Things You Didn't Know You Needed in Your Camera Bag

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Things You Didn't Know You Needed in Your Camera Bag

Your camera bag is the heart of your photography day out, but it's not just about cameras and lenses. To elevate your photography game, consider these sometimes overlooked accessories and tools that can make a world of difference. From practical gadgets to creative aids, here are some must-have items you didn't know you needed in your camera bag.

  1. Flashlight or Headlamp: A flashlight or headlamp is a versatile source of light for photography. With a robust body and adjustable beam, it’s handy in low-light situations to help you find all your other gear. Whether you're exploring the outdoors or working in dimly lit spaces, this tool provides the essential illumination needed to focus your shots precisely and find your stuff.

Olight I3E EOS Flashlight
Olight I3E EOS Flashlight
  1. Multi-Tool: A multi-tool is a compact and versatile gadget equipped with various functions. It boasts a range of tools such as pliers, screwdrivers, and knives, ideal for quick fixes and adjustments in the field. Its compact design ensures it's always within reach, making it an indispensable accessory for photographers on the go.

  2. Stain Remover: A stain remover is a small yet crucial item in a photographer's toolkit. It's designed to combat unexpected spills or smudges that can soil clothing during a fashion shoot. This compact solution ensures your professional appearance and equipment stay pristine, ensuring everything is always camera-ready.

Photographers' Formulary Clothing Stain Remover
Photographers' Formulary Clothing Stain Remover
  1. Water Bottle: A water bottle is a photographer's hydration companion. It keeps you refreshed and focused during long shoots or outdoor adventures. Its sturdy build can withstand the rigors of various environments, ensuring you stay energized and ready to capture the perfect shot.

  2. Portable Power Bank: A portable power bank is a lifeline for photographers who rely on electronic devices like cameras, smartphones, and tablets. It provides a reliable source of backup power to keep your gear charged and operational. Compact and lightweight, it's an essential accessory for extended shoots, ensuring you never miss a moment.

Tether Tools ONsite USB-C Battery Pack
Tether Tools ONsite USB-C Battery Pack
  1. Pocket Notebook: A pocket notebook is a photographer's canvas for ideas and observations. With its compact size, it fits easily in your pocket or camera bag. It's perfect for jotting down location details, creative concepts, or exposure settings, ensuring you never forget a crucial element of your photographic journey.

  2. Sunscreen: Sunscreen is a protective shield for photographers working under the sun's harsh rays. Its specially formulated SPF provides defense against harmful UV radiation, preventing sunburn and potential skin damage during outdoor shoots. Stay comfortable and focused on your craft with this essential skincare item.

  3. Full-Size Notebook: A notebook is an invaluable tool for a photographer's organized workflow. Larger than a pocket notebook, it allows for more detailed note-taking, sketching, and planning. It's a versatile tool for recording project ideas, shot lists, and other essential information.

Nomatic Notebook
Nomatic Notebook
  1. Extra Rechargeable Flashlight Batteries: Ensuring your flashlight or headlamp always has fresh batteries on hand is vital for maintaining a reliable light source when you might need it. Don't let a fading beam compromise your work—keep these spares ready.

  2. Double-Sided Tape: Double-sided tape is a discreet hero in a photographer's kit. It's perfect for securing loose cables, backdrops, or props, ensuring a clean and clutter-free shooting environment. Its versatility and ease of use make it necessary for quick fixes and setup adjustments. It’s a must-have for wardrobe fixes when you’re in a jam.

Bubblebee Industries Invisible Lavalier Microphone Tape Mounts
Bubblebee Industries Invisible Lavalier Microphone Tape Mounts
  1. Mini Sewing Kit: A mini sewing kit is a versatile solution for on-the-spot wardrobe malfunctions. It helps you repair clothing or gear quickly during a shoot, ensuring you and your subjects look your best. Compact and efficient, it's a handy accessory for any photographer.

