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My Architectural Photography Kit List

17, December, 2015

Over the last year photography for me has changed so much. In 2014 I was shooting the occasional hotel and only really just finding my feet. Since the summer of 2015 I have shot upwards of 40 hotel assignments. This has needless to say had an effect on my purse strings as I have needed to enhance my kit bag. Early in the new year (2015) I had sold my Canon gear and was very happy and content with my Olympus and Fuji cameras and lens. By the summer I was beginning to become overwhelmed with work and felt if I were to maintain a standard I was happy with, then I needed Tilt and Shift lens which meant repurchasing Canon cameras and lens. So what follows is a breakdown of the kit I use as I work around the world* (yes, I even have bookings on the continent for 2016)!

Cameras
  • Canon 5DSR and Canon 6D as Backup
  • My tool of preference is the Canon 5DSR, but heck does it need a powerful laptop to work on the 50+ MB files!! The detail and sharpness of the images when using prime lenses is astonishing. It's almost Medium Format at DSLR prices. One listed problem with the camera is the moire effect it can produce due to the lack of anti alias filter. As yet  I haven't had any moire effect problems of any note in any of my images.
  • For a backup I looked at several options but eventually plumbed for the 6D for the wireless capabilities. This would enable me to remotely trigger the camera using my iPhone (a large part of what I do). This was before I went down the Camranger route.
Lens x2
  • Canon 17mm Tilt and Shift - For wide angle shots in tight spots, an amazing lens, 
  • Canon 24mm Tilt and Shift. Simply stunning lens. The clarity, sharpness and detail from this lens is astounding. Both lenses have more than paid for themselves in the last few months.
  • Canon 1.4 mk II extender. Turning my 24mm T&S into a 34mm makes me a happy bunny.
iPads x2
  • Almost an essential! I currently carry an iPad Air 2 and an iPad Pro. Both have their own individual uses. One (Air 2) for working with the Digital Director (more about this later) and the other for displaying large crisp images for clients on site. Also the large 128GB hard drive on the iPad Pro means I can store plenty of films to watch on my travels.
Lights
  • Speed lights x 3
  • I carry 3 Canon speedlights which are ideal for lift shadows
  • Profoto B1s x2
  • Sometimes Speedlights, just aren't quite hefty enough to light the areas I have to shoot. this is where the Profoto B1s come in and they are now my main workhorses. For a long time I used Elincrom Quadras, but the trailing lead from the head to battery, which was thrown over my shoulder, was just too cumbersome. After some research I spoke to the guys at Profoto who lent me a unit to test. I have not looked back since. The beauty of these babies is that the battery in incorporated into the unit, so no trailing leads to trip over. Weight wise they are very similar to the Quadras. I also carry the grid kit so as to be able to concentrate light in specific areas.
Umbrellas x3
  • White shoot through brolly x1 
  • Profoto medium deep silver reflective  brolly x1
  • Profoto large deep silver reflective brolly x1
Gels x lots of them!
  • To balance colour temperature and a few tricky bits!
Manfrotto 190 Tripod and MHXPRO-3w head
  • Not much to add here. The Tripod is carbon fibre to light and manageable.
Manfrotto Micro stands x2
  • Once again looking for lightness in the bag here. I love these little stands, light and fold up small. I don't need heavy duty stands to withstand gales, so these babies are ideal for my needs.
Manfrotto Monopod with feet x1
  • A monopod for Architectural photography? What's he on? I hear you cry. Well, sometimes there are areas inaccessible to a normal stand, so a monopod with feet will fit nicely behind TVs and walls.
Manfrotto Strobo kits x3
  • For directing light with grids and gels
Lastolite Reflectors and Diffusers
  • I personally don't use these too often. The diffuser is great for reducing glare on tables, shiny surfaces etc
X-Rite Colorchecker
  • Continuing the keep weight down theme, I use this for colour correcting.
Camranger
  • Although I have had it pointed out to me that there are cheaper ways of doing this than Camranger, I'm not an engineer, I'm a photographer, so I am more than happy to use this wonderful piece of gear. Ideal for remote control of camera and flash. I've fired my camera over 100 metres using this little router and iPad/iPhone App. Worth every penny
Digital Director
  • It may seem strange to mention this camera operating system immediately after praising the Camranger so highly. However the Digital Director has other uses. Unlike the Camranger it does not work wirelessly, but rather it's tethered. I have had very satisfied clients that are able to view the image before I shoot. It also helps viewing the pre shot image on the iPad screen for arranging furniture, or moving obstructions for composition. Sometime what looks ok through the eye, doesn't transmit to the final image; Digital Director this eliminates this.
Apple MacBook Pro 
  • My workhorse laptop. I've been a Mac user now for many years and wouldn't touch a Windows machine again. It's my preference, and doesn't mean that using a windows Laptop is anyway inferior! Ok, yes it is, but I did;t say that :)
1TB external portable hard drives x2
  • Maybe a bit overkill, but when flying I make 2 backups of the images, as well as the images on the SD cards. All 3 go in different bags (one is in my carry on luggage, the others in bags in the hold), so should any go missing I always have a backup version somewhere!
Ice Lights x2
  • I use these mainly for quick food and drink images.
SD Cards x lots and lots
  • Nor much to add. I have cards ranging from 8Gb - 64GB
Batteries and Chargers
  • Endless batteries and endless chargers!!
    Rechargeable batteries include AA and AAA for flash guns, triggers, Digital Director, the list goes on and and on.....
Gaffer Tape
  • It may seem a simple job to clone out trailing cables and leads, but it is far easier to tape them up out of the way. Gaffer tape has many uses, never leave home without it±
Clamps
  • Various uses, but mainly for keeping bed sheets tight and crease free
UE Boom speakers
  • Many photographer work with an assistant, personally I prefer to work alone. So it can get lonely. These little bluetooth speakers are great for a little music as I work. 
iPhone
  • Keeps me in touch with the world outside and provides music during the day
Carry Cases
  • Manfrotto Roller Bag 70, for my camera and speedlights plus batteries etc
  • Manfrotto LW-88W PL Roller Organiser for Profoto B1s, Stands, Brollies etc
Water, Chocolate and Neurofen!!!!
  • I get very dehydrated in the manmade air of a hotel and so water or fluids of any sort are vital. Chocolate and Neurone really speak for themselves :)

*When travelling abroad it is necessary for me to keep the weight down, to ease the costs for my clients, so I don't necessarily take ALL of the above items.


 
 

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