Editorial portrait and lifestyle photographer Will Bremridge has shot for some of the hottest magazines and brands, including Quicksilver, Vans, Sony, Esquire, and Q Magazine. From his studio in south-east London to local and sometimes international location shoots, he’s worked with many of today’s leading actors, musicians and athletes.
You’d think that being a celebrity photographer and shooting for creative agencies would require a ton of heavy-duty studio equipment, but Will keeps his setup tight. Choosing key pieces of gear allows him to get around the city easily so he can be ready wherever a shoot may take him. He tells us more about his preferred equipment and why it works for him.
When you’re starting out as a photographer in London, you work with whatever you can carry alone on public transport. So my portfolio is built on a skeleton setup of two strobes, umbrellas, one camera and one lens. Of course, I own more than this but I can handle most situations with the same kit I had eight years ago.
Canon 5D Mark III
DSLR camera with 22-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and wide range ISO setting of 100 – 25600
Most of us who started out in the mid 2000s are either Canon or Nikon. I chose Canon as I liked their more streamlined design with fewer unnecessary buttons and I’ve been Canon ever since. I use a Canon 5D Mark III and a Canon 5DS. Nikon is also a great brand. I wouldn’t say I love my camera, I think digital cameras are all the same nowadays. They’re just perfectly OK machines that provide the necessary first step needed for image making. I know this sounds pretentious, but do you think chefs sit around and geek out about different brands of oven? No, they geek out about food. God, I’m hungry right now. Don’t put too much emphasis on your equipment.
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II
Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22, Ultrasonic Motor AF System, Weather-Sealed Construction
Canon 24-70 F2.8L II: It’s the workhorse lens. It’s the Swiss army knife. It’s by no means perfect, but it gets the job done for editorial portraits. It doesn’t look as cool as the older version, a theory I’m clinging onto about myself too.
Canon 50mm F1.4: This thing is sharp AF (see what I did there?). I’ve had this lens since 2009 and it’s still going. Who knows what the top-end version is like and who cares? This lens is incredible. If you’re starting out and you’re wondering what lens to buy, it’s THIS.
Canon 85mm f1.2: It’s beautiful. It looks rad. I only really use it for close-up portraits, but its potential for lifestyle photography is also fantastic. If you like shallow depth of field, the search stops here. Take it to the pub with you and middle-aged men will ask you about it.
Canon 40mm f2.8 pancake lens: I use it so rarely that I have no idea where it is. BUT I will tell you that it’s pretty cool for taking to festivals, parties, places where you want to shrink your camera and blend in.
I can’t stress this enough: Don’t put too much emphasis on your equipment.
Profoto B1X 500 AirTTL
Profoto B1X 500 AirTTL Flash Head with 500Ws adjustable in 1/10 f-stop increments over a 9 f-stop power range
Profoto B1: My main piece of lighting gear. It’s battery operated so you can use it anywhere.
Profoto D1: Not battery operated but still great.
If I need anything extra I rent it. Profoto is great, but once again, don’t put too much emphasis on brands. I could create my whole portfolio again with speedlight flashes if I had to.
Burton Snowboards Focus backpack. I started out shooting snowboarding and I’m still convinced Burton makes the best camera bags. Go check them out. They have a lifetime guarantee, they’re easy on your back AND there’s this awesome net pocket on the side which fits three medium-sized Toblerones.
Jen is Editor of PHLEARN Magazine, where she helps shape inspiring stories and handy tips for aspiring and seasoned photographers. She has worked as a photography writer for many years, contributing to numerous industry-leading publications. Proudly Canadian, wannabe globetrotter, self-taught photographer, Jen is temporarily settled in Spain.