Whats In my Bag – 2023 updated version .. Think Tank Photo Give AWAY

What’s  In My Bag – 2023 updated version .. Think Tank Photo Give AWAY

New Year  means new travel destinations  and new surprises and  for my first  surprise I have an awesome giveaway in collaboration with my friends over at @thinktankphoto 

We’re giving away The Retrospective Duffel 75 valued at $189.75  

It’s part of The Retrospective Travel Series that features a Weekender, Tote, Laundry Bag, Organizer Pouches, and a trackable Luggage Tag that are handcrafted from a timeless stone-washed cotton canvas that is both soft and durable.

To win this stylish travel bag, simply ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’  @joaocarlosphoto and @thinktankphoto  on  Instagram   

Tag up two friends 

And share my Instagram post! The giveaway ends 7 Feb (Tuesday), 2359

Watch the video what’s in my bag on my YouTube Chanel to find out more. 


Retrospective® Duffel 75
Retrospective® Duffel 75  The bag were giving away .
yes, this is a magic trick …

My Gear Over the Years

My name is João Carlos. I was born and raised in New York and I’m currently based in Lisbon, Portugal. I also spend a lot of time traveling the world working for advertising agencies, fashion brands, and magazines.

Every day has been a New adventure while working as a visual storyteller in both stills and video for over two decades, It doesn’t seem like long to me, but I guess it has been – especially considering how gear has changed! During this whole time, my kit bag has gone through a series of evolutionary changes to where it is now.

As a young photographer in the late  90’s with no money, I started small. Sold my guitar a Fender Stratocaster to pick up my first SLR, it was a NIKON F65, I had it for maybe six months and quickly discovered that I wanted something else better. By selling this camera and the two kit lenses I picked up a second-hand Canon EOS 5, saving up a couple more months, and picked up a 50mm 1.8 lens.

I worked at some local newspapers while I got my degree at ARCO center for art and communication in Lisbon, then I spent about five years assisting a number of commercial and fashion photographers. At the same time opened my first studio MILKMAN back in 2001. I have always been a firm believer that, you need the proper tools to get the job done and for every job, those tools may be very different from each other. As my career grew and kit bags got larger, I moved up to medium format, a Pentacon Six, it was an old eastern European camera brand, basically a cheap 6×6. What I really wanted was a Hasselblad. Soon I sold all my gear again, the Petacon Six kit, 4 lenses, and a couple of bodies at this point to get a Hasselblad 503cw body only. Lenses I bought second-hand from a photographer I had assisted about 3 months later. It has always been a process of upgrading my gear. During this time I used primarilyElinchrom lights in the studio, I had a kit of three compact strobes and two 3000w packs that I would rent a generator if needed to shoot on location with light.

The switch to digital SLR was the next big evolution to my kit. My first digital camera was the D30, at this point I had made some bad investments, got a lot of debt, and had to sell almost everything. I moved to New York City and picked up my first Canon 5d Mark II on craigslist this was about 2008.

One of the highlights of my photography career came in 2010 when I won the Hasselblad Masters Award, this was awesome because Hasselblad loaned me an H4D40 for what was supposed to be three months, but I had it for a year and then gave it back, unfortunately.  Back in 2017,  I purchased my first FUJIFILM Camera the X-T1, after a week of shooting on a job for a travel magazine I was hooked, I had really fallen in love with FUJIFILM cameras, the amazing quality, ease of use, and compact form factor, plus they are constantly updating their software, all made it very easy for me to fall so hard and so fast. So much so that I sold all of my Canon and Hasselblad gear and now shoot both stills and video entirely on FUJI X and G systems.

Another huge step forward for me was when I purchased Profoto B1 and B2 kits, just the ability to have that type of great quality of light and portability make for an awesome extra to my kit, and then more recently with the Profoto B10  and the Westcott FJ 400.
Below you can find a new what’s in my bag video. 

Video here

youse this link and you will receive a free Think Tank product and free U.S. shipping on all orders over $50

Retrospective Travel Series

I didn’t cover this bag in the YouTube video, this is my everyday backpack .. and the stuff in here varies.

