lBehind every photographer, whether they are a professional or hobbyist, is a bag of equipment that’s unique to them.Of course, gear is only a part of the photographic process. To take great images, you’ll also need an artistic vision, a decent chunk of know-how, and the willingness to experiment. As well as a small dusting of luck.
With all of that in mind, we asked five photographers—each one protected by Pixsy— and all from different backgrounds to open their camera bags and share their gear. Plus, any tips, lessons, and stories we could glean from them. You may be surprised by what goes into creating great images.
Sian Victoria has been a full-time content creator, blogger, and photographer since 2010. Her content focuses on the travel, lifestyle, beauty, fashion, and food industries. Sian’s business is based primarily on creating imagery for her website and Instagram.
Therefore, in her own words, “the photos I create are my only asset, so are very valuable to me, especially when a lot of time and expense is put into every photo I publish.” When she found that businesses were using her images without a license, she felt powerless and lost the will to keep creating. That’s when she came across Pixsy and has managed to recover not just lost revenue but also regained her confidence to create again.
What’s in their bag?
I have two cameras in my bag for two different purposes:
Travel & lifestyle images: Canon EOS 250D Body with EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM Lens
Food & beauty images: Sony A5000 with 16-50mm Lens
As I shoot mostly in portrait mode for my Instagram and website, an L-plate bracket to stabilize the tripod is the best piece of camera equipment I'd recommend. It saves me so much time and ensures I always get the angle I want without risking my camera. Without an L-shaped bracket, shooting in portrait can result in the tripod being slightly off balance and top-heavy. If you have a large lens, this could potentially cause the tripod to topple over.
Flexible tripods are also indispensable if you're trying to get an angle that just isn't possible with a standard tripod. I've used them to wrap around tree branches, fences, and curtain poles to capture top-down images and most recently fixed one between some rocks to get a self-portrait walking into the distance.
Both pieces of equipment are perfect if you shoot alone and want to include yourself in the photo or simply need more stabilization doing portraits or want to get some unique camera angles.
Scott Davenport is a landscape photographer and photo educator based in San Diego. He leads photography workshops, writes photo books, hosts podcasts, and makes tutorial videos.
He regularly sells out workshops teaching landscape photography in California and Oregon. Scott is also the co-host of the Photographers In Cars podcast and regularly works with industry-leading brands, including ON1 and Skylum.He also can't help getting his feet wet photographing at the beach. Seascapes are his speciality. His photos are unique because he’s willing to get into the water for his photos. That gives many of them a unique perspective. As a result of his unique style, he’s got several interesting gear choices and stories to tell. Let’s take a look.
What’s in their bag?
I use a pair of Sony A7RII bodies with the Sony Zeiss 16-35mm F4, 24-70mm F4, and 70-200mm F4 lenses. I carry a healthy complement of Formatt-Hitech filters. My tripods and ballheads made by the brand Really Right Stuff.
What piece of camera gear do you swear by? I swear by my tripod. I couldn’t take the types of photos I love without it. Stability is a must for seascapes and more prolonged exposures. I use Really Right Stuff legs and can’t say enough good things about them. They are also easy to disassemble and clean. That’s very important to me. The ocean is a wonderful subject and very good at getting sand and salt everywhere. I take apart and clean out my tripod often. I’ve had the same tripod for 5+ years now, and it’s still in excellent working condition.
Have you ever used something unconventional during a shoot? I don’t know how unconventional this is but, if I’m without a tripod and need stability, I’ve used various things to make little platforms to rest the camera on. For instance, my shoe, a backpack, or even a rock. Once I built a small hill out of sand, covered it with a lens cloth, and rested my camera on that.
Which piece of camera gear changed the way you work forever? The best $50 I have ever spent was on my MindShift Filter Hive. Photographing seascapes often means I’m in the water, sometimes knee-deep or more. I can’t put anything down on the ground - there is no ground! I can get in the ocean, frame up my composition, and have all of my filters at my fingertips. The Filter Hive holds all my filters and has room for other accessories like lens wipes, memory cards, and batteries.
What was your first camera? I think my first SLR was a Canon Rebel of some sort. I don’t remember the model. I do remember the Andre Agassi TV commercials.
