A Minnesota Photographers Blog

August 2, 2017 | Photography

How I Got Started

I started my photography path as a small child with a film camera in my local 4-H program. From there my family gifted me my first digital camera, which was a simple point and shoot Nikon.


My passion is photography, and I want to share that with anyone who shows interest. Because of that, I want to share my gear bag, what I plan to add to my bag in the future and how I chose what equipment to purchase in the beginning.

My first DSLR was a Nikon D3200. I used that camera, with, believe it or not the kit lens until I started my professional photography business.  The above shot was taken with my D3200, with a 70-300. My settings were 70mm, f/4.5, ISO 800  1/125 shutter speed.

At that time, my entire setup was under $1,000. The gear doesn't make the photographer, the photographer makes the gear!



Quickly I developed a love for astrophotography. I invested in a 28mm 2.8 and truly loved that lens. With my crop sensor camera, it was enough to get me by, and get some stunning shots for what equipment I had to work with.


I saved for months, saving money from each session to buy another lens, another piece of equipment. Soon my favorite photography wasn't any genre of photography.  Soon I was loving every session, every style of photography and every subject.

What's In My Camera Bag

My gear bag is a House of Flynn Evermore. I have a mini Evermore I use for my weddings, since I don't need to carry all of my lenses for weddings, all day long.

I carry business cards, extra batteries, a battery grip, extra memory cards and a lens cleaning kit in my bag at all times.

My main camera body is a Nikon D800. I love this camera, It has worked wonders for me, and I would buy another in a heartbeat.

My favorite lens is a Nikkor 85mm 1.8. This lens is my favorite, and has worked well for me in almost every portrait session. I love this lens because how fast it is, how crisp it is and the low distortion it has.


What's in my camera bag??

-Nikon D800

- Nikon D7200

-Nikkor 85mm 1.8

-Nikkor 50mm 1.8

-Nikkor 50mm 1.4

-Nikkor 28mm 2.8

-Nikkor 70-300 4.5-5.6

-Nikkor 60mm 2.8 Micro

-Tamron 150-600mm 5-6.3


For my wildlife and sports shots, I love my Tamron 150-600mm. This lens is a work horse, and although weighs about 4 pounds, I can still find it usable.

Building Your Camera Bag

My  camera bag started small, and is ever growing. My advice is to do some soul searching and think about what YOU want to photograph. Do you just want to do landscape? Then a wide angle lens such as the 28 mm Nikkor or a 15-30 2.8 Tamron G2 would be a great purchase. But if you are wanting to become a professional portrait photographer a 50mm 1.8 or an 85mm 1.8 would be a better purchase. Find what your soul loves, and do that. Because your work will show your passion through your work.



I love photography, because I love creating art.  Find what drives you a fuel it. Dive into the science behind your equipmevvnt. Find lenses that will achieve the style and feel you want from your photographs.


My suggestion would be to upgrade your lenses, then upgrade your camera body when you find that you are growing beyond what that camera can provide. I started with a D3200, and in the fall of 2016 I upgraded to the D800, and recently I bought the D7200 as a second body.

At the end of the day, find your style, find your passion and run with it. Develop your own unique portfolio of art you love and worry about your camera bag later. Get out there, photograph what you love, and never stop dreaming.





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Victoria Shoopman Photography | 45272 830th Avenue Hector, MN | 406-941-3186

Copyright notice. All images © Victoria Shoopman Photography 2013-2017.

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How I Got Started

What's In My Camera Bag

Building Your Camera Bag
Sign up for your complimentary family session today!
Victoria Shoopman Photography
Victoria Shoopman Photography
Building Your Camera Bag