Whats in the bag – Dorset Commercial Photographer

Whats in the bag – Dorset Commercial Photographer

I’m always asked what I shoot with and why. I shoot a lot of different things and so what’s in my bag can be different. What I take on a commercial shoot is different to what I take for a portrait shoot or a Wedding.

Here’s a picture of what I normally take into photographic battle – all snug in my Peli 1510 case. If I’m taking a bit more kit then I’ll also take along my Lowepro Magnum 650AW. Below I’ve listed what kit I have and what it’s use and pros are. Each piece of gear has a link to amazon too if you want to splurge out 🙂

Here’s an image of some of the kit inside my peli case.


Camera Bodies (Nikon)

I used to shoot Canon bodies, but, now I use Nikon, nothing wrong with any brand of camera these days, it just so happens I shoot Nikon at the moment. Here’s what I use today:
Nikon D3S – Great Pro body built like a tank and just works.
Nikon D800 Digital SLR Camera – Superb High resolution camera when you need the best this doesn’t disappoint.
Nikon D610 Digital SLR Camera – great lighter body, dual card slots and superb image quality.
Nikon D7100 Digital SLR Camera – perfect for high speed shooting when you need more reach and a lighter body with dual card slots.
Nikon D5100 Digital SLR camera – great for a light body and my panoramic and the flip out screens make things easy to frame from difficult angles.
GoPro HERO3+ BLACK Edition – a great little video camera that can be put in a variety of places and delivers great image quality.


Lenses come in zoom and prime variety, it’s good to have a mix for different situations. Here’s what I use on a regular basis.


Zooms are great for when you’re needing to get a lot of different shots in a short amount of time, though the downside is the fast f/2.8 zooms tend to be heavy so if you’re carrying them around a lot you might get back ache. Also take a look at the primes I use below.
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Lens – for wide angle shots such as landscapes and architecture this lens is unbeatable. Super sharp at f/2.8 it gets better as you stop down if you need more depth of field one of the best lenses nikon makes.
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Lens – a pretty much must have lens for a lot of studio and commercial work, lets me get the correct framing without resorting to primes when you don’t know how much space you have or want to get a variety of images in a short amount of time this is essential. Sharp as anything at f/2.8 this is a great choice if you only have one lens.
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens – this is the latest version of nikons telezoom. I have the older 80-200 but that’s no longer made so I’ve referred to the newer one. I don’t often use this lens but it’s handy when you need that bit more reach at f/2.8


Fixed focal length lenses. You get even better image quality and faster apertures for low light. Here’s what I use.
Sigma 8mm f3.5 Circular Fisheye EX DG – great for getting a 180 degree field of view for panorama’s etc.
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G Lens – I used to have a 24/1.4 lens when I shot with Canon and although it was great I always found 24 a bit too wide for lots of uses. So I was glad when nikon released a 28 fast prime for when the 35mm is a bit too narrow. None of the horrible distortion for people that you get with a 24mm.. great lens.
Nikon AF NIKKOR 35mm f/2D Lens – although there are now 1.4 and 1.8 versions with AF-S motors this little gem is small/ light and great quality wise – and price wise it’s very competitive. I’m a fan of if it’s not broke then don’t fix it. Great compliment to the 28mm.
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G Lens – a standard 50mm is a must have in any kit, the 1.8G version is great too but for a little extra you get the 1.4. Not the fastest focussing but this focal length is a very natural one and ideal for when you don’t have the room for anything longer.
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens – A great portrait lens.. the 1.4 allows it to be used in super low light and this focal length is considered the gold ribbon for portraits. If I had to choose the best portrait lens this would be it. There is also a great option in the Nikon 85/1.8 AF-S G lens which is new but great value.
Nikon AF-S VR Micro NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Lens – A great portrait and macro lens, where light and distance allow this lens cannot be beat. The image quality is astounding. You can shoot close up and get 1:1 magnification. Best of all you also get a great VR on it too. This lens should be in everyones bag if you shoot nikon.
Commercial Photography

Memory cards (CF and SD)

