I have made tons of little changes in my camera bag/system since graduating from art school in 2016! From different programs and gear there are so many crucial pieces I wish I had know to get sooner. It can be confusing as to what you should buy or what might be crucial to your workflow. Here are a few must-haves that will change the game for you!
SD and CF CARDS: If you are shooting with SD cards make sure to get the EXTREME PRO. Have you ever wondered why your camera is taking so long to record images and you are awkwardly trying to kill the time until you can start taking photos again at a session? Or how about the time it takes to transfer all those images at the end of the night? That happened to me multiple times and it’s super frustrating. Cards with write speeds over 95mb are where it’s at! There is one level above this with 300mb write speed UHC II and those will be my next investment. For now the 95mb work great for me. These cards will record your images and transfer them much faster. Get them here and the fastest here. If you are shooting with CF cards then get any of these. It will change your life and the flow of your shoot. No more missed moments! If you are shooting on the newer DSLRS you will want at least 64GB the space fills up fast.
BATTERIES: I just finally bought these off Amazon this week. They have great reviews, are top choice for most photo blogs and have come recommended to me by photo friends who use flash a lot. Do yourself a favor and get them NOW. Stop waiting. Stop wasting your money and time driving to COSTCO to buy giant packs of batteries that you blow through in one photoshoot. I got the 16 pack because 4 just isn’t enough. Backups are where it’s at. I can’t even count how many times I spent $15/$20 on a pack of regular batteries when I could have bought them ONE time for almost the same price. I even tried the Energizer version a while back and they didn’t work so make sure you get this specific brand!
HARD DRIVES: THEY FAIL. YOU WILL LOOSE YOUR DATA AT SOME POINT!!!!!!!! BACK that shiz up and make sure one version is online. Buy a SSD (solid state drive) this is just like the hard drive in your lap top and is way more reliable/faster than spinning disk hard drives. It’s more expensive. YES. FOR A REASON SO BUY IT. I honestly didn’t know and I wish someone had told me. They use to be like a $1,000 for a small amount of space so they are super affordable now and getting even better price points. DO NOT buy Western Digital hard drives. I can’t tell you how many people I have seen standing in line at best buy with Western Digitals that have crashed. IF you do get a spinning disk hard drive get multiple Lacie Rugged. They are popular and I have two of those but don’t rely on them as my main working hard drives. Moving forward I am stopping using spinning disks all together because they became so unreliable. So get the SSD DRIVES I have this one but I know a lot of photographers have this one here.
ShootProof and Honeybook: Must-have for business owners! A professional and safe way for photo delivery to clients, with contracts, proposals, stats of your profits and more! These changed the game and made keeping track of everything so much easier. There are other programs that d0 the same but these two are the most popular. They usually have great discounts for first-timers too.
This might seem silly but Amazon Prime has been a life-saver for me when it comes to quick delivery and saved trips to the store that may or may not have what I am looking for. Amazon Prime basically always has what I need and more often then not is cheaper or on sale. Look for the little coupons to click right below the pricing for even more discounts!
***Tip: I try to look for items that say, “ships from and sold by amazon when possible!”
I’m going to end with a good backpack. The sooner you can get organized in your business the better. The smallest movements you make like having a backpack that you can easily access what you need during a shoot makes a world of a difference. I was still using a camera bag my mom had bought me back in art school up until a few months ago. I could never see what gear I needed because of the way it zipped up and how dark it was. If possible, go waterproof! Definitely make sure it has a zipper that opens face up where you can immediately see everything in your bag.
***Tip: Label lens caps with tape and you can easily read which lens you need to grab.
Some people love a messenger style as well. Or they have a main backpack and transfer what they need into the messenger bag while they shoot. I will probably try the think tank belt soon though. They kind of look silly on but I need a faster way to switch out my lenses while shooting.
-Vinta Supply Co.: Modern, organized, sleek, a little small but great storage!
-Think Tank: Practical and safe. Super popular.
-Kelly Moore: Never used but the more casual photogs use this.
-Wander: Great for the traveler, stylish, waterproof!
Invest the money so you can look and act like a professional right off the bat.