Eastpak Backpack

My Eastpak bag is my everyday-carry bag, in this bag are the items that I carry with me on a daily basis. I bought it in the Stuttgart airport because I needed a backpack and I loved the look and functionality of the bag. It’s black, discreet and it doesn’t shout “PHOTOGRAPHY”. It has loads of pockets and the compression straps are great to attach it to the handle of my ThinkTank Airport TakeOff. This version of the bag is the heavy one. As my personal bag, the stuff in there changes all the time, I will usually have my laptop in there it always helps to get some work done. The most important tool I carry on my backpack is my Fujifilm X100F, I love carrying this camera wherever I go. I carry a Blackrapid Street Breathe strap to go with the camera. I store the camera either in my Think Tank Mirrorless Mover 10 or a protective wrap. There is always some pen and paper in there, to take notes and draw quick scatches. In my backpack, I always carry some kind of a book, in this case, this June’s issue of Up Magazine that I had the pleasure to shoot the cover of. I’d carry the Instax photo printer if I’m going to shoot on the street, some storage devices as the Sandisk Extreme 510 Portable SSD to keep my personal files, G-tech HDDs to hand files to my clients. The Gnarbox is also present sometimes in there since it lets me back up my cards without using the laptop. Always having some Moo cards and Koylab mini-books which are the perfect tool to make new business contacts.

Fujifilm X100V
Instax SHARE SP-3
SANDISK Connect Wireless Stick 64GB
Black Rapid Street Breathe
ThinkTank Mirrorless Mover 10

G-Drive Mobile USB-C
KoyLab MiniBooks
Moo Business Cards
Domke Protective Wrap
JBL Headphones
Sandisk Lens Cleaning microfiber cloth
A6 size notebook
Pen and Pencil
Apple iPhone 11



The Fujifilm GFX 50 S is my current system for high-quality files with an extreme dynamic range and amazing color definition that make for the perfect workhorse. My favorite lens and the one I use the most is the 120mm GF f4 macro. It’s a beautiful macro lens and to keep my kit small and compact I have opted for a zoom lens, the GF 32-64m f4. To give the camera a more robust feeling I use the vertical grip VG-GFX1 that extends the battery life giving me an extra two hours of work with the camera. If you haven’t realized by now I’m a bit of a camera geek so I find certain accessories help me do a better job at certain jobs and one of my favorite accessories for the GFX is the viewfinder tilt adapter.

Fujifilm GFX 50S
Vertical Battery Grip VG-GFX1
4x NP-T125 Batteries
BC-T125 Battery Charger
EVF Tilt Adapter
Think Tank PRO SPEED BELT™ V2.0
Think Tank Lens changer 50 V 2.0
Think Tank Lens changer 75 V 2.0
Think Tank Speed Changer 50 V 2.0
BlackRapid Curve Breathe
G-DRIVE ev ATC with Thunderbolt 1TB
KoyLab MiniBooks
Moo Business Cards


Fujifilm X-H1
Vertical Battery Grip VPB-XH1
Fujifilm X-T2
Vertical Power Boost Grip VPB-XT2
10x NP-W126S Battery
BC-W126 Battery Charger
Lens Baby Trio 28
BlackRapid Curve Breathe
BlackRapid Cross Shot
2x 3LeggedThing Release plates
SANDISK Connect Wireless Stick 64GB
ThinkTank Pixel Pocket Rocket
GnarBox 1.0 256GB
G-DRIVE ev ATC with Thunderbolt 1TB
G-Drive Mobile USB-C
KoyLab MiniBooks
Moo Business Cards
Apple Iphone 8

Think Tank Retrospective 

For my everyday travel-on-the-go photography, I have a Think Tank Retrospective shoulder back and here I carry my FUJIFILM X100v. It’s an awesome little camera with a fixed 35mm lens. I also have my Fuji Instax printer so when I’m taking street portraits I can give prints directly to the people that I’m taking pictures of. I use a BlackRapid Street Breathe strap. I also always have a 14” Wescott Reflector and again Koylab mini books, moo cards, my mobile device, sunglasses of course, and my JBL wireless headphones because I like to have my music on the go.


SKB iSeries Waterproof Laptop Case

On my commercial shoots, I always have a portable digital workstation. My choice is a 13-inch MacBook Pro with two SanDisk SSD 480GB inside. I am also using G technology hard drives and  Sandisk Professional hard drives. I have a three Legget thing tripod to keep my case secure and above the ground. If I’m shooting tethered I will have my Tether Tools cables and lots of memory cards from SanDisk.



Westcott Ice Pack

The Westcott Ice Light case is used to, obviously, carry my Ice Light Lighting Kit. The case is a standard one but instead of carrying one Ice Light, it carries two, along with other essential pieces of gear like the barn doors, tungsten gels, and extra batteries.
The Ice Lights are amazing. They’re small and very portable, and they produce beautiful light, which is daylight color balanced. They also run for about 2.5 hours on a single battery which is great — and if that’s not enough then you can attach an extra battery through the Ice light two-way connector which gives about 1 to 1.5 hours of extra battery time. I use them whenever I need a reliable, daylight-balanced continuous light source, either for photography or video. They’re very versatile.

