Creator Kits: Full Photography Pack
New Creator Kits series for you gear lovers
Hi friends! Welcome to the new Creator Kits series on my blog.
I know how much you all love photography gear (I love it too tbh). It’s always the most common question I get from you guys, so in this series I’ll give specific and detailed info on each item I use and the things I love & hate about them. I’ve also decided to break it down to each individual kit I pack for specialised cases e.g. photography, filmmaking, carry on, city pack, day trip etc.
If you want to check out my entire kit of everything I use click here.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or if there’s any specific kits / gear you’d like me to cover.
MY FULLY LOADED BACKPACK (PHOTOGRAPHY)
This is my go-to kit. Whenever I have any full photo gig, local or international this is what I take. It covers all my DSLR & aerial gear and I can always film some shorter videos with the 5D4 / Mavic in a pinch. The laptop / mouse combo means I can offload, backup and edit if I need to as well.
It may look like a lot of stuff (sizes of products on this page are not to scale). It all fits inside my relatively small Chrome Industries camera backpack which is compact and discrete looking. Most people don’t know it is a camera backpack. All of this kit weights about 14kgs, which is definitely over the 7kg carry-on limit - but I usually get through check-in wihtout getting stopped. Just incase I usually pack a tote bag in there incase the airlines do stop me. I use the tote as a laptop bag and chuck a bunch of stuff in there too.
Read on for a mini review & more details on each individual item:
This is my main camera backpack - it is my favourite so far. It definitely isn’t the biggest camera backpack but that’s exactly why I like it. It’s smaller size means I have to be more thoughtful about what I bring which also means I won’t break my back overloading it with more gear than I need. It is able to fit everything in this kit list, which ends up weighing about 14kgs / 30 lbs (it is pretty jam packed though).
My main camera body & favourite photography camera. It is perfect for photos with 30MP hitting the sweet spot in resolution and file size. The user experience in shooting with a pro Canon DSLR is much nicer than using a mirrorless (IMO). The Canon colours are still so much nicer than all the other camera brands. The only thing I wish this camera did better is 4K video - but I have a dedicated video camera now.
This lens is almost always on my camera body. Everytime I pack my bag for a shoot I always put this lens on the camera body. The 24-70 focal length covers most of what I need for general shooting. I chose the Sigma over the Canon because this version has IS (image stabilisation) and the Canon 24-70 (2.8) offerings currently do not. It is also relatively cheaper than the Canon 24-70 and the image quality is comparable. The only downside is that the Sigma version is heavier, chunkier and the zoom ring turns the opposite way compared to Canon’s zoom lenses. Still a great lens though.
This is one of my favourite specialty lenses. Such an awesome purchase. It is so sharp and the longer focal length plus it’s wide 1.4 aperture means I can get that awesome creamy looking depth of field. It is also great for low light shooting and the IS on it makes it great for video.
It isn’t the cheapest lens but is totally worth it. The 85mm usually replaces my 70-200 which I usually try not to carry because it is so big and heavy.
I don’t find myself using this lens too often just because of the style / way I shoot - which is never that wide. It is handy in a pinch when I do need the wider focal length (tighter situations,. architecture or wide landscapes). I have also been using it a little more when shooting in 4K on the 5D4.It is great for that because of the 1.7x sensor crop that happens when you switch the camera to shoot 4K.
I only use this variable ND to shoot video (never really for photos unless I cant be bothered taking it off). I like this Tiffen version because the variable ring is quite thick and is easy to turn. One tip to save money is to buy a variable ND for your biggest thread sized lens (in my case 82mm). You can then buy cheap step up rings (adaptors) and use it on your other lenses.
Great quality mic which records quality audio. In camera mics are usually not great so having an off cam mic is essential. I would recommend buying version 3 if you can afford it as it has an auto on / off feature.
My favourite drone to date (I’ve owned quite a few). Super reliable, great image & video quality and best of all it is foldable and super easy to travel with. It’s connection and feed is pretty amazing and definitely better than the previous version(s). I definitely recommend the PRO version over the Zoom.
I own 4 batteries in total and will usually carry 2-3 (4 if I’m on a longer road trip). Not much else to say - every photographer should own a drone in their camera kit (specifically this drone).
Although it is slighlty bulkier and heavier than the standard controller (with no screen), this controller will save you time in setting up, has an awesome bright screen perfect for daylight / bright conditions and the range is meant to be slightly better. It also means you don’t have to plug your phone in which is always a hassle.
