Items You Must Have in Your Camera Bag
Some of the items you should keep in your camera bag aren’t available in most camera stores. You can find them in supermarkets, hardware stores, toy stores, drug stores, and a bunch of other places, but that doesn’t mean they don’t belong in your photography kit. On top of this, they all cost under $10 – so there’s no reason for you not to have them.
Want to know what they are? Read on.
Keep an eye out for:
- velcro ties: You’ve probably got several different cables in your bag for chargers, connectors, and other things. Velcro ties will help keep them from gettting all tangled up in your bag.
- battery case: If you’re a Strobist like me, you’ve probably carry several rechargeable batteries in your bag. Some people have recommended using your batteries in groups to extend their life. One way to do that is by labeling your batteries. I do that, and use a battery case similar to this to help keep my battery groups together. I also use them to differentiate the spent cells from the charged ones.
- dessicant: Water and electronics usually don’t mix well – that’s why it’s so important to keep your gear dry. Getting an all-weather bag (I use the LowePro Slingshot 200) helps keep moisture from getting in during downpours, but making sure the inside always stays dry requires more than just waterproofing. These little pillow-like things suck the moisture out of the air – helping keep your gear dry. On this note, if you’re really feeling cheap, just grab some dessicants from packs of nori, bottles of vitamins, and other items that usually have some silica gel included. They might be a bit small, but enough of these things can still make a difference.
- flashlight: I’m the type of guy that carries a flashlight all the time – I have flashlights in my pocket, my bag, my car, my room, and basically everywhere. That being said, I can probably bore you with way too many reasons to keep a flashlight in your camera bag. A few photographic reasons, however, are getting perfect focus on a self-portrait, light painting (see amazing examples here and here), and simply so you have a light source whenever you need one. Not yet convinced? I don’t care – just get one.
- adhesive putty: It looks and feels like clay, but it works like glue. Even better, it’s reusable and it leaves no residue. Adhesive putty is perfect for sticking a reflector on a wall, propping up a small mirror, keeping your subject still, and basically making sure things stay in place.
- oil blotting paper: Oil makes faces shinier, and shiny skin tends to blow out under lighting – that’s why people on TV usually wear makeup. Now, unless you can afford to have a stylist with you for all your shoots, you need to find another way to combat oil. Besides, not everybody will be too happy about putting stuff on their face. Oil blotting paper usually does the trick. Of course, you can also have your subjects wash their faces, but you can’t exactly fit a sink in your pack, can you?
I’m sure you can think of dozens of other items to pack in your bag. If you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments below.
• Luis • 4 December 2007 •