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Meet the Alamy Content Team – a look inside their camera bags

Vintage travel photography concept.
Chesh / Alamy Stock Photo

When working in a photographic industry, an interest in photography tends to come with the territory – and the Content Team here at Alamy are no exception to this. As you’d expect, each of us have our own individual level of  interest and involvement in photography outside of our day to day roles.  That’s where this blog comes in. Rather than the standard ‘tell us about yourself meet the team Q&A’s’ we’ve added a slight twist and have opened (or dusted off) our camera bags to give you a look inside and see what equipment we use when we do manage to get out and do a shoot of our own. We’ve also provided a bit of insight into the journey’s we’ve taken to end up to where we are today.

 

Alex B – Director of Photography

I’ve various cameras, Nikon and Canon mainly, but over time my iPhone has become the preferred gear of choice! My main use of it is to capture candid family and friend moments and record my hiking holidays in the Alps and all over Europe.

You can buy a few lenses for the iPhone and it’s fun to experiment using macro with flowers and foliage or use the pano feature, which works great for the grand perspective. I also find it works great for capturing those joyful moments which might be lost with pro equipment and there are the practicalities of taking equipment in the great outdoors. I remember when my bloke and I first started taking our iPhones on our holidays and loved the front facing camera – we didn’t call it selfies then but the ‘we two’ picture which would place us in one our favourite locations.

The Mamiya C330 is what nestles dormant in my Billingham camera bag, my future camera! It’s a beautiful beast of a camera which I hope one day to use and return to a very slow and crafted way of taking and working with photographs.

 

Alex K – Contributor Relations Executive

I had to wipe the dust off my camera bag for the sake of this blog… my kit is all very old and never gets used these days (hence the thick layer of dust!).

I’ve had an interest in photography from a very young age. My father is a professional photographer and while growing up we would never go anywhere without his camera bag – even to the supermarket. I remember thinking just how embarrassing it was to always have him snapping away while lugging a massive bag on his shoulder. But, it’s no different to us with our phones these days, wherever you look someone has their phone out taking a photo… an iPhone is just a hell of a lot lighter than his camera bag!

My love for photography grew while I took a photography A-level alongside a Performing Arts course (which was always my first passion!) but ended up sticking with the photography route (far less competitive industry) and I worked for a well-known family portrait studio for 7 years before moving on to Alamy 6.5 years ago.

Despite not picking up my DSLR for a long time, I take photos everyday with my iPhone, mainly to fuel my shameless Instagram addiction. I couldn’t include my phone in my photo as I’d have nothing to take it! My husband is completely fed up of me yelling ‘STOP’ when we drive by a beautiful viewpoint (so I can take a photo out of the car window) or generally being 50 steps behind him if we’re out somewhere because I’ve seen something pretty.

 

Ben – Content Operations and Services Manager

My DSLR photography was just a weekend hobby, only really taking it seriously once my son was born. I planned to document every day of his first year, set up a website for friends and family and jokingly put the description as: “…for the first year, or until Daddy following him with a camera is too embarrassing as an 18 year old”. Now at almost 6 years in, he’s still the daily focus of my photography (I can’t stop!) although now also with a 2 year old sister. I couldn’t bear the thought of having to explain in later life why she wasn’t as special as her brother (or afford the therapy) and so my project has doubled in size along with my family, my photo storage space, and physical storage space, however the size of my camera kit has actually decreased.

Back in 2013/2014 I got heavily involved with Alamy’s mobile phone app Stockimo and my love affair with mobile photography was born. Sure mobile photography does have its limitations, the low light winter months being a good example, but the practical plusses alone more than compensate. I’ve always got my iPhone in my pocket, very rarely my DSLR (it literally has dust and cobwebs on it at the moment). I’m able to capture more intimate, close, candid shots than I could with an intrusive DSLR. I can take, edit, post-produce, tag and upload via an app and email friends and family an update… all on my phone. I also don’t have to make the risky decision between tripod and spare lens, or kids snacks and diapers! iPhone 6S (native camera, predominantly using VSCO for editing)… Oh and very occasionally a Canon 400D.

 

Corin – Contributor Relations Assistant

When I am not in the office helping out all of Alamy’s wonderful contributors you will often find my lying in a field somewhere behind my camera photographing one of my biggest loves in life…dogs. Being Britain’s top choice of pet, there are no shortage of pups for me to fall in love with and photograph. The staples I take on an average shoot are my Canon camera body and 70-200mm lens, this allows me to keep a bit of distance from my subject and still capture all of their emotions and little quirks.

As well as pups I also love taking portraits, particularly of families and little ones so often find myself reaching for my go to 50mm and 85mm lenses.

When out and about my camera and lenses can get quite heavy so I also carry a monopod around with me to help support the weight of my camera when needed. This will usually stay in the boot of my car nearby or if I’m lucky enough to have roped in a helper they will carry this for me rather than having it poking out the top of my camera bag.

