32 Photographers Share How They Pack and Organize Their Photography Bags

Carrying photography gear around isn’t as easy as you might think.

There are a lot of stuff that needs to be carried and quite a few things are fragile, so they can’t just be dropped into a random bag seconds before you walk out the door.

To help you pack and carry your photography gear the right way, we have talked with 32 excellent photographers.

We have asked all of them what kind of bags they use, what gear they pack and how they keep things organized.

Read on and get some great tips for things you might also want to pack in your photography bag + what you should be looking for if you are in the market for a new bag for your gear!

The 32 photographers

Dan Carr

Quick overview of what Dan brings:

  • Small PackTowl towels
  • Satellite messenger
  • Clothes
  • Camera bags
  • Cable organizer bags

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

The first thing that comes to mind is a small pocket-sized travel towel from PackTowl. In my camera bag, I usually drape it over the camera so that I can stack other things on top of it. I also use it to dry the camera when it has been raining, and wipe gunk off the screen and viewfinder. I know most people use these little lens cloths, but the Packtowl is super absorbent for its size, so it’s also good for drying all my kit, and protecting things in the bag.

Next up is a Satellite messenger called an InReach from DeLorme. I’m often in areas with no cell reception, and this device lets me communicate with people by using a satellite instead. Hopefully, I never have to use it to call the emergency services, but even if I don’t, I use it all the time to send my current GPS location to someone so that there’s always a last point of contact. I think it’s a great thing to have when you’re deep in the mountains, or working around potentially dangerous wildlife such as grizzly bears.

The third thing that comes to mind is actually an item of clothing. It’s an ultralight down vest from Arcteryx called the Cerium SL. It’s so compressible that it fits into one of the lens slots in my camera bag, but it provides a lot of warmth if the weather suddenly turns. I always have that with me!

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

I use camera bags from a company called, MindShift Gear. I should disclose that I am one of their product testers so I do have a close affiliation with them, but the reason I ended up getting that role is that I was already a passionate user of their products. They make camera bags specifically designed for the outdoor and adventure photography markets. My favourites are currently the MP-3 V2 and the BackLight 36L.

If I have to fly somewhere that I’ll carry as much as I can onto the plane as hand luggage, but anything else goes into Pelican cases. I then put those pelican cases into some really old, worn duffle bags so that they look less appealing to potential thieves. Everyone knows that Pelican cases usually hold expensive equipment, so it makes sense to disguise this a little bit. You can just use super cheap duffle bags, then drag them around in the mud a bit and get them all scuffed up!

In terms of organization, I have a big set of cable organizer bags from MindShift’s sister company, Think Tank Photo. Each bag contains the small accessories necessary for a specific type of shoot or type of photography. When I’m packing for a day of work, I just grab the bags that relate to the project I’m working on that day. Camera and lenses are easy to pack, but it’s the hundred smaller items that area easy to get left behind.

Scott Wyden Kivowitz

Quick overview of what Scott brings:

  • ColorChecker Passport
  • PocketWizards
  • Western Digital MyPassport Wireless Pro
  • Spider Holster Pro
  • Think Tank Photo bags
  • Small cable organizer

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

The top three things I bring depend on the job. If it’s a portrait session then I always have my ColorChecker Passport for accurate color. I also have PocketWizards for reliable wireless flash triggering and my Western Digital MyPassport Wireless Pro for on-site backups.

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

I carry my camera using a Spider Holster Pro, but I use Think Tank Photo bags whether it’s a backpack or a roller. I keep all cables in smaller organizers then tucked inside the camera bags. Memory cards in a Think Tank Photo memory card wallet. I keep those organized for pre and post-session by keeping the brand label facing out when empty and facing in when filled.

Mike Hardisty

Quick overview of what Mike brings:

  • Tripod
  • SRB filters
  • Remote control
  • Doggy Pooh Bags
  • Toilet paper

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

A good solid tripod. Often if I’m down on the beach or in the mountains the wind can be quite strong. I need the tripod to be secure and not blow over in the wind.

A set of filters from SRB. I use 10 and 6 stop Neutral Density for slowing the shutter speed, especially useful to get those milky waves or waterfalls, a Polariser to cut glare and a 0.6 ND Soft Grad, which helps to darken clouds. I don’t use them all the time and, of course, I don’t use them all at the same time, but they’re there in my bag for when I decide I might need them. A lot of photographers rave about filters from Lee, Tiffen, Format Hi-Tech but I’ve always used the SRB versions, mainly because they suit my budget, but more importantly they have very little or no colour cast.

A remote control to fire the shutter. It’s no use having the camera on the tripod and then you press the shutter button. It can cause the slightest of movement to the camera so the remote takes care of that.

I’m not so sure you would want to include this but is there anything unusual I carry in my bag. Err well, Doggy Pooh Bags, the black ones and some toilet paper. I’ve been caught out once in a remote location and ever since then…..well you get the idea.

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

The bag depends on what I am doing. Generally, I use this trusty old LowePro backpack. I’ve had it almost 8 years now and it’s big enough to get all my gear in. I use the dividers that were provided and just make sure that everything fits tightly into their assigned compartments. For protection I have the camera with lens and two extra lenses down the middle of the bag, Peripheral items, RC, Flash, Cleaning Kit, Lens Hoods go down the sides. Memory Cards are in a case in a zip up pocket inside the bag. I use a battery grip so the spare battery is already on the camera.

