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Photography Gear Review

Here is a list of photography gear we use and small review of each item.  We wish to make your island photography adventure a pleasant experience.  

This is a suggestion list of things you may find handy to bring along that maybe not available to purchase in the islands.  

The links below to B & H Photo are the same price you get directly from them. Using these links help with our beer fund and end of tour party, the tour crew thanks you for any purchase. 


Gear Bag Selections we pack around, suggestions what to bring for your tour

Camera any good quality DSLR will be fine.  Canon, Nikon or Sony

Camera Water Proof , bring one along I am sure it will get some use.  You can use our GoPro Hero 3 test your underwater camera skills too.

85mm Lens are best for shooting models as the 85mm seem to be the go to choice of most pros.

16-35mm wide for Landscape & nature any nice wide is the key watch the cheaper ones as they do have a bit of distortion flare on the sides.

100mm Close up.  Your food plate to tropical drinks and close-up images like taking a bug to a butterfly  nothing beats the 100mm micro from Canon.

Telephoto Zoom Lens.  I have a 70-200mm can be used on the beach portrait images too.  I prefer the 85mm as you are close to talk with the model, chin up, look away, eyes look at me, arch back etc.  The bouquet effect is good with any 85 to 135 mm prime and the 70-200mm zoom you will get good results.

Tripod I find I take more ofter is a smaller lighter version from Manfrotto  055X made of aluminum so still very light, will fold all most flat low off the deck, has a slide arm for over an object capture.  I added a Manfrotto quick release for easy take apart plus a Manfrotto video head for my steady video work.  I too own a few very heavy bigger Manfrotto, way to much to lug around, this one I know you will love, as I do.   See a YouTube review Google Manfrotto 055X to see it in action.  They make a carbon fiber model too, only difference is the price.

Quick Release Manfrotto

Video Head Manfrotto 701 HDV

Mono-Pod I use for a lot too, when the tripod is too much to lug around.  Manfrotto 562 B is good for video on the go.

Light Stand I like this pack around small fold-up from Manfrotto 500 1B

Light Stand generic anything will do

Rechargeable batteries AA and AAA come in different amp ratings, important to get 2350 to 2850 rated, not 1800 or 2050 mAh, look on the battery side for rating. Higher rated last longer.  Bring along a dozen or more is helpful.

Power strip to plug in all your battery charger units every night

We provide a selection of small flash units and triggers this is what we have, feel free to bring your own set-up too

Canon 580EX II flash unit

Yongnuo YN560-III flash unit 

Trigger RF-603C Yongnuo 

Trigger Radio Poppers for TTL on a Canon

Trigger Pocket Wizards

Studio Strobe Pro Photo 500wt D1 with beauty dish 20 inch

Reflectors assorted for your use if you wish a different light source than flash units 

T-Bracket to hold two 580EX II

Adapter joint

Cold Shoe adapters

Pocket Wizard bracket to hold PW to light stand

Camera battery bring two extra for longer day’s of shooting into the twilights you will use them. Generic out of Hong Kong work just as good.

 Memory Cards

Memory card case

Battery AA case


Plan on taking some video with your DSLR here is a helpful list of thing to remember

ND filter 77mm adjustable, I get these directly from Hong Kong at discount prices, exact same quality as mega buck advertised brand name ND filters

ND filter adapter ring to correct size of your lens, get bigger ND then you can use with all your lens with a adapter rings

Star Filter 77mm 6 point I find useful on some night shots

Mic we use for off camera sound capture is H-1 Zoom, you can walk around with it, put it close to your sound source, waves, waterfall, etc.

Microphone Rode LAB mic for doing your interviews,  directly connect to H-1 Zoom you will need a Micon-2 plug as an additional item !

Micon-2 Plug for H-1

Mic “on” camera mount in the hot shoe is Sennheiser MKE-400 mini boom works better than on camera mic !!



Big Jam Box by Jawbone

works with bluetooth iPhone, iPod or other music source helps with the models get in the mood


Canon has a mini camera back pack that has enough soft cells inside and pockets for all your day shoot gear, the best part is it is less then $40 bucks.  I pack all my gear in this and use as a “personal item” on my air flights, plus my carry-on.  All my camera gear is on the inside of the plane with me, safe !!

Canon Camera Bag

APE Cases come in a lot of flavours, I own AC 4000 with wheels, inside notebook slot for my 17″ MacBook Pro, all my lens gear and has back pack convert with a built in rain cover, this is one all in one travel package.  Check out their web site here.

Pelican Cases have a place in this world, but with new airline baggage requirements under fifty pounds international flights, you can not get much inside as the case empty is 20+ pounds. Better off with a hard shell roller carry-on plus a Canon back pack, take all your gear inside the aircraft.  The tripod and other hard gear will fit into your suit case as checked baggage.



 Clothing you may wish to consider

Swim trucks with pockets

Tee shirts, cool cotton sports shirts you can get at the night market here

Baseball Cap for the sun or hat of some type

Sun Glasses with neck strap hold em on when a wind comes up while on island hoppers

Swim Shoes, I like the tennis shoe combo water shoe from Colombia Sportswear, check em out here, or a water shoe similar as you will get em wet. Cebu night market has knock off’s.  Sandals with open toes are nice cool on the beaches,  however in the low water tide n rocks you may wish a closed toe shoe, our choice is the drain master from Colombia, link above.

Evening out casual wear, pack lite you will thank me, you don’t have it , buy it here.


Apple seems to have the photographers attention with many Mac Pro Notebook choices

iPad we use for blue tooth reviews on the spot

Mini Hard Drive 1T or larger USB powered takes all our daily shoots.

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