Over the years I have been asked on a number of occasions about the photographic gear that I take to photograph events in and around London, so I split my recommendations into a series of blog posts.
One afternoon I was in Fixation in London’s Vauxhall buying my Nikon 70-200mm AF-S Nikkor f2.8G ED VR II Lens. There was a photographer next to me waiting to be served and he had a Think Tank camera bag filled with gear, I asked him ‘how is that camera bag working out for you?’ we then spent the next 30 minutes chatting while he showed me through all the features that bag had to offer. As well as walking out with the new 70-200mm I also had a new Think Tank Shape Shifter backpack. I can’t recommend a bag highly enough to any event photographer; it holds the perfect amount of kit you would need to photograph any party or corporate event.
The bag has pouches in the main compartment rather than slots so that nothing moves about, I think this might be the only bag like it. It is as stream line as any camera bag will ever be. It even has a zip that you can use to make the bag smaller which is very handy when you don’t have it full to the brim with cameras and lenses making it much more compact. I also use this as an everyday bag as I almost always carry my laptop everywhere I go, the bag has as a very handy laptop slip at the back and without any cameras, it relatively light. Here is a video I found online showcasing the bag.
As with most event photographers in London I spend a lot of time lugging very heavy bags around on my back, in and out of the underground, doing myself some long-term back damage. Having had back problems as a result of this, I have been using more and more wheely bags. I started with the Think TankAIRPORT AIRSTREAM
which I bought on Amazon, the wheels on this bag are so smooth and seem to absorb shock so well unlike any bag I have had before. I bought this bag, as its unique selling point is that it’s the right size cabin bag on most European airlines. It has this nifty pocket/slip which you put your laptop into and when you get on the flight it slips right out. There is a big down side to this because the laptop is not actually inside the bag itself but merely on the outside, so open to the elements. Not so great on the underground or if it is raining. If I’m at party, PR or corporate event and I need my laptop I then I am often leaving my camera bag/ laptop with all the other stuff and belongings unconcealed in an unlocked room.
A few years ago a friend was living with me and had a Rimowa Salsa 22" Cabin Trolley 2-Wheeler. I realised that my Think Tank Shape Shifter fitted into it perfectly even when it is filled to the brim with camera gear. The wheels on the bag are not as good, but if you are like me and don’t what the world to know you are carrying very expensive gear around, this bag throws people off completely as it looks like any airplane hand luggage and conceals everything. It had locks on the side so I can easy lock the bag at at any event. The best bit about this combo is that when I go on location or am on holiday I have the option to take out the backpack and just use that. The only problem is when I am working at a hotel they always try to make me check it in and it takes a while to explain that I’m working there that evening. This happened the other week at the W Hotel.
Recently I got a black Friday deal and bought my own Rimowa Cabin Multiwheel iata 55cm Salsa . I now very rarely carry the bag on my back. The wheels are much better than the 2 wheel version I was borrowing.