My name is Mandi and I am based in Southern California, I have been doing photography for about 5-6 years in total. Finally, in August of 2013 I felt safe enough to leave my day job. Self-employment is the most amazing way to live, I am very lucky to have found photography.
I started with a little Canon Rebel and stock lens, then upgraded straight to the Canon 5D Mark ll and a starter Canon lens that I purchased from Ebay (I believe the aperture was a f/5.6 haha). I really started to grow and make some side cash and built my equipment up to what it is today.
After realizing that my starter lens was not going to cut it, I saved some money by purchasing a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 (could not yet afford the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8). I had that lens for a year or two while renting many different lenses to see what I loved most. I kid you not, I truly still did not quite understand exactly how the camera worked, why it did what it did and why expensive lenses were important, until I started renting and experimenting.
I will never forget the day when it all clicked in my brain, I had rented a f/1.2 lens and I was experimenting on a little Mickey Mouse statue that sat on my desk. I focused on the tip of his nose and his eyes were completely blurred out from that low aperture, I could not believe it! I started buying one lens at a time and replacing off brand with Canon brand.
My kit today includes:
Two Canon 5D Mark II bodies
Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L series
Canon 70-200mm II f/2.8 L series
Canon 50mm f/1.2 L series
Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro series
Two Canon 600 EX-RT Speedlights
Holdfast Moneymaker double holster strap
LowePro Pro Roller x200 Case
15″ Macbook Pro with Retina Display
My favorite lens is the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 because you can shoot basically anything with it, definitely my daily shooter. The Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 is used mostly in ceremonies and certain portrait situations. Before I got those two lenses I actually loved using my Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens for portraits and of course there is nothing better for my ring shots.
The reason I purchased the Canon 600 EX-RT Speedlights was that they include a radio transmitter built in, this makes it simple to have one flash on a lightstand for cool effects and one on my camera as a fill flash firing at the same time
My next purchase would probably be an upgrade to the Canon 5D Mark III.