By January 17, 2014 Read More →

What’s in all those business bags, Jo?

Continuing our series that takes a look into home workers’ business bags, today we go behind the scenes with Jo Plumridge, who’s a freelance photographer, writer and lecturer. (Click on the photo to see it in more detail).

Business bags - Jo Plumridge,photographer

Jo might carry up to 10 business bags!

When I’m writing, I work mainly from my home in South Bucks, but photography takes me all over the country (and sometimes all over the world – I’ve worked in locations such as New Zealand, Botswana and North America).

Depending on what type of shoot I’m doing, I can carry up to ten bags of kit with me (as well as the female’s ubiquitous handbag!) But at the bare minimum, I always have my main camera bag with me, containing the following:

My camera bag is a Tamarac, which I bought many years ago from the wonderful B&H in New York. It’s got a long extendable handle and is on wheels, which is an absolute godsend. Photography gear is not lightweight! All the padded pockets in it can be rearranged, so you can fit all sorts of combinations into it.

I used to be a film photographer and used Hasselblads (the cameras they took to the moon, no less!) but then some smart alec came along and invented digital technology. So I made the switch over to Canon digital SLRs. I use the 5D range and have two bodies – just in case of any technical issues with one.

There are a variety of lenses in my full kit, but I always carry around my 17-40mm, 50mm and 85mm. As a portrait photographer, they’re the most useful on a day-to-day basis.

In addition, I carry a Canon 580EX flashgun, although I only use this for events work or to add a little texture into outdoor portrait shoots. The rest of the time I use studio lighting, which lives in around five other bags! Flashguns can produce very harsh light, so I always carry a little softbox and Sto-fen diffuser to help soften the light down.

My Apple Mac laptop and charger are getting on a little bit now, but the joy of Macs is that they tend to last a very long time! If I’m repro-ing on a shoot, or have an assistant doing so, it’s easier to have access to full software, such as Adobe Photoshop.

The back of my bag is stuffed full of memory cards, batteries and a battery charger. Memory cards aren’t infallible, so I make sure I split my photos over several cards. The batteries in Canon’s are pretty long lasting, but I do tend to get through several in a long shoot.

The front pocket of my bag is where you find all the weird and wonderful little things that I like to carry around:

1. ‘The Pod’ – a little circular beanbag with a tripod screw sticking out of it. So useful if you want to plonk your camera down somewhere for a long exposure shot, without lugging round a full sized tripod.

2. Pouch of filters – graduated neutral density and circular polarisers being the main two types. These get used primarily for landscape work. All my lenses live with a UV filter on them to prevent them from damage.

3. I also carry a tiny portable Lastolite reflector, which is very useful for bouncing a little light onto subject’s faces, and a lens cloth.

4. Batteries for my flashgun, a firewire cable to enable tethered capture (whereby you can control and operate the camera from a computer), CDs and DVDs to burn photos for clients at the end of some shoots, and a notebook and pens to take down any instructions.

5. Sharp pair of scissors, gaffer tape and masking tape. Ask any pro photographer and they’ll tell you how useful tape is! We use it for everything from safely taping down wires to ensure clients don’t trip over them to taping bits of our cameras on when we’ve used them a little too often!

It’s a long list and reminds me why I’m so glad that my bag comes on wheels!

work from home secrets

Jo specialises in portraiture and corporate photography and writes photographic, travel and comedy pieces for a variety of magazines and websites. You can view her work at

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