PHLEARN MagazinePauline Darley Shares Her Gear for Shooting Magazine-Worthy Fashion Photos

Pauline Darley Shares Her Gear for Shooting Magazine-Worthy Fashion Photos

Portrait, beauty and fashion photographer Pauline Darley couldn’t have had a more natural entry into the world of photography. Needing a creative outlet, she began shooting at 17. At first, it was friends, then friends of friends. She wasn’t planning on turning it into a career, but word spread.

Since then, the Paris-based photographer has become a leading name in fashion and advertising photography. Her bold, sometimes surreal, images caught the attention of some of the top brands and led to her working with Universal Music, Armani, and Sony Music. Her work has also been featured in Pose magazine, Elle, and Newsweek, just to name a few. And, she made the ARTPIL 30 Under 30 Women Photographers list.

We wanted to know what gear Pauline uses to bring her unique concepts to life, so we asked. Here, she shares what’s in her camera bag and explains how she uses each piece in her stunning beauty and fashion portraits.


Sony a7R III

42MP Full-Frame Exmor R BSI CMOS Sensor, 399-Point AF System, Built-In Wi-Fi/Bluetooth, Dual SD Slots

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My camera of choice is the Sony a7R III. It works the best for me because the autofocus is amazing, particularly the Eye AF function, which is incredible. The camera is very light and at the end of the day that is super important because with heavier equipment, my back would hurt due to the weight. The flippable screen is really practical as well because viewfinders always give me headaches. Since I’ve been shooting with this screen, I no longer get headaches caused by fatigue from looking into the viewfinder. And of course, the quality of the pictures are really amazing.


Sony Zeiss 35mm f1.4

E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format, Aperture Range: f/1.4 to 16, Zeiss T* Anti-Reflective Coating

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Sony Zeiss 35mm f/2.8

E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format, Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22, Linear Autofocus Motor

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Zeiss 55mm f1.8

Aperture Range: f/1.8 to f/22, Zeiss T* Anti-Reflective Coating

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Zeiss 85mm f1.8

Aperture Range: f/1.8 to f/22, Sonnar Optical Design

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Sony Zeiss 90mm f2.8 Macro

E-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format, Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22, 1:1 Magnification Ratio

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Sony 24-70 2.8 GM lens

Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22, Direct Drive Super Sonic Wave AF Motor, Focus Hold Button; Internal Focus

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My whole kit includes the Sony Zeiss 35mm f1.4, Sony 35mm f2.8, Sony Zeiss 55mm f1.8, Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8, Sony 90mm f2.8 Macro, and Sony G 24-70mm f2.8.

My favorite is the Sony Zeiss 55mm; it is really sharp, fast, and the lack of the 1.4 aperture really doesn’t bother me at all. I use the Sony Zeiss 35mm f1.4 and the Zeiss Batis 85mm frequently. All theses lense are perfect for me – they’re very focused and the AF motors are fast as I need them to be.


Profoto D2 1000Ws

1000Ws Monolight, 300W Modeling Lamp, Built-In AirTTL Radio Receiver

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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

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For several years now, I’ve been using Profoto gear. For personal photoshoots, I shoot with my D2 1000w kits, and outside, with my B1 kit. For commercial work, I always rent a Pro-8a and Pro-10a. Because I have the Air Remote TTL-S for Sony, it’s easy to adjust any setting from afar during the photoshoot. Profoto lighting is easy to use and excellent quality, and I know it won’t fail after two years, like equipement I had before.


I use several bags! I have two for outdoor photoshoots. I looked for a bag that doesn’t look like a camera bag and I found a Billingham bag and a little Grafea bag, both of which I really like.

When I shoot in studio, I steal my boyfriend’s suitcase which is a Think Tank Airport International v2. It can carry so much, it’s really tough, and some parts are easily replaceable.


I have a really practical strap, an OP/TECH neoprene strap, which really absorbs the shock on my neck of the camera waving around when I’m walking with it. You really get the impression that everything is lighter with this one!

A few days ago I received a BenQ SW271 monitor to replace my old NEC. The image quality and color rendering is very comparable to the bigger brands.

How do you go about deciding which gear is essential to your work?

My gear changes depending on the photoshoot. For example, if I shoot fashion outside, I’ll take my 35mm f1.4 and my 55mm f1.8. But, for a beauty photoshoot I’ll take my 90mm f2.8 macro lens. It’s different every time, so sometimes I take everything, just in case!

To see more of Pauline’s beauty and fashion photography, visit her website or follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

Jennifer Berube

Jen is the Editor-in-Chief 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, sometimes globetrotter, self-taught photographer, Jen is temporarily settled in Spain.

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