I can tell when I am talking with a “gear nerd” when they start asking me questions about my camera equipment. The gear nerd will spend many hours reading about the latest camera tech and drooling over gear they’ll probably never be able to afford. They really care about photo equipment specs, they will know the release date of new models, and they’ll be super pumped to tell me about the camera equipment they’re using.
Friends, I am NOT a gear nerd. I’ve narrowed down the equipment that works for me and I know how to use this equipment to get the results I want. I don’t read camera blogs and I am not the first in line for the latest piece of equipment.
I am, however, very willing to share what works for ME and that’s why I’m giving you a look inside my camera bag.
Being a photographer is not a cheap hobby or profession. Good equipment costs a lot of money (one lens can cost the same as a monthly mortgage payment!) so this is why I’ve gotten REALLY good at using the tools I have invested in! It’s super-tempting to buy the latest and greatest cameras and lenses and lighting equipment, thinking that THIS addition to my quiver will make me Annie Leibovitz. I mean, don’t get me wrong, having rock star camera equipment goes a LONG way to achieving incredible results, but one must master the tools they have. OR else be in debt for the rest of their lives!
So with that said, let me give you a peek inside my camera bag:
Let’s start with my camera bag: I use the Kelly Moore “Libby” bag. Everything I’ve included in this blog post FITS inside this Marry Poppins-like bag. All at once. I’m not sure how it all fits, but it does!
My camera body: Canon 5d Mark 3. This is not the latest camera model from Canon, it’s been on the market for many years, and not only that, I bought it used off my friend Shawn Mahoney (who IS most definitely the gear nerd I described above). I’ve put tens of thousands of shutter clicks on this beast and it has served me well!
I have 4 lenses in my quiver:
50mm f1.4 This is my go-to portrait lens. This is on my camera 80% of the time, I use it as much as possible.
85mm f1.8 To be honest with you, this is the least-used lens in my bag. I’m guilty of buying this because other photographers swore by this lens, but I just don’t use it that much. I can get the beautiful bokeh and quality I was seeking with my 70-200mm.
24-70mm f2.8 The most versatile lens in my bag! This can capture wide angle and zoom in a decent amount. Perfect for when I am on location and need to constantly change my focal length.
70-200mm 2.8mm I love the results of this lens! When I have the room to stand far away from my subject and zoom in, I ALWAYS use this lens. The bokeh and depth of field is so dreamy. Frankly, the price tag scared me away for a long time, but I bought the Sigma version of this glass for half the price of Canon and I have been super happy with it!!
I love the 5-in-1 Diffuser for shooting on location. Whether I need to block sunlight or bounce it in, this little guy is clutch in many situations – and it folds down small enough for me to clip to my bag.
When I need a flash on location, I use the Canon Speedlight 430 EX. I’ve had this for at LEAST 15 years and it’s still working like a champ.
I use the Gary Fong Lightsphere adaptor with my Speedlight, and I love the results. I look SUPER dorky with this thing attached to my flash, but I don’t care because it’s the best flash modifier I’ve tried. (actually the latest “generation 5” Lightsphere is way more compact, limiting the dorky factor but the original one I bought over a decade ago still works great!)
Rechargeable all the way! I have about a dozen AA rechargeable batteries for my flash, plus 4 camera batteries so I never run out of battery power, even if I’m shooting for 3 days straight.
Camera memory cards
I have 2 CF cards and 5 SD cards in my bag. The newest pro version of Canon cameras features a dual-card slot, meaning that every photo is saved to two cards after each shutter click. This is an incredibly comforting feature — knowing that I have redundancy in case one of my SD cards fails or if I accidentally erase a card without saving the photos.
I always have my “vanity” kit with me (I should think of a better name to call it. I’m open to suggestions!) In this kit I keep a large hand-held mirror plus other items I might need during a portrait shoot: bobby pins, blotting papers, lipstick touchups, powder, hand cream, hair spray, hair ties, mints, tissues, lint roller, scissors … you get the idea.
So that covers what’s in my photo bag at all times during an on-location photoshoot. I have a LOT more equipment I keep at my photo studio, but that’s a whole other topic of discussion!
In the comments below let me know if you have any questions. And I always love hearing from the gear nerds, so if that’s you – speak up! I’m seeking your input 🙂