Today’s letter is E, and this is the hottest photographer topic out there – so here goes my version. This post is not actually about what every photographer needs – because every photographer will have different needs basis their area of specialisation, their style and preferences. So this post really is about equipment I need for almost every shoot.

This is a super short, brief and quicky kind of a post on gear. If you’d like me to talk about What’s In My Bag, my recommendations, reviews of the lenses and equipment I’ve used, my top choices for various different genres of photography and more – then please either email me or comment here with your questions/ topics that you’d like to know more about. I’d be happy to answer.

Also note that it’s not the camera but the photographer that creates a photo. I shot my first few portfolio shoots with equipment that cost under 50k total and (and learnt the basics of exposure on a point-and-shoot which had a Manual mode), so it’s really not about the equipment. Max your existing equipment out in terms of capability before upgrading.

1. Main Camera Body 

My trusty Canon 6D serves as my primary body. I like that it’s got the exact same sensor as the 5D Mark III, but is much lighter (and I prefer the ergonomics on this). A camera body should facilitate your doing your best work – you shouldn’t be fumbling with it. My 6D fits the bill perfectly and I couldn’t be happier with it.

Some people do complain of back-focussing issues, but I use the focus-recompose method for focussing (in the same plane of focus) so I’ve never really faced this issue.

2. Back up Camera Body

My first camera body, the Canon 700D, now serves as my back up body. It’s a great camera and does the job well. Of course it’s no full-frame like the 6D, but good enough to be a  back up.

No professional should land up at a once-in-a-life kind of gig without a back up body. It’s criminal.

3. 50 mm prime

I use a variety of lenses but my most-used lens is my 50 mm. I started with the 50 mm f/1.8 and quickly upgraded to the 50 mm f/1.4. I love using primes because that’s what suits my style. I like zooming in and out with my feet and I feel my composition (and image quality) suffers when I use a zoom. I know many who swear by their 24-70mm for all purpose shooting, but I’m not one of them!

4. Back up lens

Must have a back up copy of each lens/ focal length that you need – for a once-in-a-life gig. If you drop a lens and it breaks, then you’d better have a fall back option (pun totally intended).

4. Flash (while shooting indoors)

With flash, you get what you paid for. I started with the Canon 430 EXII. Bad decision. I ended up quickly upgrading to the 600 EXRT. It does the job. Nothing to write home about, but it is the top off camera flash Canon makes and it’s good to own and use one.

5. Sony AA Batteries 

MUCH better than Eneloop! Really! True story. I couldn’t believe it either – but it’s true. These recycle much faster, and also last longer on a single charge.

6. SanDisk SD Cards

You may choose to go off-brand with several pieces of equipment like lenses, batteries, flash, etc. But do yourself a favour and NEVER go off-brand with your SD card. Your work needs to last on these until you get back to your office and take a couple of back ups. I don’t risk losing data over tech issues (it’s like losing dollars over pennies really) and invest in the best SD cards. Sounds silly, but this is one area you should NEVER scrimp on!

7. Adobe CC for Photographers 

A must have for all professionals. Needs no introduction. Go get your license now.

8. Photo Mechanic

A LIFE SAVER when it comes to culling photos. If you’ve sat up all night culling through hundreds and thousands of photos sl..oo… and painfully on Lightroom, suffer no more. Go get your license for this amazing software which will save you HOURS on each shoot. You can let me know if you’d like me to do a full review of this.

9. Tons of HDDs

You’ll be dealing with TBs of data, so please invest in good quality, branded HDDs! I use Transcend and Seagate and I love both.