The Equipment Post
Im pretty excited about this post. I’ve spent a lot of time researching and carefully selecting the gear I use. Of course, I’m not including all my gear, like lens hoods, etc. but this is my core equipment. Tools of the art for recreational and commercial. I’m always learning the art and having the right tools helps.
1. Gregory Pack Something I learned from back in my retail days. Gregory makes great fitting packs. Typically for pack packing, camping etc but when traveling to a more “questionable” area its nice to have camera equipment in something that doesnt look like an expensive camera bag. Just need some individual padded bags for lenses and such.
2. Think Tank Camera Bag When you are look for a great camera bag Think Tank has some great options. Great sizes, great padding and really thought through by people who know cameras. This one in particular is carry-on size for stay-with-me-at-all-times style traveling with my gear.
3. LowePro Bag Great for walking around without something too bulky. In this category its important to get good quality cause I know I’m going to overpack this thing. Not sure what to bring so I shove a bunch of lenses and stuff in here. And it holds up. Compartments are good, accessibility is good and sling style is easy, lightweight and stylish.
4. Neewer 5-in-1 Reflector/Diffuser We all have one right? Should. Whether softening hard light from a window or the sun outdoors, bouncing a some soft light from a big light source or a fan of giant origami this thing i super useful. Seriously though you are only pro once you learn how to fold this up. I use this alot for architecture, real-estate, outdoor reflection on people or just making some shadow. I get the uses are many. And don’t worry what size, you’ll eventually want multiple sizes anyways. lol.
6. Mini Softbox for Flash Good for throwing onto a flash when I need to diffuse a bit. Quick and lightweight makes it convenient for somethings but it’s best for small subjects. I’ve seen some better options of mini diffusers out there but dont shoot this style enough to buy one so I use this easy portable one when needed.
7. Neewer 160 LED Dimmable Light Industry standard, lol. Lots of amazon reviews for this product and all good. Really affordable adequate constant lighting. Being able to dim it and use a variety of different batteries is nice. I use it for video. Provides a good amount of light. And easy to place around a subject getting light where you need it. Not enough as a primary light but super handy.
8. Neewer 576 LED Dimmable Light Basically 4ish of the small ones in one unit. Dimmable, lightweight, powerful and can be plugged in. ALso, LED lights dont give off nearly the amount of heat as other lights, nice for people on camera. My primary constant lights that I use for video. And this set comes with a really nice bag with compartments. Real winner.
9. Light stands Lighting needs to be mobile. Sometimes its on the ground, sometimes its even on the camera but It’s usually necesary to be able to have it elsewhere. I’ve used some poor stands but my Cowboy Studio 7ft light stands work pretty good as long as I treat them well. The the two stands in the Neewer 576 LED kit work great too. A touch better than the CowboyStudio. And I can afford more of these than the high end counterparts. Though I’m also liking the Manfrotto Nano stand. Way light weight and packs small. A bit more money but great for traveling around.
10. Lighting Boom Arm This is an item I didn’t know I needed till I was doing more product photography. I use it to have a flash high up over a subject. Whether shooting light straight down or towards the backdrop for bounce it’s another tool to get light where I want it.
12. Neewer Camera Slider Just the tool for those silky smooth panning shots in video. Almost every video these days has some of these kinds of shots. Forward of back, side to side and up or down. It mount to my tripod or has feet to stand on its own. Just avoid sandy areas, don’t want sand in those bearings. High frame rates and warp stabilizer go a long way to making these shots super smooth.
13. Neewer Handheld Stabilizer Camera/lens stabilizers do a good job but when you start walking around for video shots you ned additional stabilization. There are some amazing electric stabilizers out there like the DJI Ronin-m but to keep my gear budget friendly I have this one that does a good job.
14. Manfrotto 190 Go! Tripod with Ball Head Love it! I wanted a tripod I could hike or travel with, therefore small and lightweight. But I also wanted a tripod that would be sturdy and pro level, therefore not small or lightweight. I’ve decided this is the perfect middle ground. This tripod also had the much appreciated added benefit of a built in lateral arm. The arm is useful for getting straight down shots or really low angles.
15. Yongnuo RF-603 II Wireless Trigger One of my favorite purchases. I can wirelessly trigger the shutter on my camera and speedlights from huge distances and through walls. Needed for long exposure shots to not accidentally move the camera when hitting the shutter. Useful when making adjustments to your subject without having to walk back to the camera.
