Favorite Photography Gear

What’s in My Camera Bag? Photography Tool-Kit & Favorite Gear

What should you have in your camera bag? A photographer’s toolkit is essential to what makes them, them. Every photographer, along with their personal style, will have very varied toolkits. Their camera bags could tell you a story about how and what they photograph. I think you’d be hard pressed to find any two photographers with the same exact equipment in their bags. This article covers my favorite photography gear.

As a studio and outdoor portrait photographer, my bag changes depending on the day. My two main lenses are my workhorses, one for indoor, and one for outdoor. The others are nice to haves for variety, and in case you have a technical issue. Having a well stocked camera bag allows you to tackle the job at hand with the necessary tools, and have things at the ready should your equipment fail or run into issues.

My essential day-to-day gear will be covered below, along with recommendations and and links to comparable items.

**This article contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Influencer, I earn from qualifying purchases.**

Favorite Camera Body

I have been a Canon fan my entire life, and I recently made the switch to the mirrorless Canon R5. Wow, what a game-changer! I was previously using the Canon 5D Mark III, and I loved this camera so much. The color on my 5DMIII was so good in quality, I never did upgrade to the Mark IV in between (I also heard a lot of mixed feelings about the color on Mark IV).

I do find R5 is certainly an adjustment in regards to color. For me, who shoots in RAW, the R5’s color is a bit duller and needs some more punching up in post. It is definitely a learning curve, especially for those folks that use presets or color profiles.

However, THE SHARPNESS is undeniable. There are a lot of different features that are great on this camera, but the sharpness is what sold me for sure. On the downside, the file sizes are much larger than my previous camera, and it’s newer counterpart the Mirrorless R6 (which is also less expensive). So, if price and file size are a concern, the R6 might be your answer.

This camera has dual card slots, one for standard SD cards, and one for the newer CFExpress cards. The CFExpress cards are much pricier than your normal SD, but since the camera shoots to both, it is easy to keep both on hand. With this new card format you will definitely need a good, fast card reader as well. The file sizes being larger will also slow down your workflow if your computer isn’t up to par.

Shopping List:

Favorite Lenses

I have TWO lenses I can’t live with out, one for studio, and one for outdoors.

Favorite Studio Lens

For indoor sessions, I love the versatility of my 2.8L 24-70mm Canon EF lens. I know many photographers will swear by 35primes, and 85primes, and 50mm primes – but I move a lot. Kids move a lot. I like being able to zoom in or out as needed. It is my studio workhorse. It is worth noting that with the shift towards mirrorless, that EF lenses will need the adapter ring to work with the R5 or R6. As there’s nothing wrong with mine, and I don’t need to shift over to the 28-70RF F2, I haven’t felt that the adapter has been in any way detrimental to the quality of the lens or imagery, and works perfectly.

For newborn sessions, I add on my 50mm, and 100mm lenses as well, but by far the 24-70 almost never leaves my camera.

Shopping List:

Favorite Outdoor Lens

It took me a long time to take the leap into the 200mm, 2.0 lens from Canon. This thing is a TANK, or a Canon cannon, if you may. Although discontinued, this thing at 2.0 aperture is a dream. You can still find a few out there being re-sold, but stock is limited. Since it is quite a niche lens, one can only hope that Canon develops an RF mirrorless version in the future.

This lens is not for the faint of heart. It is heavy. It is bulky. You will probably need another camera bag to fit it. But it is worth it. Prior to this lens, I was using the 70-200mm 2.8L lens, which was also great. But with time, the sharpness on my particular lens just wasn’t cutting it for me and I took the jump. The 70-200mm was my workhorse outdoors for a long time, and it is still a great lens (mine was just old!). So for an alternative, the new RF 70-200 2.8L looks amazing as well, and much more affordable than the 200mm 2.0.

Shopping List

My Laptop

A big part of my photography lies in my editing. Since I started my journey in photography, I have always been a dan of and used a MacBook. Unpopular opinion- most people like working on a bigger screen, but for me, portability is key. I can edit and work anywhere. You will never see me without my laptop.

