Whether to carry a lot of equipment or to remain minimalistic is a tough question. The correct answer certainly depends on the type of photographs you plan to take, but it is a controlled by multiple additional factors. One thing is certain: careful organization and foresight are crucial when planning a photographic outing.
Some photographers are very serious when it comes to equipment, while others are more casual shooters. Some people, like will argue that “my camera is not my most important thing ... my eyes are more useful …”. And he is so right!
I normally don't go out without my camera. You never know when you will need it, specially in NYC. I replaced a girly handbag with a photographic backpack and I normally carry just the basics: one camera and one lens. Carrying as little as possible is quite convenient here; long walks are always a constraint. Do I sometimes regret about my lens choice? Of course I do, but if I know I’ll go to a specific location, I prepare my backpack accordingly. For these occasions, I typically carry 2 cameras bodies and 2 lenses, plus additional accessories such as ND filter, shutter release and tripod. I don't like to exchange lenses in the street, and even though it can be sometimes tiring to carry 2 cameras around, it is not that bad and it is definitely handy while shooting.
What about others photographers? How do their choices depend on their different styles? I was so curious about this that I asked a few of the featured photographers in 1X what they carry/use while shooting.
Here are their answers:
When Carla asked me: “What’s in your bag”, the answer was clear to me. It’s above of all my muse! My dog Zoë! Not literally speaking, but I do carry her all around. She is in the back of my mind always. My photography started thanks to her being in my life, and taking a photo of my bag includes her.That’s why she is in it!
My dog photography takes me both in and outside. And for both situations I use a different gear. I use Canon for camera’s and lenses. When I photograph fast running dogs I like to use my Canon 7DII, but indoors I love using my Canon 6D. I carry around as less as possible. And I really don’t like switching lenses. So I just don’t. My most used lenses for my studio photography is the Canon 24-70mm and the 70-200mm, I also use Elinchrom and Profoto lights and softboxes.
For outside situations I also love to use the 70-200mmand sometimes I like to take the 70-300mm for a spin. Because outside the camera gets hit with sand and dirt from the fast dogs running I use a camera protector. Finally, I make sure there’s always fresh water and treats for the dogs and there are several comfy dog beds so my models can feel right at home when they enter my studio.I also carry my business cards around and sometimes the baseball cap with my business name printed on it.
Currently, I’m a Nikon adept. I have 2 camera bodies, both full frame: a D700 and a D810. I have various lenses, ranging from zoom: 14-24mm, 24-70mm, and 70-200mm to portrait types:50mm, and my latest a 105mm with DR mode. Besides cameras and lenses, I have the usual gear for location and/or home/studio, such as tripod, black background, octabox, hair light, smoke machine, glass plate, water, paint, fabrics, rope, clothes, memory cards, batteries for camera, trigger + battery, model of course, stool to sit on, and work bench to hold the glass plate.
During my architectural photography I use most the following equipment: Sony SSM,16-15mm f2.8, Sigma DG HSN 70-200mm f2.8, and Tamron wide angle SP 10- 24mm f/3.5-4.5. I don't use a tripod with architecture photography because I prefer freedom of movement while shooting. However, I use it for macrophotography. I try to avoid flashes, but sometimes I use a fill flash when taking portraits. For my portraitsphotography I use mostlya Sony SAM 50 mm f1.8.
I also carry a teleconverter, cleaning products, remote, and filers. Filters are mostly required in my landscape photography. For example, when I want a deep blue sky or softer effect in the water. To finalize, I have a tilt shift lens that I use occasionally for the effect of miniature.
2 camera bodies: Nikon D3x, Nikon D3s, 8 lenses: Nikon 24-70mm F2.8, Sigma 12-24mmf5.6, Nikon 24-120mm f4, Nikon 24-120mmf5.6, Nikon 70-200mm f 2.8, Sigma 70-200mm f2.8, Nikon 500 mm f4 and Sigma 150-500mm f5.6. I also carry a variable ND filter Rodenstock, homemade holders for two body, homemade Chucker said eccentric, homemade battery pack, monopod and tripod.
As my interest goes mainly to "outdoor portraits”, I always carry my Canon Eos 5D Mark II supported with a zoom lens EF 24-105mm f/1:4. I really don't need more. I never use flash or tripod because I like to be moving freely and working with natural light only.
I am into system cameras because of their weight. Thanks to that my back is grateful after every photo session. For the same weight reason I have chosen f/4 zoom lenses, and really, the 70-200mm is the heaviest lens I carry around.
I have two sets of equipments, my main one is a Sony A7 II with its Sony-Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 and the Sony 70-200mm f/4. I am waiting to receive the Voigtländer 10mm prime f/5,6 to get this set complete.
My other set contains my former main gear set: the Olympus EM5 (micro 4/3) with a 14-42mm and 25mm f/1,8. This is particularlygood for street work. This ideal little set is perfect to operate in stealth mode. To complete this set, I am looking forward to get a 17 mm in the future.