But I do have a smaller LowePro backpack that I can get a camera and one extra lens in, plus a travel tripod in a side pocket, I’m taking that to Budapest this weekend. It’s difficult to choose what to take and you do need to sacrifice some items, but I usually get it right.

I upgraded my camera earlier this year from the Olympus E-M1 to the E-M1 Mk2. Part of the deal was that Olympus included a Gillis Trafalgar Messenger Bag. It’s a beautiful piece of craftmanship, brown vintage leather, but I haven’t used it and probably won’t. For one it’s too heavy. Although the strap is branded Olympus, I have struggled to get my gear into the bag in a way that I would consider safe. My camera won’t fit with the battery grip attached. It just about makes it with the 12-40mm attached. The 75-300mm stands up too much in one of the pockets, so I’m worried that it might get damaged. Beautiful bag, but I consider it so impractical that I’ve wrapped it up in its original packaging and it’s sitting in the cupboard.

Julia Hofer-von Seelen

Quick overview of what Julia brings:

  • Batteries
  • Belt loop
  • Shoulder bag
  • Backpack

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

I always bring charged spare batteries to a job as it is very annoying if you run out of power in the middle of taking photos.

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

As I take most photos while I’m out walking my dog, I mostly use a small camera with its case attached to my belt loop. If I take a bigger camera, I usually use a shoulder bag as it is easier accessible than a backpack. But if I go hiking or take lots of stuff I use a backpack as it is easier to carry.

Arjun Kartha

Quick overview of what Arjun brings:

  • Memory cards
  • External hard disks
  • Laptop
  • Chargers
  • Cables
  • Batteries
  • Sewing kit
  • Medical kit
  • Biscuits & energy bars
  • 3M Earplugs

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

I’ve always liked experimenting with off-beat items that I use to bring a little bit of a zing into the images I make, that go beyond traditional lenses and camera bodies. I like carrying along a little prism, bits of pieces of coloured glass, beads and other little bits and bobs that work well in front of a camera lens. I also sometimes carry coloured smoke bombs or other fireworks that can add a bit of drama.

On the more traditional side, I always have dozens of memory cards (I usually carry enough to finish a job without having to copy data), external hard disks (in case things overflow), my laptop as well as extra chargers, cables and batteries. I’ve also on occasion carried a small sewing kit (this comes REALLY handy when working with brides), a medical kit (this has saved my life many times) and emergency rations like biscuits and energy bars! One last unusual item that we usually carry are 3M Earplugs – these reduce around 30-40 decibels of noise, and when you’re shooting an Indian wedding – are something that we never leave home without!

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

Since Praerna and I work together, we usually carry a lot of extra gear. We currently use two ThinkTank Airport Security v2 Bags as these are nice humongous bags that fit very nicely in most airline carry-on spaces, and let us roll them whenever we can. We usually pack all the cameras in one bag (we carry around five camera bodies on a gig) – and all the lenses in the other. We keep all lighting gear in one bag or the other, and everything has a place of its own. This has now become second nature, so we’re never scrabbling about looking for something – because everything is where it’s supposed to be!

Alyssa Anne

Quick overview of what Alyssa brings:

  • HoldFast Moneymaker Strap
  • Manfrotto MVM500A monopod
  • Filters

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

Besides my equipment, I always have my HoldFast Moneymaker Strap. Whether I’m shooting in a Syrian Refugee Camp in Jordan or doing a newborn shoot in a clients home, I love the way that it keeps my essential equipment at my fingertips and frees up my hands at any moment without strain on my back or neck. It’s really like no other camera holder I’ve used.

If I’m doing any kind of video, I’ll also have my Manfrotto MVM500A monopod. It’s sturdier than most monopods but still lightweight. I love what a workhorse it is, allowing for smooth panning and sliding shots even in tight spaces.

On the quirkier side, I also always have a bag containing some random filters. In there you’ll find a piece of sanded down glass, a thick piece of clear plastic, and a piece from a milk jug that my daughter painted different color pastels. Holding one of these up over a portion of the lens on my camera can provide unique blur to shots.

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

I’ve gone through many bags in the 10 years I’ve had my business. I can be a cheapskate, and never ended up finding a bag I love in the under $150 range that I had budgeted. But I ended up settling on working out of a simple Aldo backpack with padded camera and lens inserts that I bought separately off Amazon. I chose the backpack because it had one huge compartment instead of separate ones so that I could fit larger equipment inside. It also had two deep pockets in the front to keep the smaller items I wanted easily accessible. Before a shoot or while I’m on the field in another country, I gear up with my Holdfast strap holding the camera bodies and lenses I know I’ll need. I can easily wear it on my back while also wearing the strap.

Rich Legg

Quick overview of what Rich brings:

  • Lightmeter
  • Grey card
  • Business cards

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

Lightmeter, because I learned on film and prefer to measure the light at the subject.

Grey card for custom white balance settings. Even though shooting RAW and able to adjust after, I want a measurement of the color in the scene.

Business cards, in case I meet someone who might be a future client.

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

Each camera system (medium format, small sensor, video, etc.) in their own dedicated case. This way I can easily look and make sure the gear is where it is supposed to be. Lights, stands, etc. in suitable cases. C-stands are not in a case, but easily stackable.

Medium format system is in a Pelican 1510. Small sensor system is in a Mindshift FirstLight 30L. RONIN M gimbal is in a MC-CASES.COM custom fit case (great for all the little Ronin parts).