I use a sixteen inch, 16GB M1 Macbook Pro (Apple has since come out with M2pro), and have the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite on it. I use Adobe Lightoom for culling galleries and minor initial adjustments, but work with the RAW files in Photoshop for all of my editing.

Shopping List:

Related- See the tools I use in Photoshop: Top 8 Newborn Skin Editing Tools

My Editing Tablet

I applaud all of the photographers out there still editing images with a mouse! For sure there are genres that don’t rely on in depth editing that are probably ok with this. But ever since I discovered the Wacom Tablet 15 years ago, it has never left my side. There is absolutely a learning curve for using this, since you are using the stylus to essentially “draw” on your edits. The ability to move a pen organically like you are painting, as opposed to the less fluid motions of a moue, is a God-send! It may have been a bit easier for me to get used to this since I already used one to sketch at my previous design job (Hi there, I was a women’s clothing designer, and we did all of our sketches in Adobe Illustrator!)

Shopping List:

External Hard-drives for Backup

I re-iterate this to ANY client that receives digital files. Please please please, back up your images to at least two sources. This can be multiple external harddrives plus a cloud. I wouldn’t rely solely on a cloud for backup, as as you know, those can get hacked, or maybe you forget a password one day.

My favorite external hard drives are from Western Digital. I like keeping current work, and work in progress on smaller drives, and then backing up everything to a larger central drive. The below is what I use:

For safekeeping- I keep my drives, and cards in a fireproof/fire resistant safe. I have two versions, this larger document size one to hold older/more drives, and this smaller one for cards and some smaller drives and other items: Sentry Safe Fireproof & Waterproof safe box.

My Camera Bag

There are a million different camera bags out there to consider. How much gear you carry with you on a daily basis will heavily influence your decision. I’ve had bags from different vendors over the course of my business, but on my last workshop trip with Noelle Mirabella, I realized I wanted one that opened completely in the front so I could see everything instead of digging around for things. I also wanted something with more comfortable straps, and that didn’t outwardly look specifically like a camera bag.

I found this one on Amazon, and likes the padded back and straps, the hardshell front, and it’s otherwise sleek appearance. I picked dark grey, but they have lots of fun colors.

It has a few compartments and adjustable dividers, a padded laptop pocket, and a few zip compartments as well. Something nice to keep in your camera bag in case of weather changes is some sort of waterproof type cover – I keep this one in my bag! Altura Camera Rain Cover

Lens Pen / Cleaning Equipment

You definitely want to have some cleaning equipment for your lenses and camera on hand. Aside from the standard wipes and rushes, I love this cleaning “pen”.

Shopping List:

Other Equipment

Liked this article on my favorite photography gear? I will be creating a series of my photography essentials per genre. For now, I’ve started with my Newborn Photography Studio Essentials, which you can read here. It covers lighting equipment, and other tools needed for a successful newborn session and well stocked studio. Stay tuned for more in this series.

For a bigger list of equipment and other items I use in my daily work, you can visit my Amazon “Studio Equipment” storefront as well.

Related: Newborn Photography Studio Must-Haves

**This article contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Influencer, I earn from qualifying purchases.**

Sofia Ribeiro Photography is an NJ Maternity photographer, NJ Newborn photographer, and NJ Family photographer serving Union, Morris, Sussex, Bergen, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties in the North and Central New Jersey. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram & Facebook!

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Known for my fine art style, and way of capturing moms and growing families in their most beautiful stages, I pride myself in providing you the perfect images for your family to treasure. I want you to have a stress-free experience, with hands on guidance through the whole process, culminating in perfect treasures for your family to hold and admire. Choose me as your New Jersey maternity & newborn photographer to capture all of those beautiful, ever-changing, motherhood moments!

– Sofia


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Sofia Ribeiro is a New Jersey Newborn & Maternity Photographer serving the North and Central New Jersey areas, including Union, Morris, Essex, Hudson, Passaic, Middlesex, Monmouth, Sussex & Hunterdon counties, as well as New York City, and Staten Island.