My choice of gear is very important to me. It enables me to work as efficiently and effectively as I can, capturing the photos I want to when I’m out in the field. For years I’ve been shooting on the Sony Alpha system, which I’ve found works well for me. The size and weight of the body and lenses has always been a huge plus, but also the features and support I’ve received from Sony has been incredible.
To me the camera, lenses and other bits of gear are tools; the same way a carpenter uses a drill or hammer. I’m hard on my gear, and always have been. But I believe that being overly cautious and protective of my equipment would limit my creativity and able to push myself further. As a result I’ve taken images in unforgiving thunderstorms, freezing -25C tundras, and blisteringly humid weather in equatorial rainforests. I’ve lost camera bodies to water damage, dropped cameras off of mountain ridges and cleaned my sensor more times that I can imagine. But I wouldn’t change the way I operate for anything; you’ve got to be willing to push the limits of your equipment in order to get the shot.
Over the years of shooting and working, a lot of things have found their way into my gear list. In any situation, I want to be prepared to capture the kind of photos I want and adapt well to changing circumstances. This list has been put together through the use and application of each item, and each piece has an important part in my workflow.
This page features the items that are usually found in my camera bag, or that I take with me on trips.
The α7Riii is my high resolution camera. It captures incredible detail with an incredible high megapixel sensor that allows for heavy cropping and large printing. This tends to be my go to be my go to camera for commercial shoots, or if I’m shooting something that I think will require a heavy crop and lots of detail (wildlife / lunar / super-telephoto). The Riii is always in my bag as so I’m always prepared to capture high resolution images and react to the environment, subject and compositions. The small and compact body size works well for the way I like to operate, and the customisable buttons mean I’m really able to perfect and dial the settings to the way I like.
Pros // High resolution images. Good battery life.Cons // Large file size on busy shoots. Weather sealing could be improved.
Megapixel // 42.4MPSensor // 35mm Full Frame Exmor R CMOS SensorViewfinder // Digital Viewfinder and Digital Live Display MonitorShutter Speed // 1/8000Continuous Shutter Speed // 10FPSISO Range // 100-32,000Auto Focus // 399 points Image Stabilisation // 5-axis in-body stabilisationSD Card Slots // 2Video // 4K 60fps – 1080p 120fpsAudio // Dolby Digital Stereo 2 ChannelDimensions (W x H x D) // 126.9mm x 95.6mm x 73.7mmWeight // 657g
I treat the α7iii as my main workhorse. The smaller file size, when compared to the α7Riii, makes it more useful in day to day shooting. I can shoot all day, and not feel like I’m clogging up my hard drives with α7Riii files. I’ve got three α7iii, two of which get primary use for when I want to be shooting with two bodies, and the third is an old (partially damaged) body that I replaced. Like the α7Riii, I fully customise all the buttons and features of the bodies so that I have everything I need and want at the touch of a button.
Pros // Great value for money. Good battery life. High number of AF-points.Cons // Sometimes file size can be an issue when cropping or printing. Weather sealing could be improved.
Megapixel // 24.2MPSensor // 35mm Full Frame Exmor R CMOS SensorViewfinder // Digital Viewfinder and Digital Live Display MonitorShutter Speed // 1/8000Continuous Shutter Speed // 10FPSISO Range // 100-51,200Auto Focus // 693 points Image Stabilisation // 5-axis in-body stabilisationSD Card Slots // 2Video // 4K 60fps – 1080p 120fpsAudio // Dolby Digital Stereo 2 ChannelDimensions (W x H x D) // 126.9mm x 95.6mm x 73.7mmWeight // 650g
My first Sony Alpha camera, and first step into mirrorless/full-frame shooting. Whilst it feels reasonably outdated now when compared to the iii or iv models, it does still have a purpose within my set-up. It’s considerably smaller and lighter than the α7iii/α7Riii, which makes it great to take out as a second body if weight is a big factor. I also have a little less care for it, so if there was a particularly risky shot where the camera might get damaged I would opt for this.
Pros // Incredibly affordable. Lightweight and small.Cons // Image quality isn’t as high as later models. Weather sealing is poor. Battery life is low. Has a few UI/UX issues as any first generation product would do.
