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WHAT’S IN A “PHOTOGRAPHERS” CAMERA BAG?

What kind of equipment is in a photographers bag? Well, there are different types of photographers, and each type of photographer carries different types of equipment in their bag. A landscape photographer carries a variety of different equipment than, say, a wildlife photographer, right? So, this article, will be based upon, can I say, a photographer who takes photos of a variety of different subjects. Who would that be? Because I am the publisher, the owner, the editor of this blog, and I try to bring so much different ideas to this blog, I tend to try it all, I think. When I am out taking photos of landscapes, I also am prepared to take photos of wildlife as well. So, I am going to just tell you what is in my camera bag. I think I have quite a variety of things in my bag, and I have a couple of things I still want to get to complete my arsenal of equipment.

Can you learn from this? I hope so. When thinking of the equipment you would need to become a photographer, maybe you would realize what it would take to become a photographer. Or, maybe you will realize that you could use a certain piece of equipment to get what you want. I intend to explain my reasoning for every piece of equipment that I own, and then you can decide if you want to get that for yourself or not. This is my style of photography. Remember, I have been instructing photography myself for many years, and have certain things that I think you need to make photography complete, as far as equipment. So, here we go. I hope you will find this blog post entertaining as well as informative.

First of all, I am currently not shooting a big professional camera. I am shooting a Canon T6 Rebel. An entry level camera that has mostly the controls I need and want on a DSLR. Is it my dream camera? No. But, in the near future, I will probably upgrade to a camera body that, unfortunately costs in the thousands. That is the one I really want. But, for now, this is doing the job really nicely for me. I have learned how to make this work for me. It has automatic exposure, manual exposure, aperture priority automatic, and shutter priority automatic. It has continuous shutter speed control, as well as single shot drive. I can shoot up to 6400ISO. It has B setting for my slowest shutter setting. I can do bracketing exposure control. It has built-in flash (which I rarely use, and I generally hate built-in flash). And I can get all the lenses I want.


My go to lens is the one that came in the kit: Canon EFS 18-55mm lens with image stabilizer. This is a great lens with wide angle, normal lens (approximately at 28mm) and a small range of telephoto. Good for general all around the house shooting.


My secondary lens is a Canon 75-300mm F4.5-300mm lens. This is an amazing lens that is a powerful zoom telephoto lens. This is a lens that I have to be so careful with because of it’s magnification. At 300mm, I just don’t think it’s a good idea to shoot without a tripod. It makes it really hard to handhold because it is so strong, it magnifies your slightest movement as well. If, and that is IF, I try to shoot this without a tripod, I always use a high shutter speed to try to stop my camera movement. Notice, this lens does NOT have image stabilizer. A lens this size that has image stabilization cost well over a thousand dollars. This is a very inexpensive lens again. But, I have been able to get some amazing wildlife photos with this lens.
Photo taken with 75-300mm lens

Another photo taken with 75-300mm lens


My tripod, I carefully selected for several reasons: 1- It had the round twist-to-tighten legs. That meant to me that even as it started wearing during age, all I had to do, is tighten it more, and it would still hold tight on the leg. That is not something you can generally say with the “flip to lock” style leg. 2- It came with the ball head. It made it easy to pan moving subjects. Expensive tripod brag about having the availability of purchasing a “ball head” for the versatility of movement. This tripod came with it. 3- One of the legs screws off and can act as a monopod. Thus, I not only bought a tripod, but a monopod as well. 4- It has a removable plate on the head that I can just leave on my camera body. And when I want to attach it to my tripod, it is just a quick snap, and it’s on. 5- It will raise to my height, and it is still sturdy. 6- I can mount my camera on the center pole upside down for macro work. 7- Each leg can move independently so that if I am on the side of the mountain, one leg can go way out, almost horizontally, while another leg can be in a normal position. As you can see, this tripod was incredibly versatile, sturdy, does everything, and cost about 1/3 that of the European brands. Love it.


One of the most important items I own: The circular polarizer filter. I have done several blogs on the value of this filter. I generally will NOT shoot a landscape photo without this on my lens.
This is what effect the polarizing filter will do. There is little tiny particles of dust floating out there in the atmosphere. And they are all reflecting light and causing the sky and other things to diffuse the colors. A polarizing filter will cut the reflections off the dust in the atmosphere and give you bluer skies, richer colors on the green trees, and just a prettier picture. Trust me on this. You must have a polarizing filter on your lens when taking a landscape photo.
Here is one of my favorite photos taken with a polarizing filter. Notice how blue the sky is, and the colors in the fall leaves.


