10+ Must-Have Accessories Every Photographer Needs in Their Bag

So… you have your camera and a nice collection of lenses. You have a fashionable, yet functional, bag to put this all in. What else could a photographer possibly need for your next photo shoot? Well there are some essential photography accessories you may want to consider throwing in your bag…

Here are over ten “little extras” to bring with you that could turn into lifesavers!

Some vital accessories

1. Lens tissue + lens wipes

Lenses are bound to get a little dirty with use, and even more so when using them outside in windy or wet conditions. I like to keep some pre-moistened lens wipes with me to get the grime off and also some lens tissue to finish the job. The tissue keeps the glass from getting spotty.

2. Tape

Gaffer tape can be used in many different situations. You can use it to mark a spot on the ground for your subject. You can use it to hide the badges on your expensive gear. You can use it to make a custom shaped gobo for your lighting. You can use it to hold together broken gear. You can use it on a overly talkative assistant’s mouth. The uses are endless.

3. Gels

If you are using lighting or carrying a flash with you, it’s helpful to tuck away a few gels to compensate for the color of the ambient lighting. These small, lightweight pieces of plastic can save you hours of time in post-production fixing color problems.

4. Batteries

Always keep extra batteries. Have extras for your camera, your flashes, your radio triggers, your boombox or anything that needs some power.

5. Polarizing filter

For outdoor shoots, a good quality polarizing filter can reduce glare and give you a usable shot in situations where you wouldn’t be able to get one.

6. Sewing kit

Stuff breaks at the worst times. When you are working with a model or a bride there is a decent chance a button is going to pop off or something is going to need mending in a hurry. Carrying a little sewing kit makes you look like a hero when that time inevitably comes. Make sure you have a needle, different colored thread, and a clothespin or two.

7. Mini combo lock

If you must walk away from your bag for a while when on a shoot, it can be helpful to have a small combo lock to keep enterprising thieves from being tempted to lift something. Of course, this won’t keep someone from taking your whole bag, but at least you can lock something up and deter a theft.

8. Gray card

For shoots that color is important a gray card will help you to figure out your color balance easily once you get the photos back to your computer. Like gels, this is something that takes up very little room and weighs next to nothing but can be really helpful.

9. Sync cable

When working with flash, most of us are using wireless triggers. If those fail, break, or run out of batteries, a great backup is the wired sync cable. These things are rock solid and more reliable than any wireless system.

10. Granola bar

A man (or woman) has to eat and on a long day of shooting, when things take longer than you think they will or subjects show up late it’s nice to have a little something to get you through. It doesn’t have to be granola. Just something quick to eat and preservable if it sits in your bag for a while.

11. Handkerchief

Having a handkerchief or a small towel is also helpful in many situations. I keep one in my pocket and use it often for brides to sit on in their white dresses. I use it to wipe up wet spots on benches where I want people to sit or on walls I want people to lean against. I use it to wrap up gear in my bag that needs extra protection. Any small piece of cloth can be useful.

Bonus: Business cards

Don’t forget to pack business cards. It makes you look legit and is a quick way to exchange info with potential clients.

What are some other things you would pack in your bag?

Move beyond auto mode and gain control of your photographs with step-by-step guidance from Sante Fe Photographic Workshop instructor Rick Allred in the online photography class Basics of Digital Photography!

Enjoy access to Rick to ask questions during class, and watch at your own pace with pause, rewind and fast-forward features that make learning fun and easy.

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