Skip to main content

Camera Gear and Modifiers

Lesson 13 from: Fine Art Conceptual Photography from Shoot through Post-Processing

Bella Kotak, Pratik Naik

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

13. Camera Gear and Modifiers


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Artistic Vision and Inspiration


Personal Projects


Creative Motivation and Defining Your Story


Organizing Your Inspiration


Building A Character


Creating Wardrobe and Props


Location Scouting


Lesson Info

Camera Gear and Modifiers

So I'm gonna show you guys what I have in my camera bag. So there's actually not a lot here because I don't actually pack too much whenever I go to photo shoots. And that's just because usually it's just me and the model and maybe like a makeup artist or somebody else. So it's usually just a small team and it means that I have to travel light. So I'm gonna show you guys what I have with me today. And basically the stuff I have with me like the lenses and the camera itself is tailored for this photo shoot. So for this shoot I'm gonna be using my Canon 5D Mark III. I've had this camera for I think a fair few years and I know my way around it quite well. And I'm using a 50mm f/1.4 Canon lens. And this is my absolute favorite lens to use. I think I've mentioned this so many times on social media that people are sick of it. But yeah this is my go-to kit basically. Camera, 50mm, I'm good to go. Another thing in the bag: cards. So I use a Think Tank card holder and the reason why I really lik...

