Blogging! It’s a thing I need to do more. I did a shoot a couple weeks ago and I’ll have some photos from that up here in a few days but for now, I thought I would try a flatlay and show you all what I bring with me on a shoot (spoiler: it’s a lot).
It’s been raining cats and dogs nonstop here, and that plus a baby with a tummy bug means my chances to go shooting are… rather limited. So what better to do than attempt a flatlay — basically, arranging a bunch of things very neatly. I like neatly arranged things; call it anal retentiveness. So here’s what in my gear bags and the stories behind some of them.
- Wescott Basics Reflector. As the name would suggest, lets me reflect light back onto a subject. I always feel like such a cool kid when I unfurl it.
- Neewer metal clamp to hold the reflector, attached to my old tripod from Japan. I still remember buying that for like, $10, at the Yodobashi Camera in Yokohama. If you’ve never been to Yodobashi Camera, it’s a magical, magical place, filled with lots of things that go beep boop and have blinky lights (electronics, it’s an electronics store).
- Inkwell Press LiveWell planner. No joke: without Inkwell Press tips and tricks to help me streamline my organization, I literally could not have launched this business as quickly or efficiently as I did, and I certainly couldn’t keep track of everything so well. I love the feel of paper planners, and I’m definitely one of those people who needs to write things down to remember them. Big shoutout to Inkwell Press.
- Western Digital portable hard drive. I have so many external hard drives (backups, plus backups of backups…), but I like this one for client photo editing, since I can take it and edit anywhere.
- Razer Blade Stealth. I finally got a new laptop this past Christmas and made sure to get one that was both portable and had the kind of power I’d need for image editing. Having a UHD monitor feels like I’ve stepped into a whole new era.
- “God Hates Bags” tote from Revel & Riot. I bought this back in 2011 but never really used it for anything until I made it my dedicated bag for carrying lighting supplies.
- White sheet from Target. This one may seem a bit weird, but you’d be surprised how versatile a sheet can be. You can use it either as a larger reflector, especially on outdoor shoots, or as a diffuser in front of a window on indoor shoots. Gear gets expensive, so I like to be crafty where I can.
- Clothespins to hold the sheet in place, natch.
- Pink watch from Target. I’m so used to using my cell phone to tell time, but I can’t always be glancing at my phone in the middle of a shoot. Watches are essential.
- Extra batteries. I always have at least one extra camera battery per camera, plus some extra batteries (not pictured) for my flash. I always assume something is going to break and come prepared with at least one backup (see also: my policy on external hard drives).
- Chapstick, in the classic cherry flavour. I need at least one Chapstick tube in every bag I own. I once went an entire summer without it in Japan and thought I was going to die.
- Camelbak Eddy water bottle. I’ve used a ton of different water bottles, but Camelbak are the best in terms of portability, I don’t have to screw and unscrew a top every time I want a drink, and the fact that they won’t leak over all my stuff is supreme.
- Peak Design Everyday Messenger, 13″ in charcoal. I’ve used my share of camera bags, and bags with camera inserts before, but I’m finding this Peak Design bag to be my favourite. It’s super versatile, allowing me to stuff multiple cameras and lenses in it, plus all the accessories I need for said cameras and lenses, but it also functions as a great work bag. I can toss everything I need for a day at the coffee shop in it and still have a ton of room to spare. The clasp is probably my favourite part. I adore my big Chrome Citizen bag, but that one is always a bit of a pain to get in and out of, especially if I need to get to my camera quickly. Thanks for being you, Peak Design.
- Ban.do folder where I store client forms (with lots of extras!), business cards, pens; it’s my big people Trapper Keeper.
- Sony a7rII. I’m waiting for Sony to announce that good new a7, so I’m renting this one while I decide if I want to buy it, this rumoured new camera, or an a9. Part of why I decided to just dive in and start this business was because cameras are quite expensive! and it made more sense to upgrade my gear as I went along instead of continuing to wait for some future day when I’d magically finally have “enough” to start.
- Sony a6000. The camera I got for Christmas to replace my old, well-loved, but still very old Canon EOS 30D. It’s been great for quick shoots and family photos, but I do miss the feel and versatility of a full-frame (hence the waffling about the a7). Still. Quality camera. It’s my little buddy.
- On my a6000 is my favourite camera strap: Sailor Venus. I watched all of “Sailor Moon” (at least that they played on Cartoon Network) in high school and it’s held a special place in my heart ever since. It’s a good, sturdy strap and it has my cartoon doppelganger on it, so it’s a win-win.
- Also on my a6000 is my Sony HVL-F20M flash. A small little flash, but it gets the job done on those occasions when I do need to add some fill light.
- Jabra Move 2.5 headphones. With Apple doing away with the headphone jack, and me not being good at keeping track of headphones, I decided to just get a new pair of Bluetooth ones. The sound quality is stellar (especially for Bluetooth), and they make late nights editing go much more quickly.
- Lenses! On my a6000 is its kit lens, the 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS. A good lens for many things, but not great.
- Next is the Sony 90mm f2.8 macro lens, aka my new favourite lens. Macro shots are great for little details on new little people.
- Next to that is the Sony 85mm f1.4 lens for portraits. Since I mostly shoot in natural light, I can usually get away with a 2.8 as my lowest f-stop, but I like the option to go lower if the situation demands. Never know how that light is gonna be in the rainy PNW.
- Below that is the next lens I’m considering buying, the Sony 24-70mm f2.8. I like staying around 60-85mm for portraits, and a zoom gives me more options when doing outdoor shoots, especially of little people on the go.
- Last is the latest lens I bought, the Sigma 60mm f.28 DN Art lens. Another lens for portraits, it’s great for giving a wider frame (compared to the 85mm). I tend to keep this one on my a6000 most of the time since it has the lower f-stop, great depth of field, and also forces me to be more cognizant of my composition. It’s also not super hefty, which is a problem with larger lenses on the a6000.
Phew! That’s a lot of stuff. Most of it really is a lot of “just in case” stuff, but a lot of photography is being prepared for those “just in case” scenarios. I actually quite enjoy it, since I’m one of those people who’s always planning for every contingency, so having a lot of things on hand makes me feel better. I’ve also already had situations where I needed something and didn’t have it, and it didn’t occur to me to have it until I didn’t. I’m sure I’ll be adding to this (even in the next week or so), so I’ll try to do these on a fairly regular basis.