Tom Barnes

I’m a self-taught advertising and portrait photographer based just outside of London in the UK. I’ve shot everyone from criminals to politicians, from rock and roll bands to ballerinas.

I used to be utterly gear obsessed but now think I am starting to get to the perfect kit for me, it’s only taken 10 years!

My work has been described as true, gritty, raw, cinematic among other things – it’s not an overly complicated setup so I’ve spent this year refining my kit and this is my current setup!

My gear:

Leatherman – Surge
Indispensable bit of kit, this is the oxide black version and has tools, pliers and massive knives in it, great for almost everything that gaffer tape can’t fix.

Palmers Cocoa Butter
This stuff is great – our elbows and hands get a battering on set and this can really help skin – especially in the cold, smells good too!

G-Technology R-Series 2TB USB C SSD
Best hard drive I have ever owned, at the end of a shoot I can back everything up in less than a minute and pop it in my pocket – tiny unit and submergible and crushproof etc etc – not far off indestructible – plus this one is 2TB, so not small.

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 ART
Fantastic lens, sharpest 85 I have ever owned and I’ve tried pretty much all of the others apart from the 1.4 IS. It is a huge lens though, little heavy but the quality more than makes up for it. I try to use this as much as I can.

Canon 5Ds w/ RRS QD Plate
I used the 5DS R & the 5DS, good cameras and I shoot 80% of my work on these unless something requires higher res/quality (I have shot UK billboards with these with no issues)

I use the Really Right Stuff brackets, they are very expensive but the quality is good and they have a QD slot on the bottom of the plate which I use on my Magpul Gun strap.

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART
Lovely standard length lens, I’m a big fan of the ART series from Sigma, have been since they launched their 35mm years ago – the quality is fantastic and these lenses can really sing. I like these a lot. I’m not really a prime shooter but I have them on hand should I need them.

G-Technology G-Drive Mobile 1TB
I use these as my client delivery drives, they look smart, they are compact and the packaging is robust so sending them in the mail etc is not issue. They are also excellent value.

Red lanyard
This is the best lanyard I have found for my Z-Finder – all the others have quick release catches on and they kept releasing by accident which was no good – this one is solid.

Gun sling by Magpul (QD)
The most solid camera strap I have ever used, it’s a gun strap by Magpul and it uses the QD quick release system which is so fast on set, it’s also not fussy at all – just strong and simple.

In ear monitors
These are if I need to hear audio quietly on set – these are moulded to the inners of my ears and so block out sound completely – they were expensive so imagine my frustration at apple for losing the headphone jack on the iPhone.

Mini Torch
Lifesaver, always good to have to hand, it’s not so bright that it’s distracting if I am on a film set – when I am shooting in the darker conditions I also have a Peli head torch which is perfect for the hand free option.

Olympus Dictaphone
This is used to record notes on shoots or peoples information when I go out and shoot personal work – it is much easier to record it and send it for transcription than it is for me to write notes on set.

Zeiss Lens wipes
Cheap, excellent and by Zeiss. You get hundreds in a box and they will last you years.

Profoto B1 Batteries (and B1 lights)
My favourite bit of kit I ever bought are the Profoto B1 lights, being able to set up wherever with no cables gives the freedom I need with my style of shooting. I wish they had a 1000w version but I’ve been telling them that for years. I use the original B1’s with B1X batteries so they tend to last a decent amount of time.

Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 MK II
My workhorse, always with me and usually on the camera – I shoot really quickly and this lens allows me to get everything I need really quickly. Optically it’s good, not as good as the primes but that is always the trade-off.

Canon 5D Mark IV
This gets used if I need to grab anything quickly – the 5DS/R are very slow really and not the best in low light – this camera is much better. It also has the C-Log Profile installed so when I shoot interview this is my AF enabled B-Cam.

Leatherman Wingman
I love these, lighter than the surge but they are spring loaded pliers which is super useful – they also have a belt clip on the unit which is perfect.

Kensington Laser pointer
I do a lot of presentations about my work and lighting – I connect my laptop, plug this in and I can advance through and use the laser pointer as I run around the room.

Gudetama Hand Towel
You should know – 42. A friend of mine called Arthur once told me about towels and why you should carry them. This particular one is from a Japanese island called Miyajima and it’s my favourite place. The character is Gudetama, the sad egg.

Profoto Air C-TTL Trigger
Great piece of solid kit, enables HSS on my Canon/Profoto setup – wish it had a battery level displayed and a way to adjust channels D E & F but other than that it’s basically a perfect bit of kit.

Think Tank DSLR Battery cases x 2
The neatest way I have found of storing and transporting my LP-E6 batteries.


8 Tools for Photographers

Check out these 8 essential tools to help you succeed as a professional photographer.

Includes limited-time discounts.

Learn more here

Leave a Comment



Enter your email to be sent
today's Welcome Gift:
19 Photography Tools

🔥 Popular Now:

Shotkit may earn a commission on affiliate links. Learn more.