Girl's portrait

What’s the Best Photography Gear for Portraits?

For my Portrait Photography, I again use completely different gear. I try to use the same minimalist but quality approach I use with landscape and street photography.

You don’t need much, in fact, you want to be as discrete as possible even with portraits. As it turns out, the camera I use for portraits is just as much a classic as the Nikon D850 and Fujifilm X100F, it is the superb Fujifilm XT3. As I’ve mentioned, the F has been upgraded to the X100V and now the XT3 has been upgraded to the XT4. All of these cameras are superb.

Here’s what’s in my bag.

My Top Pick camera for portrait photography: Fujifilm XT3 or XT4

I can write the same things about the XT3 as I could the X100F. I love this camera, it’s small, solid, discrete and produces just superb images. The XT3 is a classic and you would be amazed at the qualify of portraits you will capture. The XF lenses for this camera are true gems – small, discrete and well made. Additionally, they’re priced really well. Truly a beautiful and classic camera and lens system.

Just slightly bigger than the X100f, the joy of using this camera, especially with portraits, is that the subject is never intimidated. Bigger cameras really impact the subject’s outlook on getting their picture taken. This camera is discrete and really puts the client at ease. It’s also simply beautiful and with a few lenses produces truly artistic images. The price point on this camera is great, as is all the Fuji system. Simply the best.

The gear for this camera is similar to the X100f with the addition of just three lenses and a more advanced lighting system for portraits. It’s simply hard to beat this system.

All my other portrait photography gear

Fujifilm XF 56 f/1.2

For headshots, you can do no better than the 56 f/1.2. Truly a gem. This is approximately equivalent to an 85 on a 35mm camera.  By the way, if you want to grab macro shots, this lens with the Fujifilm Macro Extension Tube MCEX-11 is an inexpensive yet stellar combination.

Fujifilm XF 35 f/1.4

Another jewel, equivalent to a 50 mm in 35mm cameras. This lens is for more environmental and half body shots and produces images which again, unbelievably beautify.

Fujifilm XF 18-55 f/2.8-4

This is actually Fuji’s kit lens, but unlike other “kit” lenses, this lens is a gem and is simply not only a great all-around lens but a great portrait lens. Obviously not the same wide open apertures as the first two lens, but it still produces amazing images. I’m in the process of testing the new Fujifilm XF 16-80 f/4 and this lens is amazing. I’ll still keep the 18-55 for the occasional video and lightweight travel lens, but the 16-80 is now my all-around lens, not only for portraits, as the bokeh is stunning but also as an all-purpose landscape lens. Fuji knows how to make lenses.

Camera Strap

Like the X100F, I would never use this camera without a hand strap. The camera is so small that it could easily slip out of your hand. Get a hand strap, it’s cheap, looks great, and you’re protected.

Godox 860II-F or Godox AD200 Pro and  Xpro-F Wireless Flash Trigger

For portraits you use the same Xpro-F flash trigger, as you may have already own for the X100f, but you use the bigger Godox 860II-F or even the AD 200 Pro. With the AD200 you will need to set up a softbox and light stand. Just a suggestion, the Glow softboxes at Adorama are really well built, and surprisingly inexpensive. Well worth reviewing.

Demb Classic Flip-it

I use the same Demb flash reflector that was recommended by another professional photographer who had been using this for years. It’s perfect and I wouldn’t be without it. When needed you can certainly used some of the advanced lighting systems with softboxes, but in many situations, the Demb is all you’ll need. Give it a try, you’ll thank me for it.

Ona Camera Bag

There is no more classic looking bag than the Ona Bowery and it’s available in leather, canvas and black nylon. The XT3 camera and lens, all fit nicely in this bag and this is the perfect gift for this portrait system also. Another bag, for less money but still with great quality, is the Think Tank Mirrorless Mover 25i. Check it out, Think Tank has a few different sizes specifically for mirrorless cameras. Of course, strobes, softboxes, and other flash gear will require different carry options.