A Photographer’s Bag

September 20, 2013 — 5 Comments

A look inside the bag of a professional photographer – this is pretty cool. As part of the ongoing series I am running, I have been showing the working contents of various design and construction related professionals.So far we have


Architecture Student

Drywall Contractor

Interior Designer

and today its an architectural photographer. Talk about hauling around a lot of gear … I think only drummers have it worse. Today’s bag belongs to Matthew Carbone – a friend of mine who divides his time between New York City and Columbus, Ohio. Matthew got a nice gig and gets to travel around the United States and the world.photographing architectural projects. He’s a cool guy whom I’ve featured on Life of an Architect before and has a photo journal website that he maintains that has some of the most amazing photos. I’ll let Matthew take it from here and explain what’s in his bag –


I’m off to Cardiff, Wales and Zurich, Switzerland to photograph two client projects. Since I’m over there, I’m fulfilling a long time dream of spending some time in Iceland. Below is an overview of what photography gear I’ll bringing for my trip.

Photographer Matthew Carbone's travel bags


North Face Large Duffel Bag – a huge, durable bag that I’m not scared to beat up. And perhaps you noticed, it’s bright. Easy to spot in a sea of black roller bags at the airport.

Incase Camera Backpack – just large to carry my gear without screaming “I’m a camera backpack!”

The content of Photographer Matthew Carbone's bag


1. Arca Swiss Rail. This is a simple tool for making single row panoramas.

2. Gitzo tripod + Arca Swiss Cube.

3. Nikon D800 + Lenses. 14-24mm, 24mm PC, 45mm PC, 85mm PC.

4. Lee Filters. A bunch of neutral density filters for controlling shutter speeds and uneven exposure scenes.

5A. Shutter Triggers. Clearly I screwed up numbering these and realized it later. These are simple shutter triggers. One for Nikon, one for Fuji.

5B. Wotancraft Atelier WWII Camera Holster. Over the last few weeks I’ve been testing out the backpack and found I took drastically fewer photos with the camera starting in the pack. So I got this holster thing. Camera is secured, doesn’t bounce around when hiking, and easily accessible.

6. Fuji X-Pro1 + Lenses. 14mm, 18mm, 35mm, 55-200mm. If I wasn’t shooting two client projects, I might just take this kit. The Fuji is that good and it would be SO MUCH lighter!

7. Rocket blower + lens pen, gotta keep the gear as clean as possible.

8. Camera Batteries. Four batteries for each system. In cold weather, its wise to keep the batteries close to your person otherwise idle, cold batteries will drain quickly.

9. POWER!!! Adapters, cords, etc.

10. MacBook Pro Retina – I’d prefer NOT to take this but I have deadlines, and so its coming along for the ride.

11. SanDisk Memory Cards.

12. Important Documents. Yellow folder contains all my travel arrangements in date order. Passport, that’s important right? Also included is the International Photographer’s map of Iceland. Found this online, really helped with planning of my trip, plus its a great map[I hope]. Lonely Planet’s Iceland book was also helpful.

13. Small LED lights. I’m planning on using these in a variety of ways. Utility, creatively, and for general safety needs.

14. I hope to meet some folks along the way. Business cards for are an easy way to give out my contact info.

15. Camera Raincoat. Big one here. Primarily for the Nikon. Iceland’s weather is insane, and changes rapidly. Having this will allow me to photograph in a few more conditions.

16. SOL Survival Medic kit – it has an SOL Emergency Blanket, fire sparker, tinder, whistle, duct tape, and button compass, as well as antiseptic wipes, gauze, and bandages to patch up cuts and scrapes.

17. SOL Origin Kit. Some overlap in equipment, but good things to have.

18. Field Notes Expedition Edition Note Book + Space Pen. Long time Field Notes user, I’m excited to use the Expedition Edition in a landscape that warrants it.

19. Back Up Hard Drive.

20. Tripod attachment. Iceland is extremely windy. With this thingy, I can attach it in a couple of places and weigh down my setup with my backpack, rocks, perhaps a helpful flock of Puffins. Again, its about being able to make photographs in harsh conditions.

21. Heavy duty plastic spork and knife for those meals on the go.

22. Thermal sleeping bag layer. I’m planning on roughing it a few nights, and while I might make additional arrangements for a proper sleeping bag while in Reykjavik between this and #23 I should be off to a decent start.

23. SOL Escape Bivvy – sleeping bag shell it keeps rain, snow, and wind on the outside – all while reflecting your body heat back for warmth. These items are both really small, light and provide me with some piece of mind before heading over.


Some people just have “it” and I think Matthew is one of those people … I look to Matthew’s work for inspiration as I try and develop my own photographic eye. I’d like to thank him for playing along with this series and sending me his images and his descriptions. If you would like to be considered as part of this series, and you have a job that I haven’t already covered (I’m gratefully up to my ears with architects and student bags), I would love to receive an email from you.

Just email them to me at bob [at] lifeofanarchitect [dot] com

You can see all the other posts in this series by clicking [what’s in your bag?]


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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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  • Brian D. Meeks

    I really enjoy photography and I’ve always been curious what a pro might carry. Great post. I would love to see a follow-up post about what he might carry if he were en route to doing some architecture photography. I suspect it would be different.

  • Mark Mc Swain

    Just a tad jealous–but not enough to ditch my pag, cameras, etc. [g]
    For my wildflower photography, I’ll tote both an analog and a digital camera. part from traditiona, part from some of the specialty lenses not being interchangeable between the bodies, part from still liking some aspects of analog film stock.
    I use a slung bag, despite the present fashion being backpacks. Part of that is that, any place I’m hiking too, I already have a backpack going. If the camera gear needs must, I can haversack it to the main pack.

  • Bill Reeves

    Very cool. Things have changed from the days of bulk loaded black and white. I enjoy watching a pro photographer work. It takes a lot of patients and a lot of equipment.

  • abrowneminden@yahoo.com

    BOB…we want to see what female architects carry around in their bags… for comparison sake… please

    • I’m getting to it – but in the meantime, I hope you’re enjoying a look into the bags of other professionals.

      (sshhhh – most female architects bags look just like their male architect counterparts)