With every job or concept we go to shoot, our gear that we take with us is constantly changing. We take our full lighting setup for a day in the studio then we turnaround and pack a separate bag to go shoot in the mountains for that perfect sunset. The gear we take with us is on a constantly turning roundabout between our bags and kits. Through all the madness there does seem to be a few items that are consistently put into every setup. It’s those pieces of gear that work in all scenarios that are invaluable to us and how we work. These are the five items that I won’t leave the house without regardless of what’s on the agenda.
When you want to talk about a universally useful item for any photographer it’s hard to leave out an external battery. I don’t think you could find anyone today who hasn’t had a battery die on them at a bad time making their job harder. This gains even more importance if you have a camera that can be charged via USB like the Sony Alpha series of camera. Having this in my bag is great to hook my phone and camera to charge while going between locations in the city or on a hike I can use it to charge my headlamp to make sure I don’t get stranded in the dark. These come in a variety of different charge capacities and ports so make sure the get the one that suits you the best.
Peak Design Capture Pro
I have used this more than any other item in my kit and it has the battle scars to prove it. This is for the people that always want their cameras out of the bag and accessible at all times. Having this on your shoulder strap will ensure that you won’t miss those candid shots that happen for that spilt second. It also provides a secure attachment system to free up both of your hands and keep the camera safe. It uses an Arca Swiss tripod plate so it may not cater to everybody, but if you do decide to implement the Capture Pro I don’t see you being disappointed.
Camera Weather Protection
This one is pretty self-explanatory and it’s a piece of gear that usually goes unnoticed until you realize you don’t have it and need it. Everyone is going to find themselves in bad weather at one point or another and we all know that these shiny high tech cameras don’t go well with water. It could be as simple as keeping a spare grocery bag tucked away in a pocket or getting something specific like a camera sleeve but it could save your wallet in the long run.
The Joby Gorillapod is the Swiss army knife of camera tripods because it’s not great at anything but can do little bit of everything. Made popular by the vlogging community on YouTube it has since become a mainstay in my camera bag. I have used this in so many different situations from a main tripod on a hike, phone time lapses while shooting locations, putting a LED light up in a tree, and attaching it to my main tripod to hold the separate preamp when recording a video. It’s such a simple and intuitive design and you’ll never catch me anywhere without one.
The Classic Pocket Knife
Just like my great grandfather I will always have a sharp pocket knife on my bag or in my pocket. This is used multiple times a day no matter what I’m doing. From cutting gaff tape to opening those brand new boxes from your favorite camera store, everyone needs a solid pocket knife to take along with them. Along with the external battery this is gear that I’d have on me no matter what career I was involved in. Just be careful to remove them when going through airports or being aware of the state’s laws that you’re visiting as they may have specific restrictions on size, style, etc.
Everyone’s style and work will dictate which pieces of gear end up in their bag. You may use all of these already or have no use for any of them. These are just the pieces that suit what I do and over time these will constantly be evolving to what is continuing to better my workflow. Just find what works best for you and keep shooting!