What’s inside my kit bag?
I get asked a lot what cameras / kit / lenses I use, so thought it’d be helpful to do a super-quick blog post sharing what’s in my kit bag 🙂
I must warn you – compared to the contents of many photographers’ kit bags it’s extremely simple and unexciting! When I shot weddings I had a lot more kit but nowadays as a family photographer it’s pared back and really basic – I just don’t need lots of complex equipment to get the results I want. Whereas for weddings I’d have additional flashguns and lighting equipment, for family shoots I work with purely natural light, so there’s not a flashgun in sight in my bag any more.
So… here it is! The contents of what I take with me to every family shoot.
1) CAMERA #1 – Canon 5d Mark III body with Canon 35mm f1.4 lens
I always shoot with 2 cameras so I can easily and quickly switch between lenses without wasting time having to change them. One of them always has on my workhorse lens the Canon 35mm f1.4. It’s a wonderful lens and I could happily do a whole family shoot with just this one body and one lens if I had to.
2) CAMERA #2 – Canon 5d Mark III body with Canon 24mm f1.4 lens
My second camera body is identical to my first and will usually have on it either my Canon 24mm f1.4 or my Canon 85mm f1.8 lens. The 24mm is on it here as I use it more than the 85mm, and certainly for all indoor, at-home family shoots. It’s an absolutely amazing lens and perfect for when you’re tight on space and/or need to get in close.
3) MEMORY CARD WALLET – containing several 64/32GB CF cards and 64GB SD cards
This is a great little wallet from Lowepro – it’s got a strong velcro strap on the back so you can securely attach it to your belt (I used to wear it like this shooting weddings) and grey / orange inside panels so you can clearly see which cards are used and which are empty. I shoot to dual cards so always use a CF card in the main slot and an SD card in the second slot. It came with my Stealth Reporter D650AW camera bag which I use at every shoot (unless I’m travelling by train/plane in which case I use my ThinkTank Airport Commuter bag). I don’t carry these about with me on the shoot though – I keep them in the house or car and instead carry my spare lens(es) in my Billingham Hadley Pro shoulder lens bag.
4) SPARE BATTERIES – for my Canon 5d Mark III
Now shooting families I literally never run out of battery but I always carry a couple of spares just incase.
I bought this a while ago as it was cheap as chips and you can get some pretty cool effects holding it in front of your lens. I haven’t used it for ages though as I started feeling it was perhaps a bit gimmicky and for most shoots I prefer just keeping things totally natural. It’s tiny and light though so I always carry it with me just incase.
6) CAMERA HARNESS – Holdfast Moneymaker
Despite having a ludicrous name and looking like some kind of bondage gear this is actually a really nifty camera strap that has saved my sore back and has the added bonus of making clients smirk 🙂 I don’t bother with it when shooting indoors as I’m usually crawling around on the floor and the cameras would drag on the ground, but for outdoor shoots it means I can carry both camera bodies easily and still have my hands free.
7) SECOND LENS – Canon 85mm f1.8
I generally only use 3 lenses in family shoots – my 35mm along with either my 24mm or this 85mm lens. It’s a great little lens and generally I’ll swap the 24mm for this when shooting outdoors as I’m usually not as close to my subjects.
8) SPARE LENS – Canon 17-40mm f4
I’ve very rarely used this lens – I used to only really need to use it for weddings for very large group shots when space was limited. However, I carry it just incase I need to do a large family group shot in a small space. It hasn’t happened yet (the 24mm is always adequate) but I bring it with me just incase and keep it in my Lowepro camera bag in the car.
9) SPARE LENS – Canon 70-200mm f2.8
I very occasionally use this on family shoots, but hardly ever. It’s only really useful for when you can’t get close to your subjects – so I’d only really use this in large spaces where subjects are racing around a lot and my knackered old legs can’t keep up with them e.g. older kids playing football etc on a beach. Usually my 85mm is absolutely fine for this but I bring this just incase, and it also acts as a backup for my 85mm incase that breaks or fails.
10) BACKUP BODY AND LENS – Canon 5d Mark II with Sigma 35mm f1.4 lens
I’ve never needed to use it but always carry a spare body with me. I’ve obviously already got two Mark IIIs that I use at every shoot so if one of those failed then I’ve still got the other one. But as I like to shoot with 2 bodies I carry a third spare body just incase. As the 35mm is my workhorse lens that I really can’t do without I have a spare one of these as I’d be screwed at a shoot if my main Canon 35mm 1.4 broke. The Sigma version is an absolutely brilliant lens and I really can’t tell any difference between images taken on that and the Canon.
As an aside, although I love my Canon gear, I’m currently considering following the masses and switching over to Sony when my kit needs upgrading (which is soon!) – a combination of lighter kit and better autofocus for moving subjects. Those of you who shoot Sony, how do you find it (especially if compared to being a previous Canon user) and what are your favourite bodies and lenses?
So there you have it! The very simple contents of my kit bag! Hope you find this useful!
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