I often get asked what camera I use or what lens am I shooting with. And while I am a firm believer that what you know and how you apply it is more important than the equipment alone. I also understand that when armed with that knowledge AND the latest technology it makes for a killer combination.
Since many of us as photographers like to know what equipment was used on a shoot to achieve a certain look. Today, I open up my bag to give you a glimpse of what I use regularly. This gets into my technical side which I LOVE, so I will try not to bore you. LBVS I figured we will start with some of the small stuff and build up. So let’s see what’s in the bag
I call her my best friend and I wouldn’t do a shoot without her, yes it’s none other than my light meter, Nic, the Sekonic L858D. This is my absolute favorite tool outside of my cameras. With digital technology, it’s not essential to have a meter (according to some folks) however I grew up shooting in the film world and it was too darn expensive to waste money by missing on exposure. I learned early on how to use one and haven’t done a shoot without one since. I shoot with confidence knowing my exposure is tight and I work faster because I’m not guessing and adjusting every 3 seconds.
Next is my Tether Tools Case Air Wireless unit. This nifty device allows me to sync to my iPad for a much larger screen to view and share with clients. I actually prefer to shoot tethered, but many times on location that is virtually impossible. This option allows me to give clients extra confidence by seeing images while we are still working. We can also make adjustments as needed.
Ok, I know I said Nic was my favorite so this tool has to be a close 2nd. My Spider Camera Holster SpiderPro Dual Camera System. I also take this with me on EVERY shoot. It is so amazing because it takes the weight of two heavy cameras off of my neck and shoulders and places it around my waist. And it’s so easy to grab and shoot. It was an awesome locking mechanism and is critical for me because I always bring two cameras. It helps me to not have to worry about switching lenses and home much time I waste doing so. Did I say I LOVE it?
Now, this one isn’t critical to shooting but it plays an important role in the overall process. I use an X-Rite ColorMunki Display to calibrate my monitor to ensure accurate colors. I do some in-house printing so this is very important to me. In addition, I know when I send prints to the lab they will look consistent with what i have created on my screen.
The last thing I will talk about in this go-round are my Canon (the ONLY thing Canon in my arsenal) printers. I have 2 Canon Pixma Pro 10 Printers that I love. They print up to 13×19 which allows me some room to print decent sizes. They are solid and have produced consistently great results.
My bag of choice is anything ThinkTank. They make amazing bags. I currently have the Airport Security roller and it’s simply great. It can even convert to a backpack when needed. They are well-built bags and the support behind the product – awesome.
So they say you’re either a prime guy or zoom. I happen to love primes, but there is nothing better than the Nikon 70-200 2.8 (IMHO) for portrait work. The bokeh is amazing, its tack sharp and fast. Yes, it’s a little heavy, but I personally like a weight of my equipment. I also carry the 105mm 2.8, 50mm 1.4 and 28mm 1.8. I’m a Nikon purist when it comes to glass. It’s one of the most critical elements to great images and I’d rather spend the money for the quality. I do however like the Sigma Art lenses and will likely try one soon (you will be the first to know).
Now I know there is such a big debate between Nikon and Canon (Sony is also making itself a contender with the A7. WOW) and personally, I think they are both solid. I prefer Nikon as you already know. I will never forget drooling over the Nikon N2020 years ago. My dad shot Nikon and so do I!
I have two bodies (as mentioned I typically carry both while shooting, but having a backup is essential. My bodies of choice are the D800 and D850. They are both SUPERB, but that D850 is AMAZING! Focus is off the charts fast and the ISO range – ridiculous. 4K video, Wi-Fi, what more could I ask for. LOVE IT. 😍
So there you have a glimpse into the major stuff in my bag. I will add lights and triggers and some additional pieces of equipment that I love. It’s so important to get to know your equipment. How does it work, where are all the buttons, what do I do once i know where they are. Learn every aspect of your equipment because you never know when you’ll need to accomplish something in the heat of a moment. Learn first and then equip yourself with the very best you can afford.
Let me know if this was helpful to you. I plan to do a lot more of this type or blog coming soon and would also appreciate hearing what you’d like to learn about.