Whenever I tell people I’m a photographer, one of the first questions I get is “what kind of camera do you use?”
And although, there are some really fancy expensive cameras out there, the way you use it is more important than the brand and how pricey it is.
I have a trusty ‘ole Sony A200. I’ve had it for several years, and it is a little dated compared to some of the newer siblings that are out now. And eventually, I would love to upgrade to one of those swanky new things and use my current camera as a backup. But for now, my trusty DLSR has served me very well.
And like I said, it’s how you USE the camera that makes for great images. But the camera itself isn't the only thing that makes a photo shoot a successful one.
Besides the obvious Sony A200, these are things I HAVE to have whenever I go to shoot any subject or event:
I am a very short human. Most people are taller than 5’2”, and I need something close by to stand on in order to get those flattering angles. STAN is my foldable stool, and I don’t go anywhere without him. Sometimes I might be able to find an easy tree to climb, or other object to get up on, but if not, Stan is always there to lift me up ;)
2: Three-In-One Reflector
I have a large circular 3-in-one reflector that I bring to every shoot. It has a gold, silver, and white side. It is perfect for unavoidable direct sunlight, where I can block the harsh rays with a white diffuser. And for days when I need a little more light to bounce into my clients’ faces I can use a silver or gold tone to direct light to shadowy areas. Without my reflector, I might have to spend more time on the computer lightening up areas that are too dark, or trying to correct places that were way too bright. It definitely adds to the photo quality, and I bring it just in case I might need it.
3: Three Different Lenses:
My favorite lens is my Prime 50MM (that is almost always the second question I get asked after “what kind of camera do you use?”) I love this lens because it is great in low light, and is perfect for clear portrait shots. It is a fixed lens, meaning it does not zoom. I have to move forwards or backwards to “zoom” so it gives me the exercise I need!
I do like to bring two other lenses with me though. One is a standard kit lens of 18-70 for standard shots, and a 75-300 long telephoto lens for great shots from a distance. You never know what situation you might be in, and having these three lenses to switch out for the perfect shot is extremely helpful.
4. Extra Cards and Batteries:
This one is common sense for any photographer. Always carry extra SD cards and batteries. I like to spread my images across several SD cards. If I use one giant card and something happens to it, I’ve lost ALL of those images. But if I use three smaller cards, I'll have saved most of those images. I've never experienced a corrupted card (knock on wood) but having safeguards is good practice.
Again, you never know what situation you might find yourself in. Having a blanket to protect a dress or clothes from dirt, or yourself from chiggers is always a great idea!
6. Camera Bag/Fanny Pack:
I definitely need something to carry all my camera gear in. I have a shoulder camera bag right now, but I’m starting to think a fanny pack might just be a great purchase as well :)
Of course you want your photographer to be upbeat and positive. What better way to comfort a client that to smile? In 5th grade I wrote an essay about it. “Smiling is contagious” I said.. “It spreads to everyone” ---I won the essay contest ;)---
A simple smile can ease the fears of someone, and create an atmosphere that will help produce great images.
So I adopt the words of Buddy the Elf…”I just like to smile, smiling’s my favorite!” :D