e this is because you can fit so many cards in. And another trick that I also like to incorporate when I use this is having the cards that I've used facing the other way so that I know that those cards have been used and I don't need to reach out for them. Whereas the ones facing me are empty so I know which cards just grab and which cards have been used. So it's really, really easy. It's a nice little system I've got going there. Speaking of cards, I have CF cards and SD cards in here and I wanted to talk to you a bit about the camera that I use and why I use it as well cause I actually forgot to mention this earlier. But basically, the Canon 5D Mark III has two card slots. So it's actually got a CF card slot and an SD card slot and I use both of those and that's because I like to back up my pictures as I go. So I actually shoot RAW and I send that on to my CF card at my shoot; High-res JPEG and I send that off to my SD card. And what that means is that, for example, if one card gets corrupted, or if I lose a card, like, God forbid, I still have those images backed up on another card. And it's just a really efficient way of like not losing your photos. That's just a little something that I learned when I was shooting weddings like a few years ago and yeah. Like with weddings, you just have one chance to get it. So backing up as you go has always been something that's definitely key that I've tried to keep on board. Okay, I'm gonna show you guys another lens that I really like to use. And this is a Sigma 35mm f/1.4. It's a beauty. It's so sharp and I think that's just the Sigma glass. So here we go, this is what it looks like. And yeah, I love using this because it gives me those wider angle shots that the 50mm just doesn't get me. So, for example, if there's a scene that just looks so beautiful, like nice and big, I'll just change my lens and put this on. And just grab it in one take. Whereas with the 50, I might not have the same option of grabbing it in one take and I'll probably have to do a composite. So guess it just depends on what you're after. My go-to is the 50, but I do like having the option of using my 35mm when I need it. Oh, okay, so spare battery. Always necessary and the last thing that I have in here because this is a really tailored down, you know, kit, that I always do anyway when it comes to photo shoots; I try and just keep it really efficient as possible cause I forget stuff. My Lume lights. So these are Lume Cubes from this company called Lume Cube and basically they're just these really cool, little lED lights that you can kind of switch on and just give a little bit of extra pop to your photos. I've actually done a little bit of a DIY at home earlier where I put some gels on there just to give me some options for when I'm shooting this picture today cause I have an idea in my head and I just prepped the lights up beforehand. So these are great because they give you lights at loads of different strengths as well. Like I think it goes up pretty strong so... Hang on, let's turn that off. There we go. So yeah, these are just something that I like to have in my bag just so that, yeah, in case I want to use them. Why not? Oh before I forget, a reflector. So now and then I actually love to take a reflector on my photo shoots with me because I shoot a lot with natural light and having a reflector means I can control that light a little bit better if I need to. Another good thing about having a reflector as well is that when it comes to shade, I've got something to provide some shade. It doubles up as a screen. And, for example, if the ground is dirty or muddy, I can put a reflector down and put the girl sitting down on it and just protect her from the elements a little bit as well. So I just love having a reflector cause it's a quite versatile equipment in my kit. I'm just gonna show you what this one looks like. This is a Profoto reflector. And we're just gonna have a quick look at it. Right. So, yeah, it's got two sides. This is like a gold/silver side and then this side is just clear. This is great for bouncing light. But I love having a warmer light mainly because a lot of my pictures are quite paintily and the warm light really lends to that. So, yeah, thought I'd mention that before I forget. And that's pretty much it for what's in my camera kit. As you can see, it's really light. There's not a lot of equipment but I think it's quite important to try and be as efficient as possible if you already have an idea of the kind of photo that you want to take. So, yeah, I try to keep myself streamlined so that I know that everything I need is here and I don't need to weigh myself down with stuff that I'm not gonna necessarily use. Okay. So that was perfect because you can get an idea of what you're carrying in your bag most of the time. Would you say this is what you do most of your shoots? Yes, I would. I also have another little bag which you see as well in the shooting. Which I just have a few little bits and pieces. So stuff like scissors, hair bobby pins, stuff like that. Just little bits of extra things you might need at a photo shoot. But essentially when it comes to equipment, I keep it simple. I know what I like, I know how to use everything that I've got in my kit, and it does the job. One thing you didn't mention is carrying flash on set. Do you ever carry flash on set? I do not. Because you love natural light. I do and it's just not the look that I'm going for, like the flash light. I tried it once because, of course, you do experiment. It wasn't really my thing, so everything I have I use and... Manipulate. Manipulate to suit exactly the kind of vision I want to capture that day. And also depth of field cause you actually shoot shallow quite a bit. That's why I shoot with a 50. Yes, so the reason why I shoot with a and like to expand the frame, which you will see later on as well, and giving some options of expanding the frame, is because the 50mm gives you the softer depth of field. Everything in the background becomes that beautiful, soft Bokeh that makes the picture just, to me, a bit richer. And that's why I like to use that when it comes to expanding an image if I wanted to. And now you're talking about shooting at like f/1.8, or 2.8, or what? No, so every lens has a sweet spot. And if you don't know the sweet spot of your lens, just Google it. So just type in the lens you have and followed by the words "sweet spot" and see what comes up. So I can't quite remember the one for 50mm f/1.4. I think it was something like 2.4 or 2. or something like that. So I try and keep my aperture at like 2.2... Between 2.2 and 2.6 always. And that's the spot that I found initially giving me the quality I like as well as being sharp. Right. Yeah. Anything lower than that, the chances of getting blurry pictures are higher. And your key emphasis point there was what you like. Because some people like hitting f/9, f/11. It just depends on whatever your goal is cause it could change a whole frame. And as you'll see coming up with our shoot, you'll see exactly why we picked the aperture we did. But always making sure your shutter speed's also quite high so you capture movement. Yes and we'll go through that in the test shoot and the actual shoot itself. So before we go on any further, does anybody have any questions about camera bag equipment and things like that cause now would be the time to get that sorted. We did have one question from Janissa Valentino who wanted to know, again, what the camera bag was that you used. She liked the size of it and do you know, offhand, what it is or what the brand is, or what the model is? Yeah, so actually at home I use a Vanguard bag. I actually forgot to bring it with me (laughs) but... Well I didn't have room in my suitcase cause I had all the things in the world, but at home I use a Vanguard bag and I really like it because the size of it is small just like this. It's super portable, small. Light as well because it's made from light fabric and that's my go-to camera bag, actually cause I'm quite petite and that's probably why I take very streamlined equipment with me on photo shoots as well. Cause there's only so much I can carry and everything else. Is it a roller or is it an actual backpack? It's a bag. Yeah, I just sling it on, and it, yeah, it sits nicely. It's lightweight and we go. That's perfect. The benefits of shooting natural light.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Practice PSD File - Sleeping Beauty
Pratik Naik Retouching Actions
The Royal Collection - Fine Art Actions
Practice PSD File - Location Shoot (~700mb)
Practice PSD File - In Studio Shoot (~1.3gb)

Ratings and Reviews


Great class and great instructors. Genuine and informative. Practical tips to create stunning images. Seeing them work through the process from shoot to finished image was great and I loved that they shared the thought processes behind the creative decisions. Definitely recommended!


Truly a remarkable duo. Bella is so down-to-earth and humble for a photographer with such a strong beautiful and ethereal voice. Her explanations of her process really inspired me--I was sketching concepts throughout the class. Pratik's process really opened my eyes to "smart" retouching--understanding what can be done in fewer brush strokes and slimmer PS files. All in all a really unique and inspiring class that makes me excited to realize my next conceptual shoot. They're also adorable together!

Mai Her

I've gained sooooo much from this I can't even contain my appreciation and excitement! So much inspiration and so much generous advice and tips to help me! Thank you so much Bella and Pratik and Creative Live!

Student Work