16. Yongnuo YN560 IV Speedlights Fantastic speedlights. Lots of power. Wireless firing with the Yongnuo Wireless Triggers. And a fraction of the cost of some of the major brands equivelants. They say they’re more fragile but I’ve had good luck with them so far. Not e-ttl but that hasn’t been a concern to me.
17-18. 8 Pack Neutral Density (ND) Filter Kit This is a great entry to the world of neutral density filters. Comes with 8 ND filters, some solid some graduated. Comes with a bunch of rings to fit almost any lens. And comes with a nice bag to carry it all. These may have a slight color cast but thats usually easily fixable in post and a fraction of the price of others.
19. Tiffen 67mm Round Neutral Density (ND) Filter Kit When doing video I often like to use the round filters that thread right onto the lens. In video ND can be really important due to exposure settings limitations. Plus I can use a lens hood with these.
20. Canon 80D This is my primary camera. Its packed full of useful features. Flip screen for capturing from every angle, down low and up high. Touch screen to quickly change settings, autofocus and review images. Wifi to connect wirelessly to my iPad allowing me to view images larger and even work in Live View to make changes in the frame from a distance. Over the 70D it also includes better autofocus, better low light handling and very useful video features. Shooting at 30fps is a bummer. Its very hard to slow motion anything. This camera shoots 1080/60fps, which mean high quality and i can slow things down alot. It also means the video works well with Twixtor software. And it includes a headphone jack for listening to audio being recorded which is a need in the audio world. And since most of the higher end camera are only shooting 4k/30fps and are missing some other features I dont feel much need to upgrade. This camera rocks and is handling everything I’ve needed. Love it!
21. Canon 70D I’ve been using Canon cameras for years at different jobs so when it came time to get my own I quickly turned to Canon. I wanted a camera that had great quality and the features to help me get the photos and video I wanted. This camera has some great features that aren’t even on their highest end cameras. I’ve used this camera for some very professional shots of high-end brands. Perfect middle ground of photo/video, cost, and features all in a wondefully acceptable price. The 80D is a straight upgrade but this is great to have as my now second body. Love this camera.
22. Canon 18-135mm IS STM Standard Zoom Lens My walk around lens. Great zoom range and great detail. Gets some color aberation but easily correctable, the power of post editing. The image stabilizer (IS) works great, very noticable in hand-held use. And the STM auto focus is super silent and great for video.
24. Canon 10-18mm IS STM Wide Angle Lens Perfect for interior shots and landscapes. Gets alot in the frame. Like all wide angle and fish eye lenses it make subjects in the center feel further away, so it’s not for every shot, but I love it when the time is right. Has some color aberration and distortion but those are easy to correct in post editing. Overall, a good lens to experiment with and many of the shots on this site are with this lens.
25. Canon 60mm f2.8 Macro Having a macro lens in the bag for the variety of photography I do is a must. A wonderful lens for shooting the smallest of objects but works great for portraits too. Sharp and great depth of field. Many of my photos on the products and people pages are shot with this lens. Sharp sharp sharp.
26. Canon 50mm f1.8 STM Standard Telephoto Lens Fast 50 prime lens. Great detail. Creates a very natural look. Great depth of field. I use it for some portrait, product or food shots. The 1.8 is extremely useful for low light photos. Very affordable way to get into 50 prime photos. Although it goes up to 1.8 for many shots I find the sweetspot at f2.
27. Rode VideoMic When shooting video it’s important to have great audio recording. Rode has been doing a great job. This is a shotgun mic I use for recording multiple people or a larger area mainly in front of the camera.
28. Rode Link Wireless Lav Mic This is what I use when I want to record from one person or two if they’re close together. Wireless makes it simple to use. Just clip it on and go. Great sound quality, like the person is talking right to you.
29. Jlab Audio Flex Headphones Since I’m often recording audio with video and the 80D has a headphone jack I need some awesome headphones to listen with. These are them. Great quality, fit comfortably, sound great and look amazing. Yes looking amazing is important. With these I can hear what I’m recording and make adjustments as needed. Also great from the editing phase too. Whether listening to the audio tracks or jamming out while I work, these just rock.
