What's In My Bag: Portrait Edition


I just want to warn you all in advance that these type of post can cause a severe case of GAS. I posted my Street Edition of my bag last week, so I finally wanted to show you all what I use when I go on a portraiture styled shoot. When I first started shooting I was a Canon user, I had a Rebel T3i and both the 18-55 and nifty 50. Over time, I've been through my fare share of camera gear, from bodies, lenses, to accessories, partially because I wasn't getting comparable results. Instead of trying to master my gear I got rid of it, and moved to the next thing, hoping it would make me a better photographer. I later learned that this in fact was not true, that gear helps you get a certain image, but the look, the composition is all in the photographer's hand. The items I have below may not be the best equipment, but it gets the job done and that's all that matters, to both my and hopefully you.


Lowepro Slingshot 202 AW: Unlike most photographers I've never owned a hefty selection of bags. I've had my AW 202 since day 1. I picked it up from Best Buy about 2 years ago. There were times when I felt that my equipment had outgrew the bag, but I made it work for me,  when I switched to a mirrorless system it really became gold. I utilize each compartment, and thanks to the velcro inserts  I've customized them all to my liking. Typically it'll houses one body with an equipped lens, and 2-3 extra lenses in the main storage compartment. In the top compartment I store any spare batteries, memory cards, lens pens and writing utensils. The front compartment is home of my microfiber and extra business cards. The bag has a side strap for a travel tripod/monopod, but I don't use this feature to often. Most importantly the bag allows me to access my equipment without physically removing the bag from my shoulder, hence it's name "slingshot". It has a one strap function so I can simply sling it around to my waist, grab what I need, then sling it back to my back. 


Fuji X-T1: This is camera number..... ehhh I've been through a few bodies in a short period of time. I had the T3i, T4i and even the 60D. I was pretty Canon loyal, even tho I constantly upgraded I just didn't feel like a "professional photographer"... I understand now that this statement makes no sense, but back then I just didn't take myself seriously, so I thought why would others. When I upgraded to the 6D things changed for me. I used my camera a lot more an really started to develop my own work flow. The Canon system along with my lenses began to outgrow my camera bag, the system was far to heavy and at times left me feeling afraid when it came to portrait shots. I knew about the mirrorless systems, but feared that a smaller body would cause clients to judge me as a professional. 

Finally I pulled the trigger. I purchase myself the X-T1 and I'm in love, both with its ergonomics and image quality. The camera is well built (despite the memory card and battery door) and renders great images. The small body fits perfectly in my bag, and just made my type of work super easy.  

Fuji X100T

Fuji X100T: I've always been a fan of the x100 series. It's the reason I looked into Fuji. When I decided to go mirrorless this was my first option, upon further research I passed on the X100S and went with the X-T1. Back in my full frame days I use to shoot 35mm and 85mm exclusively, so I wanted to replicate this look when I switched systems. When it came time to buy the XF 23mm I read about how heavy it was, this was my main lens for street photography, so I didn't want to house around what seems to be one of Fuji's heavier lenses. For a few hundred bucks I decided it made more sense to pick up this body, it's smaller, lighter and will produce a quicker workflow for me. Not toe mention it offers the same image quality as then prime lens... It's a magical setup. 


Fuji XF 18mm f/2: The 18mm was an easy pick up for me, it was going to be my "street" lens. It had the same focal length (27mm eqv.) as the Ricoh GR and I loved the images I saw from that camera. I understand that the rendering may have be the same, but I believe that is in the eye of the beholder. When I first got the lens I didn't use it much, I honestly still don't. It isn't often that I take wide portraits, but for the price point and quality of this lens I felt like it was necessary to have in the rare case that I do. To me it's underrated, and gets lost between the 14mm and 23mm, and for whatever reason many people opt for the 27mm f/2.8, a lens that doesn't have an aperture ring. Now that I'm writing this I'm going to honestly try to use it more, I'm sure I can make some magic happen with a little creativity. 