Although the leather Mavic 2 combo bag is nice, it measn that you have to keep your entire Mavic kit together in one big (bulky) package. That big package doesn’t fit too well in my camera backpack. This hard shell case means I can break up my kit (seperate drone from the controller & batteries) which means I can pack it a lot more efficiently. Highly recommended. It is pretty cheap too.
I’ve found that the Polarpro filters are usually the best quality in terms of build and quality compared to the other brands (even DJI). ND’s help you get that cinematic motion for video and the polarisers are great for cutting reflections in water scenes (adds more colour and contrast).
This is my main editing computer. It is definitely not cheap and there are better alternatives out there (if you like using Windows). I like using Mac OS so this is my go-to. My Macbook Pro is the top spec (late 2018) version and can handle photo and video editing pretty well.
If you are planning to buy my Chrome Industries Camera backpack however, please note that the 15” Macbooks barely fit in the laptop slot. You have to cram it in there (which means you can’t have a case or shell on it).
I am not a big trackpad fan and try to use a mouse whenever I can. This mouse feels nice to use, is accurate and has a lot of useful customisable function buttons. It seems to be the most popular / go-to mouse on Youtube (search the reviews for more info).
These Sandisk SSDs are my current favourite. I have a few of them now and they are great as a working drive. They are relatively cheap (compared to the Samsungs T5’s), are faster, drop & water resistant and have been pretty reliable to date.
I would recommend buying one as your main working drive. Store and edit your current files & projects on this thing and when you are done transfer the files off to a cheaper drive.
There are cheaper card readers out there. This is probably one of the more expensive ones. It is worth it to me because of it’s very high quality build and it’s transfer speeds are a lot faster than the cheaper card readers. It means that I can save a lot of time offloading my SD/CF cards after a long day of shooting. Quite often I have to offload multiple, full cards (2+ 64GBs) and have often fallen asleep waiting for them to offload.
The DSPTCH camera straps are my current go-to’s on all my cameras. I previously used the Peak Design straps but they often got in the way of my viewfinder and rear LCD screen - especially when I quickly pull the camera up to shoot. These don’t do that and they are more comfortable around my neck.
The capture clip is great! It is super reliable and can easily carry my 5D4 with a heavy 70-200mm attached (although you do look a little silly with it hanging off your chest). I like using it because it takes the heavy weight off the camera strap / my neck. It is also useful when you need to climb things or move around as you don’t have your loose camera swinging around on your neck strap.
You’re probably well aware by now that I don’t really like using tripods. They slow me down and are a pain to carry and setup. I try to avoid using them whenever possible, but when I need to, this Manfrotto tripod does the job. The Befree is relatively cheap, but I am probably looking to replace this with a lighter tripod later on.
This is a great little audio recorder and is relatively cheap. It is great for recording in the field.
This little light is tiny (dimensions of a stack of credit cards) and packs a really bright punch. It is also bi coloured so you can change the colour temperature of the light output. Slightly expensive (the version before this one is a lot cheaper).
You should always carry a blower in your camera kit. Great for cleaning lens and sensor dust. Do not touch or use your mouth to blow your lenses and camera sensors.
Always handy to have more storage on hand. This SD wallet by Pelican is relatively cheap and is dust / water resistant - perfect for keeping your cards safe.
One of the lesser known camera accesories. This lenskirt is great for when you want to shoot through glass (say out of a train window or observation deck). It goes around your lens and has 4 suction cups which sticks to the window.
I’ve used a few flimsy smartphone clamps which have failed on my (and dropped / damaged a few of my phones). This one won’t. It is a literal C clamp, like the ones they use in metal work. Great for setting up my phone for a quick timelapse while I’m doing other stuff.
I think you already know what these are. They speak for themselves. Average sound quality, but makes up for it in spades through it’s super convenience and reliability.
It’s taken me a few years to test & experiment with camera & bag setups and this is what works for me. I’m able to be pretty flexible in most photography situations and get the job done. The above is also at the top end of the weight limit that I’d like to carry around. If I’m travelling this is what I’d take with me. I’d usually unpack some of it when I get to the hotel or leave some stuff in the car to save on walk around weight.
If you have any questions or recommends on what type of kit you’d like to see next in this series let me know in the comments below.