The morning of a shoot has arrived and you are running around frantically loading gear trying to make sure that you haven’t forgotten a lens, power cable, or battery that will be the key to making the shoot a success. In the haste of focusing on gear, it can be too easy to forget to load a few simple tools that can come to your rescue and make sure everyone is as happy as possible throughout the shoot.
1: First Aid Kit
This one probably seems pretty obvious but the majority of photographers I know don’t have one in their gear bag. While you probably won’t need to be equipped to conduct emergency surgery having a small first aid kit that is able to treat small scrapes and other minor injuries can make the difference between a successful shoot and not.
2: Lint Roller
You can either retouch out each and every little spec of dust from the model’s clothing or save yourself a few hours and bring a lint roller. One swipe from these magical little devices can save a huge amount of time in post. Furthermore, if you have a giant fuzzball hanging around your studio like I do everyone always appreciates being able to leave the shoot not covered in fur.
Everyone really should be bringing their own water to a shoot but I find they rarely do. It is pretty easy and cheap to toss a couple bottles of water into your bag in case someone gets thirsty.
4: Healthy Snacks
Models get cranky when they are hungry, so do photographers, makeup artists, and stylists. Having a small cache of healthy, energy rich, snacks to whip out when everyone’s energy starts to dip can be a huge boost to everyone morale and ensures that the you are able to focus on making amazing photos.
It sucks not being able to drink water post makeup because you are worried about damaging the hard work of a makeup artist. Having a few individually packaged straws can go a long way towards keeping your model hydrated.
6: A Flashlight
For some strange reason we, photographer types, really enjoy shooting at sunset. (It could have something to do with that beautiful golden light). This often means taking down our gear in the dark after a long shoot yet we are notorious for running around blindly trying to find things. A small flashlight or two in the bottom of the gear bag can make a world of difference.
7: A Blanket
Packing a ultra-light blanket designed to compress into a small pouch takes up little space but can be a savior to help keep people warm while you are running around setting up gear. Even in the summer it can get fairly cool in the evenings or in air conditioned buildings.
Furthermore, a blanket can become a great line of sight blocker if your model needs to get changed in public or if you need to flag an annoying light source.
8: An Umbrella
Rain can make for some spectacularly cool shots. It can also make for some miserable team members if they get soaked. By packing a normal umbrella in your gear you have something to whip out in case mother nature decides that your shoot needs a curveball.
So... Don't Make Packing All About Photo Gear
When it comes to getting ready for your next shoot slow down and think about what sort of non-photo related problems might come up. Challenge yourself to be prepared for those curveballs and arm yourself with the tools to handle them.
Finally, share the wisdom! If you have any great ideas for some less common tools that should have a home in all of our camera bags don't hesitate to share in the comments below.