Episode 7: Tools of the Trade

For journalism and photography, there are a lot of choices when it comes to equipment. Kate and I have found a couple of items that are really essential to doing our jobs well. We wanted to take a minute and talk about them and explain how they help us.

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Essentials – The Gathering Interviews Process

1.     Recorder

a. Brand vs Function – Kate’s Must Have Items

i. Features to look for: Plug in to computer via USB

ii. Speed up or slow down the recording

2.     Audio File Storage / Backup

a.     Abigail opts for storage in iTunes & uses Backblaze and DropBox.

 i.     DropBox is good to send files to editors, when talking about images.

b.    Kate stores them on the computer and on Google Drive.

c.     Eternal hard drives!

3.     Additional mics for listening and recording:

a.     Abigail uses an Olympus Telephone Pick-Up Mic for recording with a digital recorder on her cell phone.

b.    Kate uses her phone’s Bluetooth to record while driving, if necessary, or uses the phone in speakerphone mode.


Essentials – The Photo Process

1.     Shooting

a.     Abigail & Kate both shoot RAW instead of only JPG to allow for added editing options. (For more on the difference between JPG and RAW: HERE)

b.    Multiple camera cards

i.     Some cameras have both an SD and CF card option now and will record images on both. Having a back-up is ALWAYS the best option!

2.     Cameras

a.     Abigail shoots with 2 Canon bodies:

i.     1D – top quality, low light action; older model but still great

 ii.     5D Mark iii – great for all but action; super beautiful images

b.    Kate shoots with 2 Canon bodies:

 i.     7D – bought to use for photos and the video function

ii.     5D Mark iii – portraits mainly

c.     Having two camera bodies allows for faster change-out of images


3.     Lens

a.     Kate:

 i.     Owns: 10-20mm, f; 24-70mm, 2.8; 70-200mm, 2.8; carries a spare Sigma 35-300mm for riding out on horseback.

  ii.     The 24-70mm is most versatile.

iii.     Prefers the 70-200mm on the 7D for action shots.

b.    Abigail:

i.     Owns the following: 50 mm, 1.4 lens; 70-200mm, 2.8 zoom lens; 300mm, 2.8 lens; 16-35mm, 2.8 wide angle.

ii.     Loves her 70-200mm, 2.8; Allows for flexibility with action shots.

 iii.     She has a 300mm, 2.8f fixed lens.  The look of the photo is elevated; big & bulky

 iv.     For people portraiture – not horses- she prefers the 50mm, 1.4f.

**     For horses, Abigail says you need at least a 100mm for portraits to minimize distortion.

4.     Flash vs Reflector

a.     Kate prefers a reflector, though she has external flash. She loves the warmth of the reflector. She has a zebra and white, similar to THIS.

b.    Abigail has a hot shoe, external flash and the gadgets but discusses the length of time needed to set them up. Abigail also prefers a reflector.

5.     Carry Pack

a.     Kate has a photo back pack from Timbuk2.

 i.     Cameras, computer slot that can be used for reflector. Pockets for spare recorder, batteries & notepad.

** UPDATE: Kate now has a ThinkTank, the Airport Advantage Carry On Roller (YAY!)

b.    Abigail carries two Kelly Moore bags. Both are leather, and one is purple.

 i.     Kelly Moore Hobo: One camera body and two lens (not the 300m, it has its own suitcase).

 ii.     Kelly Moore Libby: Larger, fits two bodies plus a computer and notebook, and a reflector could go in the computer spot.

**Abigail just got a ThinkTank bag--copying Kate! Going for a test drive this week. 

6.     Saving Images

a.     Kate culls and renames using Photo Mechanic.

i.     Download program from the internet. One price to purchase. Has cull, sort, categorize, rename, resize, etc. functions.

 ii.     She processes in Lightroom or Photoshop. (Find Adobe products HERE)

iii.     Always back up – Kate backs up to Google Drive and an external drive.

iv.     She sends images via a download link to her private Google Drive.

b.    Abigail also uses Photo Mechanic.

 i.     She previously pulled images up in Preview, but it was time consuming.

ii.     She edits in Lightroom or does detailed touches in Photoshop.

 iii.     Abigail backs up to her external drive & Backblaze.

iv.     She sends images through DropBox or an FTP program.

Essentials – The Writing Process

1. Transcribing

a. Abigail uses Dragon Dictate.

i. She listens to her interview and says out loud the recorded audio, then Dragon Dictate transcribes what she says. Ideal for profiles without “horsey terms.”

b. Kate transcribes in the morning. She listens to her interview and types the interview with notes.

Quick Notes:

o   Tools of the Trade include magazines! Know what is going on in the industry, review writing styles and find unique ideas – they don’t have to be horse related. Get inspiration from fashion magazines, find new photo poses, and more.

o   F8 is a “pause” button on listening to a recording

o   Save interviews and images in at least 2 locations.

o   Always back up ASAP when you gather photos or interview files

o   Double check gear so you don’t leave a reflector!

o   Though your gear could all fit in a backpack, watch the weight on your back!

o   Use your eyes to find that perfect photo.

o   Writers can pick up on nuances during an interview and dig further into a topic.

o   Tools don’t necessarily mean spending money on gear.

o   Abigail reminds listeners to be curious and look for that perfect light.

View Abigail’s photography and writing at abigailboatwright.com. Kate’s work is available at katebradleycreative.com.


About The Freelance Remuda

The Freelance Remuda is a podcast about navigating the equine media frontier. Co-hosted by seasoned freelance professionals Abigail Boatwright and Kate Bradley Byars, the podcast explores the trials and triumphs surrounding life as a freelancer in equine media, while sharing valuable tips from equine media editors and creatives doing what they love. Find and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher.


Abigail Boatwright