The photo gear you buy and use depends on your subject.
I often get asked about what type of camera equipment someone should buy or use at an event. Of course my answer is always the same, it depends on what your subject is. They give me a bewildered look and I have to explain.
Here is a brief outline of how I choose what gear to buy, and what I should bring along for one of my assignments.
- I find out what my subject will be, weddings, sporting events, portraits, nature etc. and what medium, video or stills.
- I determine if I have previous experience shooting that subject. If so I skip to 4.
- If I have no experience, I do a search on google and find top photographers/videographers in that field. I search their galleries, find what type of equipment they use to achieve those photos, learn their techniques and go from there.
- If I don’t have the equipment, which is more often the case then not, I decide if I can get away with using what I have. If I can’t I might have to buy, but that all depends if can afford the purchase. Another determining factor is if I will be able to use the new gear on future assignments. (If this is a paid gig, it is best to know this BEFORE agreeing to the job)
- If I can use the gear in the future, and it’s within my budget I’ll usually make the purchase. If it’s gonna be a one time thing, probably not.
- Once this is done I’m well on my way to having great photos, no matter the event.
- Of course knowing lighting, framing, Photoshop, Lightroom, and Final Cut doesn’t hurt
So what gear do I use? Well it changes frequently. Until last year I was using two Canon Mark II’s, and two Canon XL2’s Mini DV camera, plus a bunch of lenses. When I decided to upgrade to newer stuff, I found that the Canon 7D could shoot photos as well as video. The problem, was that the 7D wasn’t really designed to be used as a full functioning video camera, so I had to purchase additional gear to make it work properly. Since I shoot photos and video, the 7D was an easy choice. If I were just shooting photos I would probably opt for one of the higher end Canon’s like the EOS-1D Mark VI.
Below are a couple photos of typical setups I use when shooting different types of events.
1. My typical setup for events like sports. I love the 70-200mm lens and use it a bunch. If I'm doing weddings I have a bunch of external flash units that I use.
2. The above photos are a typical setup for tripod mounted video shots.
3. This rig is when I need to shoot video hand-held with the 7D.
4. Just some various lenses and an extender for longer shots.
There is a bunch of other stuff I might use on any given shoot whether it is video or photo. Some examples are, flash units, lighting, White balance tools, Exposure Meter, Camera Boom, External Mics, Camera Stabilizer, and of course lots of CF flash cards.
Just remember that depending on the event, my equipment bag can change drastically.
See you in the hills or shooting an event.