Whilst studying for my A-Levels I loved using film and have recently added an Olympus Xa1 and a Polaroid ColorPack 80 to my gear which I am very excited to start experimenting with.

A few other bits you’ll often find in my camera bag or with me at shoots are, my phone and diary; I like to stay organised so having something to write ideas/shoot details in is super handy, Ibuprofen for achy fingers when carrying my camera around all day, treats for both my models and I (meaty biscuity things for the dogs and polos for me) and most importantly, if I’m heading out early for an outdoor shoot with a pooch; a nice hot cup of tea in one of my travel mugs.

 

Dan – Copyright and Legal Assistant

I’ve acquired all of my camera gear since getting into photography in 2007. Something which started out as a hobby I dabbled in became something I knew I wanted a career in after completing a foundation course at the local college and moving on to university.

This gained momentum after completing the work placement part of my degree where I was able to combine the photography I was studying with my love of motorsport. This has continued to this day and I can often be found working at a race circuit somewhere around the UK during my weekends off at Alamy.

I’m still heavily reliant on my DSLR’s to produce the images at race events although I will use my phone for the odd Instagram post now and again. With the work I do at weekends it means I rarely get out and take photos in my spare time anymore. I should really change this and get out and take more pictures *makes mental note*.

My gear has gone from one body and a kit lens held in a small shoulder bag up to my current roller-case to hold the four bodies, lenses, laptop and everything else I might need while I’m away. The roller-case is a lifesaver as all this gear together weighs an absolute tonne.

I have just purchased a Nikon D3 to accompany my other full frame D700. Although these bodies have the same number of megapixels as my Nikon D300’s the difference in image quality between these and the crop sensor is instantly noticeable side by side – especially in low light conditions. As you can see I’ve not got rid of my two D300’s, these now serve as back up cameras in case of failures while I’m away but they are also handy with their 1.5x crop factor to increase the focal length of my 70-200mm lens. I’m still looking at getting some more glass when the budget allows, a fisheye, 300mm and tele converter are on the list, although I may have to reconsider my current bag situation again in order to accommodate these!

 

Elisabeth – Content Operations Assistant

I have two camera bags, one for my cameras and one for my darkroom equipment.

In the first bag you can find my analogue old friend Nikon F80 with a 50mm f1.8 lens, my Canon 5D mark II with a 50mm f1.4 lens, a wide angle lens, a light meter (which I forgot to include in the picture), an external hard drive and a reflector (which technically isn’t in my camera bag as the bag is fairly small and not at all a Tardis). I like to keep my camera bag light and easy to pick up, in that way I’m more likely to bring it with me when leaving the house.

In the second camera bag you’ll be able to find a folder with negatives and empty negative sleeves, matt photo paper, a focus finder, a developing tank, a reel, an air blower, a timer and a thermometer. I don’t have any preferences when it comes to shooting digital or analogue, it depends on my mood, what I’m photographing and what the end result is meant to be.

 

James A – Contributor Relations Manager

My tiny little camera bag holds quite a lot of sentimental value to me. I bought it back in 2005 about 6 months after I’d started at Alamy. I was on a 4 month placement in our India office in Kerala and I’d taken a few days off to hop on a plane and check out Singapore. It was there that I bought my first DSLR (A Canon 350D, since sold, not pictured) and this camera bag. I loved that camera but after a few years upgraded to a 7D – happily this still fits in the bag I got from the electronics mall in Singapore.

I’d always had a strong interest in design and imagery, but no matter how hard I tried I was just no good at drawing or painting. I became more interested in photography as a result and took a mixed media course at college which I took further to obtain a degree in media from the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design at Birmingham City University. It was a great course and it took in a wide range of subjects, and it allowed me to keep the subjects broad or specialise. I took all the photography modules I could and got a great working understanding of film and darkroom processing as well as digital manipulation and software packages like Photoshop. When a job came up at Alamy timed with when I’d just finished my degree I went for it and here I am 13 years later.

I don’t take nearly as many photos these days as I’d like, and I’ve got at least 2 hard drives worth of RAWs I haven’t got round to processing yet but I’ll get there one day. Having a son rapidly approaching his first birthday has meant that my other favourite camera (my iPhone) is full of photos of his cheeky face (or the inside of his mouth when he’s decided to chew it). With the 7D, the 70-200mm lens allows me to get some great shots of him from a distance though and its such a versatile lens – I use it for everything from portrait work to nature and travel.

The budget 50mm Canon lens (the nifty 50) is an amazing little thing. For the price, it’s almost disposable but it punches well above it’s weight when it comes to image quality. So sharp. And the f1.8 aperture means it’s a fantastic lens for live music photography if you can get close enough. In the past I shot live music gigs for various bands and promoters quite a bit living in Oxford (which has a great live music scene).

