I love hearing about peoples favorite photography gear. Someone’s favorite gear reveals how they work and what’s important to them when creating images. I’ve asked 15 of the world’s top photographers what their favorite gear is and received 15 unique answers. I love that no two photographers answered the same. A photographer’s gear choices are as individual as the images they create, there is no right answer.
The question I asked was this:
What is your favorite piece of photography gear. It can be a camera, bag, strap, tripod, dolly, memory card, accessory, lighting.. literally anything used in your shooting work flow. I’m looking for a single piece of gear that makes you smile every time you use it or cry when you loose it.
Here are their responses:
Alexandra Hager is a portrait photographer with a surreal and painterly style. Think Hieronymus Bosch in the 21st century. Stunning and captivating work.
- Favorite Gear: Hasselblad cameras
- What I Use it For: Portraits and collages
- Why I Like it so Much: perfect quality and high resolution
Andy Biggs is an African nature photographer (+ adventurer, teacher, conservationist) who sells stock photos and fine art prints of his work. Through his work, Andy shares the African wildlife, landscape and culture.
- Favorite Gear: Gura Gear Kiboko 22L+ camera bag
- What I Use it For: I use it for all of my travels overseas, which takes me from pole to pole with all of my camera gear.
- Why I like it so Much: I love it because I spent years perfecting it and ended up taking it to market. I founded Gura Gear in 2008, because I was tired of carrying large and heavy camera bags across the globe.
Brad Moore is a concert photographer from Florida, USA. Along side his own shooting, he works as Scott Kelby’s photo assistant and photo studio manager. Earlier he spent several years assisting Joe McNally – talk about some impressive work experience.
- Favorite Gear: Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
- What I Use it For: I use this lens for getting unique coverage of concerts.
- Why I Like it so Much: This usually allows me to show the whole stage in one image, or, if the performer gets really close to me, I’m able to capture an image with lots of energy that is difficult to capture without it.
David Hobby is a photojouralist turned big time blogger. If you’re not already totally familiar with David’s blog, you’ve got a lot of catching up to do. nuff said.
- Favorite Gear: Orbis Ringflash
- What I Use if For: I use it either as a key light (for the straight ring flash look) or, more often, as fill for a variety of other key lights.
- Why I Like it so Much: The ring adds fill without creating its own light direction.
Dane Sanders is a lifestyle, portrait and wedding photographer with a busy speaking schedule. In addition to shooting, Dane is a dynamic speaker engaging audiences about creativity and business.
- Favorite Gear: Profoto D1 Air on a Monopod with a white beauty dish and Batpac
What I Use if For: I use it for portrait sessions.
Why I Like it so Much: It’s like bringing perfect light anywhere at anytime.
Ed Kashi is a photojournalist who captures an honest and naked view of the world we live in. His award list is too long to mention but suffice it to say you won’t leave his site without being moved.
- Favorite Gear: Canon 5D Mark II or III
- What I Use if For: Making great still images and hd video
- Why I Like it so Much: Sensor quality, size and weight, durability, freedom to capture imagery in low light
Jack Hollingsworth is a well traveled, well represented and highly connected stock photographer. Jack is a charismatic social media guru who embraces the ‘new’ with open arms. Jack’s favorite gear is the iPhone and if you check out his instragram feed you can see what he bravely nominates as ‘the most powerful work of his career’.
- Favorite Gear: Without question, my favorite piece of photography gear is my iPhone 4s 🙂
Jasmine Star is an international wedding photographer from California. Despite her relatively new arrival in the photographic industry she’s established herself as one of the world’s best.
- Favorite Gear: Canon 50mm, 1.2
- What I Use if For: Pretty much, well…everything, if possible.
- Why I Like it so Much: This is my sweet something, my precious love-child. I use this lens more than any other lens and if I had to choose one lens that’s defined my style, this would be it. Because of it’s wide aperture (f/1.2), I use this lens to shoot in any lighting situation, everything from bridal prep details (wedding dress, shoes, wedding invitation, etc) to bride and groom portraits, to reception details (centerpieces, dessert tables, drink details, etc). Of course given the fact that I’m lucky to mix in other lenses is a blessing, but this lens just is so diverse and allows me to freedom to be me behind the lens.
Joe McNally is a photojournalist whose employer list will drop your jaw. National Geographic, LIFE, Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated .. just to get the ball rolling.
- Favorite Gear: …..tough question. I’m not particularly wedded to any one thing. I’m an assignment guy, so I use whatever the job depends. Not being facetious or flip here, but my favorite gear or thing on location, that which would make me weep if I lost it (and I have) is my sense of imagination.
- What I Use it For: Imagining the shot, the light, the pose etc….