Megapixel // 24.3MPSensor // 35mm Full Frame Exmor R CMOS SensorViewfinder // Digital Viewfinder and Digital Live Display MonitorShutter Speed // 1/8000Continuous Shutter Speed // 5FPSISO Range // 100-25,600Auto Focus // 117 points Image Stabilisation // N/ASD Card Slots // 1Video // 1080p 60fpsAudio // Dolby Digital Stereo 2 ChannelDimensions (W x H x D) // 126.9mm x 94.4mm x 54.8mmWeight // 416g
As one of the widest quality lenses available for Sony E Mount, it definitely has a place within my gear. The quality glass from Zeiss means the colours are fantastic and there is minimal-to-no distortion or issues with sharpness. It’s also incredibly light and small, despite being a high quality lens, making it a perfect addition to your kit. Whilst I don’t usually enjoy shooting on a super-wide angle lens, you never know when it is going to come in handy to nail the composition.
Pros // Very small and light. One of the widest prime lenses available for E Mount. Looks sexy.Cons // It’s low light potential isn’t great as it only drops to ƒ2.8.
Focal Length // 18mmAperture Range // ƒ2.8 – ƒ22Focal Range // 0.25m – ∞Filter Thread // 77øDimensions (D x L) // 100mm x 80mmWeight // 330g
A fantastic lens and one that I would recommend to anyone looking to add a wide-angle to their set up. The GM quality is definitely there, making this lens deadly sharp and accurate with focus. The ƒ1.4 aperture means its great at shooting in low light and making it a real powerhouse for astrophotography. If you’re looking for a wide-angle to keep on your body all day, this is it.
Pros // Fantastic quality and incredible sharpness. Large aperture makes it great for low light,Cons // Price tag is quite high. Manual aperture ring can difficult to get used to, and sometimes gets knocked accidentally.
Focal Length // 24mmAperture Range // ƒ1.4 – ƒ16Focal Range // 0.24m – ∞Filter Thread // 67øDimensions (D x L) // 75mm x 92mmWeight // 445g
The real workhorse of my lenses and probably my most used lens. With a pretty low price tag, the Sigma is a great purchase to make when looking to add lenses to your kit. The wide aperture makes it great for low light, and for getting dreamy bokeh. It’s size and weight has always bothered me a little, when compared to the other lenses in my bag, but with how much I use it, it always comes with me.
Pros // Low price tag. Large aperture makes it great for low light.Cons // It’s very heavy and bulky compared to other lenses. Doesn’t look particularly nice.
Focal Length // 35mmAperture Range // ƒ1.4 – ƒ16Focal Range // 0.3m – ∞Filter Thread // 67øDimensions (D x L) // 77mm x 94mmWeight // 665g
Another beautiful looking lens from Carl Zeiss, and potentially my favourite lens to shoot on. I love the compression and shallow depth of field that you can capture with this lens, and the sharpness and colours always suprise me. With the lens hood take off, it becomes a really small and light lens, and is great for taking out for details/portraits on location.
Pros // Great colours and sharpness. Looks beautiful. Small size and weight.Cons // It doesn’t get as much use as a wider lens for landscapes.
Focal Length // 85mmAperture Range // ƒ1.8 – ƒ22Focal Range // 0.80m – ∞Filter Thread // 67øDimensions (D x L) // 92mm x 92mmWeight // 452g
A macro lens is a very important lens when shooting product photography and looking to pick out details within a scene. This Sony 90mm Macro lens is perfect for really capturing fine detail, with a incredibly shallow focal range and a 1:1 magnification. It takes a little while to realise its full potential within your set-up but a macro is a lens everyone should experiment with.
Pros // Great for details. Ability to create unique images. Short focal distance and 1:1 magnification.Cons // It’s a similar focal length to my Zeiss Batis 85mm, so I often leave it behind unless I know I want to shoot with it. ƒ2.8 can sometimes be a bit limiting when shooting dark scenes.
Focal Length // 90mmAperture Range // ƒ2.8 – ƒ22Focal Range // 0.28m – ∞Filter Thread // 62øDimensions (D x L) // 79mm x 130mmWeight // 602g
The 70-200 telephoto is one of my most used lenses, and one that I love shooting with. I really enjoy shooting at high focal lengths, and like being able to take my telephoto with me everywhere, which is why I have always opted for the ƒ4 over the ƒ2.8. Whilst it can sometimes be limiting in low-light, it’s size and weight makes up for it. It’s a lens I’m happy to carry up every mountain, and it always pays off.
Pros // Lighter and smaller than the 70-200 ƒ2.8. Reasonably priced for a telephoto.Cons // At ƒ4 it can begin to struggle a bit in low-light.
Focal Length // 70-200mmAperture Range // ƒ4 – ƒ22Focal Range // 1.35m – ∞Filter Thread // 72øDimensions (D x L) // 80mm x 175mmWeight // 840g
One of the biggest and most affordable super-telephoto lenses available for Sony E Mount and a lens that I really love using. Being able to capture images at 600, is incredible and it’s great to be able to add so much scale and depth to a shot. It’s size and weight is always going to be the main negative, as it’s not a lens that you want to be carrying around with you everywhere. I tend to plan shots with it beforehand, or take it out when I know there’s a certain shot or subject I would like.
