So it’s fun as a photographer to snoop through the Internet to see what others keep in their bags. This intrigues me so much and I’m not quite sure why. Probably for the same reason I love doors and what they tell us about the people inside (but opposite… I guess?). Seeing what other photographers take with them on their travels allows me to see what types of tricks or hints or fun stuff people use in their art. I was thinking about this one day when someone commented how I always have fingerless gloves in my bag. Well yes, I thought, of course I do! Then realized how weird it actually was… which got me thinking about all the other stuff I carry around, some all pertinent in its own odd way.
Tonight I took all of my stuff out of my 2 bags and laid it on the ground. I was pretty lazy when it came to photographing it, I apologize. So I’ve numbered things, in case anyone cares! If not, just look at what a hoarder I am (although to be fair it is split between the 2 bags… sometimes. I have managed to fit it all in my Lowe pro bag. Not ashamed).
1. Writing utensils
I seem to carry a pen, pencil and highlighter… You never know when you’ll need them
2. Fingerless gloves
I shoot a lot outside and in all types of weather. I have found even if it’s slightly cold my hands get useless. With these gloves my hands stay warm but my fingers are a lot more dexterous than if I was wearing full gloves. LITERALLY a life saver.
3. Think Tank Camera Bag
This is the bag I usually use in cities as it’s a bit more discrete. Here’s a cool story: I bought both bags at the same time from Beau Photography in Vancouver. They were having a deal that was buy one get one for like half price. The Think Tank bag is gently used, and I got it for like 50.00 instead of (at the time) the usual 200. What a steal! It’s great and has lots of nice hidden spots. The best is the velcro that keeps it closed, you can cover it up for silent shooting so the bag doesn’t make this obvious noise when you open it to change lenses etc.
4. Lowe Pro Camera Backpack
This is my heavy duty bag. This is the one I take on shoots out into the woods. It has moveable compartments inside, fits everything, and is comfortable on my back. It has buckles too! I don’t care how dorky people think buckles are, they save your back when you have so many pounds of camera gear on your back. I also like that it’s rather discrete so you can’t really tell what it is. And it has a rain cover in the bottom!
5. Speedlite 430 EX III-RT and Accessories (stand, filters)
My external flash is one of my newest additions to my team and I am still practicing with it. Suffice to say, I already love it. I also carry the filters around and the stand for radio shooting.
6. Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 prime lens
My precious prime lens that I use for portraits and other fun photo stuff! I always have this one. It has quickly become my favorite for more intimate shooting.
7. Canon EOS 70D
My camera! I am in the market for the Mark series at the moment, but I love this little guy despite the lack of full-frame. Takes beautiful photos, is very sturdy, and great menu system that is intuitive. Love the quick menu on the LCD sooo much.
8. Canon EF 24-105 mm f/4.0 zoom lens
My other go to lens that fits the 85 mm portrait length as well. It’s pretty heavy but worth carrying it around!
9. Canon EF 75-300 mm f/4.0 zoom lens
This one I don’t always take with me, but I do if I plan on using a tripod + shooting wildlife or other things I need to be far away for. I loved this one a lot in high school and I recommend a 300 mm if anyone can get them.
10. Sigma DC 18-200 mm f/3.5 zoom lens
This is my 3rd must have lens. Mine is getting a little worn out but the wide angle is so necessary for variety in your shots. Plus, I have gotten some of my favorite landscapes on this lens. Yes, it’s not a Canon, but younger me could not afford the Canon version! Suffice to say, this has served me well, all over the world. This is such a great lens for when you travel because it allows you to get such a wide variety of shots.
My lenses! The one thing that gets compliments in my bag is my camera strap from Capturing Couture; I bought it probably 4 years ago and it’s still in great shape! The only thing that’s somewhat problematic are the metal bits that hit the camera, although they don’t actually do anything. One time I pinched my finger and it hurt like crazy for days. So I guess… be careful, unlike me.