When packing gear, I mentally visualize from the subject to the camera thinking about everything in between (lights, stands, radios, etc.). A little thing missed like a $5 radio sync cord can be big issues on location.

Nirrimi Firebrace

Quick overview of what Nirrimi brings:

  • Lens
  • Camera body
  • Classic Fjällräven bag

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

  • My water bottle. I am always running around so much on a shoot.
  • A journal and pen, I’ll often jot down shot lists or mark my favourite spots as I scout a location.
  • A little bluetooth speaker in case the mood calls for some tunes.

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

I use one lens and body because I try to make my shooting process as minimal and cohesive as possible. I use the classic Fjällräven, I use it because it’s simple and fits everything I need.

Rachel Korinek

Quick overview of what Rachel brings:

  • Brush
  • Water spray bottle
  • White sticky tack
  • Think Tank Roller bag

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

Well, being a food photographer, I will always carry a brush and small spray bottle of water. Really helps make food look fresh when it’s been on set for a while. I also always bring white sticky tack to hold things in place. Always comes in handy.

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

I have a Think Tank Roller bag (carry-on size approved) that I store and lug my gear to jobs. It’s just so easy. You can arrange everything how you want inside and makes hauling equipment to any job just that much easier.

Stephanie Friedman

Quick overview of what Stephanie brings:

  • Step stool
  • Repair kit
  • Blanket
  • Tamrac backpack

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

  • Step stool – I’m only 5′ 5″ so sometimes I need a little extra height – I like the one from IKEA called, Bolmen Slip Resistant Step Stool.
  • Repair kit – it has combs, wet wipes, mirror, Kleenex and band aids. Since I work a lot with little children. this kit is helpful to have supplies for touch ups.
  • Cozy blanket – helpful for those sitting poses or kids can run under it for an action pose.

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

For my photo gear, I have a Tamrac backpack. On the other hand, the IKEA bag is handy for carrying large items like my thick blanket, reflector, step stool, repair kit, Kleenex/wipes, and snacks that just won’t fit in a standard photo backpack

Unfortunately, I haven’t found a bag that can carry everything and is comfortable to carry.

India Earl

Quick overview of what India brings:

  • Speaker
  • Tiles
  • Snacks
  • Ona bags

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

A speaker, specifically the Bose SoundLink Mini Pearl speaker, I keep that in my bag at all times so I can blast music at shoots to lighten the mood and keep the vibes going. I also always bring a tile, Tile Mate, in case I lose my bag or it gets stolen since I set my bag down a lot so I can be more mobile. And then, of course, snacks! I always am carrying dried fruit, granola bars, snicker bars, etc. because I am always munching on snacks and like to be able to give my couples snacks to make sure they don’t get hungry.

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

I use the ONA Brixton and Clifton depending on whether I’m shooting locally (I’ll use the Brixton) or if I’m traveling (then I’ll take my Clifton). With the brixton, all of my lenses and one camera body fits perfectly. With the Clifton, I keep all my lenses in the top and then my camera bodies and flash in the bottom portion of the bag with the two side access pockets, with my accessories in the front pouch and laptop in the back.

Garrick Fujii

Quick overview of what Garrick brings:

  • Laptop
  • Permanent markers
  • Gaffer’s tape
  • Flashlight

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

I bring a laptop with me on my travels so that I can keep my website updated while on the road and I also use Google Maps heavily to plan my routes. I typically will create a custom map that has all of the locations that I plan on visiting and this allows me to plan my route efficiently in areas that I’m not familiar with. I also bring a thin permanent marker that is wrapped with gaffer’s tape. The marker is useful for filling out immigration and customs forms, jotting down notes, and marking my film. And the gaffer’s tape is useful for quick fixes while out in the field. The gaffer’s tape is my fix-all solution for when I need to hold broken items together, fix my camera, or make something light tight. Lastly, I always bring a flashlight with me just in case I am in an area at night with insufficient light.

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

While traveling, I use a Domke F6 for my camera gear and place it inside of a backpack for air travel. Once I arrive at my destination, I will unpack the Domke and use it as a walk around bag while I’m out shooting. For my carry-on bag, I do use packing cubes and I separate clean and dirty clothes with plastic bags within the cubes. I’ve found that using packing cubes and compartmentalizing everything inside of my larger bag is useful to easily access the items that I am looking for.

Amy Heiden

Quick overview of what Amy brings:

  • Notebook
  • Lume Cubes
  • First aid kit
  • F-stop Loka backpack

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

When I am exploring and photographing abandoned buildings, it is useful to carry a notebook to jot down rooms numbers or building sections you are photographing for reference later on. I also carry two Lume Cubes for additional accent lighting in dark corners / rooms. Lastly, the first aid kit comes in handy to cover blisters, or cuts from climbing around inside often decaying buildings.

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

I carry my gear in an F-stop Loka backpack. (Though sometimes I carry an additional small shoulder bag for extra lighting if needed). This bag is great because it can fit all the camera equipment, snacks, lighting, clothing layers I need to shoot inside a building for the day. It has supportive waist straps, side pockets for water and tripods and many internal pockets to organize my items. When I get home, I charge batteries and empty memory cards, but typically leave the bag packed and re-pack once I am ready to head out on another gig.