Pros // Very long focal length. Great for wildlife. Reasonably affordable for its focal length.Cons // It’s very large and heavy. It doesn’t get an awful lot of day-to-day use.
Focal Length // 200-600mmAperture Range // ƒ5.6/6.3 – ƒ32/36Focal Range // 2.4m – ∞Filter Thread // 95øDimensions (D x L) // 111.5mm x 318mmWeight // 2115g
The latest in the Mavic Pro series and a really amazing piece of kit. The 20mp 1″ CMOS sensor means you’re able to capture drone images in amazingly high quality. As with the previous Mavic range, the drone collapses down into an incredibly small and lightweight package, making it perfect for hiking and climbing with. I love taking a drone out with me to get another perspective on the scene, and I really enjoy using it to capture unique images. Not only just by ascending to great altitude, but also by positioning the drone in places that you aren’t able to reach yourself (over a cliff, above a river). I was a huge fan of the Portrait Mode on the first generation, so was sorry to see it go – but the larger sensor means the ability to crop into images is better than ever.
Pros // Great shots from the 1″ sensor. Small and lightweight. Great to add another angle and dimension to your adventures.Cons // Limited battery life. Can only operate in reasonably good weather. Rules of the airspace must be adhered to at all times. No Portrait Mode.
Megapixel // 20MPSensor // 1″ CMOS SensorShutter Speed // 8 – 1/8000Aperture Range // ƒ2.8-ƒ11ISO Range // 100-12,800Max Flight Time // 29minGPS // GPS+GLONASSSD Card Slots // 1 MicroSD + 8GB Internal StorageVideo // 4K 30fps – 1080p 120fpsDimensions Folded (W x H x D) // 198mm x 84mm x 83mmWeight // 907g
The original Mavic Pro and a drone that I’ve gotten a lot of flight time out of. I’m always constantly amazed at the drones ability to handle wind and weather. Whilst I’ve upgraded to the more recent Mavic 2 Pro, I still like to keep the original charged and ready to go. In certain weather situations (wind, rain, cold) I may choose to use this over the newer drone, just in case of a crash or loss. The dedicated Portrait Mode that spins the camera on the gimbal is one of my favourite features on this drone.
Pros // Price bracket. Small and lightweight. Portrait Mode.Cons // Limited battery life. Image quality is no where near the more recent model.
Megapixel // 12MPSensor // 1/2.3” CMOS SensorShutter Speed // 8 – 1/8000Aperture // ƒ2.2ISO Range // 100-1600Max Flight Time // 27minGPS // GPS+GLONASSSD Card Slots // 1 MicroSDVideo // 4K 30fps – 1080p 60fpsDimensions Folded (W x H x D) // 214mm x 84mm x 91mmWeight // 734g
The Sukha is my favourite bag, and the one I’m most likely to take out with me. I spent a long time searching for the ideal bag: one that fits and feels great, with rear access for camera equipment, big enough to carry a large load, and also waterproof and designed for the outdoors. This 70L bag from F Stop is the ideal solution for me. Having rear access to all my camera gear is really important to me and the way I work (I change lenses a lot), but I also like being able to carry a load of additional gear if required. The large storage means I can comfortably take the 200-600 out hiking with me, or take all my overnight gear (tent, sleeping bag, cooking equipment) alongside my usual camera gear. I like that I’m able to take additional products to shoot, extra layers in case the weather turns, or extra water (something my previous bag was lacking). I also love the versatility and the ease at which I can swap out the ICU for to carry less camera gear and more additional equipment. Whilst it’s a pretty big bag, it’s extremely comfortable and feels a lot nicer to be wearing than the Lowepro Whistler.
Pros // Comfortable, even with a heavy load. 70L means you can carry a lot of gear. Rear camera access. Good waterproofing.Cons // Can be too big in some scenarios (indoor shoots, cities, flights). High price tag and difficult to source in the UK.
Capacity // 70LStorage // Large main compartment (top and rear access). Zipped top compartment. Long front compartment.Rear Access // Yes
This for a long time was my main camera bag. I loved the rugged outdoor feel to the bag, in a market where not many bags are dedicated to outdoor use. The rear access is great, and there’s an additional gear pocket on top for all your accessories. The from tof the bag has an expanding zip, so you can carry additional items if needed. I tend to find that I use this bag if I’m limited on space, doing something a little more technical, or need to get through airport security. The bag isn’t as comfortable as the F Stop and it’s quite a heavy build, which is why most of the time I opt for the F Stop over this.