You’ve got some great cameras and lenses, now you need to make sure that you get the right memory cards. I’ve personally used the below and can vouch for their reliability. They also come with free recovery software so can’t complain.
Transcend 32GB CF card Ultimate 1000x – I’ve benchmarked these cards at over 100MB/s write speeds – great for the big files coming off the d800.
Transcend 64GB Ultimate SDXC UHS Ultra High Speed Class 3
Memory Card
– great for video and for SD card cameras such as D800, D610, D7100.
SanDisk SDCFXS-032G-X46 32GB Extreme 120MB/s UDMA 7 CompactFlash Memory Card – If you want to stick with a more well known brand you can’t go wrong with these Sandisk cards.
SanDisk SDSDX-032G-X46 32 GB Extreme 45 MB/s Class 10 SDHC Memory Card – Fast SD Sandisk cards. Unless you have an Fuji XT1 it’s not worth getting the UHS-II-U3 speed cards yet.

Camera bags

Bags & Cases

You need something to carry all your cameras and lenses in, bags are a well know photographic nirvana with it needing a different bag for different things. Here’s what I’ve come to rely on.

PELI Suitcase 1510 – rolling case – my go to bag. This holds everything safe and secure in a bomb proof solid case. This can also double as a mini step if needed on shoots!
Lowepro Magnum 650 AW Pro Photo Shoulder Bag – holds a lot of kit. It’s almost too heavy when full, great for when you have to take the kitchen sink.
Tamrac 5273 Expedition 3 Photo Backpack – great rucksack that fits the essentials in. This is my small job backpack, fits a couple of bodies, lenses, flashes and memory cards. Also deep so it takes a pro body.

Lowepro bag


Nikon SB-700 Speedlight Flash Unit – best nikon flashgun out there. 99% of the power and features of the sb910 but half the price. Bargain for when you need on camera flashgun.
Nikon SB-910 Speedlight Flash Unit – the king, most powerful fully featured nikon flash. A few extra features the SB700 doesn’t have.. but.. if you don’t use those features then get the SB700 and save some cash.
YongNuo YN-560 III Flashgun – best value flashgun for manual use. Has a built in wireless receiver so you don’t need to worry about bring extra receivers and running out of batteries. Packs a big punch too. You can get 4 of these for the price of a dedicated flashgun. An easy way to add power.
Commercial Photography Flashguns


Yongnuo RF-603 N3 2.4GHz Wireless Flash Trigger/Wireless Shutter – trigger flashes manually from as far away as you might want to be.

Yongnuo YN-622N – a fully iTTL version of the above flashes. You can control everything from the camera, for when you know you’re going to be changing things but don’t want to walk. Allows full manual control too.
Zoom H1 Portable Digital Recorder, Version 2.0 – great mini pocket sized audio recorder with amazing audio. No XLR inputs but honestly for getting great sound you don’t need it IMO.
Rode Videomic – for getting better on camera sound with less handling noise and no sound from behind camera this is great.
Nikon ME-1 Stereo Microphone – gets great sound and loads better than the built in microphones.
Think Tank Pee Wee Pixel Pocket Rocket Memory Card Holder – keeps all the cards organised and is bright red so easier to see in the inside of bags holds both CF and SD cards so it great now that a lot of people use mixed CF/SD card cameras.

Tripods and heads

Tripods and heads are often seen as dull and boring. This may not be the most exciting stuff, but, a good tripod will last forever and good support is essential for long exposures and video work, don’t cheap out on these. Here’s what I use.
Manfrotto 190 Carbon Fibre 4 Section Tripod with Horizontal Column – For when you want a light tripod but don’t want it to fall apart this is great.
Manfrotto 055XPROB Tripod – not worried about weight and want something that will be solid. This can’t be beaten for the money. Study as it gets.
Manfrotto 496RC2 Ball Head with Friction Control – quick and easy to adjust, not the most precise but it will get you in the ball park (gettit 🙂 ) – very versatile.
Manfrotto 327RC2 Light Duty Grip Ball Head – will support a bit more than the normal ball head but it is bigger and no good if you’re using a fisheye. Is quicker than the standard ball head though.
Manfrotto Video head – perfect for video, smooth pan and tilt. Recommended if you’re getting into video with dSLRS.
Manfrotto MVM500A Aluminum Fluid Monopod with 500 Head – perfect for on the move video as it has a little foot on the bottom which is awesome!

I hope that the above is useful – please let me know using the comments below

In the interest of open and honesty, please note the links above all link to Amazon items. I am an amazon affiliate so I may/may not get a small %-age from the above items depending on where you order them from

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