There are a few things that I consider to be essential during a photoshoot. Some items are obvious, such as the camera itself or a memory card but other items may be forgotten until you really need them. In which case you will probably kick yourself for leaving it on the kitchen table. While having the best photography equipment does not make the photographer, there are certain items that can make your life easier. Below you will find a long list of items that help me when I take, cull and edit photos.
The type of bag largely depends on what kind of work you do or how much you travel. There are tons of bags out there to choose from and figuring out which one is best for you can be a challenge. Think about how much you want to carry around with you while thinking about your shoulders, neck and back!
Tenba Large Messenger – There is enough room for 3 lenses, your camera body and a flash unit. I also keep other miscellaneous items such as: Memory cards, grey cards, clamps, pens, my iPad, photo releases, hard drives, cables, extra batteries and a note pad! If you’re looking for a more stylish option you could try Kelly Moore Bags or Epiphanie Bags. If you want to be easy on your body, try a bag with wheels!
Camera Body + Lenses:
Canon 6D – The 6D is a full frame camera that is lightweight compared to other full frame models. This camera is great in low lighting situations where you may need to bump your ISO up a tad to reduce camera shake. The resulting noise is almost non-existent and can be easily fixed in post processing. I have never had an issue with too much noise. As a general rule of thumb, try to keep your ISO as low as possible. It’s still nice to know you have some wiggle room if need be. If you are looking into buying a full frame model but can’t justify the hefty price tag of any of the 5D’s then this is your best option as it is extremely comparable to the 5D mark ii without the hefty price tag. This camera body also supports video creation so if you think you might ever venture into the world of moving images, you might want to make sure you invest in a body that has those capabilities.
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro Lens – This lens is my newest lens and I have been shooting exclusively with for weeks. I just can’t get enough. The sharpness it provides while still being able to obtain very up-close-and-personal photos is phenomenal. You can view how well this lens handles and some sample images on my macro series.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 Lens – My very first lens! It helped me learn the basics of photography on my little Canon Rebel XSI. I don’t use it very often anymore but I am constantly recommending it to new photographers who ask for recommendations. It’s a great little lens, and very inexpensive! The earlier work on Sweet Remedy was almost exclusively taken with this little lens.
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 – This lens came with my 6D as I bought the camera and the kit lens together but you can always pick it up separately. It’s great for when I need to zoom out or in but cannot use my feet or move my tripod to do so.
Apple iMac 21.5-Inch – I don’t know where I would be without my iMac. I won’t get into the Apple vs. Windows debate here. While the iMac is a desktop computer, my next computer purchase will be a MacBook Pro and an Apple Display for the mobility it will provide. Shooting on location will become easier with a laptop and it can be hooked directly to a larger display once back in the office.
Adobe Lightroom 5 – Lightroom is wonderful in many ways. It allows the photographer to create a more stable workflow. Having a solid workflow helps to edit smarter and faster and the Lightroom interface is wonderful for that. It lets the users to see all of the photos imported at once so they can choose the best ones, and edit them directly from the application. It also makes saving images in bulk a snap with the export options.
Adobe Photoshop CC – I know I just was praising Lightroom but there are quite a few things that Photoshop does so well that there is no need to replace it. With Photoshop I create collages for my food blog, add texts to main images for blog posts, make selections and clone out imperfections if there are more than a few. Yes, you can do some of these operations in Lightroom but sometimes Photoshops allows more control. Both of these programs have their strong suits and generally they work together to create visually pleasing imagery and multimedia.
Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan – This plan is great for someone who doesn’t want to pay the full price for the entire Creative Cloud suite and only needs the two main photography applications: Photoshop and Lightroom. Having the Creative Cloud plan ensures that the user will always have the most up-to-date software. I like knowing that an update is just a click away and I won’t have to buy a completely new program each time Adobe updates something.
Adobe Creative Cloud – The full Creative Cloud! This includes all of Adobe’s top programs. I subscribe to this plan because I am always learning new tools and exploring new techniques. You can broaden your horizons and branch out to other multimedia fields with the full creative cloud.
