We’ve all come across those photography equipment lists that convince you to buy everything under the sun. Many of the items you don’t need or barely get used at all and you end up regretting wasting money.
With that in mind, I thought about uncommon items that I normally carry for portrait shoots. Some are photography related, and some have nothing to do with photography at all but are just as important to have on hand.
Table of Contents Hide
- Uncommon photography equipment you should carry:
- Pocket Knife
- Bluetooth Speaker
- Portable Wagon
- Portable Pop-up Changing Tent
- USB Power Bank
- Cable Organizer
- Lent Rollers
- First Aid Kit
- Uncommon Photography Equipment has multiple uses
I’ve been shooting portraits for over 7+ years now, and these are the things I believe all photographers should have. Some I carry in my pocket, others i carry in my bag or in my car.
Either way, they are items I feel everyone should consider having when you are a photography doing shoots on locations. So you don’t feel like reading an entire blog post, here is a quick breakdown of each item.
Uncommon photography equipment you should carry:
- Pocket knife (check state and local laws)
- Multi-tool (with scissors)
- Bluetooth speaker
- Portable wagon
- Pop-up changing tent
- Flash light
- USB power bank
- Cord organizer
- Lent roller
- First aid kit
Now that I’ve shown you the list, let me explain why you need some of these and how they can come in clutch when you’re out in the field or on location. I personally have every one of these items on this list.
A pocket knife is a great tool to carry as a photographer. You will need to research your state or city laws regarding pocket knives, but you should consider having one or two with you on photoshoots. (especially in areas your unfamiliar with)
The first reason is for protection. Many photographers carry thousands of dollars worth of equipment and are easy targets in public for thieves. This Civivi Elementum is a small light weight pocket knife with easy back flipper functionality.
Alternative pocket knives to consider
Pocket knives also come in handy for cutting of tags, ripping clothes such as jeans or shorts and can help with new packaging when you’re on location.
I carry two pocket knives with me on each shoot. One stays in my back pocket, and the other in my backpack.
Below are some pocket knife ideas that are easy to carry, light weight and are great for beginners. If carrying a pocket knife makes you uncomfortable, please consider alternative safety options.
Whatever the case, please be safe on location for your photoshoots. Please stay conscious of your surroundings.
Another item I carry is a multi-tool. This comes in handy when I’m switching out my batteries or mounting my camera to tripods. Trust me, you will always need a screw driver (phillips or flat head) when on location.
My Gerber multi-tool has 9 different tools
- Flat head screw driver
- Phillips screw driver
- Flat sharp blade
- Saw edge blade
- Bottle opener
- Mini tip flat head screw driver
- Wavy blade
The items I use the most are the flat head screw driver tip and scissors. I can’t explain how many times I have pulled out this tool on photoshoots.
Alternatives multi-tools to consider
The prices range pretty widely and you don’t have to purchase something really expensive. I’m not trying to break the bank, so here are a few to consider.
Silence is the only thing that makes me uncomfortable on shoots so I always have a bluetooth speaker with me to play some music while I shoot.
It helps set the mood and can easily connect to your phone or the phone of your subject. I ask my models to bring playlists so listen too on location. This helps make them comfortable faster and gets things moving along versus awkward silence.
Alternatives speakers to consider
I have two bluetooth speakers. One clips to my backpack and the other I carry in my camera bag for studio shoots. I like to have a larger one for studio shoots so music fills the room a lot easier.
More uncommon photography equipment you should consider are portable wagons. Try carrying all your equipment and model clothes, boots, extra bags and more a mile from your car to your shoot location.
I bet you will wish really quickly that you had a small wagon to help make this trip easier.
My wagon is not used for just photography, but comes in handy for all my family events and vacations.
It folds up when I need to save space in the trunk, and opens up easily with a push of the center section. Mind even includes cup holders for water and drinks on the side.
Many of my models bring multiple outfits in numerous bags and cases so I make it easy for them to carry all their stuff and mine.
I also carry my reflector, pop-up tent and cooler in my wagon as well when they are needed.
Portable Pop-up Changing Tent
Changing rooms and bathrooms are not always available when you’re on the move for a photoshoot. This is why I have the option of bringing a pop-up changing tent with me to shoots.
It folds up easy (once you get the hang of it) and works really well for giving my models privacy if we’re on location for a shoot.
The top of the tent lets in natural light and air-flow all while blocking the view from the outside.
The bottom is also covered so no need to worry about putting your clothes on wet ground surfaces or getting them dirty. The pop-up tent folds down to the size of a reflector and makes a solid addition to my portrait shoots.
This might sound like an unnecessary item, but it may come in handy when on location. At first, I used my phone as my flashlight but soon realized that it just wasn’t strong enough for on location shoots.
Have you ever dropped an SD card in the tall grass and only used your phone light to find it? Trust me it is not ideal.
I carry a small portable flashlight with me in my photography backpack and in my car.
It’s small enough that I can carry it in my pocket and provides plenty of light for evening shoots.
I carry lighting equipment and other items in my trunk and having a flashlight is great for finding small items or even tracking someone down. I use mine for more than photography shoots so its a no brainer to have in my car anyway.
USB Power Bank
Ever used your phone as a flashlight and forgot to turn off your light? You probably drained the battery and if you’re on a shoot then it’s not convenient to rush back to your car to plug in your phone.
USB power banks are a must for our fast paced lives. Having one on hand can help you charge your phone, and even some camera devices.
You might not have wall plugs available so having a portable battery is a life saver.
I carry multiple plugs and wires just in case I need to charge my phone, bluetooth speaker or other devices while on site.
My USB power bank can charge multiple devices at once and you never know when you will need the extra power.
This one might seem like a common item, but I have met countless photographers who have tons of cables and cords tangled in their bags.
Charging cords, camera cords, usb cords and more. I was once this person as well, but I finally got a bit organized and it was worth it.
Small cable organizers come in all sizes and allow you to wrap your cords and keep them in order. You can even get cable wraps that will accomplish the same goals.
When you have models or subjects that will be changing outfits for the shoot, then having a few lent rollers will save you tons of time in post processing.
I have 2 dogs and I know their hair gets all over my bags and clothes from car rides.
Having a lent roller will help get rid of stray items on clothing and makes for a quicker and more efficient post processing of photos.
Lent rollers come in all sizes so consider keeping one in your car and another in your camera bag. You never know when they will come in handy.
First Aid Kit
Raise your hand if you’ve ever tried to jump from rock to rock during a shoot and ended up scraping your legs? I’m sure I’m not the only one, but I was confident knowing I had a small first aid kit in my car.
No need to buy anything big. Just having a small kit with bandages or gauze will suffice. I’ve see small accidents happen on photoshoots and knowing I have a small first aid kit makes me feel tons better.
Uncommon Photography Equipment has multiple uses
For me, it is easy to justify these uncommon photography items because they also find use in my daily life.
Also, knowing I have them for photoshoots just lets me feel more prepared and ready for unexpected accidents.
Nothing says you need to have them all the time, but just keep in mind the more photography sessions you do, the more items you might come across that will help keep you and your clients comfortable.
No need to weight down your camera bag with too much unnecessary gear.
This list of photography gear is always growing for me, but I know many beginner photographers will find it useful.
You really don’t know what items you will need on top of your camera gear so start collecting useful items and keep them close by. You never know when you might need them.
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