11. a) polarizing filter 77 mm b) UV filter 52 mm
This polarizing filter fits my 24-105 lens and I love it! Polarizing filters help to get rid of reflection in things like glass and water. It darkens your shots a bit (you can adjust the level by spinning the filter) so sometimes it can be a bit misleading and you have to double check your shots. So fun for nature shots that involve water though! The UV filter is just an extra that fits several of my lenses. ALWAYS have a UV filter on your lens. It helps to not only protect from sun’s rays but also if you drop your lens or something, let that get dented and scratched instead of the lens! Will save you so much $$
12. Rain Cover for Think Tank bag
This came off the clip, so I put in the photo… but really it clips inside the Think Tank bag and sits in there all of the time. Not sure why I put this in here?
13. Fortune from a fortune cookie
There’s an old fortune from a fortune cookie I keep in my bag. It’s good luck. The message is a secret.
14. PRAIRIES toque
Along with fingerless gloves, I find I like to shoot with a toque. It keeps my brain warm. I switch between my beloved PRAIRIES toque from my sister and my Hudson Bay toque. This one makes me feel like I’m back home though and reminds me of where my love affair with photography started: the prairies.
15. Memory Cards
ALWAYS bring extra memory cards!! Cannot stress enough!!
16. Battery Charger
Also a charger. And an extra battery if you have one. Oddly enough, I have 2 chargers and I have no idea how I have two. I never bought another one. And yet here is an extra. I should probably get an extra battery, on that note.
17. Hand Mirror
I used to carry this around just to make sure my face/hair was normal, but it became handy as a backup reflector when I had to use the installed flash on my camera. Just by sticking this in front of the flash it allowed the light to bounce off and hit the ceiling instead of the subject. I still use this trick!
18. Nikon N2000 (film)
My dad gave me his old film Nikon several years ago! I have taken some of my favorite prairie shots on this guy. It’s definitely pretty heavy but so much fun. If you ever want to learn more patience in your photography, I recommend practicing on a film. We are so spoiled by digital cameras; we can delete whatever we don’t like and retake again and again. However, using the film camera really teaches you to be selective and careful with your shots. It forces me to take my time, mull over what story I want to tell, what shot actually speaks to me, and I don’t take (as many) useless photos. it’s a great exercise in creativity. And when you go and develop the roll, nothing beats that excitement of holding fresh prints in your hand, a whole roll to explore…! It also teaches humility, as most of the time I can only salvage 1 or 2 shots from a roll that I actually like (the photographer’s life).
19. Cleaning Supplies
I cannot count the number of times I’ve had to sit in a field, on a dock, on a beach, in the woods, to clean my camera or lens. Yea, it’s sketchy and dangerous. Before I had proper cleaning tools I used to just open it up and blow on the mirrors as hard as I could. OOPS. What I have is a) a little bag to hold it all 2) cleaning cloths for the lenses 3) an air pump that has ADJUSTABLE nozzle. That is literally the best. When you have a piece of weird dust or lint on the mirror inside the camera and you cannot get in and see it, this nozzle comes in so handy to get it out. It’s a life saver. And 4) a cleaning brush that has a brush on one side and the pad on the other. I brush the lens off first with the brush, then rub the pad in small circles to clean off smudges. This also works for filters. Don’t think just because you clean your camera before you leave your home you’re safe: you’re not! When you’re changing lenses on the fly, dust and other particles can sneak their way in and get trapped inside the camera. Be prepared! Also, take your time when cleaning. Be meditative. And do it regularly. You’d be surprised what builds up that you don’t notice.
Also, since I forgot to number it, my remote shooter is on the bottom, below the cleaning supplies. I got this for free with my 50 mm lens and I LOVE IT. It’s so magical!
20. Insignia Collapsible Reflector
This thing is so fun. I love it. It’s also new. It’s not tinfoil! It’s great.
And there you have it! Aside from the 300 mm and the Nikon, I tend to travel with all the rest in a bag. Whew! No wonder I have back problems. What do you carry in your camera bag? I’d love to see it!
PS: Here’s a closeup of the buttons on my Think Tank bag. Each one has a special importance and story behind it.