  2. Emergency Whistle: An emergency whistle is a safety essential for photographers venturing into remote or unfamiliar terrain. It provides a loud, attention-grabbing signal in case of emergencies or when assistance is needed. Safety should always be a priority, and this whistle adds an extra layer of protection.

Nitecore NWS10 Titanium Outdoor Emergency Whistle
Nitecore NWS10 Titanium Outdoor Emergency Whistle
  1. Screen-Cleaning Cloth: A screen cleaning cloth is a lens’s and screen's best friend. Its gentle, lint-free fabric is designed to remove dust, smudges, and fingerprints from delicate surfaces without causing damage. Keep your camera and other devices in pristine condition with this essential accessory.

  2. Lip Balm: Lip balm is a small but mighty item for photographers exposed to various weather conditions. It keeps your lips moisturized and prevents chapping, ensuring your comfort during outdoor shoots. With its compact size, it fits easily into your pocket or camera bag.

  3. Camera Level: A camera level is a precision tool for achieving perfectly straight and level shots. It helps you avoid crooked horizons and tilted compositions, ensuring your images look professional and well-balanced.

Vello Three-Axis Hot-Shoe Bubble Level for Standard 35mm SLR Cameras
Vello Three-Axis Hot-Shoe Bubble Level for Standard 35mm SLR Cameras
  1. Rain Cover: A rain cover is a protective shield for your camera and equipment when shooting in wet conditions. It keeps rain, snow, and moisture at bay, allowing you to continue shooting without worrying about water damage. It ensures you can still monitor and adjust your gear as needed while staying dry.

  2. Compact Mirror: A compact mirror is a handy accessory for photographers who want to ensure they look their best during shoots. Its small, portable form makes it easy to carry in your camera bag. It's great for quick grooming checks, ensuring your subject is camera-ready at all times. You can also bounce light with it if you need to.

  3. Foldable Umbrella: A foldable umbrella is a practical tool for outdoor photographers. It provides shelter from rain or harsh sunlight, helping you maintain optimal shooting conditions. It’s compact and collapsible and ensures easy transport and setup when needed, offering protection for you and your equipment.

  4. Mini First-Aid Kit: A mini first-aid kit is a safety essential for photographers working in various environments. It contains essential supplies like bandages, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers, ensuring you're prepared to handle minor injuries or discomfort while on location. Safety should always come first, and this compact kit is your first line of defense.

  5. Reusable Shopping Bags: Reusable shopping bags are eco-friendly companions for photographers who care about the environment. They provide a sustainable alternative to disposable plastic bags for carrying equipment or props. With their durable construction, they're a practical and environmentally responsible choice for photographers.

  6. Memory Card Reader: You need a memory card reader for transferring images and data from your camera's memory cards to your computer. It offers high-speed data transfer, ensuring you can quickly offload and back up your precious photos. Its compact size and compatibility with various memory card formats make it a must-have for efficient workflow.

ProGrade Digital CFexpress Type B & UHS-II SDXC Dual-Slot USB 3.2 Gen 2 Card Reader
ProGrade Digital CFexpress Type B & UHS-II SDXC Dual-Slot USB 3.2 Gen 2 Card Reader
  1. Gaffer Tape: Gaffer tape is the go-to solution for securing cables, marking positions, and making quick fixes during a shoot. Unlike regular tape, it leaves no residue and is designed to adhere to various surfaces. Its versatility and reliability make it an indispensable tool for maintaining a neat and organized shooting environment.

  2. Lens Blower: A lens blower is a gentle but effective tool for removing dust and debris from camera lenses and sensors. It uses a stream of clean air to dislodge particles without touching the delicate surfaces, ensuring your images remain free of unwanted specks. Its compact size and convenience make it a valuable addition to your camera bag.

  3. LensPen: A lens pen is a dual-purpose cleaning tool for photographers. It features a retractable brush to remove loose dust and a microfiber tip for more thorough cleaning. Compact and portable, it's ideal for on-the-go maintenance, so you can keep your lenses spotless for the perfect shot.

LensPen Lens Cleaner
LensPen Lens Cleaner

What do you carry in your camera bag? Let us know in the Comments section, below!