Pros // Good weatherproofing. Rear camera access.Cons // Not big enough to take a lot of additional gear. Often found I didn’t have room for water.
Capacity // 35LStorage // Large main compartment (rear access). Zipped top compartment. Full width front compartment.Rear Access // Yes
There’s certain situations where I know that I don’t want to wear a camera bag, and would rather a lighter and faster set up. Camera bags generally aren’t the lightest of bags, which is where the Osprey Mutant comes in handy. This lightweight and extremely comfortable climbing bag is perfect for mountaineering, climbing and scrambling. It has gear loops for climbing equipment, easy helmet storage, straps to easily carry ropes and a convenient compartment for a hydration bladder. As it isn’t a dedicated photography bag, there is no rear camera access, which means it takes a little longer to get gear out and change lenses. If I’m using this bag I usually take a smaller bag inside to keep all my camera gear safe and tidy.
Pros // Extremely lightweight and comfortable. Gear loops, and easy climbing access. Hydration bladder availability. WeatherproofCons // No rear camera access.
Capacity // 38LStorage // Large main compartment (top access). Removable zipped top compartment.Rear Access // No
Holdalls are great bags to have around. They’re great for chucking a load of gear in to move it around, lug it up a mountain or travel between hotels. I’ve had quite a few over the years but found that the best have been the Osprey Transporter series. They have a solid and durable outer skin, reasonable weather proofing and an easy to open zip across the top. There’s some additional clips in the corners to help with zipping and to prevent the zip from ripping open when it’s bursting with stuff. There’s some great shoulder straps that can easily be stowed away when you don’t want them and the grab handles over the sides are really useful. My Large ICU fits neatly in this bag, which makes it great for transporting through security at airports, when my larger F Stop camera bag is going in checked luggage.
Pros // Tough and durable. Handy corner clips. Stowable shoulder straps.Cons // Hold their shape and take up a lot of room when empty.
Capacity // 40LStorage // Large main compartment.
I love travelling through airports with ease when taking my absolutely massive Osprey Rolling suitcase. At 120 litres is big enough to fit in mountains of gear, and is perfect for those big trips where you want a lot of gear, tents, climbing equipment, warm layers and extra bags. The Wheels and handle make it easy for pulling around airports and it feels solid enough to protect most of the stuff inside. There’s some great pockets on the inside of the lid which I like to put accessories in, and there’s some compression straps inside to help your gear stay in one place when in transit.
Pros // Huge. Fits everything in. Good use of pockets. Wheels and handle. Solid frame.Cons // Grip handle easily damaged by careless airport security.
Capacity // 120LStorage // Large main compartment.
A large ICU allows me to take keep all my camera gear organised and protected when I’m out hiking. The velcro inserts are great for rearranging for a range of different set ups, and the zipped cover means it also works well for storage purposes too. This is the main ICU I use as it allows me to take out the most gear, and it’s pretty easy and straight forward to lift it out and swap it between camera bags / hold-alls.
Pros // Easily access all gear. Keeps lenses protected. Easy to lift out and change between bags.Cons // ICUs are expensive to buy. The velcro loves grabbing onto dirt which gets all your camera gear dirty.
This smaller ICU is great for the days when you want to take a smaller and lighter load. Like the large ICU, it can easily be lifted out and changed between bags, and works great as a safe storage for camera gear left back in the van. The zipped front and handle means you can also take this bag out on its own for very small shoots and camera access.
Pros // Easily access all gear. Keeps lenses protected. Great for storing unused lenses and camera bodies. Easy to lift out and change between bags.Cons // ICUs are expensive to buy. The velcro loves grabbing onto dirt which gets all your camera gear dirty.
I’ve always kept my drone in my camera ICU, as I found it always fits and works best, especially for quick use. But I still use the bag that came with the DJI Fly More package regularly. It works great as a mini camera bag if you want to just take a body and 1/2 lenses out, and works really well when fitted inside my Osprey climbing bag.
Pros // Great as a super lightweight bag. Handy shoulder strap. Well padded.Cons // A little small because of stiff padding and dividers. Dividers cannot be removed.
I don’t often use tripods in my work, but they’re still an essential tool that every photographer must own. I usually prefer to be quicker on my feet, staying constantly moving and creative whilst searching for compositions and angles, and I find that setting up a tripod interferes with this process. But of course there’s plenty of times when a tripod is perfect and extremely useful: for me this tends to be when shooting in low light, astro, lunar or using the 200-600 (which can be quite heavy and shaky). This tripod from Vanguard has an adjustable ball head, which makes it great for adjustments on uneven ground and switching from portrait to landscape. The plate attachement to secure the camera fits the Capture Clip from Peak Design which means it’s really quick and easy to set up.
