Tim Swallow’s photos are instantly recognisable. They’re spontaneous, spirited and filled with joy. From remote beaches to urban studios, find out what gear he packs to keep up the energy and stay nimble on location.
Words and Photography by Tim Swallow
Tim Swallow is known for his diverse portfolio. When it comes to photographic genres, he’s a jack-of-all-trades and a master of all of them, transitioning with ease between portraiture, fashion, sport, music and travel work.
His multi-genre approach, in combination with the fact that he often flies straight from one gig to the next, means that his kit has to offer plenty of flexibility while still being compact enough to fit in an overhead cabin.
Keep reading for Tim’s must-have gear and some pro tips on how he packs it.
NIKON D800: A commercial high res digital camera.
NIKON D3: My go-to digital camera.
NIKON N90s: A creative film camera.
NIKON ZOOM 110s: An everyday fun film camera, great for travel and nights out.
“All of my lenses have at least a Gobe UV filter on them at all times.”
All of my lenses have at least a Gobe UV filter on them at all times. I also use a range of CPL and ND filters for brighter situations.
Nikon 70-200mm f2.8: Good for times when I can’t get close.
Nikon 24-70mm f2.8: Solid all rounder.
Nikon 10-20mm f4.5: Great for shooting surfing & skating.
Nikon Nikkor 85mm f1.4: Beautiful for portraits.
Nikon 50mm f1.8: Again, an amazing portrait lens. Also my go-to water housing lens.
Nikon 35mm f1.8: Nice street style lens.
LaCie 2TB hard drive: Reliable, fast and tough.
Lexar card reader: Essential.
Nikon D800 backup battery packs x 3
Nikon D3 backup battery packs x 2
64GB memory cards x 2
Gobe cleaning kit: Contains an air blower, dust brush, cleaning cloths and chemical free cleaner for your lenses and filters.
Nikon remote shutter: Good for studio days and times when I need more than a steady hand.
Water housing: This has allowed me to photograph a realm which is so important to me and depict the ocean’s beauty.
“My bag is always packed the same way, that way if something is out of place, I know it’s amiss.”
Keys with Crawling Death carabiner: So I don’t lose my keys!
Passport: I take this everywhere as the amount of times I’ll book work whilst on another job remotely is a joke.
Nixon headphones: Nice for solo missions.
UE BOOM: Tunes on every job to keep the vibe up and set the tone.
Kodak lip balm: For the frosty mornings.
Kodak badge: Flying the flag because they give me free film.
Water bottle: It’s literally glued to my hand.
Pocket knife: Good for cutting rolls and rigging equipment on the spot.
Herschel backpack: To store my waterhousing, fins and mask. It only comes with me if I’m going for a dip.
Lowepro RL X450 AWII bag: I think this is the smartest, most compact bag I have ever come across and it packs a lot. It also fits into overhead cabin luggage which is a must as I never check my essential camera kit into baggage. My bag is always packed the same way, that way if something is out of place, I know it’s amiss. I pack as per the brief and often swap out items to lighten the load.