Richard Photo Lab

What's In Your Film Camera Bag, Sandra Coan?

Curious about what professional film photographers keep in their camera bags? We are, too! So Richard Photo Lab is asking the pros to unpack all the gear that makes their film photography "click".

Check out what's in photographer Sandra Coan's camera bag, from her best artificial lighting gear and her fave film, to her secret weapon for getting kids to smile for the camera...

When Richard Photo Lab asked me to share what’s in my camera bag, I had to chuckle a little. Truth is, I don’t really have a camera bag. I work in a studio, and my clients come to me, so no need for a bag! But... I can share my go-to gear for creating beautiful studio portraits on film!

Sandra Coan’s B2 Strobe Light and Remote Control for high quality film photos

ProPhoto B2 Strobe

I live and work in Seattle, and even in my daylight studio with it’s big windows, there are days when I just do not have enough natural light to work with. Especially in the winter. I first learned how to use strobes as a way to get through these dark days, but now I use them all the time—even when the sun is out.

Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of different brands, but my go-to strobe is the ProPhoto B2. I love these little lights for a few reasons.

The first reason is because they’re small (about the size of a speed light). They also come with a battery pack, which means I don’t have to plug them in… and when I have little kids running around my studio, that’s a big deal! And finally, they have a huge range, especially on the lower end. That means I can turn them way down and create a beautiful, soft, natural-light look.

I’m obsessed.

I use the ProPhoto Universal Air Remote with these lights. It’s a great trigger and is compatible with all of my film cameras!

Sandra Coan’s Photoflex OctoDome

Photoflex OctoDome

The Photoflex OctoDome is my favorite modifier! I actually have two of these bad boys, one 5ft and one 7ft. They create the most beautiful, soft light, and the shape produces a really nice, natural-looking catchlight.

Sandra Coan’s Favorite Film Cameras

Hasselblad H2, Contax 645, and Rolleiflex 2.8

The Hasselblad H2, Contax 645, and Rolleiflex 2.8 are my favorite film cameras to work with. I work with all three of them at almost every shoot.

Sandra Coan’s Favorite 120 Film - Kodak Portra 400 Color Negative Film and her Sekonic L-358 Light Meter

Kodak Portra 400

I’ve been playing around with all of the Kodak rolls of film this year and am really falling in love with this one. It is the go-to stock for many film photographers for a reason! And paired with studio lighting, it is just beautiful… hello, gorgeous skin tones!

Sekonic L-358

I bought this light meter waaaaay back in 2003 and have used it almost every day since! I believe that every film photographer should have a good, reliable light meter in their camera bag. Light meters are the key to getting the best exposure (which is key for getting the best image).

Sandra Coan’s Secret to Working with Children on Film

Candy, Stickers, and Puppets

People are often surprised when I tell them that I work primarily with little kids and that I shoot exclusively on film.

I get it, kids move... a lot. They are fast and unpredictable, while film is slow. My secret to working with kids on film is bribery.

Every child has a currency. Some love stickers, while others want to be sung to, or hear a puppet tell them a story. Some just want a lollipop. Whatever it is, I make sure to have it.

My studio is full of all kinds of fun things. I play all sorts of peek-a-boo type games, and I have an endless supply of stickers and candy, books, legos, puppets, you name it! I also sing. A lot.


You and a friend can win something from Sandra's bag: lots and lots of Kodak film! Enter here before August 14th, 2018.