Tools are important to create art and as a photographer, I want the best tools I can have. However, I don’t fall into the trap of thinking better equipment means better results. It’s just not true. Art comes from within and equipment are just tools. Below are my tools:
I use two cameras for my concert photography, a Nikon D90 and a Nikon D750. For street photography, I have a Fujifilm X30 that I picked up in 2015 and my every day camera is a Nikon Coolpix S9500. Both the Fuji and the Coolpix are small enough to carry in a purse or bag and I make it a habit to have one with me almost everywhere I go.
I prefer to invest in lenses versus camera bodies. A ‘fast lens’ produces great quality images without the noise of consumer lenses. I wish I could stay in the Nikon family for my lenses but Tamron provides very good lenses without the Nikon price tag.
A 70-200mm lens is needed when shooting from the soundboard or when I want to get a tight shot of an artist from the pit. This lens is fast and smooth and produces amazing results.
A 24-70mm lens is a great ‘go to’ lens for almost any situation. I’ll use this lens when I don’t want to haul around the bigger and heavier 70-200mm
When I’m not shooting concerts, I’ll often slip on this lens, especially if I’m going hiking. This baby is super sharp and light. I use it for landscape and macro photography.
Non camera gear:
The best investment I’ve ever made besides my camera gear is the Op/Tech Double Sling camera strap. It’s easily converted to a single camera strap and the connections are very secure. Because the strap connects to your camera’s own strap loops and not the tripod socket, your camera remains balanced, yet secure. Buy this strap, your back and shoulders will thank you. So will your camera. You can see my full review here.
I like having options to carry my gear and rely on Think Tank to keep everything organized. My ‘grab bag’ is the Think Tank Streetwalker backpack, which is perfect for local gigs. It’s big enough to hold my cameras with the lens attached, so I can just grab and go. It’s thin enough without being bulky and small enough to fit in an airplane overhead bin. It even comes with a rain cover. Inside my back pack I keep the usual suspects of extra SD cards, pens, business cards, extra charged batteries, my lanyard, sunscreen, a pack of playing cards (because there is a lot of ‘hurry up and wait’ with concert photography), a knee brace, a bandana or hat, and my Japanese sun-protection sleeves. When traveling out of town, I’ll use my bigger Streetwalker HardDrive, especially if I’ve rented additional lenses. This bag has plenty of room and like it’s smaller brother, is easily customizable to fit your needs. Lastly, I use the TurnStyle 10 as a pouch, which has been a life saver when pockets aren’t available. For my complete review on the Think Tank systems I use, please click here.
As a concert photographer, it’s very important to protect my hearing as I am often shooting next to monitors. The best ear plugs I’ve found are Earasers. Not only do these protect my hearing comfortably, but they are almost invisible in the ear. No neon colored foam plugs for me!
When I’m shooting, I want to be comfortable and presentable. To me, there is nothing more unprofessional than a sloppy dressed photographer, especially at a function. I prefer to dress in black when I’m at a shoot so to not draw attention to myself, but I also want lots of pockets to hold lens caps, my phone, and my lipstick.
Scrub pants have been the best option for me. They’re comfortable, have lots of pockets, and travel well. For an average price of about $25 per pair, they’re a bit more affordable than heavier cargo pants.
When I’m shooting an event and need to dress up, I’ll often wear a black maxi skirt and slip on this dressy looking coat. Not only does it have deep pockets and is comfortable, but it has a hint of Nikon yellow and you know I love that!
Having a good rain coat is essential, especially when covering outdoor events and festivals. For my needs, I turned to Bass Pro and picked up this rain coat. It’s worked wonderfully for me and has the big deep pockets that I love, cuffs that keep water out and a wide hood. I bought one size bigger than I would normally wear so I would have enough room to keep my cameras inside the coat and out of the rain, (even though my camera gear is protected with rain sleeves). I love this coat!
Whenever I need to rent equipment, I always use LensRentals.com. They are so supportive and knowledgeable and carry everything I may need. With a location in the suburbs, I don’t even have to fuss with shipping.