Dan O’Day

Quick overview of what Dan brings:

  • Nurofen
  • Deodorant
  • Water
  • Peak Design Everyday Backpack

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

Nurofen (for the reception-about-to-begin back ache), deodorant (because, Australia), and water. It’s often a long day and it can be really physically demanding to be on your feet, conjuring creativity, being charismatic and easy-going all at the same time. Best to keep as hydrated as possible and do what you can to ease your tired body as the day moves on.

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

Our main bag this year is the Peak Design Everyday Backpack 30L. It’s a new attempt for me as I’ve been carrying around the same Lowepro backpack for about nine years (still going strong!), but I enjoy it’s versatility and design. Back support is a big bonus as well. I’d be the worst person for recommending any systems of organisation because I have none! It seems to be different every wedding, but this bag helps cater to mixing it up.

Matt Spangard

Quick overview of what Matt brings:

  • DJI Mavic Pro drone
  • Peak Design Capture Clip
  • Tripods
  • Peak Design Everyday Backpack

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

I always bring a DJI Mavic Pro drone with me. It’s small enough that it’s not a burden but the quality is good enough to get the job done. The perfect drone doesn’t exist yet — there’s always a trade off — but the Mavic Pro is the best balance I have found so far.

I’ve always got a Peak Design Capture Clip on my backpack strap. When your camera is stuck inside a backpack, you’re less likely to capture fleeting moments.

I always have my large 3 Legged Thing tripod in one of my cases, but I make a point to keep a compact GorillaPod 1K in my go bag. A great tripod doesn’t do you any good on top of a mountain if it’s a few miles away in the back of your Jeep.

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

I have a lot of cases.

I keep my drone equipment in a 30L Peak Design Everyday Backpack, with the critical equipment in a Triple Aught Design Transport Cube. If I’m doing a lot of drone work, I’ll bring the entire backpack but if I’m headed out on a hike with a small pack, I’ll just grab the Transport Cube. You can see the exact setup that I use in one of the scenes in my entry to the Triple Aught Design Fall Film Festival.

I keep my Sony camera equipment in the massive Triple Aught Design Axiom X25 pack. Of course, it’s all subdivided into smaller systems using Transport Cubes.

I keep a Triple Aught Design Azimuth Pack as my go bag. The loadouts change but they typically include my core drone Transport Cube, my core Sony lens Transport Cube, a small med kit, a water bottle and my Sony camera mounted to a Peak Design Capture Clip on the strap.

Finally, I have a giant Pelican case that holds everything else. It usually stays in the Jeep but I know that if I need glowsticks, zip ties, powered gimbals, secondary tripods, walkie talkies, light reflectors (which make excellent drone landing pads), flashlights or a million other bits of gear that they’re nearby.

William Beem

Quick overview of what William brings:

  • X-Rite Color Checker Passport
  • Lastolite Tri-Grip Reflector
  • Batteries
  • ThinkTank Sling-O-Matic bag

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

The first item is an X-Rite Color Checker Passport. I want to ensure that my white balance and color are correct, and this tool is perfect. Whether you’re shooting a commercial product where color must be spot-on accurate or just trying to capture the right skin tone on a model, this is the tool I trust.

Sometimes I have artistic license and I may change the colors in post processing, but I want to start with an accurate profile to ensure I get the right colors in my photos.

The second item is a Lastolite Tri-Grip Reflector. It gives me a combination of possibilities to bounce light or diffuse it. All I have to do is swap the side for Gold or Silver reflection, or remove the cover for a 1-stop diffuser. The handle is convenient to hold if I’m working alone and have to bounce light while shooting. It looks odd, but it works.

Finally, batteries. I have a plethora of rechargeable AA batteries, because I’ve been burned a few times. I was out of the country with two sets of batteries, but they were used so many times that they were exhausted. Even when I tried to recharge them, the charge wouldn’t hold. Now I travel with multiple sets bought at different times so I don’t get in that position again.

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

I’m a fan of ThinkTank bags. I have a few different roller bags, like the Airport Takeoff and the Airport Roller Derby. The Takeoff is larger and holds more gear, but the Roller Derby has four wheels. It just glides through the airport without having to lug the gear along. If I can fit everything in the Roller Derby, it’s my favorite travel bag.

I also use a ThinkTank Sling-O-Matic 30 for walking around. It’s a sling bag instead of a backpack. Not sure if they even sell it anymore, but it holds a fair amount of gear and a laptop. Also, it easily slides from back to front so I can change lenses or get my gear when I’m walking about.

My organization changes depending upon what I need for a given subject. I tend to put my heavier items toward the bottom of the bag when it’s in motion, and a few accessories within easy reach. Hidden zipper pockets come in handy.

Niklas Möller

Quick overview of what Niklas brings:

  • Gaffer tape
  • Raincovers
  • GPS tracker
  • MindShift Rotation 180° Horizon Backpack

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

Gaffer tape: It’s right that you can use it for a lot of stuff. I’m an outdoor and landscape photographer and even there you can use it for anything. Repairing, fixing, securing… whatever you want.

Raincovers: I have some really cheap plastic bag rain covers. I always carry them with me because I never know when rain might hit me or I might want to walk close to a waterfall.

GPS Tracker: I’m currently using my cell phone to track my location, but sometime soon I will switch to a GPS watch. I like to plan my routes in advance. Knowing where I am, where to go next, and where I took a picture is quite handy.

