Our Top 20 Accessories for a Photographer’s Kit Bag!
We routinely cart around and have access to tens of thousands pounds of specialist photographic equipment, but sometimes (actually quite often) it comes down to the little things that make the difference to a shot. Here, we share (in no particular order), some of our favourite non-photographic bits, bobs, gadgets and more.
- Retort stand – we all remember these from school days, perfect for holding lighter items near shot, we often use them for supporting reflectors and flags
- Small pieces of mirror – perfect for directing light into the tiniest of areas
- Fishing line and wire – for suspending or holding and shaping certain products.
- Wedges – all shapes and sizes
- Blue/white tack – ENDLESS uses! holds things up that refuse to hold, balances items, helps stick unruly bits of clothing to mannequins or to models,
- White cotton gloves for handling products that you’ve cleaned up to avoid getting additional dust and scratches or dirty great finger prints…
- Artist brushes & lighter fuel – great for those close-up cleaning jobs to remove dirt, dust and scratches from delicate surfaces and avoid too much retouching post shoot.
- Multi tool – everything you could need in one place – we love our Leatherman.
- Wooden clothes pegs – excellent for use as mini clamps for holding up backgrounds, mini reflective surfaces and even for keeping paperwork together on windy days.
- Clamps – from small bulldog clips to pony clamps, you can never have enough.
- Gaffer tape – Saves clients falling over trailing cables and plugs, as well as marking camera and tripod positions on any floor,
- Walkie Talkie – Particularly on location, having a small, inexpensive walkie talkie to talk to your assistant, stylist or art director can save a lot of time and unnecessary running around.
- Laptop shade – don’t get caught out when on location and the sun’s shining
- Umbrella – Yes, for when it rains, but more important than keeping hair from frizzing, it can keep your equipment dry in an unexpected downpour, keep a model’s hair from needing a blow-dry, create some interesting shadows when you need them, block direct, unwanted sunlight from a shot, or shield your laptop from the sun when you forgot to bring your laptop shade!
- Torches – Larger ones can double up for painting with light, and smaller maglites – small enough that you can balance it between your teeth where necessary – come in handy surprisingly often.
- Tissue paper and bubble wrap – really useful for clothing and catalogue shoots where extra padding can help style and give shape to clothes. Keeps reflective mirrors or delicate products safe in transit, good as a general wedge material, or use the bubble wrap as a last resort stress buster when you’re dealing with difficult clients!
- Dressmaker’s pins, safety pins and tweezers – for pinning clothing and fabrics, and to use for fine styling when hands are just too clumsy.
- Garden wire and pipe cleaners – particularly useful in the studio for propping up products (with the help of some blue tac and or gaffer tape) and for adding a bit of life to clothes that are looking flat. Can support invisible mannequin items that are flimsy.
- A good stationery selection – pens, paper, scissors, rulers, tape measure, paperclips etc. We never go anywhere without those basic bits. If nothing else you look much more organised than anyone else on the shoot.
- Spare fuses – often they blow when lights blow, so you’re stuck without some extras.
We carry a couple of small kit bags with us on location and have a few dotted around the studios so we’re never short of extras. Let us know if you have any essentials that you think we’re missing.