What’s inside my Camera Bag
My Photography Essentials:
A lot of people ask me what’s inside my camera bag, or about the equipment I use. Today I thought it would be fun to share a little peek at what I carry inside my camera bag. Whether it’s out and about taking photos of the kids or on location for a photo shoot, these are some of my most used photography tools, along with a few of my everyday photography necessities.
1. MY CAMERA BAG: I love my Lowepro Flipside 400 AW! Many professional photographers prefer a rolling suitcase type bag because it’s protective, or I have friends that like a bag that looks like a purse, because it’s cute. I happen to be very practical. If I’m lugging in a couple of stands for a reflector, and/or a flash, posing blocks, or props, I don’t want another thing to pull around. I love having my camera bag be a back pack. Also if I’m on the go, or in a place that’s dirty, or maybe I’m surounded by a lot of different people, I love the fact that my backpack is belted at my waste and I can swing it around like a tabletop and access my lenses from the backside of the backpack. Very Convenient!
2. WHAT’s INSIDE: The backpack holds 1 pro DSLR with lens attached (300mm f/2.8) plus an additional body, 4-6 additional lenses, chargers and cords, filters, flash unit and 3 memory cards. I obviously don’t have it packed that tight. I currently have my camera body, 3 professional lenses, a flash, battery cord and charger, and extra batteries. I do have 2 additional kit lenses that I use when I am out and about with kids so I don’t have to lug these babies, and they are in a differnet pack. My pro lenses make this a fairly weighty bag already. I recommend traveling as light as possible. We already have plenty to bring on a shoot.
3. MY CAMERA: My camera body is the Nikon 7100. It has great image quality, speed and connectivity. It’s 24.1-megapixel DX-format image sensor so it’s awesome for shooting portraits, but also gives added zoom and closeness helpful in highlighting athletes in sports photography. (aka my children’s friends all look like superstars on the soccer field!!)
4. THE LENSES: In my opinion your camera body is important, however, it is not as important as having “good glass!!” You hear this a lot in the photography world, “invest in good glass!” I agree, it’s important. So I will go into LENSES (The Glass) in my next blog post. I will tell you what I use though!!:) I use a Tamron Sp 70-200mm F/2.8 DI VC USD, a Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 DI VC USD, and I use a AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G. They are all wonderful lenses. They are tack sharp with fast aperture, perfect in low light situations and all produce images with beautiful background blur (Bokeh).
4. A FLASH: A Speedlight is another of the most important tools in your bag. I am using mine all the time anymore. I have the Nikon SB-700, and it works great for me especially with my Nikon camera body. Inside I can bounce it off walls or use a modifier like a spinlight or lightsphere, outside you can diffuse it many different ways, or even bounce it off a reflector. I have learned that although you want shadows to add depth and drama to a photograph, light, and knowing how to use it, is the key to beautiful photography!
5. WHITE BALANCE: The next very awesome, and very important tool in my bag is my Expo Disc 2.0. It is how I set up my white balance. I set my camera to take a custom white balance shot and then shoot through my expo disc at the light source. As soon as your camera says you have a good reading, your good to go for the duration of most shoots. If the sun goes behind clouds, goes down, you go on the other side of a park, or you go inside, it’s always a good idea to white balance again. The nice thing about the expo disc is you are done in about 30 seconds! COOL TIP: so you may or may not realize that if you are inside, and you are going to bounce light off a wall, then you need to have the speedlight facing forward and shoot through the disc at the wall to get the correct white balance off the bounced light. The cool thing is that if it is a red wall or a green wall, the expo disc will actually correct for the color cast! Just make sure to take the custom white balance first with the camera and the speedlight aimed at the colored wall, then you turn your camera to the subject and make beautiful pictures in camera, everytime! Cool!! I think so!
6. EXPOSURE: Have you every been shooting away getting beautiful shots, children are having fun, parents seem to be into the session… and then you look down and realize you hadn’t changed a setting on your camera from the session before. You assumed you were shooting at an ISO of 800 or something, and it was actually set at 100. You had just shot for the last 1/2 hour and every picture was underexposed. Now you may have had an experience (or 6) of just what I’m talking about, and you may not care because you can fix it in post. But what if you shot JPEG and not RAW! JPEGs are not as fixable. I could get into that, but I’ll save all that for another post. The moral of my sometimes very heart breaking story is to train yourself to use a light meter. I have the SEKONIC L-308S and it’s a great light meter! Often the one in the camera is just a “get you in the ballpark” kind of an aid. If your at the point in your career where you don’t have a lot of clients, and your single, then you may have time to edit in post, and that’s your choice. However, if you are busy, get it right in the camera the first time! Buy a light meter, and learn how to use it!
7. A LIST: Another great thing to have in your bag is a list of WHAT IS IN YOUR BAG! I haven’t left anything yet, but I don’t want to either. I made a list that I check at the end of every shoot to make sure everything comes back.
8. Have a phone or tablet with you: Have a phone or tablet in my camera bag is so convenient! They can store your posing ideas, or run great apps such as SHOTHOTSPOT: finds photography locations in the area. Or Mile IQ which tracks your miles for tax purposes! Good Stuff!
9. EXTRAS: Always have extras!! Just in case!! I have extra SD cards, camera batteries, some people have extra camera bodies and lenses… just in case.
Hope this has been informative for you! Next I’ll focus on lenses: why I use what I use. Which ones I use and when. After that I’ll get into the other important equipment I use on my photography shoots, outside of the bag. If you liked the post, please subscribe to the blog and share on facebook and instagram. If you have any questions you’d like answered or topics you’d like to learn about for future posts I’d love to help in anyway I can. Thanks so much for visiting! Have a great day! Happy Shooting!