It’s the age old question that every single photographer is asked; what equipment do you have, and which bits do you take on each shoot? I’m always intrigued to find out what everyone else has in their own kit, mainly because I’m nosey.
With that in mind, I thought it was about time I shared my own kit. That’s right, this is a roundup of what I have and where I managed to source it from.
Mine isn’t particularly fancy, nor by any means complete, but remember; there is no ‘right’ or ‘complete’ kit. Don’t worry if you haven’t got the latest camera body, the most expensive flash, or a plethora of lenses. Despite what some people say, it’s not all about the kit; it’s about you as the photographer.
The Bag: My bag is the Amazon Basics camera bag in Large. It’s pretty sturdy, and I can change the layout of the inside to fit whatever I need to take with me (including my tripod!). The shoulder strap comes in handy (I’ve carried this on a full day carnival shoot before), and it’s quite comfortable to carry around. The best thing about this bag though? The sheer amount of pockets it has; I can fit my life in them!
The Tripod: I use my tripod for so many different shoots, so it was important to get one that I could use in as many set ups as possible. Mine is a 72” K&F Concept travel tripod, with a ball head. It’s orange and black, read into that what you will. Again, Amazon is great for budget tripods. This one fairly light, can be used as a monopod, and comes with a very handy storage bag with a shoulder strap.
The Camera: My camera of choice, and affordability, is a Nikon D5600. I had to save up for a while, but found a great deal on an Amazon listing. I love this camera; it does everything I need it to do, whilst being a reliable and faithful companion. The model you start out with isn’t important though. Start with what you can afford and upgrade your body later once you get going. It’s a much easier, and purse friendly, way to manage upgrading your equipment.
The Lenses: I’ve got 3 lenses in my kit which cover a spectrum of focal lengths so I’m prepped for every possible shoot brief. When it comes to buying lenses, second hand is definitely the way to go. I’ve sourced all of my lenses, aside from my kit lens, on eBay. Bidding can be super competitive so it’s worth watching multiple listings for the same model. If you can’t get what you need on eBay, mpb.com is another great second hand site to buy from. I currently own a standard Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 wide angle lens, and a Nikkor 70-300mm f/4-5.6 telephoto lens. I also have a couple of lens filters for shooting outside. One is a UV lens, which helps with colour balance and protection from dirt/dust, and the other is a polarizing filter for shooting outside.
The Flash: I rarely use my on camera flash as I frequently work in a studio with different lighting set ups, but having a flashgun (with coloured gels) allows me to experiment with different colours and light patterns that would only otherwise be possible with a custom studio set. The one I have is an entry level one; a Neewer TT560 Flash Speedlite. It’s cheap (I actually managed to get this on an Amazon deal of the day) and cheerful, but does exactly what I need it to!
The Reflectors: Amazon, yep, Amazon again, have some really affordable reflectors listed in their photography section, and quite often feature them with hefty discounts on their ‘daily deals’ listings. I use a 5in1 Neewer 43” reflector. It includes a gold (warm light), silver (brightens keeping light the same), black (deepens shadows) and white (softer bright light) cover, plus a translucent panel that helps diffuse light if you’re shooting outdoors. It folds down to 15’ and comes with its own carry case that I can hook on to my photography bag.
The Miscellaneous Accessories: You will always find other random, but completely necessary things in my camera bag. They live in all of those helpful little pockets that I mentioned earlier. I always carry spare memory cards, a spare camera battery, microfibre cloths, and Sellotape. Yup, Sellotape. It’s great for tidying away cables, manipulating props and backdrops, and even sticking costumes in place.
The Snacks: I always carry snacks and water. It sounds really silly, but try being stuck on a long or delayed shoot with nothing to eat or drink. You feel fuzzy, faint, and can’t really do your best work if you make yourself ill. My snack of choice is always something like Belvita biscuits or cereal bars – not too messy, won’t make you smell, keep you going for a while, and come in tidy packets so you won’t get crumbs in your bag.
If you’re currently looking to build your kit out, remember to shop around. My kit was built one piece at a time on a budget. Second hand is as good as buying new most of the time, and you save a lot of money in the process. If you are looking at sites such as eBay or Amazon, make sure you check the listings/seller reputation and reviews first, and check to see whether you can get a discount code or cashback.
Like I said, my kit isn’t anywhere near complete, and I’ve still got things on my shopping list, but what I do have helps me create work I’m really passionate about, and proud of. Now, remember I said that I was nosey? Well, I am, so spill! What’s in your kit?