Photography Basics | Start With What’s in Your Bag

When you work as a photographer, the content’s of your camera bag can significantly impact the quality and effectiveness of your photo shoots.  It is important to understand though, that a great camera and high quality equipment will not make you a great photographer.  Without knowing the skills needed to create beautiful photographs before you invest in lots of camera gear, this list of equipment will be insignificant.  However, all of these items have helped me in my photography shoots and can be very effective for you as well if you know how to use them.  So let’s take a look at some of the top items (besides a camera and lens) you’ll find in almost any professional photographer’s bag.  


There are several different types of filters, all of which can help in a variety of different situations.  Most common are Polarizing, UV, Neutral Density, and diffusion filters.  Whether you are capturing scenes in difficult lighting, reducing reflections, enhancing colors, or even just protecting your camera lens from potential damage, filters cover a wide range of needs.  Depending on the type of photography you are doing, you may want a few different filters at your disposal.  


Extra batteries are very important, especially if you are shooting for long periods of time. Running out of battery can be one of the worst things to happen on a photo shoot, so it’s best to come prepared with extras.  

Memory Cards

Just like batteries, it is always useful to have extra memory cards in your camera bag.  The type of photography you are shooting will determine what particular type of memory cards you should be looking for. High-speed memory cards are wonderful for fast paced photo-shoots and will increase your processing speed.  If you are shooting in RAW, it is important to have as much memory space as possible to store your images.  

Photography Tripod

Mounting your camera on a sturdy tripod is great for composing shots and will help ensure that motion blur is significantly reduced.  I’ve used my tripod in more situations than I can count and I encourage you to invest in this item.  Especially if you are finding your photos are blurry, investing in a tripod can be the key to creating those extra sharp images. 

Remote Trigger for Camera

Sometimes a tripod is not enough to reduce motion blur.  I’ve often used a remote when I don’t want any camera shake which happens when you touch the shutter release button.  For instance, when I photograph night sky scenes in Roanoke, VA, I always use remotes to ensure that my photos are as sharp as possible.  


Reflectors and diffusers are amazing tools to have in your camera bag.  Reflectors allow you to bounce light onto a subject to fill in shadows and diffusers soften harsh and unflattering lighting.  Whatever the lighting situation, reflectors and diffusers will help improve your lighting.  

Gaffer Tape (crucial, I have to say)

Gaffer tape can be a life saver for a photographer and solve a number of problems that could happen on a shoot.  Whether you are securing cables, repairing cords or other gear, or other uses, gaffer tape is a very useful item to have in a camera bag.  

Lens Cleaners

Maintaining your equipment is very important part of capturing quality images.  Lenses in particular must be cleaned to keep them free from smudges, dust, or anything harmful.  Investing in a good cleaner for your lenses as well as other items in your camera bag will help keep your gear in top condition.  

While these are only some of the most basic items in a list of photography gear, they can significantly improve your photography.  Every photographer’s needs will be different, depending on their niche of photography, but hopefully you will find a use for these items!