Essential Photography Equipment: 5 Photographers Who Are Doing It Right

If you’ve ever gazed longingly at a photograph you wished you’d taken, you know what it feels like to wonder if you’ll ever measure up; if you’ll ever be that good.

If you’ve ever lusted after a crisp, new lens or a state-of-the-art camera body, you know the nagging sense that you’re being held back by years-old equipment and an underperforming paycheck.

But photography is more than the camera or the lens or the light. It’s more than the designer bag, the hand-tooled neck strap, or the vintage label.

Great photographs are made by sheer force of will, without regard to frustration or failure, through repeated mistakes and repeated attempts and repeated efforts. Great photographs are made after good photographs; good photographs are made after mediocre photographs; mediocre photographs are made after awful photographs. And each photograph is a rung in the ladder that leads you to that photograph – the one you’re truly proud of.

No excuses, friends. Pack your dinged-up camera into your dusty old camera bag, and sling it over your shoulder.

It’s time to start working. It’s time to be a photographer.


We’ve spoken with 5 wildly varied, fantastically talented, deliciously driven photographers from all over the world to find out how they’re making their signature photographs.

We think you’ll be surprised by the stunning images they’re making with even the simplest of setups.


Ara Roselani – Portland, Oregon

Weddings | Elopements | Instagram | Facebook
Why We Love Her: Ethereal landscapes and magical wedding photographs, blended and overlapping with light, love, sensitivity, and grace.

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What camera system are you currently using?
Nikon – and a GoPro for underwater split shots.

What’s your current go-to bag while shooting?
Ellington Sadie Hobo (Ellington is a local Portland company!), with a padded insert.

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If you had to grab one body and one lens and run out the door to shoot, what would you take?
My Nikon D5 and 50mm Sigma Art lens.

What’s the one NON-photography item you always keep in your camera bag?
My “bride bag” – a small pouch with safety pins, bobby pins, lip gloss, Kleenex, and ibuprofen. I have a larger bunch of helpful things in my roller bag, but this gets me through most rips, headaches, tears, and ill-fitting clothes.


Bernard Brand – Pretoria, South Africa

Website | Instagram
Why We Love Him: Cleverly-lit conceptual portraits that ooze mystery, madness, and no small amount of humor.

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What camera system are you currently using?
I am currently using the Fujifilm X-T1 and X100T. I also have a whole bag full of Nikon film cameras, however, they don’t see much use currently.

What’s your current go-to bag while shooting?
My ThinkTank Airport Essentials. I love that bag and the ThinkTank Airport Commuter I owned before it. Probably the best bags I’ve used thus far. They just keep going.

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If you had to grab one body and one lens and run out the door to shoot, what would you take?
My X100T. I love that little camera with its fixed 23mm f2 lens (35mm full-frame equivalent).

What’s the one NON-photography item you always keep in your camera bag?
The roll of gaffers tape that I still have from my time spent in America – been using it VERY sparingly, and when I remember, my little portable JBL bluetooth speaker for some tunes on the go.


Breeana Dunbar – Melbourne, Australia

Website | Instagram
Why We Love Her: Muted tones and modern compositions with an editorial glow inviting us into spaces, places, lives, and stories.

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What camera system are you currently using?
I’m a Nikon DSLR shooter. I have a D810, D610 as back up, all Nikon lenses including a 70-200mm 2.8, a 85mm 1.4G, a 50mm 1.4G, a 35mm 1.8G, a 24mm 1.8G. I mostly shoot on-location, so I bring along a SB700 speedlight, a Manfrotto 1052BAC Compact light stand, and a compact umbrella, and a Manfrotto 055 tripod with a pistol grip head.

What’s your current go-to bag while shooting?
I recently upgraded to the Think Tank Streetwalker Pro and it’s freaking awesome. I also have a brown leather satchel where I put lens, batteries, and spare cards, to make them accessible when actually shooting.

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If you had to grab one body and one lens and run out the door to shoot, what would you take?
Nikon D810 and 35mm 1.8G.

What’s the one NON-photography item you always keep in your camera bag?
I don’t keep it in my bag, but one non-photography item I bring to almost every shoot is my bike! I reinforced my back wheel so that I can put my camera bag, including a light stand, in my back basket, and my little step stool in my front basket.


Brittany Smith – New York, NY

Website | Instagram | Facebook
Why We Love Her: Crisp, sensual, black & white fashion images infused with Wyoming soul, athletic edge, and big city boldness.

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What camera system are you currently using?
I am currently using the Canon 5d Mark III with 85mm 1.2L II and 50mm 1.2L lenses.

What’s your current go-to bag while shooting?
My current and only go to bag is the Canon camera bag my Dad bought for me back in 2002 before I moved away to go to art school. That thing has never left my side!

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If you had to grab one body and one lens and run out the door to shoot, what would you take?
I would take my Canon 5d Mark III and my Canon 85mm 1.2L II lens.

What’s the one NON-photography item you always keep in your camera bag?
Chapstick! I always keep a tube of Chapstick in my bag as well as some Tory Burch hand cream.


Seshu – Avon, Connecticut

Family Portraits | Weddings | Headshots | For Photographers | Instagram | Facebook
We We Love Him: Sharp styling and colorful moments reflecting the rich culture of his New England community and the huge heart of the artist himself.

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What camera system are you currently using?
I use a Nikon D750 and a Fuji X100T, though I am about to transition completely to a Fuji system for my day-to-day photography assignments and sessions. I’ll most likely be buying a Fuji XT-2.

What’s your current go-to bag while shooting?
I have both LowePro and ThinkTank bags. Currently though I am loving the LowePro BP 450 AW II. It fits all my gear and feels great as a backpack too.

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If you had to grab one body and one lens and run out the door to shoot, what would you take?
I usually have my Fuji X100T on me when I step out of the house. The X100T has a terrific 23mm lens on it … it’s fast and sharp. The fact that I get to just focus on making images and less on my gear is a boon. This camera was my gateway to the Fuji system and I am so glad to have owned it now for two years.

What’s the one NON-photography item you always keep in your camera bag?
While my chiropractor makes sure I don’t suffer from prolonged lower-back spasms anymore, I still carry a vial of Advil with me just in case I need to work through the pain. I haven’t had to use it really which is awesome. And now with my transitioning to a lighter Fuji system, I may shrink my camera bag down even more.


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