What's in my camera bag? An insight into my photography equipment

The minute I picked up a camera at university, I was hooked! I wanted to know everything about the world of photography, I wanted to understand manual mode, how to take aesthetic control of my images and what equipment I needed to achieve this. I would research for hours about other photographers' work and always wondered what lenses they used, what camera, how did they achieve that look and feel in their images etc.

After many years of personal research, reading articles, producing case studies with worldwide photographers and my own trial and error I can now reflect back on my knowledge and offer my readers something of value.

I know how overwhelming it can be making the decision to pursue your passion/hobby for photography. One of the most asked questions is 'What equipment do you use?'. So I thought I would give you an insight into my beautiful collection that I have invested in over the last 7 years. Each piece bringing back memories of a certain time in my life, from a beginner photographer at university to my now full-time photography career.

Firstly, I am a Canon user - sorry to my Nikon friends! I used Nikon at university but I went down the Canon road and I've never looked back. My first camera was a Canon 50D that came with the typical 18-55mm general lens and a it also came with a 50mm f1.8. This lens changed my life! I began using the 50mm lens, oblivious to its potential and capabilities. For those that don't know, a prime lens is a superb lens for portraiture. At it's wide apertures (1.8 in this case) it created a beautiful blurred background and created the most stunning bokeh effect (the effect of a soft out-of-focus background) in my images. I couldn't get enough of this lens! I have since then upgraded to its much more expensive f1.2 L series family member and it's my favourite lens for portraiture. 

See below for an insight into my kit and what I love about each item:

- My main camera is a Canon 5D with battery grip: Amazing full frame camera, video capability and great ISO capabilities (100-6400). 

Canon 80D Camera: A recent purchase in the last year, mainly for it's amazing capabilities in video. It has track focusing which means when you move the camera keeps focusing on it's subject, unlike with prior cameras that didn't do this and you had to manual focus. Features a 45-point hybrid AF (autofocus) system, which really helps your focusing and video, 24MP sensor, touchscreen, weather-resistant body, pull out screen and lightweight. Find out more here.

-Canon EOS M5 Camera with the 15-45mm EF-M Stabilised Lens: My most recent purchase and I'm in LOVE! I've been admiring this camera ever since Canon released the promotional videos for it. It has only recently come out in Australia and I had this camera on my wish list. It is a 24MP mirrorless camera with a built in electronic viewfinder (meaning you see the exposure of your end image on your viewfinder or screen) with spectacular video capabilities (full HD video), particularly amazing built in image stabilisation, touch screen, a small design (easy to transport and carry), lightweight and came with a Canon EF adapter to allow for other lenses to fit the camera. I am still trailing the camera but already in love with its features and video image stabilisation. This camera is now my everyday shooting camera for families and children, travel and pleasure. It is so small and compact that you go unnoticed sometimes and capture some unbelievable moments. Apparently the M5 is producing sharper images than the 80D and the quality of the images are remarkable. Read more here

-Canon EF 50mm f1.2 USM Lens: My favourite lens, unbelievable effect for portraits with it's beautiful bokeh backgrounds at wide apertures such as 1.2/1.4 (beautifully crisp images at 1.4 or more). This lens really took my photography to the next level. An alternative less expensive lens to this is the 50mm f1.8 or the 50mm f1.4 Having owned an used both, the f1.4 was a beautiful lens to use and I highly recommend it. Read more here.

-Canon EF-S 10-22mm f3.5-4.5 USM Lens: This lens is an amazing wide angle that fits on both the 5D Mark II and 80D. It is my go to lens for landscapes, creating unique journey images that give a different type of perspective and it's just a great lens for video. Find out more here. 

-Canon 70-200mm f2.8L IS II USM Lens: This lens is my second favourite and can be used in so many ways. This has been a staple lens when photographing weddings, enabling me to stand back from events and zoom in to capture prescious moments - journalistic style images. It's a beautiful lens for portraiture, particularly fully zoomed to really seperate your subject from the background. It can also be used in landscapes to compress your image and give a different feel to your work.  Find out more here.

-Canon External Flash - Speedlite 600EX II RT: Previously I owned the 560EXII and loved it (leaving me due to it breaking) and moved onto the 600 and I've never looked back. Great flash gun that's been used on a number of huge event jobs without fail.  Find out more here. 

-Pocketwizards - MiniTT1 Transmittor and FlexTT5 ReceiverI use my Pocket Wizards for most portrait shoots to take my flash off camera and create a whole new dimension in my imagery.

  • The MiniTT1 Transmitter is used on camera to trigger remote E-TTL speedlights or studio flashes attached to FlexTT5. Learn more here. 
  • The FlexTT5 works with the MiniTT1 to control single or multiple off-camera E-TTL speedlites. Put the TT5 under your flash and the TT1 on the hotshoe of your camera and take control of your lighting.  Learn more here. 

-Gary Fong Lighsphere: This is the perfect tool for creating a soft spread of light from your flash. This diffuser creates flattering, studio-quality lighting and is great for events and portrait shoots where you need an even coverage of light. It's small, compact and easy to use.  Find out more here.

-Other items: Sekonic light meter, wireless triggers, lens cleaner and Sandisk SD cards.  

Keeping up with the newest and best gear is sometimes impossible and sometimes not necessary. It's great working in a partnership as Andy and I swap our gear on a regular basis, meaning we can easily fill any gaps on our shoots. Andy is armed with 2 x Canon 6D's, Olympus OMD EM5 and an assortment of lenses, in particular his favourites the Canon 85mm f1.8 and the Canon L Series 24-70mm f.2.8. However, I can't stop him stealing my 50mm f1.2 all the time! Sharing is caring haha. When specialist work is required of us, we have lots of great camera hire businesses in Brisbane that we can hire in gear on a case by case basis.

If you have any further questions about any of the above please feel free to email us at info@lifeportraits.photography. We give this sort of information all the time on our subscription based online training portal - LP Training. This portal will be launching in the near future. For more information please contact us.

Em