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

I use my MindShift Rotation 180° Horizon Backpack for almost any job. My micro-four-third camera and its lenses fit into the lower compartment and when I need flashes and other stuff, I just stack them at the bottom of the top compartment. When I’m on a hike, some clothes and everything else I need is inside the top compartment. I hiked through the Himalayan mountains for a week with this set-up.

I love that backpack because I can access the camera without wasting my energy. I do not have to take the backpack off and I do not have to take it in front of me. I just rotate the lower compartment and can access everything. Easy and fast.

For those who understand German: I wrote a detailed review about the backpack on my blog.

My main tip about packing is Go carefully think about what you need and not pack everything. Think about what you want to take pictures of and what gear you need. Next, think about what gear might be just for a little bit of comfort. E.g. do you really need the lens that gives you 5mm extra but weights 500g on top?

In my travel photography e-book, which unfortunately is only available in German, I talked about planning your shoots and gear in more detail.

Sanket Khuntale

Quick overview of what Sanket brings:

  • WD My Passport Wireless Hard Drive
  • MacBook Air
  • LowePro Runner 450 bag

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

The most important thing I carry with my photography gears is a WD My Passport Wireless Hard Drive, where I can backup my entire data by just plugging in my memory card, which automatically gets backup up. This thing also serves as a power bank that has 10,000 mh of battery capacity. So, this thing is just a saviour for me when it comes to long treks or shoots.

The other thing that I carry is MacBook Air. It’s light to carry and I can process images on the go.

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

I have been using LowePro Runner 450 bag since a long time. It’s a best carrying product that I have ever had. It can contain all of my photographic gears along with a 15 inches laptop.

Ang Mccabe

Quick overview of what Ang brings:

  • Holdfast Moneymaker camera strap
  • Step ladder
  • Bobby pins
  • Vinta backpack

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

  • I Always bring my Holdfast Moneymaker camera strap.
  • I carry a step ladder in the car (because I’m short!)
  • Objects to shoot through (prisms, tulle, ziplock bags)
  • Bobby pins and safety pins, for hair and wardrobe malfunctions!

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

  • I like to carry minimal gear to a regular shoot (weddings I bring more).
  • I’m currently using a Vinta backpack and I love it because it’s compact, comfortable, is the perfect size for what I want to carry to a typical shoot (2 camera bodies, 3 lenses), and a little removable bag that is big enough to carry all of my spare batteries, memory cards and other loose ends. It also has room for my laptop when I’m traveling.

Mike Wilkinson

Quick overview of what Mike brings:

  • Multi-tool
  • Backup camera body
  • Extra stands
  • F-stop gear
  • Lowepro backpack

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

A professional but relaxed attitude is a must. A multi-tool for tightening QR plates, fixing gear on site, and opening beers post-shoot. A backup camera body.

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

At home I have a huge mess of gear. Every attempt to organize it only lasts until the next job aseach project is a bit different and there are lots of factors in determining how I pack and organize.

If I’ll be at an indoor location that is steps from the car, then I’ll use hard cases like Pelicans, and usually I’ll bring plenty of backup gear, extra stands, etc.

If in the field, I like to use F-stop gear or Lowepro backpacks to carry in my kit comfortably. The key with those are the internal storage units – they have customizable velcro dividers so I can securely pack whatever I might need, heaviest gear near the bottom for the most comfort during a hike. You can also remove the ICUs altogether and stuff them in alternate packs, or haul them up a rope when shooting things like rock climbing.

If it’s a serious rock climbing shoot though, I prefer to use a sling bag like the Mountainsmith Descent – I can pack a full frame DSLR and a few lenses and climb or pull myself up a rope, and it gives me easy access to a range of gear I need for climbing stills.

Josh McNair

Quick overview of what Josh brings:

  • Multiple lenses
  • Filters
  • Phone
  • Peak Design messenger bag

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

I always have multiple lenses so I can shoot different scenes. I like to shoot a lot with an ultra wide angle, but it doesn’t always work, so I have other lenses as well. Filters are pretty much always in my bag too. Especially an ND filter and a CP filter when shooting landscapes. The third thing I always have is my phone, but not because of the typical reasons, but because there are some great photography apps that I use. One that I really like is called, Photo Pills, and you use it to see where the sun will rise and set as well as a bunch of other things.

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

I am a huge fan of the bags that Peak Designs make. I have the messenger bag currently and it is pretty much my go-to for carrying all of my gear. I like it because I can put my camera + two lenses in it and put my computer in the outside pocket. It can be heavy when traveling, but it’s nice to have all the necessary stuff with you.

Saraya Cortaville

Quick overview of what Saraya brings:

  • A smile and approachable nature
  • Business cards

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

I try to travel as light as possible, as moving quickly and being able to anticipate situations is important to me, however there are a couple of things that to me are vital in my “KIT”

A smile and approachable nature! Probably the most important skill of the photographer its to be able to communicate with people from all over the world, and this invariably starts with a smile!It really is universal, and can break down a multitude of barriers. Even if language is a problem a good smile and eye contact can still draw a wonderful connection between photographer and subject.

I always take a few business cards as you NEVER know who you might bump into along the way, I have made some wonderful connections whilst travelling!

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

I always use my lovely Billingham Bag, it has travelled with me all over the world, its sturdy and robust build has been the perfect, fits all bag for an adventurous traveller.

