The photo bag is the photographer’s world, all the things that are most dear to him, gathered together. As a rule, everyone has a list of basic items that are always at hand. This list is different for everyone, and often we meet photographers with huge, almost tourist-sized backpacks, packed full of equipment. On the contrary, there are those photographers who prefer to get by with the main camera and a couple of interchangeable lenses. In other words, they travel light. As optimistic as it may sound, such a miniature kit is not able to provide the photographer with everything that can be useful. And conditions change incredibly quickly and adapting to them is one of the main qualities of a good photographer.
So that the situation never takes you by surprise, we picked up 10 items that should always be in your photo bag.
Even if you go out to shoot in nature, you don’t always want and need to take a full-size tripod with you. It’s not that it’s too heavy (modern models strive to achieve a balance between stability and light weight), but it’s definitely not always necessary to spend time installing it. However, shooting handheld is also not always correct. This is where mini tripods come to the rescue. Obviously, their main distinguishing feature is their size, pluses are stability and ease of use. While not as feature-packed as their full-sized counterparts, they do offer plenty of versatility, especially if you’re planning on shooting in low-light conditions. It is also convenient to place such a tripod — any flat surface will suit you!
Almost every camera (even smartphones) has a timer for a long time. But the timer always limits the possibilities, so it’s best to have the remote with you. It allows you to press the button from a distance and not directly touch the button itself. This is good for both those who like to shoot self-portraits (so when traveling there will be no need to bother passers-by asking you to click on a landmark in the background), and for professionals who want to reduce vibrations, for example, at slow shutter speeds. You will have to choose between cable and wireless remotes, and the advantage, of course, is on the side of the latter. Most of them use infrared receivers, so it doesn’t matter if you are behind or in front of the lens. However, it is always worth remembering that the reliability of IR remotes is reduced in bright light.
Perhaps one of the most useful accessories that we completely unfairly and often forget. In general, it is better to always have everything related to cleaning at hand, but if we fail to clean the matrix in the field (and we should not do this), then everything else is quite possible. And this is where microfiber cloths come in handy. In addition to cleaning, wipes can be used to wrap lenses, lenses, or filters to protect them from scratches and excess dust. This applies even if all of the above seems to be safe — due to the fact that any optical elements are fragile by definition, they can be damaged even by scratching each other. To avoid this, a microfiber cloth will help us.
Not boxing, and not edible, but airy. We have just noted how important it is to have cleaning accessories with you, and a blower is one of the most important items that you should always have with you. When it comes to cleaning, we all know that the less face-to-face contact, the better. The rubber bulb allows you to clean the lens without touching it. Due to the rather strong air flow, it is enough to blow dust off the glass. If, besides dust, something else bothers you, the napkin from the previous paragraph will come to the rescue again.
The truth is that we carry a smartphone with us in the vast majority of situations. It is especially important not to forget it when you go to shoot outdoors alone. But, if you omit the function of a smartphone or tablet as a means of communication, it turns out that mobile devices are also incredibly useful when shooting. Countless ways already exist to help with every aspect of filming, from the basics of composition to calculating depth of field. There are apps for tracking the sun that will tell you where, what time it rises and sets, and in what direction it is moving. This data can help you understand the light and, accordingly, understand how it is better to build a frame.
A smartphone is a very convenient device for shooting landscapes and architecture, and besides, if you have a manual for the technique in PDF format (and it’s not at all difficult to find it), you can always have it at hand without having to carry extra papers with you.
It would be ridiculous to talk about photography without mentioning the most obvious and important items for a photo bag. Even knowing well the characteristics of your own camera, it is not always possible to calculate the exact battery life. And if she suddenly sits down during filming, you have to pack your bags and return home, the whole day will be wasted, and the light and conditions will be lost forever. To prevent this from happening, you should absolutely always have a fully charged spare camera battery with you. This is in addition to the fact that the main battery is recommended to be charged immediately upon returning from filming. Just make it a habit.
As for the memory card, if it suddenly becomes full, of course, you can take a break and delete all unnecessary or unsuccessful frames. However, if you’re working with a model, at an event, or catching certain lighting, you won’t be wasting valuable time cleaning up the map. That is why it is best to have a spare card with you. So you will always be on the alert and not miss a single spectacular moment of filming.
For anyone who shoots outdoors, high-quality weather protection is fundamentally important. Despite the fact that many modern cameras have protective coatings, this is not enough. Water can somehow find a way to get inside the equipment and disable some important element or create condensation on the internal parts of the structure.
Therefore, you should always have a plastic case with you. Plastic, of course, will reliably protect equipment from water and excess dust.
It is worth taking care of yourself, so it is best to always have a raincoat in your photo bag — it can protect both the camera and the photographer.
You can look for special covers, or you can use improvised means — there is no fundamental difference, but you definitely cannot forget about such an important point.
Since we are talking about the weather, it is worth mentioning the cold. In order not to take off / put on gloves several times, you should either have gloves for touchscreens with you to easily navigate the camera settings, or gloves with cut off phalanges.
It may seem strange, but in fact, it is always a good idea to have business cards with you. Not for simple self-promotion, but rather for networking. For example, if you travel and photograph people, it is decent and even correct to ask permission to shoot. A separate element of courtesy will be to leave your contacts with your model and, when ready, send the resulting photo. In addition, a quality business card will always confirm the fact that you are a photographer, and not just a suspicious person with a camera. Exactly the same thing works when communicating with the protection of public buildings, at events and in general under various circumstances.
So do not hesitate to pay attention to the creation of business cards.
Of course, every camera has a built-in flash, however, it does not always have enough power. An external flash is quite inexpensive, but it will definitely provide you with high power and many conveniences. In the dark, for example, or when you need to create reflections, it is simply irreplaceable. In addition, unlike the built-in flash, the external one moves, therefore, it is able to create not just direct light “on the forehead”, but also shadows and much more.
Even if you’re shooting in good light, flash can be very useful, for example, in flat light, it allows you to create shape and volume, soften shadows, and so on. In a word, sooner or later, any photographer comes to work with an external flash, so you must have it with you.
Some people think that digital photography does not need filters and that all that needs to be corrected can be done with light strokes of graphic programs. However, this is not true. If temperature filters are probably outdated and it is not necessary to have them in the arsenal, then as for the polarizing filter, it is too early to refuse it. They are especially relevant for those who shoot landscapes. A polarizing filter sharpens elements such as the sky and foliage, enhances the contrast of clouds, and reduces reflections in water and glass. No post-processing will help to achieve such a result.
A high-quality polarizing filter is not cheap and, depending on the specifics of the shooting, you may not use it as often. Nevertheless, it is undeniably worth having such a filter in stock.
We hope you find this text useful. What’s in your work bag?