I don't know about you, but I love my equipment. In our studio, everything has a special case with a special place, labeled neatly and all tucked away so you can find whatever you want at a moment's notice.
GEAR POST DISCLAIMER: You should always max out the equipment you have before you buy new. If you haven't already, see this post for my tips on buying gear.
Here's my livestock photography kit:
Camera Bag: Your camera bag is your most important piece of gear. A good bag is expensive, but it's going to protect and organize all your high value equipment. We should own stock in Pelican, and I like their cases with customize-able inserts, but my go-to camera bag is the ThinkTank Photo Airport International Roller 2.0. I've had it for probably 10 or 11 years. It has a lifetime guarantee and mine has seen the world, and hasn't required any attention whatsoever. The ONE THING to watch is that this bag won't fit on regional jets, so if you HAVE to send it to the belly of the plane (which I only had to do once or twice planeside) it's lockable and it will be okay - just remove things from the outer pockets and make sure you don't pack your camera with the body and lens connected. Always separate the body and the lens for transport or your lens mount could break.
Camera: Canon 5DMKIV - I like this camera a lot. We currently use is as a B-Cam for many of our video productions. It's fast and focuses well. The pictures are very high quality, but not so large they bog down my workflow. You should work with the camera you have until you can follow the buying guidelines (see link above) but you're going to want to save up for a camera that has a full frame sensor.
Lenses: Canon 24-70 f2.8, Canon 70-200 f2.8 - The 70-200 is always the first lens I reach for when I'm taking livestock photos. It's unmatched for its flexibility, durability, and image quality. I keep the 24-70 in the kit because sometimes you'll get into a situation where you get stuck in a small pen, so you need a wider lens. Also, I'll often grab the 24-70 for shooting ranch scenes. I used to keep a 50mm f1.4 in my kit as well and I'd use it occasionally in the picture pen or with haltered livestock. This was my first fallback lens for small pens before I could afford the 24-70.
Backup Camera: Having a backup camera is a really good idea, so don't get too excited to trade off your old model. You don't want to be waiting for a camera to come in while there are bulls in the chute.
Memory Cards: I carry a memory card wallet (from ThinkTank) to organize my SD cards, and I have a small Pelican style case for C-Fast cards. For SD cards, I shoot 64GB SanDisk ExtremePro cards. Start with two. I carried six when I was taking photos and video of cattle every day.
Lens Filters: A clear filter isn't the worst idea to protect your lens. I notice that LensRentals.com sends all their lenses out with clear filters for this very reason. In the picture pen, you're encountering tons of dust. My camera was constantly being bumped against fences when I encountered the need to get out of the pen, so anything that helps protect the camera/lens is a good idea. (Also, use your lens hoods people!) It's surprising how much aerosol product overspray you can encounter as well.
Batteries and chargers: I carry at least three batteries for my camera and two chargers. You'll notice I like to have two of everything. I like to be prepared, and if you're getting paid to do the work, you can't afford to be in a situation where you're the holdup on the shoot. (Bonus tip: If you're taking videos or using Live Mode much, you'll cash out batteries in a hurry.)
Extras: Lens cleaning cloths, air puffer (for cleaning off dust), fingerless gloves, mittens with flaps, sock hat, mini screwdriver set, pens, notebook, tripod mounts (for scenics and video work), extra phone charger
Okay - That's an overview of what I keep in my livestock photography kit! Start small. Build up over time. Pay cash. Take good care of your equipment and it will take good care of you!
As always, reach out with any questions. [email protected]
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