With front pockets perfect for passports and money and a rear zipped compartment just right for the laptop, its just perfect for the travelling photographer.

It enabled me recently to travel to Nepal with two camera bodies, The amazing Fujifilm GFX and 120mm prime lens, and the Fujifilm X-T20 and 2 lenses, 50-140mm , f2.8 and the 16-55mm, f2.8. The perfect kit for me to travel with in such a beautiful and diverse country.

Having all of the kit close to hand and easily accessible is important for me, especially when you never know what can be around the corner, a quick change of lens is vital so as to never miss the shot.

For me it is also the perfect kit as it is washable! After camping on a Massai camp in Tanzania, it was a little dirty to say the least, to be able to give the bag a thorough wash was brilliant!

Nadja Rutkowski

Quick overview of what Nadja brings:

  • Tripod
  • Knee/elbow pads
  • Hat/hand warmers

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

Besides the usual main items, I’ll make sure to be comfortable for any shoot. If it’ll be more comfortable to have a tripod, pending whether I can bring the larger one or a more portable one. If I know that shots will be from ground level, I’ll need knee/elbow pads. And during the heat, I’ll bring a hat, while during the cold, I’ll bring hand warmers.

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

I have a medium size camera bag, which I love as it has a great fit around my shoulders, but I can also pull it tight around the waist. It fits more items than one usually need, but not all of the gear, which I do tend to do…over-pack. I think that’s the key…bring those few extra items for ‘just in case’, but don’t over-do it as it’ll get too heavy. Sometimes, I just sling the camera around my shoulder, and put extra battery, extra memory card, cleaner, and filters in a small bag and that’s it. There’s so much one can already do with the camera alone as they’ve become so advanced now, that a lot of hoopla around it, is not always necessary. (obviously, when one has a portrait shoot, that’s a different scenario)

Brenda Tharp

Quick overview of what Brenda brings:

  • Allen wrenches
  • iPhone with apps
  • Rescue tape
  • Hoodman Loupe
  • An old-fashioned compass

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

Since most of my work is outdoor/available light photography, I try to keep the kit simple but complete.

  • Two or three allen wrenches for tightening camera/lens plates. As a workshop instructor, I always seem to be helping someone who’s plates have come loose. I carry a few because those little things go ‘missing’ pretty easily and it’s good to have some extras.
  • A roll of rescue tape – it’s stretchy and sticks to itself, and it’s a must-have for on the job repairs to loose gear or when things break that need to be held together until a more complete repair can be made.
  • One thing I can’t leave home without is my iphone – I have several apps that I use for positioning myself in the right place for sunrise/moonrise and the position of the Milky Way for star photography. I also use it for keeping in touch and for geotagging my photos when I’m on the road. It’s been indispensible!
  • Bonus 1: Hoodman Loupe – for when I want to check focus during daylight outdoors, the loupe is great. I also use it for night photography, to help with checking focus and results.
  • Bonus 2: An ‘old-fashioned’ compass; although I use smartphone Apps for getting sun/moon positions for my landscape work, things happen, and when the battery is dead on that phone, I turn to my compass. My standard compass always works!

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

I use a variety of bags – from hard cases to backpacks, to shoulder bags or a waist belt with modular pouches attached. For jobs that will require walking/hiking to the location, I turn to my Mindshift Gear backpack, the Backlight series, which is a perfect fit for all my Sony gear.

For my backpacks, I put the heavier things low so it sits correctly and comfortably on my back. I also use a pack that opens on the side against my back, and I can swing it around to get something without putting the bag down that way, too.

If I’m doing a travel/cultural related shoot, working with portraits and street scenes of places, I like to work out of a Thinktank waist pack with shoulder strap support, or their belt with modular pouches. If I want to go really light, I’ll use my Spider holster, which allows me to have a camera on my hip and a camera on a neck strap, thereby having two lenses and two bodies to respond quickly to a changing scene.

If I am flying to a destination but planning to do travel/street photography once I’m there, I will typically use a backpack or a hard case to get the stuff there, as there are always the ‘extras’ like specialty lenses of spare camera bodies, extra chargers, etc. that have to be brought along. I’ll pack my shoulder or waist-pack in the suitcase. Once I’ve reached my destination, I’ll repack that bag for day-use and keep the other accessories locked up in the case in my hotel room.

With flight carryon restrictions being a moving target lately, I have taken precautions to be sure my camera bag is well within the size/weight limits, and well-padded in case it has to be gate-checked on smaller flights. I sometimes use my hard case to transport the whole thing so it’s well protected for any surprise restrictions that may leave you stranded without proper protection for the gear.

James Maher

Quick overview of what James brings:

  • Backups and full charges
  • Gaffers tape
  • A smile

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

  • Backups and full charges: I just make sure to charge everything, clear everything off my cards, and make sure to have backups for every situation. You never know when something is going to break so you always want to have multiples.
  • Gaffers tape. Tape can be very beneficial and necessary for problems that occur when you least expect them to occur.
  • A smile. This may sound stupid, but how you come off is the most important aspect of any job, way more important than the equipment. Smile, be happy and gregarious, and everyone else will fall in line and make the day a lot more fun.

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

I’m obsessed with camera bags, but over the years I’ve tried hard to lighten my load. I’ve transitioned from studio strobes to using Canon flashes more often since you can now shoot with them with your camera at higher ISOs to similar effects as the strobes used to have. It’s very freeing.

