03. Essential equipment

Many people get hung up on what sort of kit they need to take great photos, but really you can get away with just a few basics – a couple of lenses and a camera body. Some of Karl’s favorite shots were taken using just a DSLR body and lens and a simple flash gun. In this chapter Karl gives you a run through of both the pro kit and some of the more basic kit that he uses in the studio and on location. Have a look at the lenses, cameras, lights, filters and accessories that he keeps in his camera bag.


  1. Hello Karl. First off, this training is phenomenal. learning so much and trying things out.

    Can I check something – you present a core kit of FF camera with your favourite wide ( 16-35 f4? ) and prime ( 50 F1.2 ) and then the zoom ( 70-200 F2.8 ) and a teleconverter.

    If I understand the other video on camera’s and on the portrait focal length video – the FF is a larger sensor and has no crop, so captures a full image at 50mm that (my) crop would need a 33mm to match ( 1.6x crop ). Would that imply that for wide/portrait shots a FF would be more effective than the crop for a given focal length ? Correspondingly, the built in teleconverter makes the crop more effective on a telephoto lens ?

    ( I appreciate the FF sensor is a better capture/quality than the APS-C sensor; but perhaps this is really only exposed by skilled hands and/or image context ( customer ) so I’m trying to answer if I should I seek out a FF option?)

    1. Hi Peter, yes a FF 35mm, my 16-35 is the 2.8 but I rarely use it at 2.8 so an f4 would be OK. I have a 50 and 85 1.2 and I use the 85mm the most for portrait work as you will see a lot when you get to the LightSource course. Yes 70-200 2.8 and 1.4x and 2x convertor is my current line up of 35mm gear. You can still do amazing things with a crop sensor but I’d still use a focal length of 50mm-85mm for portrait work even on your crop sensor camera you just might need to step back a bit. If you are new to photography then I’d stick with your 1.6crop but keep any new lens purchases with the fact in mind that you might want one day to move to a FF. Cheers Karl.

  2. Hi Karl, first of all thank you for a great content and very helpful information.
    I´m very happy investing on this course.
    Now I´ve got a doubt about my lenses kit; At the moment I have a 24-70mm and a 70-200mm Canon lenses, both F:2.8 series L.
    I´ve been using them for more than five years with a 5d mark II and just few days ago I´ve got the Mark IV.
    I´m starting to get into food photography and maybe product photography these days, but I don´t really know if a pair of fixed lenses will be more accurate or will deliver higher quality to my photography.
    I noticed that shooting with the 24-70mm, depends on the angle, at 45º for example, I cannot get in focus many of the items on the shot. Even I shoot at f11 or f16.
    Will a fixed lense help?
    I´m I doing something wrong?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Jose, for product photography on a Canon I’d seriously consider the 100mm macro lens and/or an 85mm fixed prime lens.

  3. Thanks very much Karl. I need to get rid of one of the lenses I´ve got to get the next one. So I think it will be the 70-200mm to go for the 100mm.
    I´ll give it a thought.
    Appreciate your help.


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