193 Comments

I'm skeptical that whoever wrote this carries darkroom chemical stain remover in their camera bag. Use a Tide pen like a normal human.

I'm glad to see business cards on the list! I can't count the number of times I'm out in the field and run into a "newbie," (aka pandemic birder/photographer) who's boasting all about their web site and forgets the basics of having a businesscard! (And, don't forget to use one of your images on the card! That speaks volumes about that type of work you do!) 

I'd also recommend having a good bird app on your phone. (That way, pandemic birders won't come up to you and ask what that bird you're shooting is!) 

I'd also recommend having an app for the phases of the moon, a golden hour/blue hour app and most important, a good weather app! 

Hi Susan,

All great tips! Thanks!

I guess I need to get a photo on my business card now! :)

Let us know if you need tips for good apps for your moon, hours, and weather!

Thanks for reading!

Best,

Todd

Band-aids! And tissues (allergies!).

Hey Brenda,

Great tips. Thanks! I have definitely been caught out without both of those things!

Thanks for reading!

Best,

Todd

A tiny plastic bag with 3 dental floss picks.  For teeth but the point can get grains of sand off the lens and buttons.  A little brush that slides into a tube.

Hi Jude,

Great ideas! Thank you for sharing and thanks for reading!

Best,

Todd

Film. Oops, wrong era.

Okay, batteries. 

Hi Ralph,

Ha! I consider you to be at the forefront of the resurgence of the film industry!

Thanks for reading!

Best,

Todd

Hi Nesanel,

That is a perfect SKU for #12. Thanks!

In years of keeping this article (fairly) up-to-date, I have found that many of the utility plug SKUs get discontinued randomly, so I made the bold decision to link to the product category instead. Sorry if this caused any confusion!

Thank you for reading and thanks for the assist!

Best,

Todd

I always bring a tripod. Even a tiny, $10 pocket tripod if I'm out with my point & shoot. There are situations where a $10 tripod outperforms a $1000 lens.

Bike shops sell $3 day-glow or reflective straps to secure pant cuffs. These can secure gear and/or keep people from tripping over my tripod in small nightclubs or on dark sidewalks.

Ditto on #40, the business cards. I printed a bunch of "mini" cards, about 3" x 1" just for my weekend photo walks. They read, in English and Spanish: "Thank you for being part of my photograph. If you would like a copy of my picture, just ask me. I am happy to share. (email address)." People rarely object to being photographed, but I've found these cards to be calming off-ramps when things do get tense. Just having a few of these cards in my bag puts me in a friendlier, more open mindset.

Hi Artie,

Great tips and I agree about the tripod. I keep a sandbag in my camera bag for the same purpose.

Your mini card idea is awesome, too. I once took an epic photo (one of my best ever) of a woman standing on a New York street corner. She was waiting for her husband/bf/date and they went to a restaurant down the street (ironically, the same place I met my wife). I saw them in the window a while after I had captured her in the photo and went in, introduced myself, and gave her my card to share the image with her. She never reached out. Her loss. The photo is now captured in an oil painting above my bed at home because an art school friend of mine loved the photo so much she wanted to make a painting of it.

Oh well!

Thanks for reading!

Best,

Todd

I would take all of it, but weight would be extra. However, half of the list is already being prepared to be ordered. 
In Brazil nowaday, I would also include in my list a shotgun to keep thieves away. kkkkk
Thank you for the big hint.

You can't be too prepared! :)  Thanks for stopping by, Fernando and be careful out there!

I take a lot of photos of plants/flowers, so I also carry a small paintbrush to whisk away stray detritus on leaves - also some string to tie back unwanted branches, etc.  And a bandana to keep my unruly hair out of my way!

Excellent suggestions, Cindy—thanks for writing!

I'll second that! Thanks for stopping by!

Bring a friend so he can carry all that while you takes pictures. 

lume cubes and a hot-shoe to 1/4 inch adapter piece.

so you have a constant video light, a slave flash, and an emergency flashlight.

