Photographers tend to have an obsession with gear. We love going to trade shows to see new gear, touch new gear and, of course, buy new gear. We are curious about everyone’s gear and we like taking peeks into what gear other photographers are carrying in their bags. Perhaps we are trying to compare what they have with what we have. Maybe we are curious as to what other photographers use to create magic or possibly it’s so we can feed our insatiable need to acquire more gear.
But how much gear does it really take to get the job done? I scoured the new Shotkit ebook and looked through the bags of some of my favorite photographers to investigate. If you are not familiar with Shotkit, it’s a site where photographers can share what can be found in their camera bags, as well as share their work. You can also submit your own kit in the hopes of being featured on the site. It’s fascinating to take a peek at various photographers in different genres and compare their kits with my own. Shotkit has just released a new ebook with over 30 of the world’s best photographers who opened up their camera bags so that we can drool over the gear they use to create their stunning images.
Now, I’m a minimalist; I hate carrying a bunch of stuff and for most of my photography career, I’ve gotten by on three lenses, two camera bodies and two flashes to shoot weddings. So taking a look at the opposite end of the spectrum while flipping through the book, I found the kit of commercial/architectural photographer, Antonio Cuellar.
Antonio photographs hotels around the world and carries enough gear to keep my chiropractor employed for life. Take a look:
As you can see, rows and rows of lighting include seven Bowens Gemini 750Pro strobes, Gemini Monolights, speedlights, eight Lowel DP (tungsten) continuous lighting heads and more. For his camera bodies, he uses two Hasselblad H4D 60’s and two Canon 1Dx mk III’s. You can read the full list of everything in his bag listed here.
Another photographer that had a lot of stuff in his camera bag, though not necessarily all camera related gear, is Ryan Schude. Ryan is an advertising, fine art and editorial photographer based out of Los Angeles. In his bag you’ll find not only a Canon body and a couple of lenses but other essentials items such as, “smoke bombs, sparklers, canned smoke, road flares, cinefoil, gels, tape, light meter, sketchbook, super clamps, j-hooks, sunscreen, sunglasses, go-pro, various props and seamless paper.” You can see what some of this stuff is used for here.
Speaking of interesting items in a camera bag, wedding photographer Emin Kuliyev, carries an assortment of flashlights and prisms alongside his Nikon D3s, Nikon D4, Nikon D800E, Canon 1DX, Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 5D converted to Infrared, Sony NEX 5N with Canon tilt adapter and a wide assortment of Canon and Sigma lenses, Lensbaby’s and manual lenses. Emin says, “For me lenses are like brushes for a painter. Depending on my mood and situation, I will shoot on manual focus with a Trioplan 100mm f/2.8 or on a Nikon 58mm f/1.4.” You can see his complete list here.
Perhaps the award for the most diverse camera bag belongs to our own writer, Jay Cassario, who has not one, not two, not three, but FOUR different systems, five if you count the Mamiya RZ67. (Nikon Df, Nikon D750, Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 5D Mark II, Leica M9, Sony A7II). As Jay explains, “Bottom line, I’ve yet to find a system that is perfect and fits all my needs,” so he uses them all. See his army of cameras and lenses in his post on Shotkit.
When you’re traveling the world in the midst of crises and conflicts, you don’t have the luxury of carrying a lot of gear. In photojournalist Phil Moore’s bag, you’ll find two Nikon D3S bodies, one with a Nikon 35mm ƒ/2 lens, the other with a Nikon 50mm ƒ/1.4. He also carries a Fuji X100. The rest as you see in the photo below are must-haves for a travel photographer: sunglasses, Moleskine notebook, passport, cash, etc. To see the entire list of what Phil needs and why, check out his post.
As you can see, the answer to the initial question, how much gear does it take for a photographer to get the job done, depends on the photographer and what their preferences and genres are. You might think that some photographers have too much equipment (Is there such thing??!), or some have too little, whichever you prefer, the best camera (and gear) is the one you have with you, right?
Exclusive SLR Offer
Shotkit’s new ebook also comes with 3 bonus videos with tips and tricks to help you become a better photographer and grow your business. You’ll get tips and tricks from successful photographers as well as get a peek into the camera bags and lives of some really great photographers. The book is $15, and the first 5 SLR Loungers can get it for free by entering the code: shotkit_slrlounge_vip. After that from now until June 30th, everyone can get 20% off, making it only $12.