My most prized possession though is that little camera at the bottom. The Ricoh GR. A fixed 28mm lens on what looks like a cheap and crappy little point and shoot (but it’s not cheap or crappy). You can keep it in your pocket and take it out anywhere and people just think you’re a tourist – incredibly handy for street photography or if you don’t like to draw attention to yourself. The image quality is mind blowing and I’d trade all the other gear I own to keep it! It’s got a bit of a cult following too, for good reason.

 

Patrick – Content Operations Manager

Most of my photography gear is stuff I’ve held onto from back in the day when I used to work freelance. Though I have recently updated my camera body to a Nikon D810.

However, I haven’t really had a chance to use it as the other half has nicked it for her food blog! Though when I do manage to get my hands on it, I love to take wide-angle landscapes and cityscapes. I also like night photography which is a bit of an obsession of mine. You might have noticed the discrete long lens too, dabbling in wildlife and scenic photography is something I’ve recently got into since getting a dog and being in the wide outdoors a lot more.

All this kit is pretty bulky though, which means a lot of the time I carry round my trusty Fuji X100.  As well as looking very retro, it performs brilliantly for those sneaky shots you might want to grab. Other than that my Billingham Bags are usually stuffed with a spare battery, lens cloths and loads of extra memory cards.

 

Shelley – Contributor Relations Assistant

So to tell you the truth I’m not a photographer, I took Zoology at university and my passion has always been wildlife and conservation. It’s not that photography doesn’t interest me (otherwise why would I be here), I even took an online course, but I’ve got much more of a scientific/analytical brain than a creative one.

You’re probably wondering why I work for a stock photography company? Well I love photography (as long as I’m not taking the photos), getting to see people’s creations and discovering new collections as well as getting to experience some amazing wildlife photography which satisfies my other passion. I know a lot about what it takes to create a good photo and the technical side of things. I know exactly what to look for quality wise and I’m an expert in all things contributor related. To all those people who want a career in the photography industry but don’t think you have the experience then don’t worry, it’s entirely possible because I am doing just that.

As I’m not a photographer I don’t actually have a camera bag. I take the odd photo on my phone but luckily I have a lot of photographer friends who cover all my photography needs. Instead of describing my bag and the cameras I own (because there aren’t any) I thought I would just take a picture of what’s in my daily bag and tell you a bit about that (because why not).

My bag is quite big for the amount of stuff inside, you could say it’s unnecessary but you’d be wrong. I always have my water bottle with me, because you need to stay hydrated, especially if you’re out all day taking photos like I’m not. I have my diary for all those important appointments and my phone, for the occasional snap. Other things include a lip balm (it’s getting close to winter now so this is essential if you don’t want chapped lips), my keys, my purse, and usually the odd snack or two – all very interesting stuff! 

 

Siobhan – Copyright and Legal Assistant

While I enjoy taking photos, I will be the first to admit that I am not a photographer. I brought my camera around 5 years ago, more for its video capabilities as I was studying Film Production at the time, but it still serves me well today.

I don’t have anything in the way of equipment, and my “camera bag” is an old Toms drawstring bag. If you’ve seen my hacks blogs, you’ll see I like kitsch, which explains my glorious Barbie Polaroid that I got off eBay for $10 (I’ve yet to buy any film for it, so lord knows if it works!).

One of the reasons I wouldn’t call myself a photographer is that my first thought is never to take a photo. Outside of Alamy, when trying to run my own small baking business with a website and social media, this isn’t a good thing. I’m having to train myself to remember to take more photos, and leaving myself little post-it’s around the kitchen. If you’ve got any tips though, I’m all ears!

 

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Have you got anything interesting or quirky in your camera bag that you take with you when you go out snapping? Let us know about your camera bag equipment in the comments.

 

  • Ian Murray

    So, how are the Alamy sales going for the Alamy team? And, specifically, has either James West or Alan Capel broken their duck yet?

  • Tony Charnock

    Well, no replies to Ian’s query just yet …. 🙂
    For my part, bin liners.
    I always have two white plastic pedal bin liners in my bag. If I’m working with two bodies on the go, and it’s raining, I can pull one up over each camera, keep ’em dry. Admittedly not a great fashion tip, but then I’ve never been known for sartorial elegance. That said, if I have to kneel down on wet grass – bin liner saves getting my (non trendy) jeans dirty.

  • Stephen Power

    Interesting that your lawyer has more professional-level gear than the “Director of Photography”. It’s appalling to see her advocate her iPhone as her main camera. No wonder professional photography (and professional photographers) are under-valued these days.

  • SiliconValleyStock

    Nice seeing that Mamiya C-330. I’m an Alamy contributor – and by coincidence I was shooting with *my* Mamiya C-330 today. Fun post!

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