Preparing for the field: Part 3

If you read my last article you will see we covered getting set up and ready to start your new journey into photography.

This piece will contain some helpful hints on getting yourself out there and getting the shots you desire.

Camera protection and treatment

Whether you have just bought a new camera or have a bit of preloved gear, what’s important is that you keep it safe and protected so you can get the most out of your system. A protective bag is a great start. Think lots of padding and little spots where you can place your equipment whether it be lens/camera bodies etc.

There are lots of camera bags to choose from with different designs and features for all types of photographers. Some brands worth checking out include:

  • Peak Designs
  • Wotancraft’s “Nomad”
  • Brevité

It is so important to protect our gear while travelling so finding the right bag can take time but it is a worthwhile investment especially if you have spent up large on new gear.

Essentials for the field

So, we have our camera/bag and lens ready to go, are there other things we should take on a day’s shooting adventure? Most definitely.

I suggest all camera operators buy the following:

  • a tool called a lens blower (if you get some dust or something small on your lens you can use your blower to remove those particles. Using your hands is a BIG NO-NO as the oils on our fingers can leave marks on the glass).
A lens blower.
  • a microfibre cleaning cloth suitable for lenses
  • extra batteries and memory cards, because as great as equipment can be the last thing you want on a shoot is for batteries to fail or memory cards to malfunction. (I now carry five memory cards and four batteries with me on all shoots to ensure I have sufficient room for multiple shots).
Preparing for the field: Part 3
  • a tripod: some are designed to be very sturdy for shooting in harsh and windy conditions whereas others are lighter and easier to handle so would be more suitable for general day to day photography.

Some brands I can recommend are:

  • Sirui
  • Vanguard
  • Peak Designs
  • 3 Legged Thing
  • Manfrotto

(I use the Vanguard VEO 2 Carbon Fiber).

Tripod in the field.

Non-essential extras

As I am sure you are aware there are lots of other things we could take. Every photographer may have a different kit, for example, landscape photographers often include neutral density filters which allow you to open the shutter for a long period of time and create different perspectives.

If you are interested in filters I would suggest checking out a company called NiSi.

If you are shooting events you may want to look at using a flash to capture images in low light or when you want to freeze the action.

When travelling I sometimes take a hard drive to back up my images to in case a memory card fails or malfunctions.

However, if you’re just setting out on your photography journey, it’s not important to buy it all but more what feels right for you. I carry a very specific kit which works well for me and the types of shots I set out to achieve.

Hopefully, this information will have you feeling more confident about heading out to start getting some amazing shots.

If there is something, in particular, you are looking to learn or check please contact me directly on my Instagram @mattgilliganphoto or

Upcoming topics

Finding locations | Lighting and directions | Unique Composition | Editing and finding your style and other helpful hints along the away.

matt gilligan

About the author:

Matt Gilligan is a freelance professional photographer based in Port Macquarie, NSW. He specialises in food, abstract landscapes, and editorial style images. Additionally, he is a photography educator and the newest contributor on Coastbeat, so make sure to check out all of his content.

If you can’t wait for the next part of his series, however, you can always book an one-on-one online session with him!

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