Gear I put in my camera bag for EVERY photoshoot.
I write camera “bag” as if I only one.
Let me plead my case. Every bag is built for something different. For example, my tote, the one I use as a purse daily, would NEVER make it up Camelback Mountain. And my massive Canon suitcase isn’t necessary if I’m going on a day trip with family. The bag my gear goes in depends on where I’m going. However, there are essentials that I always have on me if I am doing a photoshoot.
My Camera Bag
1. Camera Body
If you plan on taking photos with a DSLR, you mustn’t forget the body. For my first paid shoot, I was using a Nikon D5600. If you want to dip your toes into DSLRs, the D5600 is a decent start. I have since upgraded to the Nikon D500, which I absolutely love!
Pro Tip: Keep liquids far from camera and gear! You’re welcome. 🙂
The go-to lens that is ALWAYS on me is my Nikon 50 mm 1.4 prime. The focal length and the aperture range provide versatility in just about any situation.
Bonus – My absolute favorite lens to shoot portraits with is my Nikon 85 mm 1.8 prime lens.
The lens’ capabilities allow for great depth of field while capturing sharp images.
3. Microfiber Lens Cloth
Years ago, my college professor got me in the habit of never using cleaners on my lenses. My lenses typically don’t require more than a blast of air or a cloth. At any given time, there are at least two of these in my main camera bag and one in my tote. Living in Arizona, most of my photoshoots are in the desert, where a lot of dirt is kicked up. These little clothes are a lifesaver!
If my lens is in deep need of a wet cleanse, I will typically use a cleaning solution made for camera lenses on a microfiber cloth. I would usually do this cleaning after a photoshoot to ensure my lens is at less risk of getting damaged.
4. Batteries (plus backups!)
When I ventured into BTS photography for films, I was quick to learn that 1 battery is not enough to get through an 8-12-hour day. I invested in two backup batteries that immediately go into the charger after every shoot.
There is a surplus of power options out there, and they differ from camera to camera. With my Nikon D500, I was able to save by purchasing a different brand of batteries. The camera also has compatible grips that are a power source when batteries are added.
5. Memory (plus extra!)
With a horrendous habit of taking way too many photos, I naturally use a large SD card, usually keeping my 128 GB SD card on hand. The wonderful thing about the Nikon D500 is there are two memory slots, one for your normal SD card and the second, an XQD card slot. In the camera settings, you can decide which card the images are saved to first, OR if you would like all your images to save to both cards.
BEWARE: While they are known for their incredible reliability, XQD cards tend to lean on the pricier side compared to SD cards. With the recent increase in bookings, I just invested in my first XQD card.
6. Camera Strap
Whether I am on a photoshoot or just stuffed my camera in my tote for kicks, my strap NEVER comes off my camera. I am the definition of “butterfinger.” Ruining 1 camera in this lifetime is more than enough for me.
7. Polaroid Camera
This is by no means a necessity. However, because I LOVE polaroid cameras and vintage aesthetics, I decided to start taking at least one polaroid image during every shoot I do. These are especially fun on wrap day when doing BTS photography. I currently have two polaroid cameras I bounce between – Fujifilm and Polaroid.
After every Session
Fishing out the memory cards to begin culling is at the top of the to-do list. The next thing I do is unpack all my gear. Unpacking after each session forces me to be deliberate with what I put in my bag the next time I pack it. It also ensures that I am routinely taking stock and cleaning my gear.
If you don’t know this, I love lists! (Read: 5 Lists To Make Packing for Vacation Seamless) To ensure I don’t forget anything on my next shoot, I keep a Photoshoot Necessities right next to all my stored gear.
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All the love!!