4 Shoot-Saving Products Every Beauty/Fashion Photographer Should Keep In Their Bag

4 Shoot-Saving Products Every Beauty/Fashion Photographer Should Keep In Their Bag

Shooting fashion can be a whirlwind of activity as you try to corral a team of creatives into constructing an amazing array of images. More than with any other type of shoot, I find that things have tendency to go wrong during the course of the fashion shoot. As the photographer, it is your job to not only be prepared for these things to happen, but also to be fully equipped to solve the problems as they come up. Below you will find a series of things I like to keep in my camera bag that are often saviors during a shoot that seems to be going belly-up.

Mini A-Clamps

Photographers often carry several full-size A-Clamps to use for lighting and grip, but most photographers forget about the value added by a smaller A-Clamp. Small A-Clamps are fantastic for clipping small objects or garments that are causing a problem during a shoot. My favorite and most frequent use for them is to adjust loosely fitting clothing that doesn't quite fit the model perfectly. I bought mine at the local dollar store, but they can also be found over on Amazon.

Hairspray

Hairspray is worth its weight in gold during a shoot. Sure, most of the time the makeup artists and hair stylists brings their own; but for those rare times when the makeup artist forgets, doesn't show up, or has to leave early, a can of hairspray can go a long way toward salvaging a hair disaster. Even if you haven't the slightest clue how to use it, your model certainly does. The simple act of having it available can turn the beginnings of a disaster into a successful shoot. If you know nothing about which of the 9 billion types of hairspray to buy, don't hesitate to ask a hairstylist for a suggestion. Personally, I go with TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume, as it was recommended to me by a hairstylist I frequently work with. It has always worked great when needed.

The clothing for this shoot just didn't work but my plain white sheet worked perfectly!

A White Sheet

In a pinch, a simple white sheet can solve a myriad of problems. It can be a backdrop, a diffuser, or a reflector. A white sheet can also be used to block line of sight to a changing model on location or as a makeshift garment when all else fails, so long as you keep it perfectly clean. A simple white sheet is pretty cheap and can be found at any store that carries bedroom products. Bonus point if you also bring a lightweight, warm blanket in case the model finds herself getting cold between shots or during prep.

Snacks!

There is a certain false assumption that our society makes that fashion models don't eat. On the contrary, most fashion models simply focus on eating healthy in order to maintain their figure. During a long shoot, however, it can often be difficult for a model to maintain her energy if she hasn't brought any snacks with her. There is nothing worse than a "hangry" model who just wants to get off set so she can grab a bite. As a result, I always try to have food of some sort available for when the food grumps start to set in. When possible, a plate of vegetables is a great option that almost never poses an allergy threat while also fitting into virtually any diet. Alternatively, a box of healthy energy bars is an easier to transport choice that can be had pretty easily. Just make sure to confirm that your model doesn't have any allergies before you give them a nut-filled snack bar. You should also make sure to have water available, as a dehydrated model (or photographer!) tends to sap energy from the shoot quickly.

Conclusion

As the captain of the shoot, the photographer is responsible for being prepared for virtually anything that could threaten the success of the shoot. More than anything, be mindful of exactly what each shoot requires to be successful and plan redundancy for as much of it as possible. Never fall into the foolish presumption that you are free and clear from accepting any blame for the shoot going poorly just because something went wrong that is not your fault. Always be ready to solve any problem at any time.

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5 Comments

Missed one of the most important... something I keep in my GO BAG on every shoot. NEW UNOPENED MURINE EYE WASH to get the RED OUT.

Spy Black's picture

That's actually a very BAD suggestion. Eyes get red because they are tired and request additional blood to the brain. Products like this are known as "vasoconstrictors" which shrink the blood vessels, thereby "starving" the eyes of the very blood they requested.

When the drug wears off, the blood vessels enlarge to even greater sizes to accommodate the loss of blood to the eyes. What do people typically do? Why, add more of the drug of course! Needless to say, this forms a vicious cycle that continually starves the eyes of the blood they're screaming out for.

Furthermore, this product can have various side effects on individuals, so offering this to a model that you probably don't know well, if at all, because her eyes are red could create any number of complications to the model, and possibly yourself. So do yourself and your model(s) a favor, and remove the red out in Photoshop!

Dan Howell's picture

You might want to steer the description of the article to location fashion shoots. As such, you could also include simple things like Windex, a towel and white masking tape.
-White tape is also good in studio shoots on the bottom of shoes to either prevent marking on the background or prevent marking of the sole of a borrowed shoe (my shoots have borrowed or sample shoots 50% of the time).
-Also a simple empty spray bottle that can be filled with water is useful for a number of purposes like taming hair when you don't want to use hairspray, moistening skin for comfort or a sheen.
-Maybe a fabric stain remover. Cigarette lighter fluid is also good for scuffs on shoes and plexiglass.
-box of stainless steel safety or T-pins. ( I keep an assortment straight pins, safety pins and T-pins in an old slide box)
-knitted elastic bands (white or black strips of elastic that can hold a garment together after busted zipper) from sewing or craft store.
-Topstick tape (every stylist would have this, but if you are working without a stylist learn about Topstick)

Michael Murphy's picture

I and several photogs that I shoot with on a more regular basis learned last Fall to always carry Off bug spray. We were shooting outside at the Foundry in Phoenixville Pennsylvania. Almost immediately when we arrived the one model was literally attacked and almost eaten alive by every biting bug that was in the area. The poor girl had bite marks all over her back. The bugs didn't seem to be interested in anyone but her. I would definitely recommend adding it to your gear bag.

Joe Black's picture

speaker for music. It cuts the ice in terms of atmosphere in the shoot! (Life saver!)