Alicia Vera is a Mexican-American photographer. She has studied at Miami-Dade College in South Florida and the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, where she began to document the complicated lives of sex workers. Eventually, she moved to Mexico City to freelance full-time and rediscovered her family's roots. She now works between her hometown of Miami and Mexico City.Alicia is an IWMF 2018 fellow and an Eddie Adams XXIII alumni. She won the Getty Emerging Talent Award in 2013 and was shortlisted for Burn Magazine's Emerging Photography Fund 2013, and is a proud member of Women Photograph.What’s in their bag?
• Canon 5D MkIII• 45mm lens• 35mm lens
• 70-200 lens• Think Tank memory card holder
• Yashica T4
What piece of camera gear do you swear by? The Yashica T4
Have you ever used something unconventional during a shoot? I use a variety of cameras when I work. Usually a mix of digital and film.
Which piece of camera gear changed the way you work forever? Yashica T4. I love that I don't have to take it so seriously. I literally just point and shoot. I tend to focus more on the composition than on the technical aspect that comes with my SLR. Plus, it's fun getting film back. It's a nice surprise because I don't get the instant gratification that I do with digital.
What was your first camera? Minolta Maxxum 7000
My name is Ivan Radic. I picked up photography about ten years ago after discovering my father’s old Nikon in the basement, I switched over to film and enjoyed it a lot, for a while.In the beginning, I tried most of the established photographic genres, not knowing what I’d like to do in the future. In the end, I decided that street photography is what I’d like to do. I kept doing it for about five years until I finished my studies in Vienna.
After I moved to Belgrade, I quickly discovered that street photography and a full-time job don’t go well together. As a result, I turned to less time-consuming genres of photography, which are also far less luck, or shall I say “being in the right place at the right time” based. Now I mostly shoot macro, animals (cats and dogs mostly), and portraits from time to time.I’ve also switched to digital entirely because life is too short to be spending it in a dark room or sitting for hours in front of a PC scanning film. I’ve decided to sell all my analog gear but haven’t gotten around to it yet.
What’s in their bag?
I currently use the following gear:
• Nikon Z6
• Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art
• Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM
• YONGNUO YN968N II Flash
• Google Pixel 4a 5G
What piece of camera gear do you swear by? Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art is the most essential tool in my bag right now. Fast 35mm lenses have been widely used since the beginning of photography because they offer tremendous versatility. Everything from portraiture and subject isolation to landscapes can be captured with this tried and tested focal length. The Sigma in particular is a beastly 35 lens, offering a great balance of sufficient sharpness across the frame at wide-open apertures and a smooth/creamy bokeh. I love the look of photos captured with this lens. While I also have a secondary ("smaller") micro 4/3 system, I hardly use it nowadays, because phones have gotten so damn good. Google in particular is known for being able to extract every last bit of image quality out of a tiny phone sensor. It's borderline magic. Since getting the Pixel, half of my photos were shot with it.
Have you ever used something unconventional during a shoot? During my college years I was obsessed with street photography. There was a short phase where I decided to use an Olympus XA2 film camera with a flash attached to photograph strangers on the street I found interesting. The inspiration for this approach was the famous street photographer Bruce Gilden, who was doing the same thing on the streets of NYC for decades. After a couple of weeks, I concluded that using flash was a needlessly annoying way to do street photography. There were great street photos to be had without the need of getting into people's faces and blasting them with a flash, and either scaring or angering them in the process.
Which piece of camera gear changed the way you work forever?
Oddly enough, looking back at it, the most important piece of gear I bought is not camera gear per se. After a couple of years of shooting with a digital bridge camera, I remember stumbling upon my father's old Nikon EM. Shortly after making the switch I bought an enlarger, a film developing tank, chemicals, and paper. Looking at the image magically appear on the piece of paper, after it was exposed under the enlarger and put in a tray with the developer, was the moment I realized that I want to do photography till the day I die.
What was your first camera? My first camera was a cheap digital bridge camera made by Kodak. It was slow to react to input, captured terrible photos in low light, and almost ruined the idea of photography for me.
Protected by Pixsy No matter what gear is in your camera bag, make sure to protect your photos with Pixsy (it doesn’t weigh anything). With a Pixsy account, you can monitor your images online and recover lost revenue in the process.
Share your bag
We would like to thank all the photographers who took the time to take part in this article. Were you inspired by what your fellow photographs had to share and want to take part? Send a tweet to @PixsyHQ and show us what’s in your bag.