I’ve heard plenty of questions like “what camera do you use?” and “do you have any recommendations on the best place to get a business card?” All those questions are great and I hope to answer some questions you may have with this post about 13 things I carry in my camera bag during photo sessions and events!
This list is great for any beginner photographer looking for the right gear, a blogger looking for lighting and camera equipment to do photos, clients wanting an inside look at my gear, and any other photographer looking to upgrade and/or expand their collection.
13 Things I Carry In My Photography Bag and Camera Bag Suggestions
So, I have to be honest, I don’t always carry each item on this list in my camera bag at one time. It really depends on the type of session (portrait sessions are very different than concerts).
For example, I might carry my main camera body, lens, business cards, and extra SD cards and batteries to a photo session while I would take all of that plus earplugs and a portable battery to a show/concert.
I also take the time to clean out my camera bag every so often. It’s important to stay clean and organized, especially when you are out on a professional job. I always find myself cleaning out smaller items like mint wrappers!
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1. My Business Cards
People always ask the question “should I get business cards?” and “do people still use business cards?”
The answer will always be yes.
Even though it may be “old-fashioned,” it’s still important. Some people just prefer to do and have contacts in paper + ink. It’s just great to be able to carry these in my camera bag and then hand these out to clients after a session or to bands and other music industry workers at a show.
If you reach out to local businesses, you might be able to leave your business cards on their counter as well. You can’t do that with a digital card, can you?
If you need help designing your next business card, send me a message!
2. Yongnuo Flash/Speedlight with a Diffuser
An off-camera flash, or speedlight, is such a great tool to have, especially during events and portrait sessions when there is low light. I never use my on-camera flash because off-camera flash and speedlights allow you more freedom to control your lighting.
I use my flash in many indoor portrait sessions along with smaller, DIY, or basement shows that allow flash. I always make sure to use a diffuser, bounce the flash off of the wall or ceiling, and limit my time using the flash.
The flash listed below is not the same exact model that I have, but it is from the same company and is from the same family of flashes (the 560).
A diffuser helps soften the harsh light from the flash. I have noticed a difference whenever I use my diffuser. One of the most basic, and most popular, types of diffusers are the white box below. This model fits great on my Yongnuo flash.
3. Altura Photography Flash Diffuser
Like the diffuser mentioned above, this is another great tool that I use during some of my photo sessions! This diffuser is structured similarly to a softbox (the square shape). There are multiple different sizes of this diffuser style that you can buy. It works perfectly for any Nikon, Canon, or Yongnuo flash!
4. Disposable Camera and/or Polaroid Camera
In the past few years, film photography has picked back up again. There’s always a great debate and comparison between which is better, film or digital. To me, both are great.
I recently picked up a few Fujifilm disposable cameras to have on the go for portrait sessions just in case I want to snap a few quick photos on film.
Similar to a disposable camera, you might enjoy having a Polaroid camera on hand for your photo sessions as well. They come in multiple different colors and are so much fun to have!
5. Prism: A Creative Photography Tool
Having a prism in your camera bag is definitely for more ‘creative purposes’ than anything. I love having my prism on hand if I am doing more of a styled shoot, or my client requests it specifically. Along with prisms, photographers love using various items like glass balls and 1-inch copper pipes to create cool effects in their photographers.
The Amlong 6 inch crystal below is the one that I have! I love it. I have not had any issues with it (it breaking, scratches, etc.) and it comes in a great protective and carrying case.
6. Main Camera Body and Lens: Nikon D750 with a 24 mm 1.8 lens
Upgrading to the Nikon D750 was a wonderful choice. One of the best parts about it is that it performs great in low light conditions (perfect for concerts and other similar events)!
As of right now, I have it paired with the Nikon 24 mm 1.8 lens because of the wider angle. It’s great for concerts and other events where the venue may be a tighter fit. I rented a 24-70 mm 2.8 lens for a festival two years ago and loved it. It’s definitely next on my list!
7. Backup Camera Body and Lens: Nikon D5300 Paired With a 35 mm 1.8
This was my first DSLR camera! It is a great camera and perfect for beginners. I still use it as my “backup camera”. When paired with the 35 mm 1.8, rather than a kit lens, you can create great images! Photographers may also pair this camera with a 50 mm 1.8 or 85 mm 1.8 lens.
I have to admit though, I have paired this camera with the 18-55 kit lens and my Yognuo flash for some smaller and DIY shows. It works great!
8. Extra SD Cards (various sizes)
It’s always important to have extra SD cards, no matter what you photograph! Popular sizes include the 32 GB, 64 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB. There’s always a chance that you might have a corrupt card or that you will run out of space (especially shooting in RAW at festivals and larger events).
My favorite brand, and highly recommended by other photographers is the SanDisk brand. Also, keep your eyes out around Black Friday and the holidays, you can always catch a good deal and stock up!
I even have a small case for my SD cards to keep them organized and in one location.