Pros // Carbon Fibre Legs. Compact Size. Ball head. Fits Peak Design Plate.Cons // No hook to hang weight from.
Max Payload // 8kgMax Height // 150mmDimensions Folded // 415mm x 180mmWeight // 1350g
I’ve had a Gorilla Pod a long time, and whilst I don’t use it much, it does come in handy for the times when you want to mount a camera to something a little obscure. Certain shoots, particular those indoors are ideal for this small and versatile tripod. They’re also a great option if you want to take a tripod but are concerned about the size and weight.
Pros // Small and light. Extremely versatile.Cons // Price tag. Small max payload. Small max height.
Max Payload // 3kgMax Height // 250mmDimensions // 300mm x 77mm x 77mmWeight // 463g
A handgeld gimbal is something that I’ve been after for a while and always had an interest in. It’s great to be able to get smooth and steady video footage wherever you are, and this is the perfect tool for the job. Compared to other gimbals it’s reasonably well priced and performs really well. It can take a while to get used to setting up and balancing the gimbal. And there’s a few parts that can be a heavy and hard to accommodate in a bag, but if you’re looking to create smooth and cinematic video, then the Ronin S is perfect.
Pros // Price tag. Portable. Easy change of gimbal modes.Cons // Quite heavy. A lot of parts to carry. Can take a while to set up.
Max Payload // 3.6kgMax Height // 150mmDimensions // 486mm x 202mm x 185mmWeight // 1814g
Part of why I love shooting on Sony Alpha is the small, compact and lightweight body, so I can understand it’s a little confusing that I also choose to use a battery grip. But having bought one originally to try out, I found I really enjoyed using it. I like the ease and comfort at which you can shoot in portrait and landscape. I love all the extra real estate and grip, which help to make carrying the camera easier. The prolonged battery life by having two batteries is also a huge bonus, and means you never get caught short.
Pros // Easy and comfortable portrait shooting. Extra grip to hold. Holds two batteries at once. Easy to attach.Cons // Not weather sealed. Doesn’t work well with the Peak Design Capture Clip.
On previous Alpha models the battery life was short, to the point that it was noticeable, and performed very, very poorly in minus-temperatures, but the new battery in the α7iii/α7Riii fixes all these issues. The batteries seem to last for a day or two under normal shooting conditions (maybe less than a day on a commercial shoot), and I’ve not experienced any issues with the cold effecting the performance. I’ve got about a dozen batteries, which means I can keep a healthy stock charged up and ready to go. I’ve got a mixture between the official Sony batteries and RAVPower third party batteries, and I would say that the Sony batteries are definitely better.
Pros // Good battery life. Performs well in cold temperatures.Cons // Still not the same battery life you get from a Canon.
I’m not a massive fan of camera straps in general, I find that they get in the way a lot, hit you in the face and it’s not a comfortable way to carry a camera. That being said, the straps made by the guys at Peak Design are pretty much the best you can get. The quick attachment and detachment from your camera makes it perfect for the times I want to have my camera protected. If I’m going to be dangling it over a cliff, or want to climb a rock, then I can quickly attach a strap and use the quick adjustment to make it longer or shorter as I need.
Pros // Quick and easy to attach. Quick adjustment in length. Look nice.Cons // Quite expensive for a strap. Having the anchors permanently on your camera can be annoying.
Another solid product from Peak Design and something that completely changes the way you shoot. being able the clip attaches to a strap on your bag or belt, and means you can quickly attach your camera and walk/climb comfortably. I used to put my camera away in my bag between shots, and then would miss moments either because I wasn’t quick enough getting it out, or couldn’t be bothered to. With this attached, it’s always ready to pull off in an instant and snap away. They’re quite expensive, but they’re one thing you can buy that will vastly improve your workflow when out in the field. One tip I would have is to replace the thumb screws with Allen key bolts (both seen in the photo), as the thumb screws have a tendency to work loose over time.
Pros // How simple and easy it works. Quickly being able to stow your camera and have your hands available.Cons // Doesn’t work well with a battery grip. Thumb screws can come loose. I once got ice stuck in the catch that keeps your camera from falling out if you lean forward, and my camera fell 150m off a mountain ridge – which sucked.
I never let bad weather stop me taking photos, in fact I love taking photos in harsh and violent weather. But of course keeping your camera dry is very important when doing so. This shell covers your camera in a water resistant case that means you can keep shooting even in the rain.
Pros // Good protection from rain. Easy to put on and take off. Lots of margin for different lenses and cameras. Folds up small to fit in your bag.Cons // It doesn’t feel quite as ‘perfect’ as the other Peak Design products (but it’s still great).
