For the hobbyist, or serious photographer, the camera bag holds much more than a camera and a few spare batteries. Packing a camera bag with essential tools of the trade makes the shooting process more enjoyable, smooth and productive. Keeping the camera bag stocked and ready to go is the best way to never miss a shot. So, get packing!
Assuming the camera, media cards or film and a few batteries are already neatly tucked away in the camera bag, consider making room for the battery charger also. If you will be traveling with your camera bag for multiple days, you will need to recharge your batteries. Add this necessity to the vacation packing list.
If you plan on taking photos during the evening, add a miniature flashlight to the camera bag. This will be used to read the settings and buttons on your camera in dim light. Be ready for fireworks displays, evening ball games and bonfire parties. Don’t lose shots of these events because you can’t see how to adjust the dials and settings on the camera.
Tuck a pack of lens cleaning tissues and lens cleaning fluid in the pocket of your camera bag. You shouldn’t miss out on taking pictures because of rain spots or a splash of soda hit your lens. Use lens cleaning tissues moistened with lens cleaning fluid to gently wipe away spots. Rubbing the lens with your shirt can scratch the lens, and remove special optical coating from the surface of the lens.
Plastic Bag and Rubber Bands
In a pinch, a plastic grocery bag and rubber bands could save your camera. If gray skies turn to sprinkles, carefully wrap the camera in a plastic bag, and secure with rubber bands. Keep shooting until the sprinkles turn to rain drops. Then, securely store the camera in your waterproof camera bag. If space allows, attach a small collapsible umbrella to the tripod straps on the bottom of the camera bag. An umbrella is essential when shooting golf or other events that lead you far from the security of a car or indoor retreat.
Notebook and Pen
Pack a small notepad. Have you ever wanted to write a person’s name and phone number so you can share photos with them later? Keep an ongoing list of things you want to try or need to buy for your camera. The notebook is a good place to remind yourself to pick up another digital media card, or check the price on a telephoto lens since you just missed yet another shot of your child sliding into home base.
Stash an emergency fund in your camera bag. When hauling a large camera bag, it’s easy to slim down and only take what you need. This may include leaving your purse or wallet behind. Tuck a few bills in a pocket and forget about it. Then, next time you grab the camera bag, and walk down the street to shoot a few pictures at the local ball game, you’ll have a few dollars for a snack.
As a female photographer, I know my camera bag can get cluttered. Some days it doubles a purse, lunch bag and tote bag for paperwork and notes. Depending on the frequency of use, consider re-packing your camera bag once a week, or month. Being ready for the next great shot is only possible with a well stocked camera bag.