If you spend any amount of time shooting on location (as opposed to shooting in a home studio) you have probably found that there is always something that you left at home that you wish you had brought. If you are new to photography, here is a list of a few things, both photography and non-photography related, that will help make sure you stay prepared!
Camera and Gear:
1. If possible, a back up camera - This may sound absurd, but you never, never know what will happen! Imagine how devastated you would be if you showed up to shoot a client, or a wedding, and your camera died. Even if you only have a backup point-and-shoot, it’s better than arriving at a shoot and not having any form of a Plan B!
2. Memory cards galore – Again, memory cards are sometimes known to stop working for no apparent reason, so having an extra one or two on hand can save you a lot of embarrassment and stress. The night before your shoot, make sure to format your memory cards, which will ensure they work properly.
3. Extra batteries, both for your camera and your flash. Also, make sure to charge your batteries the night before! I know, this seems completely obvious, but sometimes we overlook the little, yet extremely important, details when we are getting ready for a big shoot the next day.
4. Lens/filter wipes
5. If you use a film SLR from time to time, make sure to have a light meter handy. The light meters in older film cameras can, and will, give out, due to age and battery life. If you have a smart phone, there are free light meter apps available to have on your phone.
6. Tripod – If you are shooting in low light (even if it is cloudy outside!) and do not have a full frame camera with a high ISO, you can easily use a tripod to prevent camera shake, rather than chancing it by shooting hand-held.
7. A small reflector – Having a reflector handy can be a life-saver. If you are shooting in uneven light, or even low light, a circular reflector can make a huge difference.
Non-Photography Related Items:
8. Hairspray – Those tiny, flyaway hairs can be very time consuming in your post-processing. Go ahead and eliminate them on the spot with a tiny bit of hairspray.
9. Lint brush – Same idea as the hairspray, because lint spots on clothing are not fun to edit out of your photos.
10. Hair pins
11. Spot removing wipes for fabric
12. Makeup remover wipes
14. Safety pins
15. Tissues – These are especially handy if you photograph weddings. Bride, mother of the bride, and bridesmaids have a tendency to cry, so having a tissue handy for runny mascara is a handy item.
Now, these are just a few items out of many that you may need to bring with you, but based on my own experience, they are items that I can’t live without on a photoshoot. You may even have a few items that you would like to add to the list, so let us know if you have any ideas for items that no photographer should go without!
Anna Gay is a portrait photographer based in Athens, GA and the author of the dPS ebook The Art of Self-Portraiture. She also designs actions and textures for Photoshop. When she is not shooting or writing, she enjoys spending time with her fiancee, and their two cats, Elphie and Fat Cat.