Acclaimed advertising photographer Erik Almas reveals the contents of his bag and offers advice on equipment and getting started.
Erik Almas is a well known Norwegian photographer specialising in high-end advertising photography, so it’s especially interesting to take a peek inside his camera bag! He’s also no stranger to sharing advice, including his 10 tips on how to be a better photographer.
While visiting his family’s holiday home in Norway recently, Erik filmed this video where he discusses his gear of choice, and more importantly, offers advice on equipment, and some inspiring encouragement for those looking to break into the industry.
He starts off by discussing his methods of getting his gear around – he shoots all over the world – and reveals that he travels with essentially one roller bag for his camera gear, and a backpack for his notebook computer. When needed, his assistant will also carry a similar roller bag, and he has a padded computer case for transporting his iMac.
Inside his main roller bag, Erik has his two camera systems: a Contax medium format camera with a Phase One digital back, and three Zeiss primes: 45mm, 80mm and 140mm; and a gripped Canon 5D Mark III with Canon lenses: 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, and a 24-70mm Mk II. Along with these, he also carries the usual accessories – batteries, PocketWizards, etc. – and reveals one overlooked item: a tape measure for use in composite images, where it’s important to measure the camera height and distance to subjects.
Erik also offers some advice for those looking to purchase their ideal lens. He emphasises the tip to go for a lens that you naturally gravitate towards already, and you can determine this by examining the metadata of your existing photos in a program like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. If your photos are all shot around 35mm or 85mm, then it will give you a good indication of where it will be important to invest in the best lens.
Finally, he leaves us with the thoughts that it’s easier than ever to produce quality images thanks to recent advances in technology – an entry level DSLR and lens can produce great results in the right hands, and as such newcomers should be inspired by the chance to be able to create brilliant images using inexpensive gear. He says: “It’s an amazing time for anyone to become a photographer.” We couldn’t agree more, and even though professional gear definitely has its advantages, it’s great to be able to recommend starter cameras like the Canon 1200D or Nikon D3100 and know that they will offer room for growth.
For those looking to know more about Erik’s methodology, read Russell Smith’s article on making and not taking images, which was inspired by Erik’s process.