10 Not-to-Forget Items on a Photo Shoot

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Photo equipment 10 Not to Forget Items on a Photo Shoot

Everyone knows the essential things to bring on a photo shoot – cameras, back-up batteries, memory cards, tripod, etc. But what about the less obvious, but seriously helpful items? Read on for our top ten must-haves to pack in your gear bag.

Here goes:
1. A Small Ladder (or foldable step stool)

Unless you’re Spiderman, it’s really useful to bring a ladder and/or a step stool along. Not only do they give you perspective options, they also may very well keep you from falling out of a tree as you try to get that shot…

2. Tape, tape, and more tape

It’s a good idea to pack two types of Gaffer tape: Standard silver for strength and black, which doesn’t peel paint. You might also want to include blue painter tape. It’s kind to all surfaces (won’t peel anything) and keeps cords covered for safety.

One pro photographer and friend of Blurb uses Gaffer tape for everything from keeping drapery and electrical cords out of the photo to poising pillows just so for architectural/interior shoots to quieting noisy assistants (we think he’s kidding about the last one).

3. Clothespins and disposable plastic tablecloths

Use clothespins to clip fabric (for bouncing light) to cross bars, lighting stands, you name it. You can even break clothespins apart to use as small wedges to lift or stabilize objects.

The plastic tablecloths are multipurpose. Use the white ones as reflectors or to shoot through. The black ones are useful for blocking light. Both are great to put on the ground and put your gear on for protection. You can buy these tablecloths at any party goods rental place. They’re inexpensive and re-usable.

4. A small toolset or Leatherman, and lightweight nylon rope.

Pretty obvious. Stuff happens. Be prepared with your own set of tools for small repairs. The rope is useful to tie things out of the way (we’re not talking about noisy assistants here).

5. VisibleDust Sensor cleaning kit

Dust happens, too. Head to the VisibleDust site, where you can either buy a kit or individual cleaning tools. In addition to soft cloths like chamois for cleaning your camera lens, be sure to pack along a hand-powered air bulb, like a Rocket Air Blower.

6. X-Rite Passport for accurate color

You can learn more about this tool here and in our recent color management webinar.

7. High-powered mini flashlight or headlamp

Most photographers will tell you this is a must-have. Great thing about a headlamp is that it frees your hands to look for that piece of equipment you thought you left near the…whatever. Photo shoots can run late and things get lost. Pack a flashlight or headlamp and be prepared.

8. Extension cords and every kind of adapter known to man

Pack a 25-ft cord with an adapter and an 8-ft. smaller extension cord that you can use for your computer if you’re shooting tethered. Have a wide selection of adapters on hand so you can always plug in and get power no matter where you are.

9. Easy Release application on iPhone or iPad

Hard copy releases are a hassle. Get this app and you can complete, file, and send model and property releases digitally.

Here’s how it works: The app serves up a digital release that people can digitally sign. It then sends the release via email to the subject and photographer.

Umbrellas, sunscreen, insect repellent, and snacks

Okay, we sound like your mom, but seriously, these things can make a huge difference. Word to the wise: Have a towel or baby wipes handy to wipe your hands if you’re using sunscreen so it doesn’t get on equipment.

That’s our list, folks. Special thanks to pro photographers Seth Resnick and Jay Graham who helped us out and shared their top ten list. We’d love to hear any items you consider essential to take along on photo shoots. Let us know.

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  1. I wholeheartedly agree with the last one I’m still clearing up the sunburn from shooting a golf course brochure the other week, ouch!

      July 10, 2010 – 9:27 am   Permalink
  2. I carry a small travel sewing kit (includes needle, thread of various colors, safety pins). This is especially good for weddings and outdoor shoots. Also a small mirror and bobby pins. Never know when you will need to tame some flyaway hair!

      July 17, 2010 – 11:26 pm   Permalink
  3. I am just starting to think about writing a book and had always imagined that I would just buy the photographs but after reading this I think it would be fun to take them myself, I could get really in to photography.

      August 5, 2010 – 1:28 am   Permalink
  4. bring a showercap for your DLSR so you can shoot on in precipitation

    By Brett
      August 10, 2010 – 7:57 am   Permalink
  5. I couldn’t have survived my last wedding shoot without scissors, black gaffer’s tape, about a MILLION safety pins, and a comb for the bride.

      June 20, 2012 – 2:12 am   Permalink
  6. Hey Yuen-ying,

    That makes me smile! Yes, there’s probably no limit to the number of items you can have, but definitely having some tape and pins is crucial for a shoot that involves having everything “just so.” Thanks for commenting!



    By Kent
      June 20, 2012 – 9:50 am   Permalink
  7. The problem for me is, there isnt much point in having fantastic photos if the IBooks (not the hard copies) have white line space indicator marks between the heading and the text which are apparently an IBook glitch from your end. It does kind of spoil the effect of the photo in the IBook, and you can’t tell me when your optimiser tool will be ready. Your paperback and hardback books are fantastic but the quality of IBooks has disappointed me with both my books.

      June 29, 2012 – 2:32 am   Permalink
  8. Hey Loretta,

    I understand your frustration. We’re hard at work on our ebooks. In fact, someone really is working on those problems as I type this.



    By Kent
      June 29, 2012 – 10:23 am   Permalink
  9. A great list but one thing that I always take along is paracetomol. Weddings are a long day if you get a headache!

      July 1, 2012 – 2:37 am   Permalink
  10. Just wanted to say how pleased I am that you managed to get the problems I mentioned above sorted out. My books now look beautiful, with no strange marks on my photographs. And they are selling.

      July 3, 2013 – 3:36 am   Permalink
  11. Hey Loretta,

    Thanks so much! Very pleased to hear that.



    By Kent
      July 3, 2013 – 3:38 pm   Permalink

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