a pet photographers camera bag

What is in a Pet Photographers camera bag?

Pet photographers camera bag

So what’s in the bag?

What is in a pet photographers camera bag. Well, the first, and most important thing of course is the camera. My current camera is the canon 5D MkIV. This is an absolute workhorse of a pro level camera. It has all the features that are needed for a pet photographer.  The build quality is what you need for a camera that is going to be getting down to the ground for most of its use, and has the potential to attract dog slobber no matter how careful you are.

The pet photographers camera bag the canon


I usually pair my camera with my 70-200mm 2.8 lens (see photo above). This lens is the go to lens for most pet photographers. This is because it’s got both the beautiful shallow depth of field with a brilliant zoom range. Now an unpopular opinion is that I use the Tamron G2 version of the lens and not the Canon L. Rather than just go for the branded lens, after some research I found that the Tamron is the equal in many areas and the boss in others. Its not always about how much you spend!

The pet photographers camera bag 24-70mm lens

My other main lens is my 28- 70mm 2.8 (again the Tamron version) With these two lenses I have all the bases covered from 28mm right up to 200mm. So every eventuality, from wide to zoomed, that I need for my pet photography. They both have the absolutely wonderful shallow depth of field to get that beautiful bokeh and soft backgrounds.

The pet photographers camera bag The 50mm and 40mm lenses

There are two other lenses in my camera bag which are backups. I have my nifty 50, the little 50mm lens that is recommended to anyone who gets a new digital camera, I’ve had this one since my first digital camera. The last one is my 40mm pancake lens this is another prime lens with the advantage of being very discrete so if any of the pups are scared of the “big eye” I can put this one on and lessen the impact which can be quite handy at times.


There are also occasions where I do need to add some extra light to the photos, or get creative. For these situations I have my Godox speedlight, complete with the Kobra modifier. This modifier gives a lovely soft light without the need for a large softbox.  Again this can help with nervy pups. The speedlights can also be a scary thing for some dogs and horses. So for those occasions I have my LED lights. These are perfect to bring in the extra light needed but as a continuous light as opposed to the flash that can startle.  

The pet photographers camera bag Speedlight and LED light

Other bits…

One tool that is usually the first thing out of my camera bag and into my pocket is my ExpoDisc. While all cameras have the generic automatic, sunny, cloudy, shady, etc white balances. This disc allows me to set the exact white balance for each individual location on a pet photoshoot. This means that all the colours will be consistent, and correct in camera and on the computer. To use this, you attach or hold it in front of your lens. Stand where the subject will be and point towards where you are going to take the photo from. Then set the exposure, take a shot and use the image in camera to set the perfect white balance. It takes only a couple of minutes to do and saves time in the editing.

The magic disc

For the pups

I also have a selection of noisemakers to get the attention of the pups so that I can get them looking at the camera. My favourite is the reed from a bagpipe. It makes really rather unique sound which not a lot of dogs have heard so it does pique their attention when you need it. Its also very discreet so they cant see where that strange sound is coming from. I also have the old favourites of squeakers from dog toys so it’s a noise they are familiar with, though sometimes they want that toy. For a bit of variety I have miniature harmonicas which produce a very different sound.

The pet photographers camera bag The noisemakers

I also have to make sure that I have some treats in the bag. My pet photoshoots are designed to be fun and stress free. So having to sit and pose can get a bit boring . But when the little furry models get a reward for doing that, it helps to focus them for the next round of photos. Which means I their attention is on me the treat giver.


Last but not least. I always have a roll of poo bags, just to be on the safe side. And the all important lens wipes and cloths. I expect to get slobber over my camera and lenses, so it helps to be ready for that!

Clean up

The first thing I do when I get to any dog or pet photoshoot is to let the pup have a good sniff around in my camera bag. This lets them see what is inside their pet photographers camera bag and that there is nothing that is scary or wants to hurt them. I find this starts the shoot off on the right track. When you look from the pups point of view, when a person who they don’t know suddenly has their face covered by something with one big round eye it can be quite unnerving for them.

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