I use backpacks, shoulder bags of all sizes, roller bags, you name it. I’m not very fond of the bags that look like camera bags though. Ona is my favorite company and I often use regular backpacks instead of camera backpacks. I save the bulky camera backpacks for bigger shoots.

Joshua Cripps

Quick overview of what Joshua brings:

  • An upbeat attitude
  • Proper attire
  • Snacks and water

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

First of all, I always try to bring an upbeat attitude. Have you ever played the pun game? You will if you ever join me on a tour or a gig. Landscape photography is filled with singular beautiful moments but often they’re separated by inclement weather, demanding physical activity, and a lack of sleep. And I tell you what, being caught in a thunderous downpour is a lot easier to bear when you can make jokes about how awesome it would be to be a duck.

Next, proper attire. The less you have to think about the more you can focus on creating photos. And if I’m out in a blanket of fresh snow waiting for sunrise I don’t want to be distracted by my ass getting soaked or my toes falling off. Whatever the conditions at hand, be it heat, cold, rain, or sun, I always make sure my body is protected from the elements with quality gear.

Finally, I always bring snacks and water. I can’t tell you how many times I thought I’d be out for 30 minutes then saw a path and followed it up over a mountain pass. 6 hours later I’m finally heading back to the car. I don’t want my curiosity or exploration short circuited because I’m ill-equipped in the sustenance department.

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

I use a Mindshift Rotation Pro backpack to hold all my camera equipment when I’m out in the field for the day. It’s a very thoughtfully designed pack and easily holds two bodies plus four or five lenses, as well as extras like clothing, snacks, and water. One of the things I like best about it is the rotating hip belt. With that, plus the back-panel entry, I literally never have to take the pack off in order to access my kit. Perfect for days shooting on dirty, wet, or unstable ground.

For longer, multi-day trips I use a Hyperlite Mountain Gear backpack to hold my camera gear along with my trekking equipment. I use the Peak Design Capture Pro to keep my camera handy at all times. And inside the pack I use a large zippered pouch to hold extra batteries, lenses, cleaning supplies, and other odds and ends.

To make things easier on a shoot I try to pare down my camera kit to the absolute essentials. I often hike 30 miles or more on a trip, so having a minimal kit is essential. Usually a wide angle lens, a telephoto, a tripod, and a few extra batteries. You’d be amazed what you can shoot even without having every single possible lens with you.

Christian Meermann

Quick overview of what Christian brings:

  • Bottle of water
  • Layers of clothing
  • iPhone with apps

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

Besides my photography gear, I usually bring a large bottle of water and (depending on weather and temperature) various layers of clothes (including gloves if necessary). I also always bring my iPhone which due to apps like Photo Pills and the iOS timer functionality has become an indispensable tool for long exposure photography.

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

I keep my small items (filters, remote control, spare battery, etc.) in the top compartment of my backpack resp. In to front compartment of the messenger bag. This way, they are within easy reach. The top compartment of my f-stop Tilopa has on big main compartment and two smaller side compartments. I try to organize my stuff like this: Filters, cloths, and lens caps go in one of the small side compartments, technical gear like spare batteries, my wireless remote control, my eyepiece cap, etc. go into the other one. I use the big main area of the top compartment for tissues, my camera’s rain cover and (if necessary) necessary medical supplies like painkillers, plasters or an insect repellent and sunblock.

In my backpack’s main compartment, only half of the space is used for my camera gear. The rest is free for my extra clothes and snacks.

Also, if it isn’t raining too much, I don’t stow away my camera in my bags but prefer attaching them to the outside of my bags using the Peak Design Capture Pro camera clip. In very heavy (and long) rain, I also use an oversized rain cover. This way, I can also cover my tripod which I always carry attached to the side of the backpack.

For an extensive coverage of the gear I carry on a very long trip, check out the corresponding blog post on my website.

Matt Payne

Quick overview of what Matt brings:

  • Tripod
  • Lightbox and light stand

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

This might seem obvious; however, I always bring my Feisol CT-3442 Tournament tripod with me on shoots. This light weight tripod is perfect for my mirrorless set-up and is easy to carry, especially on long hikes into the mountains of Colorado. Lastly, if doing portrait shoots, I always bring my Lastolite EZ-lightbox and Manfrotto light stand. This makes shooting portaits on the go quite simple and easy and they deliver excellent off-camera flash results.

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

Currently, if backpacking, I organize all of my camera gear in an F-Stop gear ICU and then I put that into my Osprey 45 Liter Exos pack; however, on portrait shoots requiring more gear, I use my F-Stop gear Loka backpack. The F-Stop gear ICU setup is ideal for almost any type of shoot and makes it easy to organize gear based on the shoot.

Katie Brenkert

Quick overview of what Katie brings:

  • Chewing gum
  • Snacks
  • Plastic grocery bag

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

  • Chewing gum – for whatever reason chewing gum calms my nerves and I feel a little more creative on a job when I have it, maybe because it gives me something completely mindless to do and distracts me just enough….
  • Snacks – most often I am photographing children. Children get crabby when they are hungry and children that are crabby are much less willing to wander and do the interesting things I like to photograph. If I can be the super hero that breaks out graham cracker bears or fruit snacks, you can bet im not above it.
  • A plastic grocery bag or two. I feel a bit like McGyver with his duct tape, but a plastic grocery bag can have so many purposes in a pinch. Mostly I like to have it accessible if a pop up rain shower happens and I need to quickly cover my camera while Im shooting but its nice to have for so many other reasons too. Sometimes said snacks from my second answer make some garbage, sometimes we find messy things that need a separate transport back to the car. Sometimes socks/and or shoes have a bad habit of finding their way into any sort of standing or moving water and need a dry place to ride home. If its muddy, they make great shoe covers, if its cold they can insulate hands and feet and sometimes I’ve used them to tie things together. They’re great.