Jose Villa is a fine art wedding photographer, whose work has been featured in essentially every high class wedding magazine (Martha Stewart Weddings, Brides, Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, Pacific Rim Weddings…). I’m guessing he’s one of the few on this list who still shoots film commercially. My hat’s off to you Jose.
- Favorite Gear: Contax 645 film camera
- What I Use if For: Wedding photography all day long.
- Why I Like it so Much: Because of the negative size, and the clarity of the lens glass.
Ken Kaminesky works as a commercial stock photographer whose breathtaking landscapes and genuine lifestyle images have been seen world wide. Ken spends much of his time traveling and has a portfolio of images I’d love to have experienced.
- Favorite Gear: Arc’teryx clothing
- What I Use if For: I use my Arcteryx Jackets, layers, pants and accessories for pretty much all my shoots. As a travel photographer, I get to experience all kinds of ecosystems, climates, and temperatures and I need light, quick drying, versatile clothes that will help me stay cool or warm as the case may be as well as clothing to keep me dry.
- Why I Like it so Much: The Arc’teryx gear is incredibly well made and perfect for my needs. If I’m not feeling comfortable or I’m getting wet or cold, I am not concentrating as well on the work at hand. This gear makes me a better photographer just by the fact that it lets me work without thinking of anything other than the photography I’m doing. I love this stuff.
Headshot photographer Peter Hurley is as dynamic and engaged as he is skilled. Peter has an addictive teaching style and has created a large following sharing his process and technique.
- Favorite Gear: Feisol CT3472LV
- What I Use if For: I shoot on a tripod every day and am so used to it I feel out of my comfort zone without one. Shooting a Hasselblad H3D22 makes it impossible to handhold all day long, so I would freak out if I lost my Feisol! I actually did. I was speaking at the Google+ Photographers Conference in San Francisco and left it in my buddy’s car. I had him ship it back to me right away, but going to my old tripod for a few days made me realize how much I valued my Feisol. If you really want to see how fired up I am about it you can check it out here: http://youtu.be/UHuqIwNxTt4
- Why I Like it so Much: I just love that sucker! Sturdiest, smoothest and slickest tripod on the market for me. I can’t stand shooting on anything else since I’ve had it in my possession.
Seth is an editorial, stock and corporate photographer whose work has a very strong graphic element. Landscapes, nature and natural light are words I’d use to describe his images.
- Favorite Gear: LowePro Stealth D650 Reporter, X-Rite Colorchecker Passport, Canon 300 2.8 IS11 USM
- What I Use if For:
Bag – The only bag that can hold my Canon 300 2.8 and all of my drives and laptop and still fit in either the overhead or under the seat on a puddle jumper. My bag has over 1,000,000 miles with Delta…
Colorchecker – Would not leave home without it. Allows me to achieve accurate color in a multitude of lighting conditions.
Lens – I take it everywhere. It is by far the sharpest lens I have ever used.
Yervant is one of the world’s top wedding photographers with an iconic original style. He was awarded the the industry’s highest accolade “Lifetime Achievement Award ” by WPPI USA in 2010.
- Favorite Gear: Canon EOS 1DX with 24-70mm F/2.8l II lens
- What I Use if For: I use it for all my shoots, wedding and portrait.
- Why I Like it so Much: I just love the speed and low ISO and sharpness of the lens. Magic combination for perfect results in any light.
If you’ve read anything about stock photography in the last few years, especially microstock, Yuri’s name was sure to be mentioned. Yuri is the top selling stock photographer in the world and has become the poster boy for microstock phtoography. Oh yeah, he was also voted as one of the top 30 influential photographers of this decade (along with many other photographers on this list)
- Favorite Gear: Yuri Arcurs Steady Pod
- What I Use if For: It’s great for stabilization and also for simply carrying the camera when I shoot really long days. Holding the camera up for 8-10 hours can be a bit tiresome, and the steady pod means that I won’t get tired as fast and a lot more of the images will be in focus.
- Why I Like it so Much:It gives me the ability to immediately switch over to shooting video instead of still images, and I’ll get awesome footage right away because the camera is already stabilized. It also gives me the ability to easily tilt between portrait and landscape without any trouble at all. Of course, one of the other reasons I really like it is that it’s simply awesome, and I built it myself. It took a long time perfecting it, but I’m happy about the result. 🙂 If I had to mention another piece of gear, I think it would be Western Digital’s new 6TB thunderbolt drives. They are simply awesome. 🙂
I think that just about covers it. We’ve got cameras, lenses, tripods, lighting, clothing, packs, a phone and some creativity to boot. Anyone want to tally up the cost of the ultimate photographers package? A big thanks to all the photographers for responding to my question – I can only imagine the swamp of email that must fill their inboxes on a daily basis.
Now I’m eager to hear about your favorite gear and how you put it to use?