AND ALWAYS BRING A SPARE H*CKIN MEMORY CARD... 

Gray card, white card, American Express card.  And migraine meds for after I use the American Express card.

Nice additions, Brock! I agree with all of your suggestions!

You might also consider a climbing harness, rope, and a helmet.

Whistle/Boat Can Horn ( can be used to scarce away bears/ alert rescuers if you need help.

Balloons/panels {yellow} can be blown up and tied to rock or tree branch in the event you get lost or hurt and need help. 

Nylon cord=50 ft

Raingear/large garbage bags to protect gear.

Small Mirror+ Can be used to signal your location .

 

 

 

Hey jose,

Great additions to the list. Thank you! Safety first!

Yellow Caution Barricade Tape. A great way to keep overzealous parents and family away from certain situations where they would otherwise damage equipment or interfere with your work. It works great!

Good idea, Tomblvd! Thanks for sharing!

I know now what to get for christmas!

This list will definitely fill up most wish lists, Joshua! Thanks for reading!

A rusty shank for stabbing cannon users 

That is a new one! Thanks, jhon! I will add it to the list! Thanks for reading!

I got a jagged piece of plastic for those Nikkon people...

I keep an extra battery and some lens cleaning supplies. I usually don't go far enough into the woods to get lost.

Hey Ken,

Good tips! Thanks for reading and sharing. You are smart to not go far enough to get lost!

Nice addition, Brian! Thanks for the suggestion and thanks for reading!

How big is this camera bag?!?!?! And some of this stuff sounds like you're going to spend a week in a war zone. 

It is a pretty big bag, Mundstrom. It has wheels and an engine attached!

Thanks for reading!

I carry in my little Lowepro 150 Instant Messenger on nature trails:

* Either a small multitool with a tiny set of pliers or that orange Victorinox tool (optional item)

* Battery power bank with two ports: 1A and 2A as well as an LED flashlight (and its USB cable)

* A small roll of medical tape, hand tearable

* An emergency cookie or some candies

* A carabiner and lanyard

* Some tissues

If it's a crosscountry hike we also carry hiking sticks.

These days we also carry a backpack with water bottles, fruit and snacks, binoculars, a small towel, mosquito repellant, etc. One or two small flashlights if we're staying overnight (at an enclosed campsite complete with tents having attached bathrooms) and more food and water.

Hey dokopter!

Great stuff! Thanks for sharing. I wonder what our firewall blocked on your "An emergency ****** or some candies" bullet! 

I am sure it was something salacious and crude. Just kidding!

Thanks for reading!

I haven't read all the comments, but I keep

Allen wrench to tighten tripod legs or etc.

I try to have at least one plastic grocery bag from Safeway or Kroger or etc.  This in addition to a ziploc or two.  They may not be in my camera bag but travel with me in some pocket.  A bag from a store like Microcenter is sturdier but may be overkill  :)
 

I will add that I have a couple ND filters as well.

This idea might be a little off topic compared to the other helpful miscellaneous items suggested, but I have found ND useful on the odd ocassion.  I have used them to increase exposure time to 'erase' people from images.  There are other ways to get rid of people and the filters haven't always worked for me, but it is an item to consider and determine if it will be helpful.

On the other hand, plastic bags are always useful !

More good stuff, Tan68!

Thanks, again, for reading!

Hey Tan68,

Good tips! I don't think these are redundant! Thanks for reading!

I have in mine Camera Bag; Extra Batteries; Eye Glass Kit; Ring Flash; Business Cards; Small Flashlights; Battery Chargers(3) for Camera; Rain Gear for Camera; Tool Kit; 4 Sets of Ear Plugs; 2 small Digital Cameras; Pens; Markers; Paper; Table Tri-Pod; 3 extra batteries for camera Grip; Credentials; Off Camera Flash Cord; Flash Battery Pack; 6 Lens; cannon D40; Small Cleaning Kit !!

Good stuff, Jeff! I have some of those in my bag too!

Thanks for reading!

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