If you ever notice a tall Irish woman standing extremely close to a bus shelter ad, staring intently into the eyes of the model, then come say hi. That’s me! I’ll be trying to figure out what lighting was used by keenly examining the catchlight in the model’s eyes.
I love to demystify photography. I’m always fascinated to know what kind of kit other photographers shoot with. I love trying to figure out what, say, Mario Testino used to shoot a certain campaign or editorial. Which is why I loved the Guess The Lighting blog so much. Sadly, Ted Sabarese hasn’t posted since 2014 but there is still a wealth of back catalogue to drool over if you’re a lighting nerd like me. I also love Shot Kit for an exploration and explanation of what’s in a pro photographer’s bag and why.
You’ll have seen last week that I launched my YouTube channel (WHAT? You DIDN’T hear? Well don’t delay another moment, check it out here) and I’m going to use that as a platform to interview models, designers, and other key people a fashion photographer engages with in their work. I’ll also be giving you behind the scenes access to my photoshoots as well as photography ‘how to’ tutorials and a look at what’s inside my kit bag!
However, I couldn’t wait to shoot a kit bag video before writing a blog post about, not only what’s in my kit bag, but also what my kit bag is. Oh, how I have struggled to find a bag that is big enough to fit everything in, comfortable to carry and STYLISH. It is very difficult to find a stylish camera bag. They are an elusive object. Nothing annoys me more than having an outfit ruined by a big, bulky, black, padded camera bag. I’m a fashion photographer, I care about fashion, and my camera bag should be fashionable. In a sea of photographers dressed in North Face jackets and Lowepro bags, I am on a crusade to find a stylish solution to carrying all my equipment around.
Enter the Cara Delevingne backpack by Mulberry. It's big enough to carry the essentials, including laptop, for a low key shoot that doesn’t require a lot of lighting. Made from luxurious leather with a beautiful finish in oxblood, it can be carried as a backpack or a tote. This is a dream camera bag for a small shoot.
Here, I’ve packed for a shoot with a Primark. We were shooting a denim fashion feature but with a lifestyle feel. The photos needed to feel really natural so I packed my Canon 7D (this camera has served me well) with a prime lens - of course. I mostly shoot with the Canon 24-70 f 2.8 MK II USM because it’s really versatile and gives a nice wide aperture, perfect for this shoot. I packed a collapsible reflector for bouncing in sunlight as well as my Canon Speedlite 600-ex. This is a really powerful light and came in useful this day. I decided to shoot into the sun to create that really nice lens flare and lifestyle feel Primark wanted to achieve. Obviously, this casts the subject in shadow (subject today was the gorgeous Alex Stedman from The Frugality), so the Speedlite is a great fill light for the subject . A flash gun is a much more versatile piece of equipment if you can get it off the axis of the camera so I used this off-camera sync cord from Calumet. Of course, it’s great to put the Speedlite on a stand if you can, but as I said, I was packing light for this shoot so the sync cord worked fine.
I also really like to have quick access to things like my lens cloth, a spare battery and a spare memory card so I carry these in a…bum bag. YES a fanny pack. #noshameinmygame Well, this little beauty, the Floral Street bag from Radley, is a sleek, modern and elegant bum bag. Simply detach the lime green strap (a gorgeous contrast to the monochrome of the bag and means you can also wear it as a cross body), thread your belt through the loop at the back and you have got yourself a fanny pack! Honestly, if you’re a photographer and you haven’t yet discovered the ease and convenience of the bum bag I urge you to put all the grim connotations of neon cycling shorts and Mr. Motivator out of your head. I mean, if Chanel is doing it (and Chanel is doing it for SS16), then what more consideration do you need to give the matter?
So there you have it. My essentials for a small kit and the very stylish bags I pack them in. If there are any essentials you would recommend that aren't in my bag here, let me know in the comments below - I'd love to hear from you. Stay tuned for posts on my kit for larger shoots, as well as some YouTube videos coming soon!