the creative (and fun!) parts of photography.  I ended up shooting so many sessions during one fall season that (in addition to the work I do for I Heart Faces) I completely burned myself out.  The good part of that equation is that when you own your own business (if you aren’t depending on it as your sole income) you can take a break from it anytime you’d like.  This is exactly what I decided to do when I took the winter off and spent that time photographing my kids for fun again and looking back at what I did and did not like about my business.  I was then able to make changes accordingly to help me enjoy photography again.

Some of my recommendations?

Think about why it is that you’d like to start a photography business. Is it because you really need the money because you are going to be the sole source of income for your family?  Do you want to “support your hobby”?  Do you have a lot of people you don’t know asking you to take photos and so you’d like to be able to charge them for it?  Really analyze why you think you need to start a business because this will set the tone for what you end up doing.  For instance, if you are going to be the sole source of income for your family then you are probably going to want to take every session that comes your way or you are going to want to become the very best at what you do for a specific genre in your area (ie. weddings.)

• If you are going to charge money for sessions, you absolutely need to be ethical about it. I strongly feel that if you are going to accept payments for your work then you need to set yourself up as a business and you need to pay your taxes accordingly.  If not, then you shouldn’t be accepting money for your work.  Period.

• If possible, give yourself a lot of time to learn what you really like to do before you become exclusive to one type of photography.  When I first had my logo made up I had decided in my mind that I only wanted to shoot sessions for senior girls, weddings, newborns and maybe some families.  My Angie Arthur Photography logo completely reflects that (by the lighter pink and green colors I have in it.)  I was completely wrong though!  After shooting a few newborn sessions I learned that for me they were way too much work and way too boring.  After shooting a few weddings I realized that my other job with I Heart Faces does not give me enough extra time to edit gajillions of wedding photos in a timely manner.  After shooting a few senior boy sessions just to try them out I learned that I have just as much fun (if not more!) working with senior boys as I do with senior girls.  After photographing a few family and children sessions I realized that posed sessions were not for me.  Overall, I seem to be best at photographing High School Seniors and Teens of all ages so I have made a conscious decision to focus my photography business in those areas.

Value yourself. One of the top mistakes I see photographers making is that they do not charge enough to even cover the cost of the gas that it takes them to drive to the session let alone all of the time they spent interacting with their client before the session and all of the many, many hours of editing work they will be doing long after the session is over.  Please value yourself and this profession that we all love!  I’ve often heard “But I don’t think my work is good enough to charge more.”  In that case, I would strongly suggest that you go back to shooting sessions that you set up and design for free until you can get your work to the level that you do feel that you can charge more.  One mistake I made at the beginning was that I took on any and every session without having a vision of what I wanted their session to be like.  If you are shooting a session for free, you need to take charge and set it up so that it will show off the style of photography that you want your clients to pay for in the future.  Take charge and control those free sessions so that your portfolio will really reflect what you’d like to do when you set up as a legitimate business.

Something to think about:  For me, it was much easier to photograph a session for free and be able to take all the time I needed to edit that session than to charge $50 for a session and then have to worry about whether my clients were getting angry that they didn’t have their photos ready to go on a disc within 5 days.  Is $50 worth that stress?  In my opion, absolutely not.

Really ponder about all the time and money you are investing into each session and all of the time it will be taking away from your family.  Was the money you charged really worth that?  If it was, then that’s wonderful!  If not, I’d suggest that you need to rethink your plan.  Your time is valuable and you need to charge accordingly.

• When you are sure of what you’d like to do with your business, then go for it! Since I jumped without knowing for sure what I really wanted my business to focus on I am now completely revamping my logo, my website and my portfolio to reflect the type of work that I really love to do and want to do from now on.  This typically takes quite a bit of time and money to do.  Thankfully, a graphic designer friend had designed my logo for me and she is willing to help me come up with another one to reflect my new vision.  And even better, I had set my website up on a free blogspot site so I didn’t waste any money on that either.  I can now spend all of that money I would have wasted before on a new logo and new website that will reflect what I really love to do now that I know what it is.  🙂

And, to avoid future burnout, I decided to become very exclusive to the vision I have for my business.  This is fairly easy for me to do since my husband has a good job and I have my work with I Heart Faces…if I was the only source of income for my family then I might not be able to do this.  To keep my photography fun and true to myself though and to keep from burning out I came to the decision that I will accept very few sessions per month and when I do they will have to be completely compatible what I am envisioning for Angie Arthur Photography.  That way I’ll only be spending my valuable time on the types of sessions that are true to my style and my vision.



Photographers Who Inspire Me (in no particular order)

Simply Rosie

Wildflowers Photography

Jessica Paige

Sheye Rosemeyer

Amy Wenzel

Bobbi + Mike

Tara Whitney

Kelle Hampton

Dana Pugh

For You Love Me

Susan Keller

Blue Lily

Molly Flanagan

Jose Villa

I See The Moon

Mandy Lynne

Green Wedding Shoes



Other Inspiration


Free People

Mod Cloth


Shabby Apple



I hope you will find this rambling post useful as you look for items that might meet your photography needs!



Please Note: There are affiliate links within this post and three of my lenses (Tamron 70-200, Tamron 150-600, and Tamron 24-70) were provided to me as part of the compensation plan that was agreed upon between Tamron and I Heart Faces.  Tamron is a valued sponsor of my website I Heart Faces.