9. Extra batteries for my D750 + D5300
Extra batteries are always a great thing to have, especially if you are taking pictures at long events or music festivals. For each of my camera bodies, I have two batteries. That seems to be okay for now, especially if I am using both camera bodies at one time!
For all of my batteries, I always stick to the Nikon batteries, unlike my flash which is by Yongnuo.
10. Earplugs: Eargasm High Fidelity
This item is specifically for my music and event photographers out there. You have to make sure you protect your ears!
I, and many other friends of mine, have been very successful and proud of the quality and protection we get from Eargasm Earplugs. They have many different models and makes depending on your ear size! Check out their website here.
11. Neewer Dimmable LED Light
Recently, I purchased this Neewer Dimmable LED light for photo sessions. I love that it is small, portable, dimmable, and it has the ability to either go on top of your camera or on a tripod. Along with that, the battery is rechargeable!
When I was looking for a light, one of the first things on my “must-have” list was a light with a rechargeable battery.
12. Portable battery for my phone
Portable phone chargers are honestly a must-have for any photographer that might be on the go for an extended period of time. Whether you are a landscape photographer and are out on a hike, a photographer taking photos at a festival or wedding, a portable charger is always great to have on hand so you will always have your phone.
There are so many portable chargers out there! I’ve had success with this charger from PNY but I have a feeling this specific model might be discontinued. It came as a pack of three, a white, a blue, and a black.
13. Neewer 43-inch 5-in-1 Reflector:
These Neewer reflectors are items that I wish I bought earlier in my photography career, seriously. Just like speedlights, reflectors are another way that you can control lighting. Reflectors are great for the outdoors when you are doing a portrait session in harsh light.
There are so many different sizes and styles based on your needs but this set of the 43-inch 5-in-1 reflector is what I have. I haven’t had any problems (expect trying to fold it back up in the carrying bag).
2 Photography Bags You Should Consider Buying
There are so many companies that design and create photography bags, a must-have item for any photo session or event. Some companies like the loved House Of Flynn create camera bags that are more “fashionable” than others. The Lowepro band, one of my personal favorites, creates very functional and simple bags. The two Lowepro bags below are my most used and top recommended photography bags you should consider buying.
1. Lowepro Slingshot Edge 250 AW
In the fall of 2019, I purchased the Lowpro Slingshot Edge 250 AW because it is a slim shape that is perfect for concerts and small portrait sessions. Even though it may be small, I feel like I can still successfully put all of the items I need in the compartments. I bought this bag after the Fastpack (see below) because it was too big to carry in small venues.
2. Lowepro Fastpack BP 250 AW II
In early 2019, I purchased this Lowepro Fastpack BP 250 AW II because of its size. I find that it is great for festivals and other larger events. Even though I do not use it as much as the Slingshot, I’m still so glad that I have it. It can hold both of my camera bodies, lenses, flash, and more.
Bonus: Other items + a FREE photography platform
Hey! Glad you made it this far. On top of the 13 items listed above, there is still so much I might carry to a photo session or show! Smaller items like snacks, hair ties, and bandaids will always find a spot in my camera bag.
Bonus #1: Granola Bars and other Snacks
Just in case I get hungry, I will bring a snack or two for after my photo session!
Depending on the venue and show rules, I might take a small snack to a festival or show as well! Sometimes the festivals can be very long days and it’s important to stay hydrated and eat! I find myself never wanting to eat the food that is available at festivals, so I always bring a granola bar or two!
Bonus #2: First aid items like Bandaids
I feel like this is an item that is overlooked by a lot of people. You don’t have to go overboard with first aid items but to have a few smaller items like bandaids stored in your camera bag is better than nothing!
Bonus #3: Plastic bags, rubber bands, and hair ties
This bonus goes along with the first aid items well. Having plastic bags, rubber bands, and hair ties on hand is key, at least for me.
Plastic bags and rubber bands are always kept in my bag just in case it rains. I want to keep my gear safe! Photographers may use a plastic bag as an item to take a picture through because it might create a cool effect!
Hair ties are obviously an optional item because not everyone has long hair like me. I just make sure to always have one or two in my bag just in case one breaks or I forget to bring one to a session!
Bonus #4: Skillshare: A platform to learn photography, business, and more
Skillshare is a wonderful website that has classes and courses for design, photography, business, and more! All the wonderful things that a photographer should know while running their business! You can’t carry this in your bag but it’s still a great platform to have.
I also find that this is a great platform to use, especially in the past year, when there might not be as much to do!
From stock photography to the psychology business techniques to the designing of a poster, I have learned so much thanks to Skillshare!
Click the picture below to receive two weeks of premium Skillshare for free! It’s worth it, trust me!
Alright, that’s it! 13 items I carry in my photography bag. What do you carry in your bag? Is there anything different (or similar) to my list? Let me know in the comments below!
To view more programs and tools that I use in my photography business and day to day life, head over to my resources page! There are so many great recommendations there.