30. Jlab Audio Crasher Slim Wireless Bluetooth Speaker Serious title for a serious speaker. Maybe not an obvious item but definitely key to a comfortable fun shooting session. Fun when its just me but essential if with clients. Great battery life even better sound, just need to wirelessly connect to my phone and get music going. Tired of silent awkward shoots? Get one of these.
31. Honl Photo Color Correction Kit The light from the speedlights are very true white. But flourescent lights are very blue and lights in your home are most likely very warm so the colored gels help the speedlights match the ambient light temperature in the shot. Adjusting the light temp in post is much easier if its all matching. They also make some other colored sets for other effects, like this set I use alot. And their Rollup Case works perfectly.
32. DJI Mavic Pro Another great tool for getting amazing photo and video. Again, lots of research that paid off. It does exactly what I was hoping and more. Super easy to fly and great photos. Doesn’t have the quality of my Canon DSLR but still gets photos at quality thats plenty for web and print and 4k video. It does have Shutter speed and ISO controls. The lens is very wide angle, which makes sense since it’s for shooting high up, mostly landscapes.but fun for smaller subjects like cars or people. It’s been a great way to get an unexpected and exciting perspective of places I thought I completely knew. And with this model it’s portability is unmatched, I can take it anywhere with ease!
33. Joby Flashlight Not a photographic tool typically but this flashlight has been real handy. You can put it almost anywhere with the adjustable legs and the magnetic feet. Especially useful when setting up in the dark. And the red light is what I’ve been using for my light painting.
34. Car Power Inverter A Funny item, not usually something you think of, but road trips it’s really useful. This plugs into a cig lighter and gives you two wall outlets. Perfect for charging my laptop, iPad and more on the go.
35. GoPro Camera A great versatile little camera. Not the quality of a full dslr but it can get where the dslr struggles to go. Interesting angles. Slow motion video. Underwater with ease. And it’s so small you never have a reason not to bring it. I’m due for an upgrade as the latest ones are awesome. Can’t get enough of the usefulness of a GoPro.
40. Battery Chargers I actually have more than these but didn’t feel the need to show them all. More chargers means faster charging all those batteries.
41. Apple iPad I use the iPad as a giant lcd screen while I shoot photos. It wirelessly connects to my camera and allows me to make changes to exposure settings, see what the camera sees, hit the shutter, and playback my previous shots. All at iPad size. And it connects to the drone controller far a large view of what my drone sees. Useful tool. Plus its an iPad, fun for lots and lots of uses.
43. LensLife Photo Business Cards Gotta have cards handy. Never know who I’ll run into. I got mine printed from moo.com. Did a good job.
44. Wacom Intuos Pro Medium Tablet I’ve had my tablet a long time and I love it. Especially in Photoshop. Such control. Such feel. Especially when it comes to cloning and masking there’s a huge difference. Pressure sensitive and angle sensitive. Speeds up the process, gives a better result and it more fun.
45. Western Digital External Hard Drives Need lots of storage. Never feel like you need to delete files, or take fewer photos, shoot in jpg or whatever because of storage. That limitation shouldn’t even pop in your mind. I work off a 2TB and have a few 4TB for backups. Also, … do I need to say it? mmm maybe. Backup your stuff! I double backup. And do it after any client shoot. Better safe than… just be safe.
47. Paper Backdrops Backdrops give you that studio feel. Mine arent huge 53″ x 12 yards, enough for a person or products. Good size to still be able to transport them to a location. I’ve got white, gray and black. But i’ve got access to a few other colors. I’m enjoying the gray.
48. Backdrop Stand Now to get those backdrops up. This stand works pretty good. Some are sturdier but this one has been fine. Comes with a nice bag make transportation easy. Slide the backdrop through the bag handles and the whole situation is easy to carry.
49. Backdrop Clips These are very affordable and needed. Keeps the backdrop from rolling on the stand, can clip backdrop to a table, or just clip them to the backdrop to give them some hanging weight. You don’t need the bigger heavier metal ones. These work fine.
50. Softboxes Large and small, reflective and shoot-through. Modifying light from the flashes to get it how and where I want. I’ve got a few different styles to handle different needs. Big octo round one (Neewer 47″ octo) for people, some square ones (Neewer 24″x36″) for product/people and a shoot through (Neewer 43″ shoot through) for mostly real estate. Slowly building a big collection. I want strip banks, a smaller shoot through and some others too. Just so many things to buy in photography. 😉
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