F.J. Westcott Icelight Bag
2x Westcott Ice Light
2x Icelights Case
2x Westcott Ice Light Power Pack Battery
2x Westcott Ice Light Tungsten Gel
2x Westcott Barn Doors for Ice Light
2x Westcott Tilter Bracktet with brass spigots
2x Westcott Ice Light Two-Way Connector
2x Batteries Chargers

My second Ice Pack carries not so obviously my Westcott Flex Kit. The Flex is an amazingly versatile tool that I use not only for photography but for video as well. With it’s a flexible and compact design I can illuminate a subject in many different angles using one light only.

1 × Flex 1′ x 1′ Bi-Color LED Mat
1 × Flex Bi-Color 4a Digital Dimmer
1 × 19v/3A Power Adapter
1 × Power Cord 
1 x Dual-Joint Tilter Bracket
1 x Flex Cine Frame Diffuser
1 x Flex Cine Frame




Westcott Light Modifiers

I own a big variety of Westcott Softboxes with Profoto mount. Starting with the big octabox, two strips one of which is asymmetrical, two small ones one of which has a masters brush modifier, and my newest addition to the kit the two rapid boxes, one is the collapsible beauty dish and the other the rapid octa XL. It is kinda sad that Westcott doesn’t make asymmetrical strips and masters brushes anymore they are one of my favorites. I also have two Westcott Halo softboxes which are great to take outside and a variety of Westcott 7′ umbrellas. I have Westcott Eyelighter, an awesome tool to fill in some light, and a standard triflector that adds additional options from the Eylighter. Also, there are some medium and large Westcott Scrim Jims that are great to take outdoors or mount inside. The Westcott Fast Flags are also a great and important tool that I use either outside or in the studio. And last but not least my compact background system offers fast and reliable backdrop mount anywhere.

Westcott Studio Softboxes
Westcott 5′ Octabank
Westcott Stripbank 1×6
Westcott Rapid Octa XL
Westcott Rapidbox Beauty Dish
Westcott Halo Softbox
Westcott 7′ Umbrellas
Westcott Eyelighter
Westcott ScrimJim
Westcott Fast Flags
Westcott Backdrop Support System



The reflectors are an essential part of the kit of every photographer. I have a good variety of them, The Westcott 6in1 Kits are really useful and this is why I have 3 various sizes of them the 30”, 42” and 52”. I have a tiny 14” 2in1 Westcott reflector that is really compact and I love carrying it with me. The Westcott Omega Reflector is probably my most favorite of them all because of the ability to shoot through it. The Profoto Silver/White L is good as well because of its handles on its sides.

Westcott Omega 360
Westcott Illuminator Collapsible 6in1 Reflector Kit
Westcott Illuminator Collapsible 2-in-1 Reflector
Profoto Silver/White L Reflector


Dedolight KAC24 – 150 W Kit

The Dedolights are very dimmable, high-quality consistent lights, that I mostly use for product photography. The kit comes with many accessories that are perfect for my needs.

Studio Tripods

I have many tripods in my studio, they always come in hand, supporting studio heads, backdrops, reflectors, you never know for what they will be used. I have bigger Westcott ones and really small Manfrotto tripods. Also I have some huge old tripods that add really stable fill to the whole kit.

Camera Tripods and Monopods

My choice for camera tripods is 3LeggedThing, it is a brand that I have been using over the years and I really enjoy. Their tripods are versatile, light, sturdy and even some of them have a leg that transforms into a monopod. The tripods I have are Eddie, Eric, Keith, and Albert. I also use 3LeggedThing ball heads and release plates.

3LeggedThing Albert
3LeggedThing Eric
3LeggedThing Keith
3LeggedThing Eddie
3LeggedThing AirHed 360
3LeggedThing AirHed Switch
3LeggedThing QR4
3LeggedThing QR7
3LeggedThing QR11-LG
3LeggedThing QR11-FBC


I own ProMedia Gear VS24 PMG-DUO 24 Inch Video Slider, Aviator Gear Slider Kit, and Aviator Gear Travel Jib. These three are great tools when I’m filming, making some time lapses or just shooting some behind the scenes.

ProMedia Gear VS24 PMG-DUO 24 Inch Video Slider
Aviator Gear Travel Jib
Aviator Gear Slider Kit