Something else I very rarely use in my normal work are filters. I tend to prefer my images to feel more natural, and I don’t particularly like long exposures or sun rays. But a Circular Polariser is a little different from other filters in that it helps to remove glare created by the sun. The result is that clouds become more visible, water looks more transparent, and windows look clearer. A CP really is a must if you’re shooting cars, to help remove the glare on the windscreen and side windows. Check out some examples to see the difference and get one ordered. This CPL from Gobe isn’t a particularly expensive one, but it works great and is a great addition to your camera gear.
Pro // Removes glare from photos. Works wonders on automotive shots.Cons // Only fits certain lenses.
As I said earlier, I much prefer my images to feel more natural, and I like to do that by using only natural light. But there are of course times when you do need to add a little bit extra light into a shot, which is where the Lume Cube is perfect. It’s tough, rugged, waterproof, and is fits in the palm of your hand. It comes with a few filters to cover the lens, to help diffuse the light and make it softer, as well as having warm and cold light effects. The LED also work on a variable scale, allowing you to adjust the brightness from 1-100 to really get the perfect amount of light in your shots. You’re also able to pair them to your phone, so you can remotely adjust the brightness, which is great when you’re lighting the inside of the tent and want to get the exposure just right. You can place them around, put them on a tripod, or mount them directly to your camera making them really versatile and worth picking up.
Pros // Small, tough and waterproof. Dimmable light. Can control via phone. Not too expensive.Cons // Battery life could be better.
I’ve had this thing for years, and it’s still as good as it was the day I got it. It’s a hard shell card wallet, that’s pretty tough: it’s water proof, shock proof, and I think it would take quite a lot of abuse before it broke. Inside a soft rubber interior lets you hold a 12 Micro SD and 12 SD cards, so it’s perfect to have in your bag. I like to keep mine organised, but placing used / full cards face down, and empty cards face up, so I can quickly change over when I need to. The come in a range of different formats, and are really well priced, so I’d definitely advise people to get one. There was a protruding hanging tag which meant it didn’t quite fit in my ICU correctly, but I sliced it off with a knife and now it fits in perfectly.
Pros // Small size. Robust and tough. Waterproof. Very affordable.Cons // Sometimes the cards are a little hard to get out. Had to cut off part of the plastic for it to fit in my bag.
I hate getting caught without batter, whether it’s for my phone, camera, head torch or speakers, I really hate running out of juice. I have quite a collection of battery packs like this, that let me keep my phone charged up if I’m camping overnight, and also work well as a great emergency way to charge camera batteries or a head torch if you get caught out. It can be tempting to buy a cheap one, but it’s one thing that I would really recommend spending a reasonable amount on. I think I usually spend about £40 and they seem work really well (until I lose).
Pros // Great for keeping your phone charged when camping.Cons // Can be quite expensive to buy a good, reliable brand. I always seem to lose them.
My old MacBook had an SD card slot straight into the computer, and it was one of the things I thought I would really miss when upgrading to the new model. But having bought this SD Card Reader, I’m finding I actually prefer using this to going straight in. I used to use a Micro SD Card > SD Card adapter to import drone photos, but now I can import both camera and drone photos at the same time, and I never accidentally leave my SD Card in my Mac and head out empty handed.
Pros // Can import both drone and camera images at the same time.Cons // It’s another dongle and cable to carry around.
I’ve mentioned in the introduction that I’m pretty hard on my gear. I treat it as a tool to be used, and never shy away from bad weather, rain or dirt. Changing lenses so often means I often get dust spots and dirt on the sensor, so I like to carry a cleaning kit with me at all times so I can blow, wipe, swab and brush away any dirt or moisture. My kit usually contains a rocket blower, brush/swab pen, lens cloths, Zeiss lens wipes, sensor cleaning fluid and sensor swabs. Whilst it can be scary at first to clean your camera’s sensor, it’s something that is worth getting comfortable with. It’s always good to inspect your sensor and lenses before, during and after a shoot, and know how to safely clean and maintain your gear. That being said, always be very careful when doing anything with your sensor, it’s the most delicate and important part of your camera, so be sure you are confident in what you’re doing before going anywhere near it.
Pros // always being able to clean and maintain your gear. Being able to regularly remove those pesky dust spots that mirrorless systems are famous for.Cons // Can be daunting and risky to clean your sensor. There’s a lot of waste paper and foil when using lens wipes.
