We’ve all heard this a million times, but it’s still true: the gear doesn’t make the photographer. But at the same time, you can’t expect to charge at a high level when you’re using cheap, unpredictable gear. Every photographer is different, but as someone who has dropped a good bit of money on gear, I can definitely shed some insight on this subject.
Let’s start with the bag. It took me a long time to figure out which bag to purchase. I wanted a good bag that would last, but I didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a bag because, let’s be honest, I’m a straight up penny pincher.
I’m a strong believer in supporting local businesses, so when I discovered Kelly Moore Bag (located just an hour away from me in Ruston, Louisiana), I immediately reached out because I absolutely fell in love with the Pilot backpack. And I was able to use it for years with literally zero issues. I love that I was able to source such a fantastic product locally. We little guys gotta stick together!
Recently, Kelly Moore came out with a new bag called the Explorer Duffel Bag, and it definitely caught my eye. It has the edgy hipster look everyone is going for now, but with high functionality. I didn’t think I’d ever like a bag as much as the Pilot but I was wrong. I just shot a wedding in NOLA this past weekend and here is a list of gear I had stored in my bag with no issues:
The only thing I can’t fit in there along with all this gear is my laptop, but I rarely bring it unless I’m travelling out of town. I always try to stay minimal when I’m on location shoots. My camera bag will hold my camera (5D Mark III), my 35mm lens, and a Trillo & Son Leather Co. camera strap. My secret weapon is my cell phone. Most people use a piece of glass or prism for cool photos but if you use your phone correctly, you can bounce the light off of it and get some killer cool images!
I always try to tote around my favorite piece of gear - my Sigma 35mm lens. It’s literally so versatile and convenient: I can get the wide shots but I can also get the closeups if I need to. Let’s be real though, I love invading my couples personal space during photo-shoots! There’s nothing like putting them in a pose where they’re face to face and you are right there close with them with your camera laughing and giggling with them.
For anyone starting out in photography I recommend starting out with a full frame camera. I tell everyone to look into buying a Canon 6D because it’s full frame, super versatile, and will give you the most bang for your buck. As far as lenses, I recommend either a 35mm or 50mm. Don’t go any higher or any lower on the mm scale starting out until you figure out what you’re comfortable with and know what style of photography you would like to pursue. Don’t waste your money on super cheap glass (super cheap lenses).
Whether you’re a new or experienced photographer, you certainly don’t have to take my words to heart. Every photographer is different! Everyone’s passions are different! You could get ten professional photographers to shoot the same person and we would all interpret and photograph that person differently. That’s what is so amazing about this field and our craft: it gives clients and customers endless options for getting their photography.
My best piece of advice is to NEVER GIVE UP! Pursue. Pursue. Pursue. Every successful photographer has gone through this process. We’ve hit a brick wall at some point or another. You get to that point where it feels like “my work isn’t good enough,” “my editing sucks,” or “I don’t know what to do next.” Reach out to other photographers and learn from them. Don’t ever act like you know everything because there is always something new to learn.
A true talent residing in the forests of Northwest Louisiana, Andy Roberts brings a creative perspective, refined skill, and high-quality artistry to an area otherwise unknown within the photography industry. Having an intuitive sense for composition and lighting, he focuses on capturing the unique moments of unique people - creating a vivid, intricate photograph. Andy has a passion for travel and exploration that would happily bring him anywhere in the world to shoot your wedding, from a Southern plantation wedding to an elopement high on a mountain top. Quite simply, he’s an easy yes for any couple in love.
This feature is from the Spring 2017 issue of AGLOW Mini Magazine. The AGLOW Mini Magazine is a quarterly magazine exploring the limitless possibilities of creative businesses and the innovative ideas of today’s doers & makers. AGLOW offers an escape from the daily routine in the form of a stunning keepsake publication full of inspiring features, beautiful layouts, uplifting stories, fresh perspectives, and real people that you will love to get to know. Best of all, it’s totally free. Download it below.