The age old question of.. what did you shoot this photo with? Well! It’s time to dive in to what is in my camera bag for every photo session! 🙂
I love gear and while it’s a tool, I also love talking about what I am using in the hopes that it helps other photographers know what to bring on-location with them!
While this is overkill for many photographers, this is my go to camera for many reasons. First, I absolutely love the autofocus on it. It is by far the best in the Canon lineup and allows me to make sure I can focus more on the image and capturing the emotion than making sure my camera is focusing properly. This is full frame so it gives me fantastic dynamic range as well as making sure I can push the ISO if needed and still result in a clean image. The sensor is also really quality and love the colors that I get out of it and how they lend themselves to post processing.
Canon 6D Mark II
This is a relatively new addition to my bag! While I usually carry a backup 1DX with me, I have actually switched to carrying this on location with me if I am going to be doing video. This is my main video camera for a variety of reasons, but mainly the touch screen, dual pixel technology that has incredible autofocus ability when shooting video and being able to shoot full HD 60p slow motion. I was a big fan of the original 6D in terms of the sensor despite it lacking in autofocus for portrait work.
Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II
While I rarely pull this out for senior sessions unless I’m going for a more editorial look, I do like to carry this. I usually pull this out when I need to shoot at 35mm and 50mm since I’m able to go back and forth between the two focal lengths easily. The colors are great on this particular lens and extremely sharp for being a zoom lens. I do not recommend the original version of this lens, but the second version is spectacular.
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L USM II IS
This is my go to lens!! Yes, it is extremely heavy and some people opt for the 85mm over this lens for that reason, but I love being able to shoot at 85mm and then get the compression of shooting at 200mm. The color is fantastic much like the 24-70mm and I also like how it handles flare compared to the 85mm. I shoot into the sun quite a bit and this is a lens that handles flare perfectly every single time. Highly recommend if the weight doesn’t bother you.
Canon 50mm f/1.4
I really have a love/hate relationship with this particular lens. Until I got the 1DX, I always felt like the focus wasn’t super accurate and that the color was meh… However, there are particular instances when I’m shooting in coffee shops or want a more editorial feel when this lens knocks it out of the park! I will say that the color is lacking compared to the L series lenses, but it still does a good job and you can adjust for this to an extent in post production.
I am exclusively a natural light shooter when I am on location for many reasons and couldn’t do this without a reflector. While some people want to make sure that they have artificial lighting to handle any situation, I have always felt like this slows me down in my process and interacting with my senior. I shoot a lot of movement and haven’t felt like artificial lighting is always practical for my use. However, the reflector allows me to take good light and make it even better! I love my Impact 5-in-1 reflector since it has a white and silver side without having to reverse or zip/unzip the reflector. I use the 6 foot reflector since this allows me to get full body shots and ensure that they are evenly exposed for and not just their face.
Memory Card Holder
I love my memory card holder! This is essentially a zipping pouch that I can put all of my memory cards into and have them all in one place. Without this, they would be all over my bag.
This is essential for every senior session and I always feel lost when I don’t have it. I have a JBL speaker that is Bluetooth and I just hook it straight to my camera bag. It goes everywhere with me and I can either put on a playlist that I have set up for my clients or they can play their own music. I feel like this really sets the tone for the senior session and gets the vibe going straight from the beginning. If you don’t bring a speaker with you, I highly recommend this! Plus, since it’s tied to my bag, if anyone tries to walk off with my bag I can hear where they’re going 😉
LowePro AW 20L Bag
I originally got this bag for hiking but use it for all my senior sessions now. It allows me to carry two full sized DSLRs, my 70-200mm, my 24-70mm, the 50mm and has compartments for extra batteries, memory cards and more. It truly is a jack of all trades and love how versatile it is. We do a lot of hiking or walking in terrain that is not suitable for a roller bag so having a backpack is great. It does get a little bit heavy with the gear in it, but it’s not too bad once the bigger lens and one camera body comes out.
I hope you enjoyed the inside look into my bag! While I know that the gear doesn’t make the photo, certainly having the right gear is crucial in terms of making sure you can focus more on the interaction with your client and the emotion behind the image than if your image is going to turn out technically correct.
Sean Brown is a senior portrait photographer based out of Vancouver Washington and Portland Oregon. His goal is to bring out every senior’s personality in their images and is dedicated to making sure that every senior session is different so that no two senior images are alike. Sean is now booking the Class of 2020. To learn more about being an SBP Senior, click here.