5 May 2014

What's in my bag? | Street Style Essentials

For the best part of a year, my red Zatchels satchel has been my go-to bag for street style photography and fashion blogger escapades. Though it may not be as infinitely cavernous as a woman's handbag (which I have discovered can hold all manners of things, much like Mary Poppins' carpet bag), it is the perfect size for all the tools and equipment I require to shoot the stylish folk of London, or wherever I happen to find myself.

What's in my bag?

The essentials for street style photography can vary from person to person, depending on one's style of photography, as much as their budget. The most important - and often the most expensive - piece of equipment is, of course, the camera. Since last summer, I have been shooting with a Canon 6D. At little over £1,000, this model is one of Canon's pricier products, but it is worth the expense. The combined performance of a full frame sensor, 20.2 megapixels and high ISO levels allows me to carry on shooting towards the very end of the day, in low-light environments, without compromising on quality.

What's in my bag?

But a DSLR camera is nothing without a lens. Having made a sufficient dent in my wallet, I equipped my camera with the cheapest lens on offer, the Canon 50mm f/1.8, or the "nifty fifty", as it is fondly known. Lightweight and versatile, its wide aperture offers plenty of light, while producing a pleasing bokeh, thus drawing all your attention to the subject in the foreground. It is a great starter lens for anyone with a DSLR camera, let alone a street style photographer.

During the fashion week season, I also like to carry around a heftier lens, the Canon 24-105mm f/4, which I find is useful for shooting fashions shows, parties and exhibitions. Its telephoto capability does not stretch as far as a the standard 100-300mm, but the zoom and fixed aperture does allow for candid photography, if required. It is equally useful for macro photography, which is limited with the 50mm lens.

What's in my bag?

Outside of the electronic gizmos are my note-taking utensils, a Field Notes notebook and a ballpoint pen. The notebooks were freebies from one of the first press days I attended, yet I am only just finishing up the fourth book. Often stuffed in my pocket, or soaked by the rain, they do not receive the best care and attention, but the creased and dog-eared pages only add to each notebook's character.

If I forget my notepad, my iPhone is a handy alternative. For the most part, however, my phone is kept away in my bag, as texts and tweets can be very distracting. That said, my iPhone is useful for sharing the cool places I come across during my adventures, often via Instagram or Twitter. It is decorated with a custom case from Caseable, featuring one of my own street style photos. A phone box on a phone case is appropriate, don't you think?

What's in my bag?

After I take a photo of somebody, I like to direct them to where their photo will end up, which is why I carry around a small box of business cards. These double-sided cards from Moo.com have printed all the necessary contact details, including e-mail address, Twitter handle and blog URL. There is also a QR code, so the person I photographed can access my website there and then with their smartphone. When I shoot street style, I meet all sorts of interesting people, therefore business cards are tremendously effective for both networking and increasing my readership.

If you dabble in street style photography, or you think it is something you might like to try out, I would love to hear from you. You don't need an expensive camera to start off with - you can do well with a compact digital camera, provided you have the confidence. You never know, I might be bumping into you on a street corner very soon.

What's in my bag?

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