What’s in the Bag? | Eye on Business

Hello all! This is Jodee, the Bag Lady, Ball coming to you from JP Ball Photography. Today’s Eye on Business segment is a little less business oriented than usual. I decided to talk about what’s in my bag. Exciting stuff you say? Well, thanks. That’s the goal.

I decided to use this topic for the simple fact that I LOVED and still love reading about what equipment other photographers take along to their sessions. It has helped me to either wisely invest in quality equipment or has saved me from making unnecessary equipment purchases. Bam. There’s the business side of this blog post. We all know that it is very easy to purchase equipment (Darn you, Amazon.com) and much of it we don’t even need.

I am truly a bag lady when hiking around at my senior sessions. I don’t own a cute little camera bag. I use a gym bag, a tote and the standard, boring-looking camera bag. No frills, but they serve a purpose.

One of the benefits of senior photography is the ability to play with our lenses and lighting scenarios. Seniors tend to be very laid back, they can remain still for the photo, take direction and love knowing you are trying something new with them.

For this reason, I pack heavier for seniors than any other portrait session!

I am a Canon girl. Don’t hate if you hail from the other team. Remember, the camera equipment doesn’t make the photographer. Isn’t that what we tell others? 🙂

I shoot with a Canon 5diii.  I love using the 85mm 1.2 and the 70-200mm with seniors. The 85mm is a heavy lens and is slower to focus, but the images it produces are nothing short of amazing. The 70-200mm is also a bulky and heavy lens. But, again, it produces a distortion-free portrait with incredible bokeh and sharp clarity. Both lenses enable me to be at a slight distance from the senior. Aside from macro shots, I try not to invade their personal space while shooting.

I carry a couple of other lenses as well, but rarely pull them out of the bag. I carry a 50mm 1.4 in case we are shooting in a tight area. I also carry a 100mm macro lens. I know it’s a little odd to carry a macro for a senior, but many seniors appreciate the artistic images highlighting their session details like instrument strings, eyelashes, and jewelry. These images make albums and other custom items have an element of interest and style.

In addition to the camera and lenses, I alway pack a Speedlite and off camera flash equipment. Usually it is an umbrella or small softbox with a Quantum light and battery pack. Many times, our natural light is so perfect, I don’t even bring the OCF equipments out of the trunk.

For added insurance, I always pack an extra camera battery, newly charged nickel batteries for the flash and a couple of compact flash cards.  I keep my phone on me. Not to talk or text but to have a quick reference to an image or idea the senior or myself might have. If I know we are in a marathon shoot, I tuck away a couple of protein bars as well.

In addition to my bags of equipment, I carry along a large standing Larson reflector. It’s so lightweight, I still need an assistant to hold it for me. It folds up like an umbrella and is easy to carry.

And the most important, non-equipment, item that I tote around my sessions is… a small step stool. At a towering 5’1”, I am usually much shorter than my clients over the age of 5. And if the senior is standing, I need to be slightly above him/her.

So, there you have it. If you’re just starting to fill your bags of equipment, I hope you have found this helpful!

For those of you who are seasoned pros, what is the one piece of equipment (minus the camera) you must use during your senior sessions?  Tell us on Facebook or Twitter!