The best all round photography kit!

The Photography Show was super busy for me! It was a manic few days, with lots of nerves, noise, and of course loads of new kit to get excited over!

I ran a fuji workshop, a live shoot with 3 gorgeous child models on the big stage! A talk on my travel photography, and 5 portfolio reviews, at the end of the four days I was pretty exhausted, and grateful to get back to normality!

Many thanks to all of you that came along to support me! I hope you gained some valuable information and inspiration that was useful to you! Your comments have been really lovely and very much appreciated!

After meeting with so many interesting people I was surprised that the most common question fired at me was….What is the best kit to have ?

Now I have always said that it is not the camera kit  but the eye and emotion of the photographer that makes the image! To quote one of my favourite photographers….

“It is the photographer, not the camera, that is the instrument.”

Eve Arnold

However, I do also realise that being a portrait photographer in London, one of the most important criteria in a camera system, is that I need a kit that is portable, and easy to carry everywhere.

I also need the quality of the image to be outstanding! And complement my work, and workflow.

With my children’s portraiture I travel all over London, to some wonderful locations, hopping on and off busy tube trains and busses is great fun, but my kit needs to be compact and easily accessible when the shoot starts.

When I am commissioned for my travel portraits around the world, again, the kit needs to be versatile, with every piece as useful as the other. I try not to carry  kit that is going to remain in my bag and be redundant, its just a waste of energy! Especially when I travel to some really remote and difficult places to access.

And again, I still need the bodies and lenses that I use, to produce sharp and well balanced images that are beautiful and rich with colour.

Here is the kit that I now take EVERYWHERE….and the reasons why ! I hope it helps!

So first off the bag that comes with me…

Billingham Bag 550

I first borrowed my lovely Billingham bag from my boyfriend (who is also a photographer) and to be honest, I have never given it back! Its just perfect for what I do!

It slings over my shoulder, both bodies and lenses are easy to grab whenever I want, each has it’s own little compartment so I know where they are at all times.

On location and constantly moving throughout my shoots, I need to be able to grab lenses quickly, so the rucksack option just wouldn’t work for me, to have everything just there is ideal.

The 550 Billingham is also the perfect size for travelling, not only can I fit all of my chosen gear into it, I can also fit a mac book nicely into the rear pocket, and it also fits portable hard drives, passports, money and other bits into the front pockets, so is perfect for aeroplane carry on!

And I can chuck it in the washing machine if needed! (when I returned from Africa it was nearly as smelly as me!)

Fujifilm X-T2

You can read my thoughts on this camera  and the X-T20 in previous blogs (just click the link above), but the short version is: they are the perfect camera system for what I do, with the mirrorless bodies, I am carrying far less weight but not losing any quality of image. Simple.

Fuji X-T2 battery grip/charger

This is a must have, especially if you are travelling to remote locations as I do (sometimes with no mains power), to have the batteries charge whilst still on the camera in a super fast 2 hours is really very useful.

The boost option available on the battery grip, also gives the photographer the added extras such as, autofocus .2 of a second faster, and high speed continuous shooting is powered up from 8 to 11 fps. (there are other features, however these are the two that make a difference in my work)

With the longer lenses such as the 50-140mm the body also feels more ergonomically balanced with the grip on, this of you used to the handle and feel of a DSLR will feel more at home with the grip on.

I also carry with me 4 spare batteries (charged)

Fujifilm X-T20

As above

Fuji 18mm, f2 prime

A lovely small lens, great for landscapes and street photography, especially as it is just so small and inconspicuous!

Fuji 90mm, f2, prime

A gorgeous portrait lens, the bokeh on this lens is just sublime at F2! And is perfectly sharp! I lOVE this lens!

Fuji 16-55, F2.8 XF zoom

A really versatile lens, great for landscapes and portraits with more background context, a good all rounder.

If you are starting out with the mirrorless system, this would be the lens that I would recommend!

Fuji 50-140, f2.8 XF zoom

A beautiful quality lens, and probably my most used for portraits, both of children and for my travel work!

It is just lovely to work  with and the drop off is perfect for the style of work that I like to produce, you will see from the exif data on the most of my images how I have used all of the lenses.

Reflector.

I always carry a reflector, just to boost light into areas where it may be lacking, I specifically like this reflector because the size means it can fit easily into the back of my  bag.

On all of my commissions I don’t have an assistant, so its great for me to be able to use this reflector one handed, such a thoughtful design.

And I love the gold and white side of the reflector, for portraits it can give a gorgeous warm glow to a flat lit portrait.

Wish list!

Well as photographers we are always looking for that new piece of kit! I don’t have everything! And I am very much contemplating the 56mm (I just cant decide between the 1.2 or the APD).

And I would LOVE one of the new Billingham 550’s in blue they are just sooo gorgeous!

But I’ve travelled to some really special places with my current one, and would feel a little disloyal (I’m sure I would get over it!)

So there we have it, my list of kit that I take out on all of my portrait or travel shoots!

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This kit may not be right for everyone, but for me as a travel and portrait photographer it covers all bases, and gives me the full range of lenses that compliment my style of work.

I hope that helps! But do please ping me a comment or a message if I have not covered everything?!

Saraya xx