There are plenty of small items you should have in your gear bag: spare batteries, memory cards, gaff tape… We all know that, right? But what about some less obvious, even unusual things like floss picks, chewing gum or eye drops? Miguel Quiles has come up with a list of 21 items that may seem unusual, but they could save your next portrait photo session.
Even though there are many things listed, worry not: they all fit in a small pouch like this one, so they won’t take up too much space in your gear bag. Since Miguel primarily shoots portraits, he has this kit assembled to fit his needs. But many of these items should definitely find their place in every photographer’s bag.
Miguel jokingly calls this kit a “MiGiver Kit” after his own name. And if McGyver was a photographer, he’d always have these items with him.
- Leatherman Multi-Tool – 14 different tools in one small item, so it’s definitely handy to have it around for different kinds of situations
- Gum – if you’re photographing a couple, they may feel more comfortable having gum or mint after a long day shooting. And you may also want to freshen your breath after the entire day (and lots of coffee). This is something I always keep in my purse, backpack or photo bag.
- Lint roller – it’s much simpler and faster to clean lint or hair with a lint roller than to do it in post.
- Band-Aid kit – cuts happen, so it’s handy to have one of these around. And if you’re clumsy like me, have two. : ) Band aids are something I always keep in my wallet.
- Hand moisturizer – if you’re photographing someone, it can happen that their hands are very dry. This especially happens in winter. It’s very difficult to retouch dry skin, so have a small tube of hand moisturizer in your kit.
- Eye drops – this could also save you a lot of retouching time if your model’s eyes are red or look tired. This is another item I’ve lately been dragging around, but because of me – my eyes get dry and itchy. If you’re a photographer you may also have this problem, so keep the eye drops handy in any case.
- Q-tips – they can be useful in many different ways, so have them in your kit
- Lens wipes – needless to say, you need them to clean your lens. You can also have a lens cloth for this purpose, I always have one in my gear bag.
- Rocket blower – another way to clean your lens or your camera’s eyepiece from dust.
- Safety pins – this will come in handy to tighten the close if it doesn’t fit the model perfectly
- Gaff tape – there are tons of ways to use it, find your favorites here : )
- Hand sanitizer – if you’re shooting outdoors, you or your model may be touching the ground and other not very clean surfaces, so you may want to have this around. I don’t have the habit of using it, but I always keep a pack of wet wipes around instead.
- Personal trimmer – it’s useful if your client needs a quick trim of their eyebrows for example. Make sure to always bring spare clean tips, though.
- Mini A-clamps – you can use them for clothes (like safety pins), but they will probably find other uses as well
- Hairbrush with a mirror – it’s always handy to have one around for fixing the hair, and the mirror is included so the model can check the hair and makeup. With my super-long hair, I have two of these and they’re always with me, regardless of shooting.
- ChapStick – just like dry hands, dry lips are also difficult to retouch. I think that most girls have a lip balm in their purse, but you can keep one in your kit just in case. Although, I’d suggest lip balm in a jar, so not everyone puts the same one directly onto their lips.
- ThinkThank Red Whips – these will find their purpose in multiple scenarios, almost like gaff tape, so it’s good to have them around.
- Bobby pins – if your model’s hair needs a bit of a fix, bobby pins come to the rescue
- Hair ties – these will also come in handy for the model’s hair, but you can use them for other purposes too (like those Red Whips mentioned above). Another thing I also have around at all times.
- Floss picks – your model might have something on their teeth, it happens. So this is definitely handy to have with you.
- Bungee cords – one more item that could have multiple uses
- Bonus item: portable LED light – if you need to find something in your bag or car while shooting in the evening, this will come in handy. Of course, you can also use it for the shoot. Miguel uses the Aputure AL-M9. I recently got a Lumee and it’s also really bright. I usually wear as a bracelet, but it doesn’t take up much space in the gear bag either.
There are three items I’d add to the list and I absolutely always have them around. First: painkillers. I sometimes have headaches, and I definitely don’t want them to ruin my day or disable me from working. Then, a cereal bar. I’m the kind of person who gets “hangry” and I often don’t have time to eat properly while shooting. Heck, when I’m shooting in a forest, I don’t even have where to eat. So, I think it’s clever to have a protein bar or a cereal bar with me. And last, a pack of tissues. I get a runny nose when it’s cold, so I always need these anyway. But they have also come in handy a few times when my camera and I got caught in the rain. Or when I spilled beer on my camera (don’t ask).
Do you have a kit like this and what do you keep in it? Or if not, what are the items you always have in your gear bag? Let us know in the comments below.
[21 Things YOU NEED For Your Next Portrait Session | Miguel Quiles]