Camera Weight Watchers

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CC Photo by gary knight

When Lisa and I first started shooting on location portraits and engagement sessions, we would always lug around most of our equipment. We wanted to be ready for whatever situation arose. Each of us would be carrying two camera bodies, 3 lenses, 2 flash units, triggers, extra batteries for both cameras and flash units and CF cards. The approximate weight of everything we had hanging on our necks and shoulders was about, 5.7 kilograms or close to 12.5 pounds.

That doesn’t even include other items like reflectors and tripods. We would be exhausted after shooting several hours under the sun. This is definitely one of those cases where more is not better. The funny thing is even though we did bring all our gear with us, we found ourselves being comfortable sticking to our respective favorite lenses, the ones we already had on our primary camera bodies in the first place.


CC Photo by frielp
The Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM weighs in at 5.37kg

We started planning out our shoots more carefully by creating a short checklist.
- Who’s going to shoot wide or tight?
- What time is the shoot?
- How long is the shoot going to last?
- What’s the weather forecast?
- How many subjects do we have?
- How many sets do we have to do?

After carefully going over what we really needed, we ended up with one camera with one lens, one flash unit, extra batteries and CF cards each. We brought the weight down to around 2kg each. They always say be prepared for everything, but sometimes we need to sit down and carefully edit out the things we don’t need.

Having less gear meant so much more than carrying less. It was always about the ability of the photographer to draw out their subject’s personality. With less gear, we spent less time fiddling with everything and more time interacting with the subjects. This in turn led to better photographs.

Then again, if you have an assistant to lug everything around, you might as well just bring everything and the kitchen sink.

How about you, do you have a hard time limiting yourself to the essentials? How much gear do you carry around for a single shoot?

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