Hey Everyone! Hope y'all are healthy and happy. Last week we talked about the pre-shoot checklist, and this week I want to talk about the extra stuff you should have in your camera bag. Last week it was all about the essentials that you need to have with you when you go on a photo shoot. This week it's about the extra things that I think you should have with you when you go out shooting. First of all, this is just things that I think you should carry, but you can modify or customize it to your specific needs. So let's get on with the list.
1. Emergency rain poncho. Have you ever gotten caught in the rain? Well I have. I hiked in a couple of miles to get to a waterfall that I wanted to photograph. When I got there it started to look a little stormy, and I was thinking, great, this will make my photos better with the stormy mood. But then the bottom fell out. I was two miles from the car or any shelter standing in the pouring rain with my expensive camera equipment getting soaked! Luckily, I did have a trash bag with me that I could cover my camera bag with to keep my gear from getting too wet. But I was soaked. From that day on I always have an emergency poncho with me. They are cheap and don't weigh much. You can get them for five bucks or so. And if you're careful you can reuse them. I have used mine a couple of times in the last few years. I should replace it. LOL
2. Cold weather gear. When it's cold outside and you're holding a metal camera, your hands get cold quickly! In the wintertime bring some sort of gloves, head gear, and something to go around your neck. You will stay so much warmer and get better shots because of it. Hand warmers are a must in wintertime. They are cheap and last for hours, and one in your pocket or jammed into a glove is great! There are all kinds of gloves you can get. I would suggest one that you can handle your gear with. They make special gloves for photography, but you don't need to get those expensive ones (although I just got a pair last year and love them). Any glove will do to protect your hands.
3. Hot weather gear. When it's hot outside, you need to protect yourself also. Wearing cool, non-cotton clothes is a first step. A hat that can protect you from the sun is also good. But what happens when it gets warm? Bugs! Bring some sort of bug protection. You can get it in small bottles or packets. I bring packets of bug protection with me always. Sunburn sucks! Bring sunblock and use it. I also have these in packets that go in my bag all the time. They take up little space and are lightweight. There are all kinds of advances in cool-wear technologies. They make bandanas that you can get wet and put around your neck to keep you cool. When it's super hot outside, that's what I use. They are very lightweight when dry and don't take up much space.
4. External battery. It goes without saying that everyone will have their phone with them when they are out and about taking photos. We will use them for navigation, sending photos, and all sorts of things. But when they are dead, they are useless. The same is true for our cameras. When the battery is dead, they are useless. The small external battery can be used to charge my phone when it gets weak. I could recharge my battery in my camera (most cameras can do this now), or I could recharge my GoPros. I use a 5200ma/h, and it's always in my bag. Just remember, the bigger the battery, the heaver and bulkier it is. It takes about 2000 ma/h to completely charge your phone and, depending on your camera battery, maybe a little bit more. (But you should already have fresh batteries.) It has come in handy on long trips recharging my phone or a photo buddy's phone.
5. Light. Now, I'm not talking about a photography flash, although some people do carry one with them all the time. I'm talking about a flashlight or headlamp of some kind. Headlamps will come in handy when doing sunsets or sunrises. Being able to get to or come back from a photo location, safely is a must. And they free up your hands. They don't have to be expensive or bulky either. I have gone through several over the years, and now I have a headlamp that is in my main bag (I think it cost 15 bucks) that works like a champ. I have had more expensive ones, and usually they are more complicated to use and don't work as well for me, at least as the cheaper ones. I also have one that will clip onto a hat like a baseball cap, and it's very small. ( I keep that one in my street shoulder bag.) But any kind of small, mini flashlight will do. They can also come in handy for light painting small subjects.
6. Rain Covers. These are the rain covers for your lenses and camera bodies while shooting in the rain. Shooting in the rain can be very cool, and you can get some great shots. But water and electronics don't mix well. You can get lens rain covers that are not more than clear plastic for five bucks or so, and again they are lightweight and don't take up much room. I shoot with a small camera, so I made a rain cover out of an old pair of rain pants that I cut up and customized to my camera. I have used the five dollar ones, and they work great. Just make sure you get one that will cover your camera and lens and also make sure it's not too big. They make covers that will fit over like a 500mm lens and camera, and if you're shooting small like me, that's just too big.
7. Business Cards. I know this sounds silly, especially if you're not a professional, but hear me out. Business cards are cheap! You can get 250 for about 10 bucks. You can have your name and your email address on them and website if you have one. When you meet someone who is interested in what you're doing or ask if you're a professional, you can pull out a card and have them check out your website. Or if you took someone's photo and you can offer them a copy, give them a card and they can email you so you can send them the photo. It's an easy way to share your info, and kind of cool. I carry a couple in my bag and have a couple in my wallet if someone asks about my photography.
8. Pen/small pad. I always carry a pen with me. If I'm talking to someone, I can get their info or email address and write it on the back of one of my cards or a small note pad. I can also take notes of places I've been. I know this is old school and most people use their phones for this now, but this is my list. LOL
9. Microfiber cloths. I have lots of these in my bag. I put one in every compartment of my bag so they are always handy. They are under every lens and camera body in the bag. I always have one in my pocket for my glasses or in case someone else needs one quickly. If you are out and it's misty or water for some reason gets on the lens, you can wipe quickly and clean/dry. These are cheap and come with lots of things you buy. I try to use brightly-colored ones so they don't get lost in the bag. (I can see them better.)
10. Personal things. In this section, I'm talking about things that are personal to you. I have glasses cleaners that come in the little pouches for my glasses because I smudge them when taking photos. I bring a couple of the tooth pick/dental floss things with me for after I eat. I bring toilet paper and/or wipes for emergencies. And don't forget the hand sanitizer and I guess mask would be appropriate now. I also put my car keys and wallet in my bag and secure them when on a hike so they won't fall out of my pockets and I lose them.
Extra Extras. Here are a few others I thought about: a lens pen to clean/brush lenses of dust; a hand blower ( a must - should have been one of the 10); an allen wrench that fits your tripod and quick connect plates; sensor swabs to clean your sensor; a rain cover for your pack; silica gel packs that you get in everything - throw one into your pack; sunglasses/case to protect your eyes from harsh sunlight; and I'm sure you can think of more.
All of these things I mentioned above are extra. I assume that you're bringing cameras, lenses, batteries, and SD cards. These are extra things that I have in all of my camera bags when I go out and about. Being prepared like the Scouts is always good advice. I hope this list helps or has given you an idea of what to carry when you go out shooting. So get out there and start shooting! So until next week stay safe and healthy.