10 ESSENTIAL Things You NEED to have in your CAMERA BAG

Camera Bag
Essential Camera Accessories
Gear Focus Friday
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Gear Focus

Mar 7, 2020

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Whenever we pack our camera bag for a shoot or trip, there are certain things we always pack. Cameras, lenses, batteries, and memory cards all get packed away in their own little places. However, there are some other accessories that could make or break your shoot that you should consider. Here is a list of 10 Essential Things you NEED to have in your CAMERA BAG. https://youtu.be/lJ0rPolBaJ0 The list below is not referring to anything specific to a certain brand or model of camera. Over the years, I've found myself needing things that ARE NOT camera related time and time again. So the team has compiled a list of things we feel everyone should consider carrying in their camera bag.

1. Multi-Tool 

Photography-Camera-Multi-Tool Film sets are constantly changing. Whether that's switching lenses, cameras, lights, etc., chances are you will need some tools. i can't tell you how many times I've had to remove a tripod plate from a camera body with my keys or with a coin. It's definitely not ideal. At the same time, you don't want to be dragging a massive tool kit onto a set every day. This is where multi-tools come into play. There are several companies that make dedicated camera multi-tools. Personally, I prefer non-camera dedicated tools, as I can use them for more things outside of a film set. I really like the Leatherman branded multi-tools. It doesn't really matter what the brand is, as long as it has the tools to do what you need it to, plus it's always nice to have the right tool for the job.

2. Plastic Bags

I don't know about you, but growing up, my parents kitchen was overflowing with plastic grocery bags. My mom had a dedication section of the pantry for plastic bags. We even had a plastic bag bag! Looking back, I am extremely thankful my mom instilled in me the value of a plastic bag. I know what you're thinking. How can a plastic bag be useful on a film set? Well, first off, in bad weather, it can be a life saver! Weather can change in the blink of an eye and if you aren't prepared you could destroy your equipment. Having a few bags on hand to cover you gear in the event of a sudden storm could save you thousands. Plastic bags are great for carrying things (obviously) but can also be tied tight to keep something locked in place. I've even seen some of my camping buddies use plastic bags for floss!! That is one of the reasons this makes our list of 10 ESSENTIAL things that you NEED in your camera bag!

3. Portable Power Packs

Anker-Powercore-power Batteries power almost everything, and they need to be recharged. Phones, Smart Watches, and other accessories loose charge through out the day. If you're like me, and you utilize apps for camera control and sync, then you know then pain of keeping all of your devices charged. Having a dedicated battery bank for in the field is a must have for any one, not just traveling photographers and filmmakers.

4. First Aid KIT

I have drawn the unfortunate life card of migraines. For those of you who have never had a migraine, take the worst headache you've ever had, multiply that by about 4, then add a dash of light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, and nausea. And if you're lucky like me, you lose your vision as well! All of these things make for a wonderful time on a film set!! Because of this, I carry Excedrin Migraine with me every single day in a first aid backpack. Because I have had many years of formal First Aid training, I've been able to develop my own first aid backpack. This backpack has all the basics, but is also customized to me. This is by no means necessary, but a First Aid Kit is. If an accident happens on set, you want to be able to know that you did everything you could because you were prepared. There is nothing worse than being under prepared for an emergency. Typical First Aid Kits are rather large. But for the most part they are easily transportable and can be tied to the back of a backpack. Another option is to leave the main first aid kit in your car, but have a secondary one you keep on your person at all times.

5. Disposable Gloves - Separate from the First Aid Kit

Most First Aid kits come with at least one pair of disposable gloves, so if you were in a pinch, you could use those. However, we recommend keeping an additional few pairs in your bag for non-medical emergencies such as changing light bulbs or cleaning up messes. If you do need to use the gloves from your First Aid Kit, make sure that you replace them ASAP!!

6. Sharpie - For all your labeling needs

I use a sharpie just about every single day. I also find myself losing and looking for a sharpie every day. These little guys are invaluable when you need to make quick labels, label bags, anything really! Once you have a sharpie in your bag, you'll find yourself using it for all kinds of things.

7. Camera Cleaning Tools/Kit is definitely a top 10 Essential Thing

how-to-clean-camera-lens Keeping your gear clean and dust free is essential. If you're someone like me, who tries to only bring the bare essentials, invest in a lens blower. These are super great for blowing any dust or debris from your lens, camera, or sensor. As a former Sony shooter I've gotten in the habit of taking a blower with me everywhere I go. For those of us who like to be a little more prepared, I like to keep a full camera and lens cleaning kit in my bag. It's nice and small and it gives me that extra piece of mind when I'm out in the wilderness. Check out our blog and video on how to correctly clean your camera gear.

8. Notebook w/ pen - for your field notes

Notebook Pen Photographer Call me old school, but I love writing things down. I remember things better when I write them down, more so than typing. Plus, it is always a little satisfying when someone asks, "Do you have a pen?" and you can answer with a, "Why yes, I do." All joking aside, pen and paper is great for taking notes or even drawing sketches for a set or a shot. While there are smartphone and tablet apps for this, nothing beats a good ole pen and paper.

9. $20  - gets you out of most situations

When I first started working, my dad told me, "Great, now you can buy your own things." In that same conversation he told me, "Now that you have money, make sure you always keep a $20 bill in your wallet." 15 years later, and I still do my best to keep a $20 on me. In the last year alone, I've had that $20 save me 4 times. Once for food, twice for gas, and another time for emergency supplies for a set one day. There's a ton of things that $20 will buy you if you use it wisely.

10. Spring Clamps - most used tool in the studio! 

spring-clamps-photography In our video on improving your sound, I showed you one of the most versatile tools in the studio, the spring clamp! These little bad boys get used more than any tool in the studio and are dumb ass cheap. They are small and light enough that you can even fit a few of them in your camera bag! Whether you need to hang a fabric, or clamp something together, or even need a small stand for something, you can use a spring clamp! Something to keep in mind with spring clamps is if you lose the little rubber tips on the end of the clamp, they CAN and WILL scratch whatever you put them on. So make sure there is always at least one layer between the clamp and whatever you are clamping it to.

***Bonus Items*** Even MORE than just the 10 essential items!

And now even MORE than 10 essential things you should have in your camera bag - it's the bonus round! We couldn't just leave it at 10 essential things, we had to bring you more. Here are some bonus items that should make their way into your camera bag.

Gaff Tape

Gafe Tape - Essential Things You Need in Your Cammer Bag I never leave my house without a roll of gaff tape in my bag or case. I can't even begin to count the number of times gaff tape has saved the day. One time, I used it in the middle of a desert to keep a GoPro from flying off a mount. Another time, I used it to remove lint from a subjects shirt before an interview. I label every single one of my lens caps with gaff tape. The possibilities are endless with gaff tape! Gaff tape was designed to do pretty much everything. Ross Lowell invented gaff tape back in 1959. The tape is strong and sturdy enough to hold a decent amount of weight, but also does not leave a residue once it is removed. Gaff tape now comes in many different colors and I definitely suggest picking up at least one roll.

Travel Tripods

Travel Tripods for Photography Travel Tripods for Photography Travel Tripods for Photography Travel tripods have become very popular over the recent years. They are available in all kinds of form factors and sizes. From really small to medium size, all designed to be a more grab and go type of tripod. Check out our blog on the importance of tripods here.  Let us know what types of things you always bring in your camera bag. What makes your list of top 10 essential things to bring in your camera bag?

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