Every superhero has their utility belt. At PhotoShelter, we often think of photographers and photojournalists as heroes in their own right. And while experience and imagination will always make up the lion’s share of your creative vision, the gear you carry and the programs you use undoubtedly play a major role in how it all comes together.
We asked a handful of photographers we know and love about their go-to gear. Looking ahead, we’re also curious about the equipment and the tools these creatives might want to acquire for the new year.
Whether it’s currently in your bag or it’s on your wishlist, we want to hear about it!
Get inspired by the list of responses we’ve gathered from the photo community below. Then tag us on Twitter (@photoshelter) and tell us about the tools you use every day or the camera gear you’re looking to add to your toolkit.
It’s all fair game when you’re nerding out about gear! 📸
I primarily shoot digital these days, but I always love getting film back from my medium format (Mamiya 645 and Holga currently). Prime lenses are my favorite, and the 50-85mm lens realm is my favorite. A bit of compression and shallow depth of field makes me swoon.
At the moment all I can say about my favourite equipment is Nikon Z9, Z9, Z9. I love that camera 🙂
My favorite photography tools are my sturdy Manfrotto tripod, Capture One, my 105mm f2.8 macro lens and my 24-70mm f2.8 lens, a strobe and a scrim with 1/2 stop diffusion.
My favorite tool is the autofocus on my Sony A1. Having an autofocus you can depend on in sports photography frees you up to do your job: frame, compose and create the picture you want to make as you capture the athlete at peak action.
I have to say I can be a bit of a contrarian. There are several reasons, but the biggest is I like to keep my mind open to new tools and ways of doing things. I’m always looking for ways to do my photography better…. I once used Apple’s Aperture program, then moved to Lightroom when Apple killed Aperture. But with such a vast database, Lightroom struggled, and I was constantly up against the beach ball of death. Then I found a program called Mylio Photos that has changed my photographic life. That sounds extreme, but having access to an entire library of 1.4 million photos on my 256GB iPhone, iPad, three laptops, and four desktops is game-changing… There’s not another program like Mylio Photos on the market.
My go to camera gear today is the Olympus 150-400mm F/4.5. This lens is revolutionizing wildlife photography… My main reason for moving to MFT cameras was my desire to downsize. Downsizing not just in the size and weight but much lower costs. Wildlife and nature photography has never paid well but today is even more challenging to make it profitable. It was essential to cut costs where I could, and the new Olympus gear has helped me do that.
Apart from my camera there are always 3 things I pack no matter where I go – a carbon tripod, full/graduated ND filters, a photo torch. I use this set for both travel and fine art photography and they allow me to cover most of the scenarios.
One of my favourite photographic tools is my 100-400mm lens – it allows me to get closer to little parts of the landscape that would be lost in a wider image. I also love to use some neutral density filters to slow the shutter speed down a little to capture images of waves.
I’ve used lots of tools throughout my career, always letting the job at hand determine what went into the camera bag. But the constant has always been a truly wide angle lens. Back in my film days, that was often a wonderful Olympus 21mm f2 and 28mm f2 lenses. After that there were a string of 17-35mm f2.8 lenses, which were imperfect but powerful in the beginning and now have mostly morphed into 16-35mm lenses of really pretty fabulous optics.
But the constant factor of all these was the ability to get into the middle of things, to truly connect with people at arm’s length, to layer in huge servings of context. To be sure they required delicate finesse in composition or things went weird really quickly. But I relish the connections I’m able to make and the resulting images are full of the world.
- Nikon Z 9, Nikkor 105mm f1.4
- Think Tank Airport International Roller, Think Tank Essentials Rolling Backpack
- Profoto B2s, Westcott Rapid Box
- Photo Mechanic, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom
I love Elinchrom lighting for the clean, high quality light that it offers. Editing is a huge part of my creative process and Capture One Pro is my preferred software for its unique color engine and Photoshop-style layers, as well as the unparallelled tethering performance. Working tethered is crucial in tabletop photography and was a complete game changer for me when I was starting my photography journey.
I prefer less gear whenever possible! I’ll often just use my phone when I’m photographing for fun. I’ve also started playing around with translucents and an old enlarger.
Really wanting to get the canon rf 85mm f/1.2 in my bag, I have really been enjoying outdoor portrait photography recently! 📸
— Brayden Creations (@BraydenCreation) November 7, 2022
Canon RF 15-35mm f2.8 for our next trip ti iceland. As well as the Canon RF 85mm f1.2 for portraits
— Hastenteufel Photography (@HT_Photographer) November 8, 2022
any Nikon full frame and a 35mm + the 8-16mm from Sigma!
— Dams H 📸 (@DamsHawaw) November 7, 2022
Nikon 80-400mm second hand will do, but if I had the money Nikon z9 plus 24-120 and 100-400 plus memory cards. Had a short play at a photography show, wow amazing camera, bright viewfinder. Oh of course a case to safely store it in.
— Michael Crawford Hick (@mchphotoworld) November 7, 2022
will be looking at getting the DJI Mavic 3 Classic
— André Joanisse (@AndreJoanisse) November 8, 2022
It’s probably strange but I Love the old Sony NEX7 with the SEL18-200 Lens!
— DanThΞMan 🌊📸🦈🔱 (@DanielSasse3) November 7, 2022
As far as newer equipment, would love to have the Sony 50/1.2 GM and upgrade to the Sony a7R V.
— Amanda J. Cain (@grafikAmanda) November 7, 2022
I would like the RF 100-500 lens and the RF 100mm macro lens
— Derventio photography (@carlrender1) November 7, 2022
Please send me canon rf 600 f/4 for the holidays! Looking to go on a trip to see some bears.
— Gregory Shiff (@gshiff23) November 8, 2022
Still want a low aperture UWA prime, and a new drone as there are no more batteries available for my Mavic 2 Pro (which is the stupidest reason to buy a new drone anyway) ..
— Arjan Foto | Photographer Arjan Almekinders (@lmkndrs) November 8, 2022
What photo gear do you typically bring along with you? What tools or programs are must-haves? What’s on your wishlist this year? Tag us on Twitter (@photoshelter) and let us know!