What Every Photographer Needs for a Great Photo Session: 10 Must-Haves

Portrait photographer, session, bring, blanket, cards

Whether you’re just starting out on your journey to becoming a photographer or are a seasoned professional, you know that there are some basic items that you need to bring to every shoot, every time.

While there are the basics that you bring to every portrait session like your cameras and go-to lenses, sometimes there are a few extra things you can toss in your camera bag/car to help you out in a pinch.

And while each photographer may have their list of must-haves, there are 10 items that are universal necessities for photographers.

From the expected (extra batteries) to the surprising (blanket), we’ve used our years of experience to compile a master list of photo shoot must-haves.

In this blog, we break down what every photographer needs for a great photo session.

  1. Extra Batteries – Imagine you’re shooting a wedding and your camera battery dies. You reach for your backup and come up empty-handed. To avoid this nightmarish scenario, it’s always good to be prepared! Pack 1-2 fully charged extras in case your main one didn’t fully charge or forgot to charge it.
  2. Card holder – The last thing you want are memory cards loose in your camera bag. Plus, how will you know which ones are ok to use? Grab a holder like the Think Tank Photo Pixel Pocket Rocket. That way you can have them in one spot and flip the card over once it’s full.
  3. Back up CF and/or SD Cards – Again, better to have extras in case a card fails or you fill one up! P.S. – Never delete images from your card while in the camera as that can sometimes corrupt them. In general, when you’re packing for a shoot, having extras of everything from batteries to SD cards never hurts.
  4. Camera Lens Cloth – While this may not top your list, think about how frustrating it is to have a grubby camera lens covered with fingerprints. For those moments when you or one of your little clients accidentally touch the front of your lens with a finger, be sure to load a camera lens cloth into your camera bag.
  5. Business Cards – While you’re at an event to capture it, you are also primed to widen your network. You never know when you’ll need a business card, and it’s always a good idea to have a handful ready in case someone asks while you’re out!
  6. Favorite chapstick – Let’s get real: Chapped lips happen. And if you’re shooting an outdoor event in the cold or you’re someone who talks a lot during your sessions, this will feel like a lifesaver!
  7. Mints – For you and maybe for your clients! Your clients are going to be close to one another, so it’s nice to offer some partway through in case they need a refresh.
  8. Oil blotting wipes – This is especially great for summer sessions to help get rid of shine.
  9. Extra water bottles – Being photographed is hard work! 😉 If it’s a warmer day, I try to have a little cooler packed with extras in the car.
  10. Blanket/Quilt – If you’re photographing a family or couple and they forget one, then it’s great to have a neutral one on hand for some sweet sitting or laying down shots.

With these 10 items, you are officially armed with what every photographer needs for a successful shoot.

These items can bring you peace of mind during a session and help your clients out too. If you’re looking for the perfect camera bag to carry these items, check out our post about our top camera bags.

What are your extra items that you bring to your sessions? Let us know in the comments below!

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