One of the most important things in my bag and something I always make sure I have on me. It’s not just great for pre-sunrise hikes and getting caught out after sunset, but also for getting creative with blue hour shots. I keep two head torches in my bag, which is helpful if someone forgets theirs, but also really great if you want to ask someone to wear one for a shot. I’ve made sure that my head torch also has a red light feature, which helps protect your eye’s ability to see in the dark, so if you’re shooting astro you don’t keep blinding yourself every time you want to change settings.
Pros // Always being prepared. Being able to capture creative blue hour shots. Red light is perfect for astro.Cons // Batteries, batteries, batteries. Lending out your spare to people means it often goes missing.
I always like to keep a knife handy in my bag as you never know when it’s going to come in handy. This knife by Lansky aims to meet as many of the legal carry laws as possible; which basically means it’s a short, unfixed, non-spring loaded blade. If you’re going to carry a knife it’s important to know the laws and regulations in place, and it’s good to keep within them; so whilst this isn’t the nicest looking knife out there, I know it does the job and isn’t going to get me into trouble. I removed the clip from it to make it more streamlined, and added a short cord so it’s easy to attach to things.
Pros // Legal carry. Small and compact.Cons // It isn’t the prettiest knife available.
My little black tape goes everywhere with me. If you’ve ever seen my camera bodies, you’ll probably notice little strips of tape stuck over it. Firstly I like to cover over the orange illumination light so that it doesn’t flash; you can turn it off for AF Illumination, but it will still flash on self-timer, which can ruin other people’s shots when taking long exposure. Also if it’s really wet outside I’ll tape up vulnerable areas of my camera bodies to try and improve the weather sealing – it seems to work well. And in general, tape is always handy to have around.
Pros // Great for on-the-go weather sealing. You’ll always find uses for it.Cons // Camera looks a bit like Frankenstein covered in scraps of tape.
I really like having a neck gaiter or Buff around to help keep some of the warmth in in colder weather. Just being able to cover you face and mouth helps you to keep the elements out and keep yourself feeling comfortable for longer. Being comfortable and not feeling miserable in the weather is vital to being creative and wanting to keep shooting. I never go anywhere with out it. I also find the air-con on a plane gives me a nasty throat for a few hours, so I also like to wear it whilst flying too.
Pros // Small and light. Keeps you feeling comfortable longer.Cons // Can look a bit intimidating to people.
Weather is always unpredictable, especially in the harsher environments that I like to be in. Even on the cloudiest of days the sun can break through for a little bit and you might want a little extra shielding from the sun. They’re also super important when doing anything in the snow, as exposure to snow on a sunny day for even a few hours can cause snow-blindness and ruin your trip. This pair weren’t particular expensive but have come in handy on countless occasions. With leather side shields to help block out extra light, and being rated to Cat3, they’re perfect for the brightest places.
Pros // Great for bright snow. Wrap around rubber arms. Neck lanyard. Look cool.Cons // Don’t look cool. Neck lanyard.
There’s a reason that Nalgene bottles are so popular in the outdoor community. They can take a real pounding, last for years and are BPA free. The wide opening at the top means its quick and easy to fill from a stream or waterfall, lets you put whole chunks of ice in there, or ram it full of snow to melt. They are a little expensive for a water bottle, but they last so long that it’s worth the investment.
Pros // Long lasting. Tough. Wide opening for easy filling. BPA Free.Cons // Difficult to drink whilst driving.
This water bladder fits perfectly in my Osprey climbing backpack and is great for those long days where you’re wanting to move quickly and efficiently. Osprey make decent kit, which means that there’s no dribbling or leaking from the nozzles, which I have had before with other brands. It’s also really great to fill up with water and stuff into your bag if you’re going camping, as it can often fit in places where a large bottle wouldn’t.
Pros // Easy to access. Can fit in your bag easily. Large size.Cons // Doesn’t get much day-to-day use.
These are the main cards I use when shooting photos. The fast write speed makes it great for shooting continuous photos on both the α7Riii and α7iii, as well as being great for video. Importing is quicker thanks to the fast transfer speeds, although they are one of the pricier cards on the market. I like to use 64GB cards as I know that it’s more than enough for a heavy day’s shooting, and I tend to import, back-up and format cards regularly.
Pros // Fast read and write speeds.Cons // Some have claimed there’s compatibility issues with α7Riii.
Because the drone takes smaller images, and doesn’t have the same continuous shooting capabilities of the Sony’s, I don’t spend as much on the cards I use in my drone. I also rarely use my drone for video, so find that the write speed never bottlenecks and slows down my work. I’ve got a couple of these Micro SD Cards, and like to keep a few to hand, because it’s easy to forget to put it back in the drone after import.
Pros // Relatively cheap. Great for Drone use.Cons // Might be limited if shooting video.