Fuji XF 56mm f/1.2: The holy grail for all prime shooters, when I had the option to buy this lens I mentally went crazy. When I was a Canon shooter the 85 f/1.2 was a lens that I never seen myself owning, but switching to Fuji made this all possible. It's killer for portraits and has a faster than expected AF at f/1.2. It's heavy, but lightweight for what you are getting, if you have the option for this lens pick it up, the price point is amazing and the quality is even better!

Helios 44-2 58mm f/2: The 44-2 was the first vintage lens on my Canon, when I found out that Fuji's system had improved focusing for vintage lenses I decided to keep this in my kit. I didn't think the 85 f/1.2 would be possible, so this was going to take it's place.

Now I know what you all are thinking, I have to portrait lenses with similar focal lengths... It's the rendering that this lens does, the way it produces bokeh is special, and one of a kind, I use it in portraits where I have a close foreground, because it does magic when it's in that type of environment. For $60 bucks I say it's a steal and a great beginner lens for those who can't afford some of the more expensive XF mounts.

Super Takumar MC 135mm f/3.5: I hated this lens in my Canon days, I never used it, it was so hard to focus wide open because of constant camera shake. I never knew if it was in focus and it was a pain to use. With Fuji's system it makes using any vintage lens golden. The focus assistance is super helpful and I've been able to take some sick shots with this that I normally wouldn't have been able to do with a kit lens. At $35 it will stay in my kit until I can afford the new released 50-140mm.


Peak Design Leash: Peak Design's Leash is my favorite strap to use with my X-T1, I really love how the leash itself is so lightweight, yet its comfortable, not a usual combination when you consider that it has no padding. It also incorporates a quick release styled system, this works well if I want to utilize my X100T around my neck as oppose to keeping it on my wrist... Which gets me into my next accessory.

Peak Design Cuff: Same as above, super lightweight system that provides comfortability. I feel confident with my camera dangling from my wrist with this system and like its big brother above it has a super quick release styled system to interchange Peak Design's other products.

B+W Clear UV Haze Filter: I have no idea if these filters benefit or harm my overall image quality, but I love the security they give me. I'm not afraid to damage my lens or harm any elements on the glass, so I use these on every XF lens I own. I'm sure they're cheaper alternatives, but B+W have a good reputation so I go with them. Currently I only have them on my 18mm, 56mm and Fuji X100T.

Think Tank Pixel Pocket: Just like in my Street Edition, the Pixel Pocket is perfect for added SD storage. The Lowepro 202AW allows for 2 SD cards to be stored inside the bag, but for certain projects you'll need a little more storage than that, especially since I shoot 8 & 16GB only.

Think Tank DSLR Battery Holder 4: The X-T1 doesn't hold power like my Canon DSLR's, so I carry 4 extra batteries with me.

Wasabi Power Battery 2pk: Can't go wrong with this brand, I've explained this already but I've used Wasabi batteries on just about every camera I've owned and I've never had an issue... I can't say the same for OEM.

Apple Earpod: I don't use these often, for my portrait styled shoots I try to communicate with the model, so listening to music is a no go, there are rare times where I'll be shooting and they come in hand though, so I always keep them with me.

Apple Lightning Cable w/Adapter: My phone can not die, with the X-T1's Wi-Fi capabilities I make sure my battery always has a charge so I can quickly upload to any social media outlet.

Moo Business Cards: I know the digital world is taking over, but business cards are an essential part of marketing. When you attend those events, workshops or just a simple photo walk use your business cards to spark conversation. There are plenty of places you can go to get your card, I choose Moo because they are of higher quality and I don't mind investing in myself, afterall this is sometimes your first impression, why not make it a good one.

And there you have it folks, that's it. Not much here, but that shows you don't need a full professional studio to get quality images. For those of you who are wondering I do not use flash, I use natural light, partially because I'm not to familiar with flash and just because it's a lighter workload. At some point I will invest in a few speedlights and modifiers, but for now learning natural light is more important. If you have any kit you'd like to share feel free to share in the comments below!