What's a gear list?
It's pretty self-explanatory.
It's a list of hardware and software a photographer uses in their day-to-day operations to create their images. I've decided to add my gear list to my "About" page, so clients have an idea of how I execute a shoot, even if the true quality of an image comes from the technical skill and creative vision of the person behind the camera, not the gear itself (I mean it; Searching for Sugar Man was partially shot on an iPhone and won a BAFTA and an Academy Award).
I'm sure the list will change as time goes on, but here's what I'm packing now and how I use each item in my arsenal:
Canon EOS 6D Mark II
Main camera body; allows control over settings like shutter speed, aperture, data (image) size.
Canon 17-40 mm F/4-5.6
When you see a lot of numbers, it's safe to assume I'm describing a lens. This one in particular is a wide-angle lens, which means I'll be able to capture both my subject and my subject's surroundings.
Canon 50 mm F/1.8
Another lens! We call this one the nifty fifty. A prime (non-telephoto) lens, I use this option often when I'm on the move.
Canon 85 mm F/1.8
But, Quinn, that's the same as the last one! Yes! ...And no. The longer lens length means I can't get as close to my subject to create the image, but it also means that whatever isn't in focus in the image will have more pronounced blur; that luscious, beautiful blur that says here is the subject, pay attention to nothing else.
Canon 70-200 mm F/2.8
If someone were to artfully make a comparison between photographers and knights, this lens would be my sword. The telephoto nature of this lens allows for versatility, while the wide aperture allows for buttery backgrounds like the one I described above.
Sigma 70-300 mm F/4-5.6
This lens is the last on my list because it's useful in easy lighting situations - and those situations are rare. I'll bring this along if I'm expecting to be far from my subject in an environment with predictable lighting, like an indoor event.
A lot of equipment makes up my portable studio, but listing the individual pieces would take years from both our lives. All that's important to know is I am able to carry up to three off-camera flashes, two simple backdrops (one black, one white), and two reflective umbrellas. The studio itself is indoor-only, but the lighting can be set up outdoors as well. Professional lighting can be requested separate from the portable studio, but if the full studio set up is part of our agreement, the entire shebang can be packed into my vehicle, hauled to your location, and set up in thirty minutes.
An industry standard software, Photo Mechanic allows me to choose the best un-toned images from a batch, quickly, so I don't inundate my clients with images that include people with their eyes closed, uncomfortable-looking poses, and the like.
Another industry standard, I use Adobe Lightroom to tone images after I cull them in Photo Mechanic. Toning includes fixing too-bright highlights, too-dark shadows, adding depth by adding contrast and adjusting whites and blacks, color grading hues, fixing image noise, and making sure the absolute most detail is in every file I deliver. I promise I will never use a "filter" over your precious images. All toning I do is customized based on what is best for your photos!
The final step in the editing process! If a client has elected to purchase a retouching service for the images, I'll take the toned photos into Adobe Photoshop. There, I'll use frequency separation, techniques with a high-pass filter, and other brushes and tools in the software to clear skin and remove dark circles from the face.
WeTransfer has changed my life. No waiting for two hours in order for Google Drive to upload a client's 35 files. No weird permissions that always somehow revert back to "view only." I simply WeTransfer the client their images, the client clicks on the link in the e-mail, and bam they have their images forever.
This list isn't extensive, of course, but these are the items I use most often. Not included are some gels, a lightbox, and a bunch of other nonsense I'm sure I've forgotten about.
Additionally, I'm aware my blog is read by fellow photographers, and I'd love to know what's on your gear list! Comment below if we have any similar favorites or if you have any recommendations!
(Cover image by Rachael Yadlowski)