Ten items to always take on a shoot

Ten items to always take on a shoot.

First let me clarify these are not exactly on my person at all times but they are packed in the car and not that far away if I need them. Over the years I’ve come up with a list of ten items to always take on a shoot. There is nothing worse than having to suffer and stop everything to go run to a store to get something or worse yet not get the shot you had hoped for. The following is what I need to get by and fix the unexpected.


You just never know when you’ll need one. Yes they are bulky and heavy but when it gets you out of a jam their bulk was worth the effort to carry. I’ve even used them to hold a flash for me so it’s not always your camera that is mounted on them.

When it comes to which tripod to purchase? Buy the very best you can afford. Yes, Manfrotto are spendy but I’ve had mine for seven years and it’ll be around long after I’ve gone to.

Lens Cleaning Cloth

You’d be amazed how many photographers I run into that do not carry one of these. When ever I shoot a fashion show I at least get two or three photographers come up to me and ask if they can borrow mine. My favorite is the spray and lens cleaning paper by Tiffen.

Memory Card Wallet

I was always that photographer that just threw his memory cards in his bag with the logic it’ll be there when I need it. This also made me the photographer who was forever buying new memory cards to replace ones that I’d lost.


As a child I was a boy scout and have never forgotten how to use a compass. Smart phones are great but they do not always have a signal and batteries do die. With a compass in your bag you have a way to find when and where the sun is setting and also a way home if you happen to be shooting in the back of beyond. I say this as fashion shoots have taken me to some pretty remote areas.


You’d think this was pretty obvious but always bring water. Now not just a bottle but a whole gallon jug if not two gallons. You just never know and its better to be safe than sorry.


There should always be a pocketknife or some sort of multi tool in your bag. You just never know what you’ll need to cut, trim, or shave off when out there on a shoot. I even go the extra mile and bring a pair of heavy duty scissors to.


I’ve held back tree branches, propped up flashes and even pulled dresses tight in the back on shoots. You can never have enough A-clamps and its good to have some small ones and large ones.


You cant always use a flash and sometimes you need a massive amount of concentrated light so always bring a couple of reflectors. Once again these are not cheap and its been my experience to always buy the best you can afford.

Step Ladder

Although not exactly easy to carry you should always throw at least one in the trunk of your car. In my studio I have a three foot, six foot and 20 foot ladder. I’ve used all three on shoots and always bring my three foot step ladder.

Duct Tape Duct Tape Duct Tape

I can not stress enough how important this stuff is. It’ll fix anything but world peace so NEVER leave for a shoot with out it. I believe in the stuff that much that I carry three colors of it (silver, black and white) if you’re asking. I’ve even hemmed a brides dress with it, hence why I carry white duct tape, and photo shop takes care of the rest.

Now this is not a hard ten and you may find other items you’d like to carry or wish you’d have packed. I could easily add a flashlight but I always have one in my car anyway. Happy shooting.


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