What's in my bag? I'm sure most of you are curious, both from a photographer and a cilents perspective. I hope you are finding these behind the scenes posts interesting, feel free to suggest any topics you'd like me to cover in the future.
First of all, I carry all of my equiptment around in a padded backpack to protect all of my equiptment. Secondly, there are loads of pockets and compartments which means I can fit alot in there!
I expect the first thing you'd all like to know about is, what I shoot with! My main body is a Canon 70d. I have a personal preference to Canon's, I just prefer the feel of Canon's and I like the way in which you can use them. I don't think there's much difference between Nikon's or Canon's, but we've always been a Canon family so it made sense to stick to Canon!
The two lenses I always carry with me are my 70-200mm F/4 and a 24-70mm F2.8. The 70-200 is my favourite lense to use, with such a range of focal lengths I dont' have to be right up in the horses space to get the shots I want. It also allows me to take several shots in quick sucession, allowing me to zoom in and out to change the composition and crop. I love everything about this lense, I've used it to cover both portrait sessions and at events.
The 24-70mm lense is my latest purchase. Whilst I love my 70-200, I often found it wasn't ideal in every situation. The 24-70mm is perfect for capturing wide angle shots, to show off the full body of the horse, or capture a view. Secondly, it allowed me to work in tighter spaces - ideal for black background photographs.
For those of you who don't know much about cameras, the "F stop" refers to the appeture - which basically translates to how much light you are letting in to the camera. I tend to shoot in the ranges of F4-5.6 for most shots. The lower the F stop number, the less, however, is in focus - I always like to have soft backgrounds in my photographs so I try to calculate a happy medium between having the subject in focus and a background that's as soft as possible. The 24-70mm allows me to have a slightly higher appeture (lower F stop) which also makes it ideal for close up shots of products. I find this lense being used most for my black background shots as it allows me to have the foreground (the horse's head and neck) sharp and then a softer focus as you reach their quarters and legs.
You will also find a cleaning cloth for my lenses in my bag along with wipes and a "sucker pen" to get off any dirt. My lenses both are fitted with UV filters to protect the actual glass on the lense and to reduce the UV entering my camera. I carry spare memory cards and camera batteries too!
Also in my bag, I carry a reflector. This is a circular disk, think of it like a big frizbee! The reflector has two metalic surfaces: a silver and a gold side. A reflector is used to bring light in to shaded areas of the subject, most commonly used to reduce harsh shadows on the subjects face. Where possible, I try and work in the shade when the sun is harsh. Additionally, not all horses like a big shiny thing in their face, it also requires me having someone on the ground with me to hold and angle the reflector which isn't always possible. I always carry it though as I never know when I will need it.
Of course, there's alwyas plenty of food and water in my bag, especially for yard day shoots. There's alot of walking and moving around during a shoot so I like to keep hydrated. Anyone who knows me will tell you I am always munching! I will also have sun cream in there during the summer and extra layers during the winter.
I also carry plenty of items in my bag to get the horses attention! These include: crisp packets, a treat bucket, cloths, keys and squeaky toys!
To each shoot I bring along product samples to view. These fit in my rucksack and include: a photo book, acrylic blocks, a canvas and a cushion. I think it's important to show these off as I can talk about the features of the product and it also gives my client a chance to ask me questions, touch and flick through the products. People always love to see the products in the flesh as perhaps they may not have even considered having their photographs printed on a particular item until they had seen it!
And lastly, in my rucksack you will find my flyers to leave with my client to share with other liveries and friends at their yard. This is really important to help me build my business which is largely based on word of mouth referals. I also carry leaflets from my favourite businesses: Becka James Equestrian and Bex's Browbands and Collars, as I love promoting what they do!