These are the not-so-obvious things you may want in your camera bag
There are things common to all of our camera bags. Like at least one camera and lens for a start. But there are many other things that many of us carry in our bags that aren’t necessarily photographic but come in very handy, very often, during a shoot. In this video, photographer Jessica Sterling talks us through the things she keeps in her camera bag, and some of them aren’t as obvious as you might think.
Occasionally, these items can be the difference between making or breaking a shoot. Perhaps not all the time, sure, but they’re those things that we sometimes need but often forget. In no particular order…
- Black gaffer tape
- Clips, clothes pegs and spring clamps
- Lumiquest QuikBounce
- Giottos Rocket Blower
- Zip ties
- Black wrap
- Leatherman or Swiss Army Knife
- Pencil & Sharpie
- Square Credit Card Reader
- LED Flashlight
- Sewing kit
- Bongo ties (Ball Bungee ties)
- Electrolyte mix
- Rubber bands
- Cough sweets
- B+W Thin Circular Polariser
- Plastic bags
- Fluorescent safety vest
- Bubble level
- Extra AA batteries
- Lint roller
- Face powder & cotton squares
It’s a pretty extensive list, and it almost feels like you’d need a whole separate bag just for this lot. But most of the items on the list are fairly small items that’ll live in a little pocket in your camera bag. And most bags come with a lot of pockets these days.
My list of stuff is fairly similar. I don’t use a Lumiquest QuickBounce as I never use on-camera flash anymore (when I did, I preferred the Lumiquest 80-20). I don’t bother with a notepad & pencil as I usually just tap notes into my phone, but I do take a Sharpie. Lens Pen & ExpoDisc are replaced by several lens cloths and a Lastolite XpoBalance. I also don’t bother with the hairspray & face powder.
I also usually keep a few business cards in my bag, along with the ColorChecker Passport. I also always keep several 52-77mm step-up rings in my bag, too, as all my screw-on filters (Polariser, NDs & variable ND) are 77mm and most of my lenses are either 77mm or 52mm. A few 1/4-20″ to 3/8-16″ thread adapters can also be extremely useful and have saved the day more than once when I’ve come to assemble a tripod or slider and realised the adapter that was supposed to be in the ball head has fallen out and disappeared.
As most of my shoots are on location in the wilderness, I usually take along some bug spray, as well as a USB battery to recharge my phone or tablet towards the end of the shoot. And I also take a backup phone, too, just in case, as I typically shoot in and around water.
What do you keep in your camera bag that isn’t so obvious?
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.