What's in my camera bag? Canon Photographer Nina Mace
I work with families shooting lifestyle images in their home and then outdoors on location and my aim is to create a story of my clients day that reflects each member of the family in an authentic and real way. As I am photographing children, who most often don’t stay still, my camera bag and kit needs to be light, quick to access and fast to focus.
As I often walk into a home where I have never photographed before, I also need to ensure I have every focal length covered. I have lenses which cover between 24 and 200mm and tend to shoot at a lower aperture to create the separation I love. The next Canon lens on my wish list is the 200 2.0L which I have recently rented to use on my outdoor children’s workshops. It is nothing short of beautiful, but it is also very heavy when you are trying to photograph fast moving children.
I do carry a Canon 430 EX flash, but I mostly work with available light and make my decisions on where to shoot based on the light first. If I do use my flash it’s often as fill when I am backlighting against a window or patio doors. I shoot on SanDisk 4GB CF cards and back up to a 16GB SD card. I am currently investigating a portable hard drive which I can transfer my images to without a PC. This Summer I am heading off on my first-month long family backpack adventure to Thailand and I want to make sure I have backup copies of all the images I have. I also keep 2 spare Canon batteries in my bag at all times.
I transport all of my equipment to the shoot in a Calumet suitcase as this can hold all my bodies and lenses, and then I transfer the 2 lenses and body I plan to use into my Shootsac.
Canon 135 2.0L
Possibly my favourite lens in terms of focal length, sharpness and speed. This is my go to lens outdoors and works well for where I like to stand relative to my subjects. I can still interact with Mum, Dad and the kids, but be far enough away to create full-length family images. This lens is perfect for families with younger children where they are sitting babies or toddling.
Canon 24-70 2.8 L mark 2
My lens of choice for shooting families indoors, this rarely leaves my camera. I shoot at the lowest aperture and find it to be incredibly reliable and fast to focus. The widest focal length also allows me to take more documentary/ storytelling images in the home for example when photographing children in their rooms with their favourite toys.
I have 2 5d mark 3s and love how they create such clean, colourful images. I especially like the LCD screen which I find to be very accurate when compared to the final RAW file. It handles high ISO indoors really well and when I do shoot events or for commercial clients, the silent shutter is excellent. I have recently had the opportunity to shoot on the mark 4 on a Canon CPS experience day, and I aim to upgrade this year as I was impressed with the ISO capability indoors.
Canon GX1 Mark 2
I also carry a smaller Canon GX 1 which I use for personal projects and shooting behind the scenes on my shoots or workshops. I shoot in manual in RAW and the focal length is the equivalent to 24-120mm in 35mm terms. More impressively, that zoom range has a maximum aperture of f/2 at the wide end, rising to just f/3.9 at the telephoto end. It has a 3-inch touchscreen and a flip out LCD.
I had seen another lifestyle photographer using the Shootsac and was impressed by how light it was and how easy to access lenses. At the time it couldn’t be bought in Europe, so I had it delivered to the hotel where my friend was holidaying in the US to bring it home for me. The camera bag is made from wetsuit material making it very comfortable and weighs just 7oz. http://www.shootsac.com/
For both of my Mark 3s, I use a single crossbody black rapid strap. As I don’t tend to use both bodies simultaneously I find these perfect for my needs. http://blackrapid.com/
Canon 70-200 2.8L
In terms of bokeh, this is my lens preference, and I will often shoot on this alongside the 135 2.0L. With walking/ running children this offers more flexibility in term of quickly changing focal length so I use this most often with children who school aged.
Canon 200 2.8L
Not such a well-known lens vs the 70-200 2.8, I often use this 200 2.8L prime because of its focus speed and it being around 1lb light than the 70-200 2.8L. This lens has the speed/ weight advantage whereas the 70-200 has the flexibility of the children and moving around a great deal. As it has no IS again I tend to use this when the family is sitting or standing.
A car sunscreen!
When photographing children I look to shoot at their eye level so the final image looks as if I’m in the image with them, not shooting down at them from above. As I shoot outdoors in all weathers I find myself lying in often wet and muddy areas so I carry a very lightweight car sunscreen with me. I lie on this and I can also use this creatively as a reflector is needed. If it tears or gets too dirty, I can just replace it for a few pounds.
I hope you have found this an interesting read and I would love to know which is your favourite Canon lens and why. Feel free to comment below.
Nina Mace is an award winning outdoor children & family photographer whose specialises in bold, colourful portraiture using the UKs seasons as ever-changing backdrops. Alongside her family photography business, she also works on commercial projects for children’s brands & trains beginner photographers. Nina also works throughout the UK mentoring other professional family photographers in shooting editing, business and marketing. This year she was announced as Top 3 professional trainer with the SWPP.