Our Photo Setup

Hi there, Kevin here. I don’t do much writing around here, but I am Jessie’s regular taste tester, Sir Percival’s most annoying fan, and now Albie’s favorite pillow. I also happen to be a voracious reader and researcher, especially when it comes to electronics online. We’re coming up on our first year with this camera setup and I’ll do my best to highlight our brief journey into photography. This lineup is the result of at least 30 hours of research over a month or two. Somebody nod if you can relate. 

Stage 1: Phone Pics

Pretty typical for most people nowadays. We used our phones to capture pictures on trips, but camera phones (wow, old term) have really only come of age in the last couple of years with the iPhone now claiming to be the world’s most popular camera

Stage 2: Point and Shoot

“Hey! We’re traveling and want to take some sweet pics.” So I purchased a little pink Nikon point and shoot, which turned out to be little more than a digital disposable camera. The batteries never stayed charged, we couldn’t ever figure out settings, and it just wasn’t as handy as I’d hoped. It’s sitting in a drawer somewhere, never to be heard from again. Comment if you need a play camera for your kid.

Stage 3: Back to Phone Pics

Since we both have iPhones now, it’s hard to argue against the convenience and quality of the built in camera. We took a few trips and really liked some of the photos we took, but then we realized two things: 1) Storage was always an issue when competing with music and apps, and 2) we wanted to disconnect when we travelled, not be tethered to our devices. We finally decided to purchase a camera after our honeymoon last year, where on a remote island with only 1,000 people and a bunch of wild horses, we couldn’t even escape cell coverage.

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Stage 4: Getting Serious

As we prepared to take a trip to the New England area, we took a solemn pact not to be tethered to our phones. If we weren’t carrying our phones all the time, we needed a compact yet powerful camera. We also wanted something with different lens options so we could explore photography more in the future (at this point we had not decided to start this blog). Qualities in our ideal camera: Portable, powerful, lens options, software based with outside app integration, separate battery and charging system (a must!), and handsome. To the Internet!

Anyone else out there slightly addicted to Amazon Prime? I’ve been member since college and cannot seem to break it’s convenient hold on my shopping habits. Like most product searches, mine started on Amazon comparing at least 20 products with blogs and forums. I read travel blogs, food blogs, mommy blogs, watched YouTube reviews, talked to friends and finally landed on the Sony NEX-6. Sony has quite the ecosystem of cameras and lenses now. We scored a sweet deal on the camera and kit lens, but I always suggest using CamelCameCamel to track prices and send alerts for newly reduced prices. If you’re new to the Sony community, prepare to be welcomed and informed. I was immediately overwhelmed by the wealth of information and relative ease with which topics were covered. So, here’s a run down of what we’re shooting with currently. I’m also a sucker for Amazon’s predictive suggestions and haven’t been let down often…thus you’ll find most of these accessories are preloaded suggestions.

Camera: Sony NEX-6 (camera body with kit 16-50mm lens)


Sony kit 16-50mm Power Zoom Lens

Sigma 30mm f2.8 DN Lens (Sony E)  

Lighting: LimoStudio-Photography Lighting Kit

Great alternative- Cowboy Studio Lighting Kit

Carrying Case: Sony E-Mount Camera Case

Backup Power and Charger: Wasabi Power Battery (2-Pack) and Charger 

Memory: Sony 32GB Memory Card

Editing: Photoshop via Adobe Creative Cloud

Essential Sony Camera/Lens Reviews: Lavikka Photography on YouTube


In short, this camera system has proven its worth in both travel and blogging, all for under $900. Talk about the ultimate tool for bootstrapping a new venture and fueling budget travels. If you’re curious about Sony cameras or want to start up your own blog, feel free to shoot us a note. We’ve passed this along to several people and thought a post would be helpful.


*Update! Since originally penning this, we’ve been to Europe (and back) and can now vouch for the international fortitude of our little Sony.