If you take a lot of photos, and sometimes if I am on an actual photo expedition, I just have this in my bag just in case. I have a second battery for my camera, and it is charging in my car while I am out taking photos with my other battery. One is getting ready, just in case. It’s a must to just be ready.

So, you have a memory card in your camera. Do you know when it will be full? Neither do I. So, I always keep a spare. They take up very little space. And, by the way, if I take a lot of pictures, there are some photos I take, I don’t want to keep. Every once in a while, I go through my images and delete the ones I don’t want to keep, ever. So, I always make room for the good ones. Some photographers keep their bad ones, just to learn from. My bad ones are mostly just duplicates or some real mistakes in exposures, or practice shots. Some practice shots I might keep for future learning.

I have a collection of about 20 Cokin, Promaster, Filtek, etc, brand filters that are all the same size that I have collected over the years that all fit into a Cokin Square filter holder. They are all for different special effects in photography. The most common, shown here, are for graduated neutral density filters… that will darken the top half of the image while keeping the bottom half of the image normally exposed. These are used mostly for waterfall exposures where I need to make the sky darker while the bottom of the photo will be normally exposed as you see in the photo above. I have soft focus filters for portraits, fog filters, spot filters, star filters, and diffusion filters. I am a big fan of using filters, and when I have the time, I will use them on camera, rather than do them later in post production.

Yes, I carry a waterproof camera in my case. This camera is amazing. I have taken some great photos with this camera. A 16Megapixel Waterproof camera, that allows me to go out and take pictures in the rain, snow, and when I just don’t want to take my DSLR. I trust the photos this camera takes, and it gets me in a position that I would rather have this one, than my other other one.

This photo taken by the Pentax WG-II camera on a rainy day. You can actually see a rain drop in the upper right corner of the photo. It was a pretty rainy day, but, I didn’t worry about my camera being damaged.


I have a real love for close-up photography. On my wish list is a macro lens, for that is the best way to do it. I had one once upon a time, but for now, I am settling for this Close-up lens set. This is a series of 4 different Lenses I screw on the front of my standard zoom lens. Each one has a different magnification. And I can combine them to get the perfect magnification, although I would prefer not to do that for fear of losing clarity. But, If I wanted to get a close-up of just a bee on a flower, I would use the 10X filter. That should do a great job. This set of 4 lenses came in a case, so I can keep them clean and grab them quickly when I want to use them.
My wish List to still go in my camera bag:

As mentioned above, I have one more lens I would love to have in my bag still. And that would be a Canon or Tamron Macro Lens. That would allow me to get the close-up shots done, the right way, with the clarity that I want:

There are 3 models of macro lenses in the Canon lineup. This 100mm macro would be my choice, because it is in the range of telephoto. That would mean if I wanted to get a macro shot of a bee or some kind of bug, I would not have to be right up on top of it to get the photo I want. It could be back a foot or two to get the photo that the same 28mm lens would do at 4 inches away. Plus, it could also be used for some great portrait work as well.


As far as lenses, most photographers don’t acquire a lot of lenses. They find the few that fits their needs, and call that good. Perhaps there may be one more that I would really love, and that is because I have recently learned to love taking photos at night, or in low light. It would be great to have a lens that would also take great photos in low light. I would have to also realize that this type of lens would cost a lot of money. A fast lens with a wide aperture like that has a lot of glass. I am thinking F1.4, or even better 1.2 lens. Here is an example:

Canon 50mm 1.4 lens Sells at Amazon for $349.00
Canon 50mm 1.2 lens sells on Amazon for $1299.00
Canon 85mm F1.2mm Sells on Amazon for $1799.00

That is the type of lenses I would like to have to shoot in low light photography. But, I guess I need to sell some photographs before I can get one of those ! Watch for a sale coming soon !!

I hope this has helped you understand what type of equipment it takes to make a photographer successful. And what type of money it takes to get the equipment you need to make it all work. So, good luck and take a lot of photos.

This article written by Lanny Cottrell for 123PhotoGo. Lanny Cottrell is the owner and Publisher / Editor of 123PhotoGo, and has been in business for years educating and helping photographers learn photography. He is also an accomplished photographer winning many photography awards. He has also been a judge at several County fairs to judge entries for the photographers. He still actively takes many photos and constantly is learning new techniques in photography and post-production. Feel free to make comments at the bottom of this blog.

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Published by 123photogo

I have been a photographer for many years. Worked in retail selling cameras and accessories for over 20 years. Taught many photo classes, and have even been a judge in several county fairs. Now, I want to share photo instructions and entertainment with all other photographers around the world.

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