It might be totally surprising to learn that my camera kit is fairly simple, and it always has been. I’m a photographic minimalist!
When I first moved to London for my short lived career of assisting photographers, I was exhausted by the amount of kit they had to travel around with. Literally, I would manage to cut myself every day trying to set it all up and pack it all back down again.
Tetris-ing cameras into multiple bags felt so heavy and unfree to me.
One day during this assisting season I bought a motorbike, to be able to wiz around London a little faster, and it meant that my own kit had to fit in a backpack rather than a wheelie case. And now I no longer have the bike, but the backpack stayed, and here’s what’s inside…
Canon 5d Mark iv
My first ever camera was a Canon 350D and ever since then I’ve had the 5D. I had the Mark i, then upgraded to the Mark ii, then that got stolen in Bali and my insurance replaced it with the Mark iv (yeah, and made me pay the difference!) So it’s safe to say I’m a lover of Canon and the 5D and I’m not looking change anytime soon.
Canon 1.4 50mm
A 50mm has always been my go to lens. It’s what I use for 80% of my images. I’m usually on f2 so I didn’t see the need to buy the 1.2 just yet but it’s generally a better lens so who knows – when I next get robbed I’ll look into upgrading! (kidding universe) If you’re new to photography and want a really cheap starter lens, I recommend the 1.8 50mm, I used this as my main lens for 5 years and cost less than $100!
Canon 2.8 24-70mm
24mm is as wide as it gets in my kit, and I’m thinking about buying a fixed 35mm but for now this is all I have. I use this mainly for commercial lifestyle shoots and when shooting banners for branding. It’s known to be Canon’s sharpest lens which helps!
Canon 2.8 70-200mm
Would you believe me if I told you that I’ve got through THREE of this lens because the first two got stolen?! Because it’s true! The first whilst shooting in public on location in London whilst it was set down mid shoot, and the second right out of our Bali Airbnb! What’s worse is that it wasn’t even insured the first time around! So lesson one, always renew your kit insurance on time, and lesson two, this is such a good lens and worth buying three times over! I use this lens sparingly for super close up portraits and some walking full length shots when I want some really good depth or to pull the background towards us a little.
Always a MacBook Pro. Right now I sacrifice speed and power for size as my motivator in life is freedom and a laptop I can throw in my every day bag feels like freedom to me.
Reflection – Lastolite 95cm and 180cm x 120cm
Reflectors are key to the style I shoot in. I’m a lover of natural light and will do anything to avoid using flash lighting! I have a medium and two massive Lastolite reflectors. I never ever shoot a job without them! If you’re just starting out in natural light portrait photography, my advice for your first purchases would be the camera, the 50mm or 85mm for closer shots and then thirdly before anything else – a big reflector. My preference is Sunfire on one side and White on the other.
I actually stopped offering retouching to my clients in 2018, but when there’s something detailed and technical I need to alter on an image, I use this to avoid hand cramps. If you’re retouching at all, you need this for sure.
Tripod – Benro TSL08A SLIM
I went into the camera shop and asked for the best smallest and lightest tripod for traveling with (as the good ones can be huge and heavy) and this is what they recommended.
This is my most recent find.. it’s changed the game for sure! This app connects your Canon camera wirelessly though build-in wifi so you can instantly view, access and send your images straight to your editing app. Once awesome feature is the live shooting mode, which just took auto timer selfies to the next level!
Although I do still use Lightroom for my own personal shoots because I love using my ready made presets, I actually edit my branding shoots in Capture. It took me so long to convert because Capture isn’t as user friendly, but it’s so much faster that it’s cut my editing time down by half!
Just the obvious stuff – Card Reader, multiple LaCie Ruggeds, Battery Charger and spare batteries, and of course, an on brand camera strap!
So the list ended up pretty long, but honestly 75% of the time I’m just using my main camera body and the 50mm with a reflector!