If you’ve not gotten yourself a Solid State Drive yet, then it should be the next thing you’re looking to buy. The speeds at which this can transfer images is far superior to a traditional Hard Disk Drive, which means it’s not only quicker to import, but also faster to view images, edit images, save and back-up. This SSD from SanDisk is designed to be pretty hard wearing, take a few drops and be water resistant. They’re also tiny, and take up hardly any room in your bag. I use two of them regularly, both 1TB drives, and I keep them synchronised, so my photos are always backed up. The 2TB and larger get quite expensive, but I find 1TB is usually enough for my current and recent work/trips.
Pros // A lot faster than HDD. Small and light. Rugged and tough. Water and drop resistant.Cons // More expensive than HDD. Gets very expensive in large capacities.
The Lacie is probably one of the most iconic hard drives around, and something that every photographer owns or has owned. They’re the original tough hard drive, designed to take a drop or knock here and there, tanks to the giant orange bumper the whole way around it. They’re still a great hard drive to use, and although I have upgraded to use the SanDisk SSD now I like to keep them around for additional back ups and file access if I’m away for long periods.
Pros // The original rugged drive. Looks the part.Cons // Slower than modern SSD.
Around once a month I do a full back up of my working hard drives. Everything that’s been shot and worked on on the SanDisk SSDs get’s copied to my large archives. These are bigger and require being plugged into power, but it means that I never take them with me anywhere where they might get damaged. They stay safe and sound at home or in the van. I have two of these that I use at any given time, making sure that my archives are backed up in two places, and then I replace them when they are full. As they aren’t portable, they are able to hold a lot more data. I like to opt for the 6TB drives as it seems to offer the best value for money.
Pros // Great for large back ups and archives.Cons // Not portable. Make noise when being used.
This is the Amazon’s best kept secret and is essential for every photographer. I’d be willing to say that most people have an Amazon Prime account, which means you have access to Amazon Photos, but it’s hardly advertised anywhere so no one uses it. What Amazon Photos gives you is UNLIMITED RAW and JPG storage. Yep, unlimited. The user interface isn’t particularly great, and it takes a long time to back up, but its the perfect way to make sure all your images are backed up to the cloud, and the chances are that you already have access to it and didn’t know.
Pros // Unlimited, yes unlimited, RAW and JPG Storage. Included on Prime Membership.Cons // Slow user interface. Difficult to organise.
My current working computer. It’s a late 2019 MacBook Pro in the newly released 16″ screen size. The large screen makes it perfect for editing and is a huge step up from my previous 13″ MacBook. The Touch Bar is a nice addition for easy access to handy tools and features, and the sound quality is great for some background editing vibes. At first I didn’t think I’d like the loss of SD Card slots and traditional USBs, but I’m finding that I as everything switches to USB-C then it isn’t really an issue. I love the ability to charge it through any of the USB ports, so you can keep cables neat whether you left or right of the plug. The new, larger trackpad is also great fro working within Photoshop and Lightroom.
Pros // Great sound quality. Amazing spec. Good battery life. Great screen quality and colour. Fast and reliable.Cons // Is rather expensive. I dented the back of it after two weeks.
I hate throwing things away, especially when it’s technology that I’ve gotten so much use out of; it’s the same reason why I never throw any of my cameras away. I had this MacBook from 2013 up until 2019 and it always performed amazingly. I upgraded as I felt it was beginning to feel a tiny bit slow (in no way a major issue), and I was wanting a larger screen size for improved workflow. I still like to keep my old one handy, just in case I drop my newer one (again) or in case I want to take a lighter computer on a trip.
Pros // 7 years old and still running strong. Smaller and lighter than 16″Cons // Beginning to feel a little slow. Small screen size. I cracked the apple logo on the back.
This has to be one of the best laptop cases I’ve had. Whilst it doesn’t offer masses of protection from crushing or dropping, it’s made from a really durable material, and has great quality zips and seams. There’s a two great handles on it that mean it’s easy to carry, and the large pocket on the front is great for hard drives and adapters.
Pros // Durable. Great handles. Good sized zip pocket for accessories.Cons // Not a lot of padding.
On the rare occasion that I’m working from home and not in the van, I like to set up and run a second monitor. I find it helps a lot with workflow when working on a large project or when using real estate heavy apps like Final Cut. The picture quality and refresh rate in this monitor is great, but I’ve never been able to get the colours exactly right. So I tend to rely on my MacBook for colour grading, and use the second monitor for file management, emailing, and referencing.
Pros // Great for processing a lot of images. Great for multi-tasking. Helpful when working in busy apps.Cons // Hard to colour calibrate.