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This post was most recently updated on Feb 13th, 2022

As a photographer you will want to be prepared for a full day of shooting, and that means having the correct equipment with you so you can shoot for longer, as well as create some beautiful images.

Whether you are a newbie or a fully-fledged photographer, it is important to know what gear to pack in your kit bag before you set off for a long day of work. It is never fun to forget something!

This guide will walk you through some of the key items so that you will never be caught short and will always have everything you need to hand. It will enable you to spend more time photographing than searching through your bag to realize it is not there.

So, let us get started…

Though, Before That, Here Is A Quick List

If you want to know beforehand what a photographer needs in their kit, then here is a quick list so you can see what you already have and what you might need. Plus, it is a great way to gander over the list when you are in a rush.

  • Tripod
  • Lenses
  • Lens cleaning kit
  • Reflector
  • External flash
  • Extra memory cards
  • External hard drive
  • Extra charged batteries
  • Rain cover
  • Gaffer tape
  • Trash bag

Tripod

Even though the thought of dragging a heavy tripod around with you does not sound like much fun, they have actually come a long way since the days they felt like you were carrying a block of concrete. These days there are lightweight options available that are a lot more suitable for the avid photographer.

The K&F Concept 62” tripod is a good example due to its aluminum build and compact form. It is said to be lighter than four cans of soda – and that is light!

Whereas you might feel like it is not a piece of equipment that suits the type of photography that you want to do, it is something that will come in handy for everyone. If you are planning to shoot in low light, then every bit of movement will affect the sharpness of the photo.

Even if you try to hold the camera steady, it is likely that even the motion of breathing will knock the camera up and down.

To combat this, a tripod is the only way to go. It is convenient and portable, and will make your job as a photographer so much easier.

Lenses

You could always stick with the kit lens that your camera came with, but as we all know, it never lives up to becoming your go-to lens due to overall quality and limitations. That is why it is best to venture away from the lens you received with the camera and find something more suited to the job at hand.

No matter what, always take more than one lens with you that will help to give variation. It is never a good idea to only have one lens with you, because there is no doubt that you will want to change the lens for a different photographic idea or scene.

However, you do not need to take every lens that you own. Stick with the ones that you think you will use and go from there.

Lens Cleaning Kit

Whilst you are out and about on location, the lens will receive smudges and dust – it is just a thing that happens. Whilst you can deal with it in post-editing, it is always best to get things right in-camera first. This means carrying a lens cleaning kit in your bag.

It does not have to be anything too detailed, but a cloth and blow brush should be enough to get rid of most of the debris that may land on the lens. You could have an advanced kit that includes a lens cleaning solution, but it can be quite fiddly when out in the bustling wind in the middle of nowhere.

Another option is a lens pen. These have a brush on one end and a cleaning pad on the other to remove minor specks of dirt. The VSGO-P01E is a good option for cleaning fingerprints, oil stains and minor debris.

Not only is it ideal to clean your equipment to stop debris from filling up the frame, but it helps your equipment last longer too.

Reflector

A reflector is a must-have if you want to control the light. It is also a great option if you are doing portrait work or product shots. The reflector collapses into a small, lightweight bag that can easily be hooked onto a backpack.

Usually you can find 5-in-1 reflectors like the Neewer 43 inch. It includes all the colors you may need, plus is super lightweight and portable.

For a quick recap for those who might want a refresher, here are the different ways the colors help with the photo:

  • White – balances out the light
  • Gold – gives a warm glow
  • Translucent – works as a sun shield
  • Black – takes light away to create shadows
  • Silver – enhances highlights and contrasts light

External Flash

External Flash

There are many reasons to use an external flash. Not only is it more professional than using an in-built flash, but it also gives you better lighting options.

It can take a while to master, but once you have, you will be hooked. It is a great fill-in light for backlit subjects or for shooting quirky shots in the evening. You can also buy extra accessories to diffuse the light for a less harsh flash, or bounce it off a reflective surface (like a reflector) for added light creativity.

Extra Memory Cards

Here is a tip: every time you photograph you should be shooting in JPEG and RAW. Why? It is good to have both as options. A JPEG file can be viewed easily on the computer, but a JPEG file is also compressed meaning it loses the full quality of the image.

A RAW file does not do this, and is better for editing and turning the picture print ready.

However, this means it will take up so much more space on the memory card. Having a few spares is always helpful. Plus, if you are travelling and want to take less equipment with you, then a handful of memory cards will not exactly take up a lot of space.

Something as inexpensive as the SanDisk Extreme 128 GB will mean you can buy in bulk and still have plenty of space per card.

External Hard Drive

If you do have space in your kit, then an external hard drive is a must. These days they do not take up much room, and have come a long way in terms of storage size ability.

If you are working with large files, then it is a great way to back them up rather than having to always put them on your computer causing it to eventually run really slow. Also, it is another good way of backing the photos up. The more places you back them up, the safer it will be.

Extra Charged Batteries

Whilst you may not always think about it, having extra batteries is more than a must – whatever that is. If your camera battery dies, then you will not be able to take any more pictures.

Unless you happen to have your charger with you, then you will have to find a source to plug the battery charger into and then wait. It is not ideal, is it?

So, taking a few charged up batteries as spares will help you no end, especially if you are shooting somewhere that is far away from any electric source.

Raincover

If you are shooting outside and know that you will not be near shelter, or that you will not have time to cover equipment, then finding something that will protect your camera is ideal.

A raincover will prove invaluable if you happen to catch yourself in a downpour. Something like the G-raphy is a simple yet effective rain cover that will allow your hands to be under cover, as well as the full body and lens.

You have spent so much money on your gear, why would you want it to be ruined by the weather?

Gaffer Tape

Easy to store in a bag and cheap to buy. Gaffer tape is not necessarily a go-to when it comes to sorting out a photography kit bag, but it most certainly is helpful.

If something breaks, a bit of gaffer tape will work wonders. It can be used to sort out a broken tripod, or to hold things down. Never underestimate the help of gaffer tape!

Trash Bag

Another thing you may not think of, but a trash bag can be easily folded into a tiny size and put in a kit bag. It can then be used to sit on, kneel on, or to place a tripod on – anything really.

Once it has been used you can throw it away. It is also a good way of reusing bags that you may have gotten from the store.

Final Words

Finalizing your ultimate photography kit bag should be fun, but it is also a good way to know what the essentials are before you head out for a photo shoot.

Whether you are a newbie or you have been photographing for years, it is easy to forget something like spare batteries that will cause the shoot to finish ahead of schedule.

Having the go-tos to hand will not only be more convenient, but will also make sure that you can spend more time photographing and honing those skills, and less time searching through your bag only for you to realize it is back at home.