Carry Less, Shoot More

Back when I started in photography, I bought lots of gear and started out carrying most of it with me when I went out all day shooting. Many photographers do this and soon learn that it’s not fun carrying all that gear all day long out in the field. Most of the components of your DSLR system weigh mere ounces to a couple pounds and it may not sound like a lot of weight but when you have ALL of it in a bag or backpack, it’s amazing how heavy it all becomes as the day wears on. This first image is a golfball I shot with just my 50mm F/1.4 USM lens.


I now try to minimize what I carry when out in the field all day long so I can carry less weight and shoot more. Another advantage of carrying less aside from going on a camera diet is it is a great way to challenge yourself to be more creative with what you have on you. When carrying all your gear, you tens to spend less time shooting and more time fiddling with lenses and it becomes difficult to focus on shooting as you have a hard time visualizing on what you want to shoot and how to frame it.

If I am going out to just shoot all day I want a good, light weight set up that I can shoot a variety of scenes with and I often find myself grabbing my Canon EF 50mm F/1.4 USM also known as the Nifty Fifty. For me the body doesn’t really matter as all my bodies but one are Canon and I can even use my Canon lenses on my Sony NEX 6 as I have the Canon to Sony adapter. The below image in a portrait I shot of a downtown Atlanta diner owner, again with my trusty 50mm F/1.4 USM lens.


I like the Nifty Fifty set up as 50mm focal length is one of the most popular and most versatile lens out there. It’s great for street photography, portraits, and even landscapes, although it’s not as wide as my EF 17-40mm or my Sony 16-50mm.

Another reason I love the Nifty Fifty is it’s low weight of only 10.23 ounces. My Canon EOS 5 & 6Ds weight close to the same at around 27 ounces, so I keep my total weight to around 3 pounds total. Couple this with my new PeakDesign CapturePRO camera clip mounting system and I can be on my feet all day long with no issues. This last image I shot again with my 50mm F/1.4 USM lens, street photography style.


The next reason I recommend carrying less is so that you can become better with one set up. You don’t want to be out in the field worrying about changing lenses, risking getting dust on your sensor and trying to make up your mind what lens will give you the shot you want and then you miss the shot totally. By carrying a simple set up, you perfect your skills using what you have with you. You don’t need to have that zoom lens with you, get closer to what you want to shoot. This not only makes you more creative and builds your skills but you will find that you will enjoy your photography more and do less thinking or over thinking and as a result, less missing the shot. It’s also great when using a lens like the 50mm as you move around more and get more exercise. Who would have thought you could do something you love like photography all day and lose weight and become more fit at the same time. Now get out there and make some great pictures.