Manfrotto Tripod Legs and Manfrotto 3-Way Tripod Head – I never leave home without my tripod! A sturdy tripod helps to keep images from blurring while taking photographs in low light and it helps with composition and framing. If you can only buy one item to improve your photography, a tripod is it.
Sand Bags – If you can buy two things, I beg you to buy yourself a set of sand bags if you are using a tripod. I had a horrible experience a few months ago where my tripod toppled over with my camera attached. I was panicked as I had an important job to do the following week. How could I possibly send my camera out for repairs? All is well but I learned my lesson and immediately bought sand bags.
5 in 1 Reflector Panel – This reflector is huge and helps me to bounce shadows or diffuse light since it has many options. There is a white, black, gold and silver side as well as a diffusion panel that is perfect for when the sun is shining harshly through the window.
Wireless Remote – If your shutter speed is low and you press on the shutter release button, you will more than likely experience some camera shake in your final image, even if your camera is attached to a tripod. In this case, a remote is very helpful as it allows you to take a photo without touching the camera.
Memory Card Case – Are you tired of losing your memory cards or having them in multiple pockets in your camera bag? I picked up this case because I was really annoyed with never knowing where my cards were and having to dig through to the bottom of my bag. It can store both compact flash and SD cards.
32GB SDHC – One can never have too many memory cards. Trust me on this one. You don’t think you will shoot more than 16GB but you truly never know, especially while out on an assignment or on location. I like to protect myself and have many options available to me, in different sizes. I have 16GB, 32GB and 64GB cards. There is no such thing as too much space.
Flash Drive – These little guys are indispensible, especially while working in teams. I know you can store your files online in the mysterious cloud now and easily share using serves such as Google Drive or Dropbox but you never know when you’ll need a flash drive. Maybe someone wants to share something with you but there is no Internet access. I keep a 16GB with me at all times; in my purse next to my lip-gloss and mascara!
External Hard Drive – Please tell me you have multiple external hard drives in place that back up your work? If you’re like me, you are obsessed with making sure that your data is safe and secure. I have two 3TB external hard drives that sync together and a third hard drive in my desk at work with the same information on it. I also have a cloud back in place.
Tether Tools TetherPro USB – Shooting tethered is one of the best things I could have started doing to make myself a better photographer. It helps so much to see your image on a screen as you are composing it.
Other Helpful Services:
BackBlaze – Remember when I was going on about external hard drives and how vital they are to your photography work? Remember when I mentioned cloud storage? Well, this is it! BackBlaze is a service that costs only $5 a month and syncs all of your data on your computer and on as many hard drives as you want so that your photos and other data are stored on a server elsewhere. This is important because you never know when a hard drive will fail or when something will happen to your home or office and the drive is in jeopardy.
DropBox – Drop Box makes it easy to upload, store and share files. It’s great for collaboration and you get 2GB free!
Google Drive – Google Drive is very similar to DropBox but you also have the capability to create documents and then share these documents with others. You can store up to 15GB for free with your G-Mail account.
ChronoSync – ChronoSync will back up all of your hard drives and sync them together on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis! My files are my life so keeping them in sync is crucial to my sanity.
There are a few other small items that I shove into my camera bag when I’m out in the world that can be a lifesaver:
- Granola Bars, Fruit or Nuts
- Phone Charger
Basically, anything that may make your life easier or less frustrating will be a lifesaver. If you have chapped lips or realize you have been in the sun all day then chapstick or sunscreen will come in handy. If you realize you skipped breakfast and it is passing 1pm, you’ll be happy you have that granola bar stashed away.
The point is, you don’t know what will come up and trying to prepare for everything is absurd but if you have room, shove some of these small things in one of those smaller pockets and thank me later.
Disclousure: There are affiliate links throughout this post. My opinions are 100% my own.
Before you go:
Stay tuned for more Lightroom Tutorials on my YouTube Channel! If you’re craving inspiration, take a look at my portfolio!
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