The two sets together fit nicely into my Lowepro backpack. Also some other accessories such as: batteries, battery charger, Formatt-Hitech ND filters, cable release, cleaning material and a 15GB USB stick.
Finally, I own but hardly use a lightweight Sirui tripod. This might change if I finally start taking multi exposure shots à la Carla DLM :-)
My preferences when it comes to photography have always been directed towards street photography. Finding stories and frames from a varietyof streets is what I am always looking for. I know my photographic equipment is far from being one of those fancy equipments from catalogs, but is just perfect for the kind of style I have.
I usually work with two camera bodies: a Nikon D200 (about for retirement), and a Nikon d90. I like to work with that brand because if fulfills the several goals I have. I have 2 lenses: Nikkor 18-200mm VR (a real 4x4) and one Tamron 10-24mm. For special occasions I keep inside my backpack a fish eye lens. Sometimes, it is very useful for certain compositions and other views difficult to capture with my other 2 lenses. I also have an old tripod, some filters, and a small Canon camera that helps me when I search for locations, in other words for my drafts. My bag is also filled with maps, drawings and notes, that’s very handy while findingnew places.
Finally and the most important, a lot of patience. I think all of that fill every single gap in my backpack.
A pair of comfortable shoes, a bottle of water, my bag with the camera and the beauty of not knowing what I will capture along my walk. I love the solitude. Being with myself helps me a lot in my photographic style.
Street, architecture, long exposures are the kind I love most. For this I do not need much equipment. My Canon 5D Mk III and two Canon lenses unregulated (24-70mm and 70-200mmf/2.8), also a B + W ND filter 110, a lightweight tripod, remote shutter, and a lot of passione.
In my bedroom, I opened the window to let in light. Near the window, there is an old table inherited from my grandmother, I opened my bag and just pose on the table the faded flowers picked just few days ago. I also added some old poetry books, and an old alarm clock. I like to buy old things, I like to imagine who owned those objects and think in which room of the house they were posed. Old things have a soul that offers a special feeling that I love. There is also colored bottles, colored ribbons, a heart in a bottle for the passion and roses because it's romantic. Rainy mood because it's poetic and melancholy. I like so much this mood!.
My camera is my precious friend, my third eye. But you know, I have a lot of bags (vases, jars, bowl, fruits, snails...) and everyday I empty one of these bags to share my passion for still life on the old table of my grandmother.
It was really fantastic to get the support and promptly reply from all these amazing photographers. A big thanks to everyone for making this possible.
What's inside your bag?
Here is what I usually carry in mine
Marc Apers CREW
Fine article Carla !
A big thanks to you Marc!! :)))
great article, loved to read it grtz, Nico
Thanks so much Nico :)
Great article and read Carla, very interesting what other photographers carry in their backpack. Thank you so much for including me in your article, I am really honored. Have a great new week ahead and take care! Warm regards, Edith :-)
Thanks for all your support. Was a pleasure and I really enjoyed doing this article. It was like an open door to everyones special treasure.. Thanks for letting me know more about you :). Wish you a lovely week dear friend :)
Jose C. Lobato PRO
Carla superb, a stunning story, and a new and original way to know everyone a little more work. I enjoyed reading the whole article, and hallucinating with the material enjoyed by some. Best regards and thanks for including me in this work.
Was my pleasure, and thanks to you! You were so supportive all the time. Thanks again dear Jose :)
Great article, Carla! Nice to see, what other photographers carry in their backpacks:)))
Very glad you like it! Thanks so much Geir :)
Great article Carla! I'm always curious so I really loved reading about other photographers and what they carry in their bags! ;-) Thank you Carla, it was a honor to make a photo for your article!
So nice of you! A big thanks for all your help. I love the picture you did, made me smile right away :). Wish you a great weekend :)
Yvette Depaepe CREW
Great article, Carla! Love it... ;-) Big thanks to you and to all the fine photographers who collaborated. Cheers, Yvette
Thanks so much dear Yvette :). My best wishes for you this weekend :)
Superb article Carla, very interesting to read what the others photographers carry in their backpacks. Thank you so much!! ;-)
Thanks so much to you dear Delph :). It was a pleasure :)
Greetje van Son PRO
It's very interesting wath photographers take with them for a shoot. Nice to see that some use a lot other use less equipment. Thank you very much for doing some investigation and share this with us. Carla!
Thanks to you, it was a pleasure :)
Fine article Carla ... now this made me curious about many others in our community. From what I read here the majority has no GAS syndrome ... Baseline: the photographer is more important than it's gear :-))
Yes I am very curious too! Everyone has their own personality and I really enjoyed that :). A big thanks again :)
Heike Willers PRO
Wonderful article :-))) Love to see, what other photographers carry in their backpacks :-) I do it as Nuelle says...I "carry" my dogs around :-)))
A big thanks Heike. Everyone was very supportive. Could not do it without them :)