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What's in my bag

I certainly don’t have the most massive selection of photography equipment, or the best for that matter. But what I have serves a purpose and does what I need it to do for the moment. In the future I will definitely be expanding my collection with new lenses and hopefully a new camera. I have a few different styles of photography that I do and so I take different things with me depending on what I’m doing.



Being based in Manchester I shoot a lot of street and architecture photography, for these photographs of Manchester I mostly use a 25-105mm lens, this allows me to get wide angle shots that cover a whole scene and play with distortion in the foreground. This lens also lets me zoom in pretty far to highlight detail, remove distractions and capture street portraits without being in people's faces. Unfortunately the lens I have is just the kit lens that came with my Canon eos RP and so it does not have a particularly wide aperture at any stage but it is especially narrow when zoomed in making low light photography challenging and not allowing me to get a nice shallow depth of field to isolate my subjects. This is why I also use a 50mm f1.8, while I still have to get quite close to people to use this I am able to get a nice bokeh to the images. Sometimes I will just shoot from further away and then crop the image to avoid having to get too close and invade people's personal space, some photographers don’t mind it but personally I can’t walk right up to people and take a picture. With this lens I can also shoot in much lower light without pushing my ISO too high so it is much easier to work with in the evenings or at night.



Next, I also do a lot of landscape photography, I have been to the Lake District, Peak District and the Isle of Skye to capture some gorgeous panoramic landscapes. As I travel around the UK more I definitely need to invest in some more gear for these trips. Recently I got myself a tripod to allow me to take much sharper landscape photos. I had resisted the advice to get one for a long time as I was too lazy to carry it everywhere, set it up for each shot and then take it all down again. Now I have it though I wish I had dones it sooner! For landscape photography I almost exclusively use my 24-105mm lens as this offers me the most versatility and I’m normally shooting at f9 to get nice sharp images so the slow aperture on this lens isn’t a problem. Recently I also purchased a variable ND filter which I can use for capturing long exposures even when it’s bright outside. I got this for my 50mm though as I use it mostly for video work but I will definitely be taking it on my next landscape adventure and testing it out in some different scenarios.



Lastly is my portrait work, for this I mostly use my 50mm to get that shallow depth of field. One day soon I want to get myself a nice 85mm and create some really beautiful portraits but for now the 50 is serving me very well. I mostly shoot portraits outside but I have some continuous LED panels with colour gels that I have started using for indoor shoots. These have been so much fun to play around with and have let me create some really cool work without being dependent on the Manchester weather to play ball on shoot days. I have also tried them out for beauty photography, for this I use the 24-105mm lens so I can zoom in nicely and shoot at f9 for sharpness. Although the lights were only cheap I have to say i'm very impressed with how they perform for this type of photography, giving nice soft light on the face that's easy to control and adjust. When I'm shooting outside I also use a reflector, this is so important for getting nice lighting on your model, especially in harsh sunlight. It's best if you can get an assistant or a stand to help with holding it but if not the model can often hold it and keep it out of shot. Mine has different sides for silver, gold, white and black as well as a diffuser inside. These are all really useful and let you get creative with your work.


A few other things I keep in my bag that I use in different situations are: a lens ball, mini tripods and battery packs. Lens ball photography has always looked amazing to me and it is something I like to play with every now and then, capturing a beautiful sunset or some dramatic architecture through the ball gives the image a unique look that I don't often see. The mini tripods are great for holding the lens ball and also I can put my camera on them to keep it steady but not on the ground for low angle shots. This is especially useful when I want to capture light trails from cars and I want a nice low angle to get some leading lines from the pavement and the lights. The battery packs are what power my continuous lights and I also use them to charge my phone so they're useful to have around in general.


As bags go mine certainly isn't the most well stocked but it does everything I need it to do and having the best gear isn't everything, it is more important that you know how to use what you've got and get creative with your environment. Photography is all about learning and I am always trying new techniques, practising what I know and developing more. As my kit list grows over time I will expand the techniques and the shots I am able to produce, but a new lens is not a substitute for hard work!


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