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

I haven’t yet found my dream camera bag. I love the accessibility of the messenger style bags but found the weight of the gear eventually led to backaches and shoulder pain. I switched to a backpack. For a while I was using just a little back pack purse and only carrying my camera and attached lens- which was ok when i was out and about capturing life but not so great when I actually had a job to do. I do have a MountainSmith backback which I do like, but I found the protected bottom pocket difficult to get into quickly and easily and the bag overall seemed bulky with not a lot of storage space for its overall size. It also gets pretty hot to carry.

I am currently using a regular backpack designed for school and books – the one I’m using currently is an under armor bag from Costco, with a separate pocket for your laptop. I have created a cushioned seat for the bottom of the bag (made from craft foam), with small dividers to safely house my 50mm lens, my 28mm and my broken 50mm for freelancing.

I use the old style beer coozies to also protect my smaller lenses from bumps and jostles in the bottom of the bag- I have 3 kids, bumps happen frequently. I carry all of my memory cards and an extra battery in a leather lens cover that gets tossed into the bag as well- its easy to grab if I decide to not take the entire bag to certain outings. It the other smaller pockets of the backpack I will keep batteries for my remote, my snacks, my gum and my plastic bag. I also keep a few filters in one of the divided sections in case its really bright and I want to cut glare or achieve a slow shutter.

I wish I could say I was organized but unfortunately organization is not a part of my lifestyle. I do know I like to be able to grab things quickly so having things I use frequently all together in the little bag, helps immensely.

Lauren Bath

Quick overview of what Lauren brings:

  • Mobile phone
  • Laptop
  • Cords, batteries and adaptors

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

A mobile phone is the most important thing I travel with and I usually have 1-2 spares as well. As a social media influencer as well as a photographer it’s important that I’m always online and my phone is often the tool I use to process my uploads to social media. I also carry a laptop for the same reasons but also use the laptop for processing my images on the go. Finally I carry all the right cords, batteries and adaptors to do my job and I carry these as hand luggage. Clothes, shoes and non urgent equipment can always be easily replaced but the essentials to do your job need to be with you and there has to be options if technology breaks down.

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

I use a f-stop camera bag (BC Tilopa) for all of my camera gear and an ONA laptop bag for all of my other technology. Both of these bags come on board with me as carry on luggage. In addition I use a hard case Samsonite suitcase and pack my tripod, spare gear, clothes and toiletries in there. I use packing cells to help me organise everything and my packing never changes, meaning I can prepare for a job in less than half an hour.

Twyla Jones

Quick overview of what Twyla brings:

  • Lens pen
  • Keen water shoes
  • Holdfast wrist strap

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

I am based on south Florida so most of my sessions are at the beach! Because of this the most important thing in my camera bag is a lens pen! The salt water always leaves a film on my lens and I’m forever getting sand everywhere! With the lens pen I can easily brush the sand off and then spray lens cleaner on it to wipe away with a lens cloth! My other must have item is my Keen water shoes! I’m always climbing on rocks and trees and then jumping in the water so these are great for gripping so I don’t slip and protect me from stepping on sharp shells when I’m in the water. Lastly, I love my Holdfast wrist strap. This always keeps the camera in my hand and I don’t have to deal with hair getting tangled up in a neck strap.

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

I use a Jo Totes camera backpack. It’s lightweight and small which works well for me as I like to travel light. I’ve traveled all over the world with this thing and it hold everything I need perfectly. For quick overnight trips I can fit my camera and lenses in the top, my laptop in the back sleeve and I roll up my clothes and stick them in the bottom!

Ralph Velasco

Quick overview of what Ralph brings:

  • Universal power strip/surge protector
  • Slide camera strap
  • iRigMic Lav lavalier kit

What top 3 things do you always bring to a job besides your cameras, flashes, etc.?

Today digital photography is all about power and my best tip is to bring along a universal power strip/surge protector, this way you can always stay charged up on the road, especially in older hotels where outlets may be limited. These, of course, work for your other devices, too, like smartphones, tablets, and such. A bonus is that you can become the local hero at the airport when all the power stations are filled up and you come in with a 6 outlet power strip…you’ll almost certainly make 5 new friends.

I also love my Slide camera strap by PeakDesign. It’s well made, comfortable, looks pretty cool and doesn’t advertise your camera’s manufacturer or shout “Steal From Me!”

Finally, I’m shooting a lot of video on my iPhone, and in the end, quality sound is just as, if not more important than video. So, the iRigMic Lav lavalier kit is always with me ready to help me create high-quality videos of my travels.

How do you carry your stuff to a job and on the job?

My Mindshift FirstLight 20L camera bag is fantastic, and I don’t leave home without it. Although as a travel photographer my gear is minimal, one body/one lens, it fits all the other items I want with me and to carry on any flight, including a 15″ laptop. Super sturdy, it still looks like new after having traveled around the world with me several times over the past 2 years alone.

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