I love photography. I love giving and receiving the gifts of photography and what freedoms those items serve to create, to be inspired, to think about photographs in a more meaningful way. These tools, ever changing, are an important part of being a photographer, professional or hobbyist. While I haven’t come anywhere close to owning every photography book or testing every camera I can share with you what I personally have loved and think would be great for anyone interested in the art of capturing life.
Sony a7RII: Perfectly small, amazing quality, this is my go-to travel camera. Because you can connect the camera to the app on your phone you can instantly upload photos to put onto instagram or as I have been doing for these self portraits, using it as a remote shutter release. These are the accessories I love to use with it:
- Zeiss Loxia 35mm Sony E Mount: Small, light, fast and no auto focus
- Zeiss Loxia 50mm Sony E Mount: Perfect 50mm for the a7RII
- Class 10 SDXC card: The card you need for shooting 4K video with the a7RII
Impossible I-1 Analog Instant Camera: As a huge lover of photography dating back pre-digital era I am always keeping up with my vintage film and polaroid cameras, a dying tool I try to preserve in my arsenal of gear and knowledge. I was thrilled with Impossible released a new version of an old instant polaroid camera so modernized you can control and shoot with in from an app on your phone… as you can tell I’m a fan of remote shooting. The photos this camera creates are soft, dreamy and otherworldly and fit right into my vision of the world.
*FYI, giving away TWO of these later this week! Follow on instagram for the announcement!*
Canon 5D series: I have been shooting with the Canon 5D series for around 7 years and it has honestly been the best professional camera experience I’ve had. I’ve used this camera to shoot ad campaigns, fashion editorials, images for brand Zines and brand lookbooks, all my NYFW coverage, brand travel stories and so many other … pretty… little… things.
I started out with the Canon 5D Mark II and now shoot with the Mark III. They recently released the Mark IV which I myself have my eye on. Did you know, we created our first Cineamgraph with the Canon 5D Mark II because of it’s capability of also capturing high quality video! These are the accessories I love to use with it:
Gitzo Tripods: I’m 100% loyal to Gitzo tripods. I’ve been using them since college, I believe they are the best. For travel and in Provence I have been using the Gitzo GT0532 Mountaineer Tripod which is perfect size to carry around easily, fits into my duffel for travel, and is light weight while still insanely sturdy. On the head I use a Gitzo Series 3 GH3780QD Center Ball Head which is absolutely my favorite way to shoot on a tripod. Back at the studio we use a Gitzo Series 5 Systematic 3 Section Long Tripod. This is a very heavy duty piece of gear and holds our bigger cameras such as the Red Epic, Pentax 645z and my large format film cameras typically with a Manfrotto 502 fluid head.
MYDigitalSSD 512GB: Super tiny, super fast and affordable SSD hard drive for location shooting.
LaCie Rugged Mini 2TB drive: Our go-to higher capacity drive, great for backups. Also comes in 1TB and 4TB.
iCloth Screen Cleaning Wipes: Your camera screen gets smudged, your phone has fingerprints all over it. Keep a few of these in your camera bag for a quick clean up.
Photojojo Handy Dandy Hand Strap: I’ve had this one strap for years on my Canon. I love it because it’s padded and sturdy for a camera of this size. It’s so warn in now from all we’ve been through the leather has turned a beautiful patina and at $40 you can’t beat it. *see above camera and strap on far right in the top image*
Gordy’s Camera Straps: This is what I have attached on my Sony a7RII. More delicate, minimal, lighter but still solid leather quality, I’m absolutely loving it. And, they are made to order so you can decide what color leather and stitching matches your personality best. Oh did I mention, they start at $18!
Wood & Faulk Neck Strap: Another strap I’ve had for years, this is the only neck strap I use. I like the extra width for the pressure on your neck or shoulder while maintaining a nice simplicity of design. The leather has worn beautifully, something that will last forever. Comes in tan, dark brown, and natural.
Billingham 550: If you were to buy one camera bag for your entire life this would be the one. This is my camera bag, this will always be my camera bag and though it’s a splurge it’s also forever.
ONA: Made in New York City, this is a more fashionable approach than your traditional camera bag. From cool backpacks to women’s handbags, they keep your style intact and your gear safe.
Pelican Case: This is for when I mean serious business. There is nothing cool or chic about the way this case looks but when I’m traveling on a big job, carrying a lot of valuable gear, it’s typically too heavy for a shoulder bag and I wanted everything to be as secure as possible. I like that I can roll this through airports, it can stack with luggage and I can put a lock on it for security. It also doubles as a great apple box on location when you need to stand on something to give you a little more height!
Sachtler SC306 Camera backpack: Our backpack for video gear. It’s big, but not big enough that it weighs a ton when full. It fits in overhead compartments on airplanes, has a slim pocket for a laptop and enough room for all the camera bodies and lenses you need. It also stands upright which is a lot more useful than you might imagine.
At Work by Annie Leibovitz: An amazing behind the scenes account by one of the most famous photographers of our time on her career, photoshoots and how some of her most famous images came to light.
Peter Lindbergh: A Different Vision on Fashion Photography: One of my favorite photographers, this book is a beautiful collection of four decades of some of the most iconic fashion photographs in history in his signature black and white. I also love Untitled 116 and Images of Women.
Blood Sweat and Tears by Bruce Weber: An amazing retrospective of one of the greatest American fashion photographers of all time with his beautifully candid and so Americana imagery. The perfect coffee table book that keeps you inspired time after time.
Tim Walker: Story Teller: For those who see the world as a magical place… this is the picture book to end all. For those young creatives with imagination just starting out, Tim Walker Pictures, offers a glimpse into the artistic process.
Herb Ritts: L.A. Style: Some of the most beautiful black and white photographs of fashion, nudes and celebrities the world has ever seen by L.A. photographer Herb Ritts famous for his striking simplicity and powerful natural light imagery. The Golden Hour is a more intimate look into the journey of the photographer himself.
Passage: A Work Record by Irving Penn: One of my all time favorite photography books, this covers all aspects of Irving Penn’s work from fashion to portraits, to his iconic still lives you see hanging on museum walls.
Hold Still by Sally Mann: An intimate dive into the personal history and life of photographer Sally Mann and how that plays out into her esteemed body of work in this interesting memoir.
Edward Weston: 125 Photographs: Containing some of the most striking nudes and still lives in the history of photography, this book is a timeless tribute to the quiet vision of a master photographer.
Imogen Cunningham 1883 – 1976: One of the most prominent women in the history of photography and a pioneer of photography in her own right, this book is a beautiful collection of her most striking photographs from portraiture to flowers.
On Photography by Susan Sontag: A marriage of ideals between the history of photography and what was happening culturally in America in the 1970s that still hits poignant moments relevant to today’s digital society.
Above self portrait taken at my home in Provence with a few of my favorite cameras wearing Of A Kind Permanent Collection and Retrouvai Heirloom Signet Ring in an image inspired by a Francesco Furini painting.
11 thoughts on “A Photographer’s Gift Guide”
This post was like receiving a Christmas gift from you Jamie. Thank you for sharing some of your favorite cameras and accessories. I have long followed your blog and find your photography, and travels, absolutely captivating. Wishing you all of the best for 2017…
I believe I’ve seen you use the ONA bag? I’m in the market for one and might just ask for this one!
What photo editing program do you use?
Thank you for posting this Jamie!!! You are so FINE woman! And extremely talented.
Thanks for posting… I just picked up the Sony a6000…love it. Will upgrade…eventually. You’re quite inspiring and fresh!
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