Wednesday, October 19, 2016

What's In My Bag | Camera Edition

I don't know about you, but I am constantly rearranging and replacing my camera bag.  Every trip, session, birthday party, or wedding, and I've dumped another purse and tried to fit everything I need for the event in the bag that fits both my "necessary" items and my mood.  Throughout this constant packing and unpacking of clutter, I've found different events can require different gear - and different bags.  In this post I'm covering the essentials in my bag for any basic photoshoot!

Basic Needs
  • Camera!  - kind of obvious, but a good place to start. For me, camera means my beautiful blue Pentax K30.  This is the best camera I've ever worked with, and I'll be following this with another Pentax (very possibly in the K line) when it is time to replace or add to my gear. [note: it's a good idea to have an extra camera body to bring with you on a photoshoot, but that just hasn't been in my budget yet - however, I almost always bring along a second shooter in my mom or sister and with that comes a backup camera.]

  • Portrait Lens - my personal favorite (and on the camera being used to take this picture) is a 50mm that stops down to 1.8.  For group shots, however, it can be more convenient to use the 35mm  prime lens (pictured.) 
  • Extra Battery - (or two.) Make sure they are charged.
  • Extra Memory Card - I usually shoot with a 16 gb with several hundred pictures free on it, and keep an 8 gb in my bag for emergencies.  If I'm taking quick picture for a close friend, or for some other reason do not have a second shooter, I borrow my mom's memory card for extra security - just in case the inevitable disaster were to happen.

Lighting Needs
  • External Flash - even though natural light photography is my favorite and my forte, I carry a flash.  Sometimes you need that extra fill, and sometimes even at a park there will be some place inside you'll find yourself shooting, and you don't want to be stuck with poor light.
  • Wireless Hot Shoe Flash Trigger - for off camera flash.  One of the devices connects to the flash, the other to the camera's hot shoe. This way, you can have the camera off to the side for a filler light that isn't too harsh.
  • Tripod Adapter - in case you bring a tripod (which wouldn't fit in my bag) this adapter allows you to side the flash on the top of the tripod so you don't have to hold the flash off camera, or have someone else hold it.
  • Battery Charger - for the rechargeable batteries inside my flash
  • Extra Batteries - in case the rechargeables fail

Specific Needs
  • Telephoto Lens - this isn't something you will always use; most portraits are taken closer to the subject.  Still, familiarizing yourself with the locations you shoot at should be able to tell you if this could be needed for any creative shots.
  • Polarizing Filter - usually not necessary, but it minimizes reflections on glass. It's small and easy to leave in the bag.
  • Lens Reversing Ring - turns your lens backwards on your camera body. You have to be careful, but it can turn your lens into a basic macro.  Good to have for details (e.g. engagement rings)


  • Log Book/Reference Guide - I received this with my NYIP schooling, its a book with quick reference guides to shutter speeds and apertures, a just in case sort of book. It also has a place in the back to record all of your gear in case your camera bag is lost. If your name, address, phone number, and gear list is inside, there is a greater chance of it being returned to you.
  • Pez Dispensers - With a big of filing from thin sandpaper, the bottoms of Pez Dispensers slide right into the camera's hot shoe.  This is perfect for young toddlers who struggle with looking at the camera. If parent allow, you can give Pez candy from them.  Then you really have their attention.

It all slides nicely into my Cheeky Lime camera bag - the empty spaces are for my camera (being used to take the photos), battery charger, and purse essentials (not pictured.) Speaking of...

Purse Needs

  • Wallet, Keys, Phone, Chapstick, Hairband, Pen, and anything else essential to you personally

For the Car

These are the things that you should have with you, but you don't necessarily need to carry around with you during the shoot.  Most of the time these won't be needed until it is over.

  • File Folder - It's nice to keep a portfolio of your photos with you in print form. This gives your client a visual of how their pictures will look in print, shows the different sizes and formats, and may even encourage them to purchase them from you.
  • Model Release Form - this is legal permission to put the pictures on your blog, business card, or part of your public portfolio. 
  • Water Bottle - I always regret not having one.

Optional (for a second bag)


I'd be interested to know; what do you carry in your bag? Do you think I missed anything essential?


  1. This was interesting! Thanks for letting us inside your bag. ;) I'm not a professional photographer by any stretch of the imagination, so my camera bag contains, well, my camera basically. :) But I'll be keeping this in mind, so thank you!

    1. Of course! Well, the camera is the most important thing to have, so there's nothing wrong with that. xD What camera do you use?

  2. Hi Skyeler, I think we have a lot in common, a love for the Lord, all things beautiful, and photography! I really enjoyed this post. Some time ago I bought an Ephanie purse and thought I would use it. Have you ever used those? Your bag is really beautiful, love the blues in it! I enjoyed your list of items to keep on hand, and I was interested in your little black book too. Sounds like a handy item to have on hand. I hope to come back and visit you again, happy to have met you today on my tea partying rounds :)