What's in my bag

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What’s in my photography bag?

Hey folks,

Today I decided to show you my gear and explain with what type of camera I work when I travel.

To make it fast, I would say that I always adjust my bag regarding the type of assignment I’m doing. The heaviest bag is in general for video clip on the field. As I work alone most of the time, I have to pack all my gear at once and wear it on my back while walking or travelling. It’s obvious that I take all my gear in cabin next to me when I travel by plane.

VIDEO SET UP

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As you can see, this can be pretty heavy. Let’s go trough this :

  • I invested in a WANDRD bag, because they are incredibly strong, and useful. The amount of stuff you can pack-in is quite incredible. Add that the bags are confortable, waterproof, and reliable. You can also get easy access to your prime camera due to the side pockets, and important belongings on the top pocket. These pockets are all well placed, and secured. You don’t have to stress to let your wallet inside your backpack while walking in a city, the pockets are placed in a way that only you got access to them.

  • As you know, I’m Nikon Ambassador for Belgium, there is no surprise in the fact that my main camera is a Nikon D850 coupled with a 35mm 1.4. The D850 is probably the best camera I ever owned. I can do everything I want with it, from heavy reportage to sport, to portrait, landscape, video. This DSLR can switch as fast as you want, and will always deliver precise, and perfect quality images.

  • In case of troubles I always plan to have a second DSLR which is a D810. Also a pro camera, I used it before the D850, never disappointed me.

  • In terms of lenses, I work mostly with the 35mm 1.4 as I just said, but I also work with a 24-70mm 2.8 in case of landscape, or more descriptive shots. It is a heavy lens, but useful if you don’t want to change lens every 20 minutes. You can go from reporting, to portrait quite easily. But note that you will look obvious, and that the lens is decently heavy coupled on the D850.

  • I’ll stick up a NIKON Key Mission 170 on my car while driving, or on my chest while walking. That one can also go underwater: useful when you swim with alligators.

  • I learned how to pilot a drone and bought a DJI MAVIC PRO because it’s light, High Resolution Image, easy to pilot and you can fold and unfold it super easily. That thing is super powerful. I remember one of my first serious flights over waterfalls in Iceland full of wind and water drops, the drone didn’t shake and was easy to control with a decent 30 minutes flight time, more than enough to capture what I need.

  • If I need to follow a subject and to be fast and steady I use a OSMO PRO camera from DJI. It’s a good tool, but you need to be careful to update your phone app as soon as you want to use it (you control it with you phone) and be sure that the wifi connection between your phone and the camera is strong otherwise it’s a total fail. It Can be a bit tricky to use, and did disappointed me sometimes…

  • A Zoom recorder for interviews. That is one of the best recording tool I have for one to one interview. Sound, always important.

  • A Manfrotto light tripod. It has to be light because I have to carry it + all the rest of the tools. I only used it when I film with my Nikon.

  • My Nikon flash is there, because I always have my flash with me. it’s just a thing, I love having my flash.

  • A Retina Macbook to work as a general office / lab / film editing table. I also avoided to photograph all the cables, batteries, and chargers that comes with all of this. It is obvious that if I go on the field I have at least 2 to 3 batteries for everything with me + memory cards.

For a video clip I have all of these tools with me in that bag on my back. I just avoid the computer and the D810 (these are staying at my hotel or the place I sleep). It can be heavy, but at least I’m autonomous which is extremely important for me. I can reach pro quality, I just need time to focus on what I want to film, and the technicals.

It was at the end of the video clip set of Black Mirrors “ Moonstone ” We had 48 hours to film the entire video clip. Myself alone, the singer as main character and her partner Pierre the guitarist. We decided to go film in South of Spain, close by the sea shore. Unfortunately it was extremely windy during the whole weekend. As we where constantly moving from one spot to another I mounted my 16-35mm on my D850 to get amplitude in my shots (I didn’t had my 24-70 at the time). After the last video shot on the beach, due to the wind, the drape was stuck on the face of the singer and I did a picture. Finally the video shot of that scene will not make it to the final version of the video clip, but I had a nice image for my archives.

It was at the end of the video clip set of Black Mirrors “Moonstone” We had 48 hours to film the entire video clip. Myself alone, the singer as main character and her partner Pierre the guitarist. We decided to go film in South of Spain, close by the sea shore. Unfortunately it was extremely windy during the whole weekend. As we where constantly moving from one spot to another I mounted my 16-35mm on my D850 to get amplitude in my shots (I didn’t had my 24-70 at the time). After the last video shot on the beach, due to the wind, the drape was stuck on the face of the singer and I did a picture. Finally the video shot of that scene will not make it to the final version of the video clip, but I had a nice image for my archives.

Photographer set up

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When I know I’ll be travelling on my own and will only focus on making photographs. I travel more light.

  • D850 + 35mm

  • D810 for security second DSLR and 24-70mm (bust these will stay at my base)

  • ZOOM Record for audio interview

  • The Key Mission, just in case I need to film something important that happens on the field.

I’m a photographer that goes on with instinct. I’m not tidy with my gear, I need to have a strong gear because it goes literally everywhere with me. From sand beaches to the sea and pools (I would hold it up above the sea with my hands and photograph), to snow storm, dusty areas and wear it without any protection bag around. I run and climb with the camera on my shoulder and it bounce on my hips all the time.. I mostly work with one DSLR (D850) and one lens (35mm). So it has to be able to take some shocks, and heavy weather.


Adjust your gear following the place you go

I was in California documenting the aftermath of the recent wildfires that hit Paradise City. There, in my bag I had my D850 and the 24-70mm knowing that I would need amplitude in my frame due to all the situations I would see. In addition, I feel like Americans like “big things” so I wasn’t afraid to walk around with a heavy gear. They would have looked at me weirdly if I had a small camera. But for example in Europe for sensitive reports or inside the Mexican Morgues I would use a mirrorless camera, and be as discreet as possible.

A picture I made with my drone in Iceland last winter. Here it is autonomy that will have the last word on your working day, because in some places you wouldn’t find any living soul…

 © Sébastien Van Malleghem

I shot that photo with a Nikon Underwater camera “Coolpix”. It might look ridiculous as a camera, but when you need to control your breathe, watch and swim with Alligators around you… When you aim in the camera you just want something that “Point & Shoot”. I had no time to think about my settings as I do all the time when I’m on the ground (I always shoot in manual mode, nothing else). The other reason is that an Underwater Housing system cost a lot of money I simply don’t want to invest in such a system yet.


That was all for this post, if you like it or if you have any other question feel free to comment.

To see more daily photographs you can follow my insta account on

THX