"Anna, what camera do you use?"
I believe this is the most asked question I receive on social media. And I understand, when I wanted first to start out with photography and went to the shop to buy a camera, I was completely overwhelmed by the different brands and options. While I am still not a tech-pro, I have put together the setup that works for me. Taking a sneak into my camera bag might help you deciding on your own next upgrade.
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Canon R6 Mkii
Since 2023, I have been shooting with this mirrorless camera. Big fan! I chose the R6 mainly because of its solid and fast autofocus, even having a special animal eye (yes, also horses) autofocus. It works amazingly in low-light situations, so perfectly for my needs.
Canon RF 70-200 f2.5
The 70-200 2.8 is a classic for horse photographers. It provides a good range for both big arenas and places with less space. The 2.8 aperture gives me the possibility of getting a lot of light on the sensor, which is a must for dark riding arenas or fast action shots. Honestly - this lens is barely ever leaving my camera, I am the most comfortable with it.
Canon EOS 5D MkIV
The good old DSLR. While I am now mainly shooting with my mirrorless camera (there's no way back), I am still holding on to this lady. Mostly because I could never sell her. But also, because it is a great camera and I value her as a back-up or as a second camera, when I am shooting with two lenses or switching a lot between video and photo. All pictures before mid 2023 have been taken with this one. Also here I am using a 70-200 2.8.
DJI Mini 4 Pro
2023 I also added aerial photography to my services, with my DJI Mini 4 Pro. While there are of course more advanced drones on the market, this one was a great starting point for me. Because of its light weight I do not need a special license for it, but the quality of the pictures and videos is still decent. For me this was for sure the right starting point into the drone world. I chose the "Fly more" package and can highly recommend that.
Important: If you want to get into filming, ND Filters for the drone are a must.
As horse photographers we often face the problem, that there is simply not enough light. For fast action shots, we need to use a fast shutter speed, but with this especially shooting in riding arenas is a challenge. BUT sometimes it is the other way around and we have too much light. For example long exposure shots or when using the camera for filming. This is when ND filters come in handy. This is the one I am using.
One can never have too many: SD Cards. Very important: Always format them in the camera, not just delete. And whenever there is a broken file, throw the whole card away. The risk is not worth it.
When my gear became more and especially more expensive, I invested in a good camera backpack, tailor-made for outdoor experience. While I still seldom climb a mountain with it, I could definitely do that!
There's nothing more horrible than running out of battery during a shoot. I always have 5x more batteries than I need to make sure that never happens. While some photographers recommend only using original batteries, I never had problems with cheaper alternatives.
Aside of the tech: What else needs to be in a horse photographers camera bag?
- Goodies! I never go anywhere without horse goodies. Usually, the owner has some, but you know. Just in case.
- Photography halters. I do not have a link for you here for the simple reason that I made mine myself. But there are plenty of videos on YouTube, I am sure.
- Eye drops: Now, this may sound weird, and maybe that's a problem I just have, but when standing in a dusty paddock in the summer or freezing in a field in the winter, my eyes get super dry, and to make sure to still see sharp, I always have eye drops with me.
My fog setup
- Fog machine The newest toy in my setup is a fog machine. Here I made sure to have one that is both: easy to transport but also powerful enough actually to have an effect. I went with this one and am more than happy. The only thing I am missing would be that it could run on batteries, but that would've been another kind of investment. For now this one works perfectly. Very important is the quality of the liquid. I found this one to work fantastic.
- Lights Now, this is a funny one: I do not have professional lights. I got lost in research and decision fatigue when finding the right lights for my setup. Not knowing how much I would actually like an artificial light setup, I was holding back from investing too much. While I was going back and forth and could not make a decision on which way to go, my partner went to the hardware store and just bought me some construction site spotlights. While this is not going to be my long term setup, for now it works fantastic. This shows again: Done is better than perfect!
To be continued...
While I am very happy with my setup right now, you know the drill. There is always something more one needs. I have a whole wishlist of things that I would like to add to my camera bag. This is why this blog article is not a static one. I will come back and update the list whenever something crucial changes, or I have new tips for you.
Pick my brains
If you have any questions, wish for advice regarding your next tech upgrade or would like feedback on your portfolio: Let me help you out! Check out my coaching offers for photographers.